Unsung Heroes of Soul: Jackie Moore

By Dean Farrell

As host of “The Soul Express,” I play the biggest names in 1960s and ‘70s-era soul music. I also mix in the many great soul artists who did not necessarily become household names but were no less talented. This month’s column is about Jackie Moore, a Southern soul diva who transitioned to disco in the mid-1970s.

She was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1946. Not much is known about Moore’s early life, except that her admiration of Gladys Knight and Aretha Franklin led her to pursue a singing career. By 1968, she was recording for Bert Berns’ Shout label in New York City. Berns released two singles on Moore, neither of which made the national charts. However, one song, “Dear John,” was a top ten hit on WJLD radio in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1969, another New York label, Wand, released one single on Moore. Although a fine ballad in the Deep Soul tradition, “Loser Again” did little.

It was in 1970, on Atlantic Records, that Jackie Moore enjoyed her first real taste of success. Released that fall, “Precious, Precious” got to #12 on Billboard magazine’s Soul Singles chart and #30 pop. It sold over one million copies and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in March 1971. “Precious, Precious” also charted in Canada, peaking at #70.

Moore stayed with Atlantic through the middle 1970s, producing additional Soul hits like “Sometimes It’s Got to Rain,” “Darling Baby,” and “Both Ends Against the Middle.” She then signed with Kayvette records, where she enjoyed her all-time highest charting Soul single, “Make Me Feel Like a Woman.” 

By 1976, disco had overtaken soul as the driving force in Black music. Like many other struggling soul singers, Jackie Moore took a stab at the genre. Her efforts paid off with the top forty Soul hit, “Disco Body.” However, Moore would enjoy her greatest success as a disco diva when she signed with Columbia. Her 1979 single, “This Time Baby,” reached #1 on Billboard’s Disco chart that summer.

In 1982, Moore recorded “Seconds,” a duet with Wilson Pickett. It did not chart. That same year, Karla Bonoff’s remake of Moore’s four-year-old single, “Personally,” reached #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

In his 1981 book, Christgau’s Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies, Robert Christgau wrote about Moore’s 1973 LP, Sweet Charlie Babe: “Figures that this should fall somewhere between state-of-the-art and great-mean soul. The five hits go back to ‘Precious, Precious’ in the winter of ‘71, with the two latest cut at a funkier-than-usual Sigma in Philadelphia and the others by a simpler-than-usual Crawford-Shapiro team at Criteria in Miami. Moore’s voice is simultaneously sweet and rough, an unusual combination in a woman, and the songs are pretty consistent. But she lacks not only persona but personality, so that what in technical terms is pretty impressive stuff never goes over the top.”

Rock critic Dave Marsh included Moore’s “Darling Baby” in his 1989 book, The Heart of Rock and Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.

Jackie Moore, 73, died on November 8, 2019.

Charted singles:

“Precious, Precious” (1970) R&B #12, Pop #30

“Sometimes It’s Got to Rain (In Your Love Life)” (1971) R&B #19

“Darling Baby” (1972) R&B #26, Pop #106

“Time” (1972) R&B #39

“Sweet Charlie Babe” (1973) R&B #15, Pop #42

“Both Ends Against the Middle” (1973) R&B #28, Pop #102

“Make Me Feel Like a Woman” (1975) R&B #6

“Puttin’ It Down to You” (1976) R&B #37

“It’s Harder to Leave” (1976) R&B #74

“Disco Body (Shake It to the East, Shake It to the West)” (1976) R&B #36

“Make Me Yours” (1977) R&B #72

“Personally” (1978) R&B #92

“This Time Baby” (1979) R&B #24, Disco #1 (1 week)

“Helpless” (1980) Disco #25

“How’s Your Love Life Baby” (1980) Disco #57

“Love Won’t Let Me Wait” (1980) R&B #78

“Holding Back” (1983) R&B #73

Other worthwhile Jackie Moore recordings include “Dear John” (1968), “Loser Again” (1969), and “Seconds” (duet with Wilson Pickett, 1982).

Please check out the Unsung Heroes of Soul blog at

Dean Farrell hosts “The Soul Express” Fridays from 7:00-10:00 p.m. on WECS, 90.1-FM (www.wecsfm.com) and alternating Saturdays from 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. on WRTC, 89.3-FM (www.wrtcfm.com). He plays vintage soul music of the 1960s and ‘70s, everything from #1 hits to long-lost obscurities. Dean’s e-mail address is soulexpress@gmail.com.

Leave a Reply