Artist: The Jackson Sisters
Title: I Believe In Miracles
Release date: 1973; 1987
First heard: circa 2003
I’m certain I didn’t hear this veritable starburst of Detroit soul in 1973, which is when it was first put out on the short-lived Prophesy records (look at that lovely label above, with its youngster-confusing hole), nor in subsequent 70s pressings. And I definitely wasn’t going to the right clubs to hear it resurface on the Rare Groove scene when it was reissued to a shrug of the charts’ shoulders in 1987. (Though in London, I was all about The Wedding Present, Pixies, Deacon Blue and George Gershwin at that time, my main club being the Town & Country.)
What I do know for a fact is that it was love at first listen: the Pearl & Dean-indebted orchestral fanfare, the loose-limbed groove, the keyboard splurges and then, that irresistible, sun-kissed five-sibling harmony: “I believe in miracles, baby, I believe in you-ooooooh!”
Possibly my favourite soul track of all-time, it’s so positive, so airborne, so persuasive, it has you hammering thin air and kills all known melancholia dead. Still only sporadically recruited for compilations (I first came across it on the out-of-print 100% 80s Soul, where it out-funked better-known tunes by Indeep and the Salsoul Orchestra by dint of not actually being 80s soul), the Jackson Sisters remain a collector’s item with a misleading surname, having put out one LP on Tiger Lily and never had a hit. But such intellectual credibility is dust next to the spritzing, zealous, sky-touching glee of the track. Lyn, Pat, Rae, Gennie and Jacqueline believe in miracles – don’t you-ooooh?
NB: This entry was adapted from a piece about “happy songs” I contributed to Word magazine in 2011. It is the very criminal lack of Word magazine that in many ways drove me to start this blog, so it seems entirely apposite.