RIP LESLEY DUNCAN
As an admirer of Lesley Duncan for over 40 years, I was disappointed at the brevity of your obituary. Lesley’s career dates back to 1963, when she got a small part in the Joe Brown movie What A Crazy World. There were several unsuccessful single releases throughout the 60s but, towards the end of the decade, her songwriting took on a more reflective style. She released her first album, Sing Children Sing, to great critical acclaim and has to be regarded as one of the very first female British singer-songwriters.
Parallel with her solo career was her other job as a backing singer, one of the ensemble which also included Madeline Bell, Kiki Dee, Vicki Brown, Sue & Sunny and Kay Garner. Lesley contributed to albums by Elton John, Dusty Springfield, Pink Floyd, The Dave Clark 5 and many others. She ought to have been much bigger than she was. She decided to put family before her career, and this, coupled with her dread of live appearances and reluctance to tour, made it virtually impossible for Duncan to achieve star status – a fact she herself fully acknowledged.
Though her last solo album was 33 years ago, she retained a substantial and loyal fan base. You knew her through her songs. Back in 1971 I wrote to her agent to say how much I liked that first album. I was delighted to receive a personal, handwritten letter from Lesley herself. I still have that letter tucked within the gatefold sleeve of that first album. She was a rare, lovely and underrated talent. Some discerning record label should organise the CD reissue of all her five albums.
by David Pearson
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