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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