Hullo. We have a mixed bag of treats for you this week. Genre hopping from country to industrial to modern day soul and 1930’s close harmony. Something for everyone, I’m sure you’ll agree.
As promised, there’s also a small tribute to Sir George Martin although it’s probably nothing you were expecting.
And, of course Paulo’s Pick Of The Week in which my very good friend, band mate and semi-professional Sade impersonator, Paul D’Cruz chooses a groove.
So, shall we dance, baggy pants?
Track 1. Sail Of The Silver Morning by Cotton Jones.
Way back in 2010 there was a plethora of psych country bands doing the rounds. Most of them irritated after a few listens and, after selling their big song to advertising, quietly disappeared. Cotton Jones stood out as one of the more authentic acts, their sixties production values adding weight to some excellent songwriting. This waltz is one such example and it sets up this weeks selections with some style.
Track 2. It Takes A Muscle To Fall In Love by Spectral Display.
Covered by M.I.A a few years back, this is the original from eighties Dutch band Spectral Display. Ignore the slightly cheesy, of its time synth reggae beat and let yourself wallow in a lovely vocal from lead singer Henri Overduin.
Track 3. Southern Nights by Glen Campbell.
I was sad to read the news that Glen is now in the final stage of Alzheimer’s. It’s now only a matter of time before we ultimately lose one of the finest musicians of the last fifty years. If you’ve never seen him play guitar then I must point you in the direction of youtube to check out any of his performances on his sixties/seventies TV series ‘The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour’. He really was a master of his craft. Let’s give thanks for this weeks cover star while he spends his final days on this planet with this, his 1977 US No.1. which was penned by the recently departed legend, Allen Toussaint.
Track 4. Untitled 06 by Kendrick Lamar.
I must admit, I’ve only took a passing interest in Lamar’s stratospheric rise to bright new hope. However, when I heard this upon it’s release the other week, I finally understood what all the fuss is about. Perfect summer sound, to my ears this track is very similar to Pharrell before he became omnipresent and consequently a bit annoying.
Track 5. Butterflies by Anchorsong.
Masaaki Yoshido, for Anchorsong is he, released his sophomore LP in January and this is from it. Bleepy, Royksoppy goodness with a warm string underbelly.
Track 6. Pitied Be The Dragon Hunter by The Buckinghams.
Sunshine pop from 1967 next. The Buckinghams hailed from Chicago but decided on a British sounding moniker to capitalise on the success of those pesky mop-tops who were currently ruling the world with an iron fist, albeit with a flower in it. This has a certain innocence to it but also reflects the time it was recorded through the psychedelic title and lyrics.
Track 7. Gave Up by Nine Inch Nails.
From the 1992 EP ‘Broken’, this was Reznor’s major label bow. Credit to him, he opted for a darker, harder sound. God knows what Interscope thought when he handed over the masters. I’ve gone for the version from the companion remix EP ‘Fixed’ as i first heard this, aged 19 at a mates flat after a heavy night. I must admit it gave me a bit of a ‘bad do’ but after sorting myself out it opened up its majesty and I was hooked.
Track 8. No Werewolf by Allah-Las.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Here he is with another toppermost, poppermost pick. This week, our resident ready salted crisps fan has plumped for a quality surf-guitar laden instrumental from California’s Allah-Las. I’d not heard of them before Mr Pee-Dee-Cee sent his recco last week, but I’m very much enjoying this. It could easily have been lifted from a sixties teen-scream b-movie.
Track 9. Keleya by Moussa Doumbia.
African psychedelia is the order of the day here and it kicks off a run of selections designed to make you shake your money maker. Organ heavy and filled with grunts and howls, if this doesn’t make you kick off your shoes and tear up the floor then you need to have a serious word with yourself.
Track 10. Mama Feelgood by Lyn Collins.
Continuing our movers, next we have the female preacher with a single from 1973. Recorded with the JB’s, here we finds Collins in typical funky style. Listening to this, it’s easy to see where Beyonce got some of her tricks from.
Track 11. Put You In Your Place by The Sunshine Underground.
I remember the first time I heard this. It was played unannounced in a club in Leeds about 10 years ago. I rushed straight to the dj to ask who it was and he pointed at a poster for their upcoming gig in Wakefield. The gig coincided with a works Christmas party just around the corner and after wolfing down the meal, I rushed to see them taking some of my colleagues with me. They were cracking live and this, the tune I had gone to hear, was a standout. They never really followed up the promise of pyiyp, but my word, to hear it loud is something else. Turn it up.
Track 12. Eary Feary by George Martin.
And so to our tribute to gentleman George who passed away last week. It would have been easy to pick a tune from the wackers, but i thought I’d go for one that is purely his own hand. This was written for a long forgotten ITV horror anthology series, much in the mold of Tales Of The Unexpected. Showcasing Sir George’s more experimental side, it certainly has an unsettling air about it. I imagine early seventies kids would have been freaked as the titles rolled.
Track 13. A New Day by Dexter Story.
L.A. multi-instrumentalist Story has created an Ethiopian inspired pop song here. West (US) meets East (Africa) with joyful results. Taken from his 2015 long player, ‘Wondem’.
Track 14. Sing Hosanna by Clinton.
Yes, the same ‘Sing Hosanna’ you used to mime to whilst sat cross-legged in school assembly. Cornershop side project Clinton take it, stick some funky drumming behind it and dance over the keys until you forget it’s a hymn to that feller with the beard.
Track 15. Pirate Dial by M. Ward.
We take time to slow things down for the next few picks. Lovely, brand new stuff from Ward, this. His fragile voice and quietly strummed guitar backed by what sounds like a synth pedal steel. He’s not changed much since I first heard ‘Transfiguration Of Vincent’ all those years ago, and hopefully, he never will.
Track 16. At Seventeen by Janis Ian.
I’ve missed a trick by not placing this at number 17 haven’t I? Nevermind. A song I’ve always always had a soft spot for, here we have a live version from Janis (simply because Spotify doesn’t have the recorded one). It’s a beautiful rendition nevertheless, her gentle bossa guitar and perfect vocal conveys all the sadness you can hear in the studio version, perhaps even more so.
Track 17. Future Lullaby by Shintaro Sakamoto.
Ending our ‘chill out’ section before we get a bit loud again we have something floaty from Japan. Formerly of popular psychrockers Yura Yura Teikoku, Sakamoto released his second solo LP ‘Lets Dance Raw’ in 2012. It’s a travelogue of an album taking inspiration and instrumentation from all corners of the globe.
Track 18. The Four Horsemen by Aphrodite’s Child.
Greek proggers who counted Demis Roussos and Vangelis amongst their throng. This comes from their 1972 release ‘666’, a concept album based on the book of revelation, and it’s quite, quite bonkers.
Track 19. Instant Repeater 99 by The Soundtrack Of Our Lives.
Sweden’s TSOOL were a fantastic live act. I saw them at Glastonbury in the early 2000’s and lead singer Ebbot had the crowd eating out of his hand. This track from 1996 is one of their most epic, the big mans voice at its most heartfelt, breaking here and there but only adding to the overall grandness.
Track 20. If I Didn’t Care by The Ink Spots.
Difficult to disassociate from Andy Dufresne, our closer this week is actually the sixth best selling single of all time. Covered by artists as diverse as Connie Francis and Madness, this is the definitive version and is as fresh as a daisy despite it’s 77 years.
That’s it for another week, join us for more travels through popular, and unpopular music at the same time in seven of your Earth days.
Until then, make it easy on yourself.