Hullo. Welcome once again to the playblog series that has popularity peaks and troughs much akin to ripped denim, ‘Nobody’s Listening/Reading’.
Another mixed sac magique this week. Hopping from decade to decade and genre to genre, as is our remit.
There’s a few Krautrock inspired acts nestled in this weeks selections. Not by design, they just happened to prick my ears over the past few weeks or so.
And of course, ‘Paulo’s Pick Of The Week’ in which my very good friend, bandmate and boyhood presenter of ‘Why Don’t You’, Paul D’Cruz, picks a nugget of note. This week he’s gone Old Skool on yo ass.
So, let’s get this party started, right?
Track 1. Koordinaten by Klaus Johann Grobe.
We begin with this Swiss duo who are forging their own particular brand of Krautrock. Updated for the 21st century, but there are still all the elements you would expect from the genre including that all important motorik beat. I’m happy to have them as opening act on this weeks odyssey.
Track 2. Baby, What You Want Me To Do? by Erma Frankin.
Written by the great Jimmy Reed, this is the b-side to her colossus, ‘Another Piece Of My Heart’. This is more of a rocker than the other side with a cracking sax break. However, much like the a, Erma gives it her all, that wonderful voice wringing every last word for emotional impact.
Track 3. Morning Song by Leon Lowman.
The phrase ‘Timeless Quality’ is wheeled out far too often these days but this 35 year old song from LA surfer Lowman could have been recorded yesterday or at any point in the preceding 40 years. It has a relaxed, dreamlike air to it that fooled me on first listen into believing he was a new artist. Beautiful, laid back stuff, this.
Track 4. Un Soir Chez Norris by Pierre Cavalli.
Next up we have a Gallic twofer beginning with this 1971 track which was sampled by David Holmes for the Oceans’ 11 soundtrack. Psych guitar and wordless female vocals combine to create an otherworldly trip that conjour up images of spies chuffing on gauloises, despite it’s English title, ‘An Evening With Norris’.
Track 5. Too Young by Phoenix.
Our next offering from across the channel is a bit more recent but still an astonishing 17 years old. Where does the time go? Featured on ‘Lost In Translation’, this is probably their best known track, it’s pop stylings still as fresh as the day it was released.
Track 6. Every Night by Paul McCartney.
From his debut solo LP ‘McCartney’, here we find Sir Thumbs aloft in typical melodic mood. This song was originally trialled during the Let It Be sessions for The Wackers with Lennon on slide guitar, however this final cut is purely Paul on all instruments with some backing vocals from Linda. Believe me mama..
Track 7. Sec Walking by My Morning Jacket.
Lovely, pedal steel smothered goodness. A favourite of my good friend Jim, this is another attic classic from my Cylinder Opens days.
Track 8. Got This Happy Feeling by Ghetto Brothers.
Our cover stars this week were a Puerto Rican street gang from New York before they decided to use their powers for good. This comes from their only release, 1971’s ‘Power-Fuerza’ and it’s an upbeat statement of happiness. Not the greatest lyricists in the world, this mainly gets by on pure goodwill. Having said that, they were a pretty tight funk unit. I can wholeheartedly recommend the documentary ‘Rubble Kings’ from last year which focuses on the GB’s as well as the other gangs which ruled the five boroughs in the seventies.
Track 9. Jazzy Sensation by Afrika Bambaataa and The Jazzy 5.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
We stay in The Bronx for this weeks PPOTW. Moving forward exactly ten years to the embryonic hip hop movement, this was the first release on Tommy Boy records and was later sampled by The Beastie Boys on ‘Hey Ladies’. Paulo informs me this was a drop he used to get down to in his b-boy days. I hope he resists the temptation to roll out the lino for a trip down memory lane as I don’t think his aging hips could take it…
Track 10. Aigrette by Hatfield And The North.
You probably couldn’t get further removed from hip-hop to the Canterbury scene, but that’s what we like to do here at NL, you never know what’s coming next. Taken from their self titled debut, this is a brief taste of their folky-proggy style and hopefully it will encourage listeners to dig further. You will be rewarded.
Track 11. Space March (Capsule In Space) by The John Barry Orchestra.
The first of three very different instrumental tracks next from the late, great Sir John Barry. Taken from the ‘You Only Live Twice’ soundtrack, this has all the bombast you’d expect from a Barry Bond score.
Track 12. Tardis Cymbals by Cavern Of Anti-Matter.
The second of our vocal-free trio comes from the brand new release from ex-Stereolab men Tim Gane and Joe Dilworth’s Cavern Of Anti-matter. This twelve minute journey through space and time has a hypnotic quality to it that made me lose my thoughts when i first heard it about a fortnight ago. Turn off you mind, relax and float into the cosmos.
Track 13. F.B.I. by The Shadows.
Rounding off our triptych we have The Shadders with their number six hit from 1961. All top guitarists have their own distinctive sound and there’s absolutely no mistaking Marvin’s Stratocaster.
Track 14. Yes, It’s Good For You by Koko Taylor.
Discovered by Willie Dixon in 1962, Taylor joined Chess records soon after. She was in good female vocalist company, joining fellow label mates Etta James and Irma Thomas, they made up a formidable roster of powerful singers. Koko’s shouty style is put to fine use here on a sleazy thumper.
Track 15. Mattress Of Wire by Roddy Frame.
Aztec Camera’s second Postcard records single release next, although this is a live solo rendition recorded in Tokyo. It always amazes me that Frame was in his mid teens when he crafted these early songs. Truly wise beyond his years, they have a maturity to them that doesn’t render a fifty odd year old bloke singing them as ridiculous. The fact he still looks about 25 helps too, the handsome bastard.
Track 16. Someone’s Missing by MGMT.
Do you know when you don’t want a song to end? Well this is one of them. Two and a half minutes of absolute pop perfection, it has a Motowny, Jackson fivey ending that I could listen to forever. Their second album ‘Congratulations’, from which this is lifted, is an exercise in how to grow but stay exactly the same and is a riot from start to finish.
Track 17. Love Will Keep Us Together by Captain And Tennille.
I love Neil Sedaka. Back in the eighties he would pop up from time to time on weekend evening variety programme’s such as Sunday night at the London Palladium. Not being aware of his legacy, to these young eyes he was a convivial little feller in a red v neck who knew his way round a Joanna. Obviously I now know him as the chap responsible for some of the greatest pop songs of the twentieth century. This is one of them. Love those seventies synths too.
Track 18. Nice And Easy by Susan Cadogan.
I know I’ve been banging on about it for months, but lighter nights and warmer weather are really just around the corner now. The clocks going forward this weekend is the first step to summer and soon we’ll be enjoying those gorgeous pink sunsets at 9pm ish. What better way to enjoy them than with this Lee Perry produced slice of smooth reggae.
Track 19. Monorail by Eat Lights, Become Lights.
This weeks third modern day Motorik track comes from ELBL’s 2011 debut ‘Autopia’. Never afraid to wear their Krautrock influences on their sleeves, this is Kraftwerk updated for the teenies right down to that retro-futurist title.
Track 20. You Make Be Blue by The Crowns.
Winding things up this week is a rare 45 from 1963. An end of the night smoocher with that fantastic NYC sound.
So there you have it. Twenty more pieces of gold will be invading your ears at the same time next week. Don’t forget to turn on, tune in and probably drop off.
Until then, let your yeah be yeah and your no be no.