Hullo. So we lost another visionary last week. Along with Bowie, Prince was very much the soundtrack to my eighties childhood thanks to my two sisters. As he wasn’t down with his music on the internet, his inclusion this week is through a single he penned for his percussionist. Unsurprisingly, it’s marvellous.
Here we are then, another twenty solid gold sounds including Paulo’s Pick Of The Week in which my very good friend, bandmate and distinguished member of the royal institute of beekeepers Paul D’Cruz selects a sure fire stonker.
Right, can we kick it? Yes we can..
Track 1. La Couleur Originelle by Whyte Horses.
This band made their NL debut way back on edition No.8. with the stunning ‘Snowfalls’ and since then I’ve been waiting to include them again. Unfortunately, they’re pretty coy about releasing their music. A debut album dropped late last year in the form of a self released limited run of just 300. I’m yet to hear it but on the strength of this new single I’m sure it will be put out on a major sooner rather than later. Surprisingly, given their french vocal and easy, continental style, they are Manchester based. Good news that, as i’m quite keen to catch them live.
Track 2. She’s Not Worried by The dB’s.
Taken from their 1981 debut ‘Stands For Decibels’, this must have been looked upon as something of a strange anomaly in the post punk/new romantic times it was released. Sixties influenced psych pop with lush harmonies, backwards guitar and Carol Kaye type bass weren’t exactly the order of the day in the very early eighties . Ahead of their time then, but very much rooted in the past.
Track 3. Mon Amour by Dungen.
The first three minutes of this 2007 album track from Swedish prog-psychers Dungen is an amiable enough pop offering, strap yourself in for the following six mind. A tremendous prog jam follows with shades of another fantastic Swedish band ‘The Amazing’. You’d expect it to sound similar really as they’re made up of three quarters of the members of Dungen.
Track 4. Tahabort by Imarhan.
This, their debut single released last year, wasn’t far from my car stereo in the all too short summer months. As we sit and wait for the weather to buck its ideas up i believe its time to dust it off and call on that big yellow bastard to get its arse into gear. Hailing from South Algeria, their sound is based on traditional Tuareg music infused with blues and rock melodies. Imarhan’s debut LP drops today (29th April). I suspect it will spend the next few months blasting from my works van.
Track 5. My Old Car by Lee Dorsey.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
This week, our old friend has gone back to 1967 and a typically humorous song by the late, great Lee Dorsey. It’s quite amazing that Dorsey only released six LP’s in his 30 year career, most of them filled with Alain Toussaint numbers such as this. Always joyful, you can hear that big smile in his voice.
Track 6. I Cherish The Heartbreak More Than The Love That I Lost by Crybaby.
This was the lead single from Danny Coughlan’s 2012 Crybaby LP. Obvious comparisons would be Richard Hawley and even Roy Orbison, but he manages to stamp an individual style on the album which is almost concept like with every song dedicated to love gone bad.
Track 7. Cold Cold Heart by Tommy McLain.
We have another heartbreaker next, as swamp pop legend McLain takes on a Hank Williams classic. Just listen to that tremulous voice, it adds an extra layer of sadness
Track 8. Chevere Que Chevere by Joe Bataan.
Right, that’s enough wallowing for the time being, let’s cheer ourselves up with a premium slab of Latin soul. Former gang leader Bataan has been at he forefront of the genre for fifty years now and this track demonstrates why. Handclaps, funky Hammond and a salsa beat that won’t quit. All the elements for a good time, right there.
Track 9. Love Commander by Trans Am.
Keeping the beats going, but in an altogether different style, next up we have post rock originators Trans Am with a cut from their second long player, 1997’s ‘Surrender To The Night’.
Track 10. Who’re You by Fela Kuti, Africa 70.
It’s quite remarkable that given the prevalence of Afrobeat in these playlists, I’ve never featured the daddy of them all. Let’s rectify this immediately with this nine minute album track from his 1971 LP ‘Fela’s London Scene’. Recorded in England at Abbey Road, this still has Nigeria coming through with each and every beat. Incendiary and essential.
Track 11. Take Five by The Dave Brubeck Quartet.
Time to get mellow again with one of the most famous jazz pieces ever, indeed it’s the biggest selling jazz single of all time. I defy anyone to listen to this and not get carried away on a smooth nostalgic journey. So much to love on this but for me, it’s Joe Morello on drums that I keep coming back to.
Track 12. Hey Now by Lesley Gore.
Lesley hit the big time aged just sixteen in 1963 with ‘It’s My Party’. She followed it up with moderate success including this track from the following year. After finishing school, she went on to land acting roles before concentrating on songwriting, specifically for films. She lost her battle with cancer last year aged 68.
Track 13. Drink The Elixir by Salad.
Our cover star this week, Marijne Van Der Vlugt was an Mtv ‘vj’ before joining this band in 1993. They were hyped and touted in the music press for a couple of years but only managed minor success (this single only reached No.66 in the charts). They should have fared better, but I feel their discordant music and cryptic lyrics didn’t fit in with the glut of good-time Britpop that was all conquering during their short lifespan. Shame, as this, their finest release, still sounds great while the majority of their contemporaries are hideously dated.
Track 14. David’s Last Summer by Pulp.
The closer from ‘His & Hers’ the album I’ve always cited as their best. Sure, Different Class had the hit singles, but this was where I fell in love with Cocker and co. Lip-gloss, Babies, Do you Remember The First Time?, all solid gold but this is my favourite on the LP. An evocative mainly spoken word remembrance, it encapsulates youthful summers perfectly. There’s a palpable warmth to proceedings that can transport me to halcyon days.
Track 15. Ripped Open By Metal Explosions by Galt MacDermot.
This 1970 instrumental track has been sampled by numerous hip hop acts and it’s not hard to hear why. It’s jazz funk beats are ripe for rhymes. MacDermot composed the musical ‘Hair’ as well as countless movie scores.
Track 16. Born To Be A Rebel by Vic Godard & The Subway Sect.
Godard released the album ‘1979 Now!’ in 2014, an LP of re-recorded songs which were initially demo’s for the celebrated punk outfit. This was the lead release and its a northern soul inspired treat.
Track 17. The Belle Of St.Mark by Sheila E.
He seemed to come out of nowhere. The ten year old me was unaware that he had been releasing records for almost ten years by this point but suddenly, he was everywhere. Like many others, I first heard Prince when his single ‘When Doves Cry’ broke into the charts in May 1984. I vividly recall being late for school after my lunch hour due to transcribing the lyrics from a radio recording etched onto a crackly C60 cassette. I got told off, but it was worth it just to be able to sing along to this strange and fascinating new sound I’d discovered. My two sisters quickly became fans, and having little money to spend on my own records, I benefitted from their purchases of Purple Rain, 1999, Around The World In A Day and Parade. He was a genius, pure and purple. I include this track not only as it’s one of precious little available on Spotify, it’s also one of his best. Rest easy Prince Rogers Nelson.x
Track 18. Come Go With Me by The Del-vikings.
Featured on ‘American Graffiti’ and ‘Stand By Me’, this doo-wop classic has implanted itself as a childhood favourite in the collective memories of seventies and eighties kids. Not to mention the fifties and sixties kids who actually lived the lives of those two aforementioned films.
Track 19. All I See Is You by Dusty Springfield.
Possibly my favourite female vocalist of all-time, Dusty could sing the phone book and I’d still ask her to have a go at the yellow pages too. Man, that voice! This is a top 10 single from 1966, just have a look at this live rendition here. Stunning.
Track 20. Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing by Gloria Ann Taylor.
Closing proceedings this week is a much sought-after rarity from a forgotten artist of the early seventies. Beginning with a marvellous psychedelic guitar, this gives way to a powerful performance from Taylor backed by Barry White type production. A classy end to NL numero twenty six-o.
That’s all folks. Join us next week for further adventures in stereo.
Until then, may you never lay your head down without a hand to hold.