Hullo. It’s May! May, I tells yer! Hopefully the metrological conditions will take a turn for the better and we can all enjoy a summer in some form or other. I’ve gone for a few sunshine sounds this week to try and help it along.
And of course my very good friend, bandmate and three times winner of ear of the year, Paul D’Cruz gets us in the mood with his own slice of summers past.
Ok superstar DJ’s..Here we go!
Track 1. Young Dreams by Young Dreams.
Getting us going this week is a beach boysy release from five years ago. This Norwegian collective are an ever expanding and decreasing band, their membership has ballooned to twelve in the past, each one only adding to the lovely, warm sound of this eponymous first single.
Track 2. Hippy Skippy Moon Strut by The Mighty Show-Stoppers.
Great band name and track title, this premium piece of late sixties break beat is probably familiar to most listeners as the track sampled by Christina Aguilera for ‘Aint No Other Man’. Stripped of her nails down blackboard caterwauling, we can now enjoy this superb, punchy phunk.
Track 3. Magic Steven by Fly Golden Eagle.
Nashville’s FGE released a double album in 2014, a soundtrack to a long forgotten seventies film that was a sprawling psychedelic grand folly. They condensed it down to a much more palatable single LP the following year and this is from it. Apparently they’re the bees knees live.
Track 4. Pinball by Brian Protheroe.
Protheroe is probably recognisable to most as an English TV and stage actor, popping up in such fare as Holby City, Spooks etc..he initially started out as a folk musician before concentrating on a solo career in the seventies releasing four albums filled with whimsical pieces such as this, the title track to his 1974 long player. It had modest success, reaching No.22 in the charts. Remember, this was when 7″ sales were through the roof, so no mean feat.
Track 5. High Flyin’ Bird by Richie Havens.
Cover star time next. Most of us came to Havens music trough his legendary performance at Woodstock. The first act on the bill, he played for three hours as the other acts were stuck in traffic on the way to site. This is the very first track on his debut album ‘Mixed Bag’, and it set the tone for his fifty year career.
Track 6. I’m Gonna Love You A Long, Long Time by Patty & The Emblems.
Soul group Patty & the Emblems formed in Camden, New jersey around lead singer Patty Russell. They scored their lone Top 40 hit in 1964 with ‘Mixed-Up, Shook-Up Girl’. This particular track was recorded in 1967 shortly before their break up and went on to become a Northern Soul favourite.
Track 7. Soul Freedom by Ray Fernandez.
Miami based Afro-Cuban funk from 1973 next. As I write, the sun is shining and it’s a very agreeable 16 degrees with forecasts promising mid twenties by the end of the week. What better way to start enjoying this glorious season than with music like this?
Track 8. Little Glass Of Wine by Paul Burch & Ralph Stanley.
Continuing our summer fun, here’s some top notch bluegrass. I’m not the biggest banjo fan to be honest, but when it’s played right, and not as a novelty, there’s nothing like it.
Track 9. Siren by Monica Heldal.
Something brand new from our second Norwegian act to be featured this week. Continuing on from the previous track, this is another slice of Americana, albeit with a Scandinavian twist. Some great guitar and drum work on this, particularly on the outro fade out and in
Track 10. Hold Tight by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich.
Used to great effect in Tarantino’s ‘Death Proof’, even though the dj character annoyingly refers to them as ‘…Mitch and Tich’ (a deliberate mistake?, who knows…) this has been a favourite since childhood. That wonderful fuzzy guitar and the football chant beat are irresistible.
Track 11. You’ve Gotta Help Yourself by Bongos Ikwue & The Groovies.
More Afro beat I hear you cry! More! More! Go on then, here’s some Nigerian funk riffing on ‘God Bless The Child’. Taken once more from the superb Soundway compilations.
Track 12. The First Picture Of You by The Lotus Eaters.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK ****
PPOTW time. Here’s his contribution to our sunshine sounds, although I’ve always got a summers end vibe from this eighties classic. This was the Liverpudlian outfits biggest hit and came from their sole album released in ’84 before they went their separate ways. They reunited in the early 2000’s and have released two more albums to date.
Track 13. Straight To The Capitalist Head by King Tubby.
When I think of summer, I think of dub. When I think of dub, I think of King Tubby. This Trojan beauty comes from a compilation released in 1989, shortly after he was fatally gunned down in Kingston.
Track 14. The Stars Keep On Calling My Name by Mac DeMarco.
The first thing I noticed about DeMarco was that unique guitar sound on this record. It comes from a beaten up plank he found in a second hand shop. A few modifications and the application of jazz guitar lessons he had as child and you get this, the gorgeous, jangling standout from his 2012 album ‘2’.
Track 15. Vatapa by Gal Costa.
Brazilian bossa from 1976. Go on, get those hips in motion.
Track 16. Different Strokes by Syl Johnson.
This cut from his 1968 debut ‘Dresses Too Short’ has been sampled by numerous acts such as Public Enemy, Wu-Tang and even old baggy pants sporting, early nineties chart bothering, comedy rapper MC Hammer. Don’t think about using the break for your own hip-hop opus though, Johnson is no slouch when it comes to getting his lawyers involved.
Track 17. Haze’s Dance by Antithesis.
We travel to Switzerland next for some epic, sax-heavy formless jazz from 1972. Soprano and Tenor dance with each other in a compelling example of free expression. It elicited some queer looks as it blasted from my works van on Sidcup high street the other day.
Track 18. I Miss You Jimmy by Varetta Dillard.
Varetta was one of the artists who featured at Alan Freed’s Moondog Coronation Ball in 1952. This is now recognised as the first major rock n roll concert. Minor success followed including this 1956 single, a tribute to the recently departed James Dean.
Track 19. Girls by Death In Vegas.
The second track from their 2002 magnum opus ‘Scorpio Rising’, this atmospheric piece has a wonderful build lifted along with those magical ‘aaahs’. Apparently featured on ‘Lost In Translation’ but I haven’t seen it so can’t really comment on that. Anyway, it’s great.
Track 20. Make Me Yours by Bettye Swann.
Bit of a quicker tempo to our soul closer this week and why not? This is Bettye’s breakthrough hit from 1967, making it to the top spot of the R&B charts in the U.S.
And that wraps things up this time around. Get out there, enjoy the sun, vibrate!
There’ll be more sounds de Soleil at the same time and place next week.
Until then, wear sunscreen.