Hullo. Welcome back to another edition of the playlist that started out life being largely ignored but is now gathering a small cult following, that is, a few people take the time out to scroll past it.
Another thank-you this week to the lovely Katrina Barff for her kind words and shares. Cheers Kat!
I initially began compiling these playlists to see me through long journeys to and from work. I still use it for those purposes and still get the goosebumps from certain selections. This week’s list has a pick that had those arm-hairs shoot up when it cropped up on a gridlocked M25. Find out which one later.
This Weeks PPOTW is a ten minute sonic journey. My very good friend, bandmate and collector of Krankies memorabilia has pulled out an epic, spacey selection.
So, shall we take a trip down memory lane?
Track 1. Birdland by Weather Report.
A track from childhood to begin with. This tune takes me right back to the early eighties. Ceefax was a technological marvel, potato waffles and beans for tea was a regular occurrence and this piece of jazz fusion seemed ubiquitous. I’ve posted a live performance below, just so you can appreciate the genius that was the late Jaco Pastorius on bass.
Track 2. I Had To Say This by The Clientele.
Gorgeous, reverb heavy pastoral goodness from 1999 next. The Clientele have found more success in the states than here in their native England. Surprising really, as their jangling brand of indie-pop is distinctly British. This, their fourth single was released in the days when the UK music industry was suffering it’s post britpop hangover. I suppose they were born at the wrong time.
Track 3. Khala My Friend by Amanaz.
With a style similar to the magnificent Ofege, this slow afro psych groove from 1975 has a mournful air to it. Hailing from Zambia, this five piece were formed from bits and pieces of various zam-rock bands and released the LP ‘Africa’ from which this comes.
Track 4. Ease Yourself And Glide by Parsley Sound.
This is the opening track from their 2003 debut ‘Parsley Sounds’ and has a pleasing slow shuffle to it that goes well with a sunny Sunday morning. It was very much an anachronism at the time it was released. Lest us forget, these were the days Coldplay began their world dominance and The Darkness were hailed as trailblazing genii. Dark times indeed.
Track 5. I Have To Quit You by The Solution.
I’m aware that we’ve had a quite low key start to this weeks playlists, so let’s inject a bit of good times. This blue eyed soul single from ten years ago was the product of veteran American performer Scott Morgan and an assembled band of young Swedish musicians. An infectious soul jumper with girls on backing and punchy brass, it’s got that classic Northern sound right down to a tee.
Track 6. Theme From ‘Likely Stories’ by Jarvis Cocker.
Taken from the accompanying EP to the new TV Series penned by Neil Gaiman, here we find the Pulp frontman at his seedy best. Indeed, He describes the music on the EP as: “Four grubby tales set in all night cafes, low rent drinking dens and doctor’s surgeries. I didn’t have to leave my comfort zone for this assignment.” No vid yet, unfortunately.
Track 7. Buzzin’ Fly by Tim Buckley.
The stand out track from 1969’s ‘Happy/Sad’, this is a 12 string/vibraphone stone cold classic. I came to Tim after discovering his son Jeff 20 years ago, he quickly became as essential as his offspring. Tragically, both were taken well before their time. As i write, the glorious early June sunshine is streaming through my window, and this song is sound-tracking it perfectly.
Track 8. Faded by Clare Maguire.
Birmingham singer songwriter Maguire released her sophomore LP just last week and this is the opening track from it. A lovely Nina Simone-esque piano figure holds down the song whilst Clare’s honeyed tonsils dance around it like a breathy butterfly. The vid below is a live recording with just piano and bass, I also urge you to listen to the recorded version which features some beautiful, understated strings.
Track 9. Hobo Blues by John Lee Hooker.
Surely I don’t need to wax lyrical about JLH? The below video serves to illustrate his greatness/importance. If you only listen to one track/watch one video this week, make it this.
Track 10. Beams by Sun Araw.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Retro-futuristic Lo-Fi. Neo-dub. Psych-Rock. However you want to label Cameron Stallones’ Sun Araw is up to you. For me personally, this is a drone heavy odyssey with echoes of Eno, Spacemen 3 and Suicide. Paul was worried about submitting a track which is ten minutes long but, as i explained to him, it could be a 45 minute piece of cacophonic free jazz, and it would still be included. It’s always his choice and they’re always marvellous choices at that.
Track 11. Love Never Felt So Good (Original Version) by Michael Jackson.
So here we are at the aforementioned song that gave me goosebumps on that godforsaken motorway. Released posthumously as a remixed version with added Justin Timberlake vocal a couple of years back, this is the original 1983 demo of a song co written with Paul Anka (That’s him tickling the ivories). Stripped down, with just that piano, finger clicks and handclaps, and of course, Jackson’s superb vocal, it reveals two masters at work. Why it never made it onto an LP is beyond me. First class.
Track 12. Everybody’s Down by No Age.
L.A art-punks No Age make a hell of a racket for just a two piece. Just listen to that crunching guitar which carries the song until those epileptic drums come in at 1m 39s. Tremendous. This is from their 2007 debut, ‘Weirdo Rippers’.
Track 13. 100 Million by Charlie Hilton.
Featuring former NL tracklist-ee, Mac Demarco on guitar, this is from Hilton’s debut LP released in January this year. A Nico-esque dis-affected vocal tells her tale of love in such a way that she seems almost bored of it all. Mac joins in on backing for a couple of lines before concentrating on his guitar again.
Track 14. Chaconne In G by Moondog.
This weeks cover star is The Viking Of Fifth Avenue, visionary composer Louis Thomas Hardin aka Moondog. This typically circular piece comes from his 1977 LP ‘In Europe’. If You’re not familiar with Moondog’s extraordinary life and work, then I insist you read up on him and experience as much of his music as you can. I can’t do his life justice in just a few lines so will leave it to you to discover his genius, starting with this. If you can wait, there’s a forthcoming documentary due for release soon, I can only imagine it will be fascinating.
Track 15. One In A Million by Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators.
Fantastic modern day soul released just last year, this has a classic feel to it that also harks back to the soul revival of the early nineties which was spearheaded by the Acid Jazz label. Good-time summer sound with a lovely smooth tone from Nicole.
Track 16. Twisting With James by Monty Norman.
This next track appeared on the soundtrack for the first Bond film, ‘Dr No’ but didn’t actually appear in the film. A saxophone led twist which aped the dance craze which was still going strong at the time of the movie’s release, it’s good fun nevertheless.
Track 17. Everyday by Diane Coffee.
Former Disney child actor and drummer for Psych-pop heroes Foxygen, Shaun Fleming is Diane Coffee. His glam-leaning music is a throwback to T-Rex, Jobriath and sixties musicals. With a voice which veers from falsetto to growling rock monster and epic wall of sound production, it all adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable experience. This comes from ‘Everybody’s A Good Dog’, his excellent second LP released last year.
Track 18. Lament by The Neil Cowley Trio.
Classically trained pianist Cowley has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names around but has also found the time to release beautiful solo pieces and work with his trio such as this plaintive piece, the opener to his 2012 album ‘The Face Of Mount Molehill’.
Track 19. The Name Of The Game by ABBA.
Oh here he goes again with his love for seventies Swedish chart botherers ABBA…Well *RASP* to you. I truly believe them to be one of the greatest pop acts of all time. The news earlier this week that they had performed together for the first time in thirty years was a genuine thrill to me. I don’t think they’ll take it any further, but the mere thought of the chance of any reunion shows has me cock-a-hoop with excitement. I mean, listen to this. Just LISTEN. If you don’t feel joy by the time Anna Frid sings ‘And You Make Me talk..’ Then your heart is a rock and I’ll bid you good day.
Track 20. This Love Is Real by The Lovelites.
This weeks soul slowie closer comes from Chicago. A 1970 single, it featured on their only album release, 1969’s ‘With Love From…’ A flop at the time, it is now revered as one of the classic soul albums to come from the windy city.
Aaaand that’s yer lot. Hope you’ve taken something away from this weeks bistro of bangers, Don’t forget to tip your waiter.
Next week’s playlist may be a day earlier than usual as next Friday I’m off to Manchester to see four blokes play some music which was once quaintly described as ‘Baggy’.
Until Then, Bye Bye Badman.