Hullo. This weeks introduction comes to you from a particularly crappy night shift in Chislehurst. As I stand around waiting for something to do, I’m making the most of my time by seeking gems for inclusion on future editions of NL. You’re in for a treat let me tell you.
That’s not to say this weeks is substandard. Quite to the contrary, it’s ace. It would be nice to get a decent readership however, last weeks had a significant dip. So get it shared!
PPOTW makes it’s usual appearance of course, this weeks is brand new to me. He constantly comes up with the goods does my very good friend, bandmate and disgraced judge for Miss World, 1986.
Alright then, let the good times roll…
Track 1. The Martian Hop by The Newcomers.
Our first couple of tracks take us to outer space, and who doesn’t want to live there right now eh? Don’t worry, NL won’t get too political on you but a lot of this weeks picks have been chosen in a certain frame of mind. Just go with it. Ok, I first heard this only a couple of weeks back when Henry Rollins was sitting in for Jarv on his Sunday service show on six music. A cover of a doowop song from 1963, this was released ten years later and has a bubblegum Stax feel to it. Indeed, before he played it, Mr Rollins told us to listen out for the Jackson 5 influence and It’s easy to hear ‘ The Love You Save’ in there.
Track 2. Flight Song by Golden Retriever.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
After a quick stop at Mars for drinks, snacks and a wee, everyone is bundled back on board as we go interstellar next with PPOTW. As I mentioned, I’ve never heard this or anything else by Golden Retriever. I note they are signed to Thrill Jockey, a label I have much fondness for, so I wasn’t really surprised to discover this is excellent. A marvellous trip which has an overall late seventies feel with hints of Eno and Tangerine Dream.
Track 3. I Pity The Country by Willie Dunn.
Back down to Earth with a bump next. After last weeks events, this was the first track I reached for. A tune from 1978 which is about the plight of the native American. Unfortunately, it resonates all too well almost forty years on.
Track 4. Molly by Palehound.
We featured Belly last week and in doing so, I lamented the passing of true alternative culture and sound. Well, 21 year old Bostonian Ellen Kempner is keeping that flame truly alive. This single release from last year has a bass that invites you in before his mate the guitar jumps out from behind the door, coshes your nut and pinches your wallet. Lots to love on this, her LP ‘Dry Food’ is also well worth your time.
Track 5. Meet Me In The City by Junior Kimbrough.
A bit of a change of pace next with some Mississippi blues. Kimbrough was rediscovered in the early nineties when he featured on a blues documentary narrated by Robert Palmer. Palmer consequently produced an LP for him which garnered huge critical success. This particular track is featured on that album but I’ve gone for a rough demo from the seventies which I feel captures the whole essence of the song.
Track 6. As If Apart by Chris Cohen.
Cohen has been around for a while now, contributing to various bands including Deerhoof, Ariel Pink and Danielsen. This is the title track from his second solo LP released a few weeks ago and it’s quite lovely. Check the video below. Nowt much happens but it’s quite hypnotising.
Track 7. Are You Ready (Do The Bus Stop) by Fatback Band.
This band released the first commercially available rap single in 1979, pipping The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rappers Delight’ to the post by just one week. This, however is from their mid-seventies disco funk period.
Track 8. Tche Belew by Hailu Mergia And The Walias.
Ethiopian Jazz funk next. The Walias left their native land for the U.S. in the early eighties, Mergia taking a job as a taxi driver in Washington D.C. where he would practice in his cab while awaiting fairs. This is the title track from their 1978 album and that’s Hailu you can hear giving it some on the organ.
Track 9. Traces by Bettye Swann.
Our cover star this week was born plain old Betty Champion, which is still a pretty cool name if you ask me. One of fourteen children, she struck out for fame in the early sixties and scored a big hit with ‘Make Me Yours’ in 1967. The track we’ve selected is from two years later and is taken from her capitol release ‘Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me’. A supreme slab of relaxed southern soul, the playing is faultless from Bettye’s always silken vocal to slinky horns, piano that carries the whole thing along to some cracking wailing guitar. Absolutely top notch stuff that should be better known than it is.
Track 10. So You Say You Lost Your Baby by Gene Clark.
I’ll be honest, when I first heard this song on Death In Vegas’ superb 2002 LP ‘Scorpio Rising’, I was unaware it was a song from 1967 penned by Byrds founder member Clark. Paul Weller makes a decent fist of a pretty faithful cover to be fair, but Clark’s original has that country feel that was missing from the re-imagining.
Track 11. Mamata (Affection) by Ananda Shankar.
There’s a light bossa feel to this instrumental from the nephew of the great Ravi Shankar. He’s no less skilled than his uncle at the sitar, and this track taken from his self titled LP from 1970, has an east meets west feel. Indeed, he was quick to embrace western music, the album also features two excellent covers of The Stones’ ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ and The Doors’ ‘Light My Fire’. Unfortunately, for the first time this week, we’ve drawn a blank when it come’s to sourcing a video. Rats, we were doing so well too..
Track 12. Chwyldro by Gwenno.
Gwenno is a new discovery for me. I noticed she is playing at Deershed festival which I’m attending later this month and gave her a spin. What a pleasant surprise, this single from last year has a cool electropop vibe. Further digging reveals she was formerly a member of all girl group The Pipettes who released one of the best pop singles of the noughties ten years or so back, the magnificent ‘Pull Shapes’. Expect that beauty to make an appearance on a future edition of NL.
Track 13. I’m Sorry I Met You by Barbara Lynn.
Barbara was an unusual prospect in the early sixties, a black female with a left handed strat was an unusual sight at the time, nevertheless she won over all who saw her perform with her mastery of her instrument. Touring with such names as Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, BB King, Supremes, Chuck Berry, Guitar Slim, and The Temptations, she gathered a whole legion of fans. This 1963 single doesn’t really showcase her skills enough, but it’s still a warm R&B heartbreaker. For a better idea of her prowess with the guitar, check out her 1968 LP ‘Here is Barbara Lynn’.
Track 14. I Want To Feel Good Pt.2 by The Bad Plus.
Minneapolis Jazz trio The Bad Plus have been making records since 2000, releasing 11 LP’s of original compositions mixed with re worked covers by artists as diverse as (big breath) Nirvana, Aphex Twin, Blondie, Pink Floyd, Ornette Coleman, Pixies, Rush, Tears for Fears, Neil Young, David Bowie, Yes, Interpol, Radiohead, Queen and Black Sabbath. This is one of their own and was composed by their drummer, David King.
Track 15. Stolen Moments by Oliver Nelson.
This was one of the very first pieces of Jazz I fell in love with. I was in my late teens when I picked up a nondescript Jazz compilation from the local WH Smith. This was the first track featured and I instantly fell for its effortlessly cool sound. Its still a go to tune today and ideal for unwinding after a hard day.
Track 16. Inside Out by The Sudden Death Of Stars.
French psychedelic revivalists the Sudden Death of Stars formed in the town of Rennes in 2009, the five members of the group preferring to go by the numbers 83, 84, 85, 86, and 87 rather than their given names. This release from a couple of years back was released through Cornershop’s record label Ample Play and is a jaunty, keyboard led romp.
Track 17. Bunny by Charles Wilp.
Speaking of romps, this 1965 release from German ‘artonaut’ Wilp is the epitome of the word. Lounge music that you can very well imagine in the background of a strip joint scene from a gritty sixties cop movie.
Track 18. Pacific 202 by Williams Fairey Brass Band.
808 state classic rendered in Brass, what’s not to love? This comes from the 1997 LP ‘Acid Brass’ which fused acid house with a traditional brass band. It’s absolutely wonderful, the inherent warmth of the brass brings out the euphoria we all felt on the dancefloor, and without a disco biscuit in sight! Unfortunately there’s some rights issues with yootoob so the only version I can find is from James Lavelle’s Meltdown in 2014, complete with feedback and annoying crowd noise.
Track 19. I’ll Be The Night by MONEY.
Another new discovery I’m looking forward to catching at Deershed, MONEY are a Mancunian band very much in the vein of Villagers. Romantic, heartfelt indie rock with some gorgeous string backing.
Track 20. I’ve Been Loving You Too Long by Delia Gartrell.
Superb version of one of Otis’ best. This Atlanta soul single is another example of a lost gem. Gartrell’s voice is roughly just under the guitar and piano in the mix, but her punchy vocal fights the instruments with gusto. A classy way to wrap up this weeks proceedings. No vid. Cuh.
That’s it for another week. Join us again in seven days for twenty more top picks that might just make you forget we’re all going to hell in a handcart.
Until then, sign on, you crazy diamond.
Stop press…brand new facebook group, invite your friends! (Only nice ones mind.).