Hullo. Last weeks bloglist turned out to be the most popular so far with our biggest ever number of views and shares. Not sure why that was, although as I said last week it was one of my favourites, maybe we share the same tastes..It’s a possibility that the nights drawing in has prompted people to cabin up and seek non-weather dependent activities. Who knows? You’re an unpredictable lot, but I love you and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you for taking the time out to listen, read, like and share. Massive Ta’s all round.
On to business then. Once more this weeks picks are a cornucopia of eclectic choices, with a bit of an easy going theme. There’s some unexpected turns to shake you out of your comfort zone though, be warned!
And of course, Paulo returns once more with his pick of the week. My very good friend, bandmate and owner of the original Posh Paws from Multicoloured Swap Shop makes his debut as the selector of our traditional ‘Soul Slowie Closer’, and it’s a stone cold classic.
Well then, c’mon everybody!
Track 1. Anything Could Happen by The Clean.
We begin in New Zealand and one of the acts who pioneered ‘The Dunedin Sound’, a style which sprang forth in the university city of Dunedin in the early eighties. Jangly guitars, stripped back bass and drums and a focus on sixties songwriting were the order of the day and a whole host of bands adopted this blueprint. Pavement cited the movement as a major influence and you don’t have to listen too carefully to hear their early work in this 1982 EP track from one of the biggest names on the scene.
Track 2. Real Bad Lookin’ by Alex Cameron.
Just a small leap over the Tasman sea for our next selection this week, Sydney born Alex Cameron. This comes from his 2015 debut defeatedly titled ‘Jumping The Shark’ in which Cameron adopts the personae of a synthpop backed cabaret singer. It’s really a lot better than it sounds. While there’s some smiles to be had, particularly in the lyric, there’s also a melancholic sadness infused in his music. Check out the live performance below.
Track 3. Oh By The Way by Minnie Riperton.
Cover star time with a track from Ms Riperton’s 1970 debut LP ‘Come To My Garden’. The album was Minnie’s calling card after her work with late sixties experimental funk-soul outfit Rotary Connection. With lush production and orchestration courtesy of Charles Stepney, the songwriting partner of her soon to be husband Richard Rudolph, the LP is a soft soul masterpiece and was the perfect platform for her multi octave range.
Track 4. Lady Sunshine by Tamam Shud.
We’re back in the Antipodes for our next cut and Australian psychedelic rock outfit Tamam Shud. This track comes from their 1969 debut LP ‘Evolution’ and features some stellar lead guitar from Alex ‘Zac’ Zytnik who would soon leave the band to be replaced by the no less talented 15 year old prodigy Tim Zane. The band recently reformed and released their fourth album earlier this year.
Track 5. If I Had My Way by Boscoe.
Jazz funk from Chicago with a conscience, this act only managed to cut one self titled LP in 1973. Refusing to compromise their sound for the majors, they self released their debut to an indifferent world. Fortunately, in these ‘enlightened’ times we can unearth these forgotten treasures and give them back the voice they were denied in an over saturated era.
Track 6. The Nightmare Of J.B. Stanislas by Nick Garrie.
Ripon born Nick Garrie is renowned in psychedelic collectors’ circles for his 1970 debut, The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, a Baroque pop masterpiece effectively buried by nonexistent distribution and promotion which forced Garrie to give up on the music business. The LP eventually gained its rightful praise in the mid 2000’s when it was reissued as a CD and attracted a host of contemporary artists with its epic vision. Nick finally performed the work in its entirety complete with string section at the Primavera festival in Spain in 2012 to a rapturuos reception. I do love a happy ending.
Track 7. Easy Evil by Tony Orlando, The Dawn.
Yes, ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon’ Tony Orlando and The Dawn. Wait though! This is a joy, with more than a nod to ‘Spooky’ Joyce Vincent gives a classy lead vocal performance that should banish any visions of the absent Orlando poncing about in a flared suit and ‘tache.
Track 8. Star Control by Dollar.
Keen followers of Nobody’s Listening will note that this is the second appearance from early eighties chart botherers and latter day reality show whores David And Theresa. Don’t run away! You trusted me with Tony Orlando above so why not take a punt on this vocoder led slice of interstellar nuttiness from their 1979 LP ‘Shooting Star’. Honestly, if this was released by an artist of a venerated stature it would be deemed a classic. I was tempted to bill it as the work of some mid seventies German electro pioneer with the name of Hans Vooorsbrucht or something, just to see if it gained the kudos it deserves.
Track 9. Southern Nights by Allen Toussaint.
To my knowledge, this is the first time that a song has made a second appearance on NL. It’s first bow was earlier this year when we featured Glen Campbells 1977 chart topping version of Toussaints signature tune. It’s only right that this original version should have an outing too, and with its almost oriental stylings, it’s different enough from the rhinestone cowboy’s take to warrant inclusion this week.
Track 10. Far Away Blue by David McCallum.
A sixties instrumental segue next, beginning with the erstwhile Man from U.N.C.L.E and a track from one of four albums he made for Capitol during that decade. McCallum is a classically trained musician and along with arranger David Axelrod he capitalised on his acting success with LP’s featuring interpretations of hits of the day. This, however, is an original composition and has some neat touches and wonderful, warm brass that has more than air of Brian Wilsons Pet Sounds arrangements. No vid..
Track 11. Bella Dalena by The Marketts.
An instrumental band from Hollywood, The Marketts were essentially Michael Z. Gordon and assembled session Musicians including legendary sticks-man Hal Blaine. They had a string of surf instrumental hits but still took the time to produce romantic smoochy numbers such as this, the b-side to their 1963 million selling smash ‘Out Of Limits’.
Track 12. Angel Woman by Andrew Gold.
A few weeks back, I mentioned my fondness for late seventies singer songwriters and their soft, nonthreatening craft. I’ve since found out that this genre has recently been labelled ‘Yacht Rock’, a description that sits a bit uneasy with me, as did the ‘Guilty Pleasures’ tag that surfaced in the nineties. These are just well made,well produced love songs that are very much of their time but timeless all the same. Here’s the much missed Andrew Gold with a short cut from his sophomore LP ‘What’s Wrong with This Picture?’ released in 1976.
Track 13. Queen Of Hearts by Fucked up.
Ok, ready for some noise? It’s good, melodic noise!. Canadian hardcore band Fucked Up took the unusual step of releasing a rock opera in 2011, the marvellous ‘David Comes To Life’, an 18 song epic in four acts. This was the first release from said double album and was accompanied by the video below which features a children choir singing the song, with the boys singing Damien Abraham’s part while the girls sing guest vocalist Madeline Follin’s part. Incendiary stuff. If it doesn’t prompt you to seek out and listen to the full opus then that loss is entirely yours.
Track 14. Let’s Do It Again by The Parrots.
Heavenly recordings have always had an excellent ear for talent and their latest signing is no exception. Madrid three piece The Parrots have an infectious quality to their sixties garage influenced rock and this, their new single, gives you that nagging feeling that You’ve heard it somewhere before. Always a good sign in my book. Judge for yourselves below…
Track 15. Strangers by Lotus Plaza.
Lotus Plaza is the solo project of Deerhunter guitarist Lockett Pundt and this was the lead single from his second LP under that name released in 2012. A slack, lead vocal is complimented by the ringing guitar style he employs to great effect with his main band, all propped up by a military drum backing played on a child’s kit bought from a thrift store.
Track 16. Why (Am I Treated So Bad?) by The Sweet Inspirations.
This civil rights song originally recorded by The Staples Singers has been covered by many artists, James Brown and Cannonball Adderley to name but two. This version from girl group the sweet inspirations turns it around into a wronged woman’s lament. That’s Cissy Houston (Whitney’s ma) you can hear knocking out the wonderful soprano part.
Track 17. Little Mohee by John Jacob Niles.
A collector and transcriber of traditional Appalachian folk music, Niles was influential to the American folk revival scene of the fifties and sixties. This recording from 1953 features Niles’ trademark very high falsetto backed by his favoured instrument, the dulcimer.
Track 18. Give ‘Em Love by The Soul Children.
This Stax boy/girl band were put together by Isaac Hayes and David Porter to replace Sam And Dave who the label had recently lost to Atlantic Records. This 1968 single was the first fruits and is a punchy, brassy soul number which probably would have been recorded by S&D had their contract not expired. A few follow up singles gained moderate success and the group managed to release a further seven LP’s during the seventies before eventually winding up in 1979.
Track 19. Exodus by De La Soul.
The closing track from their ninth LP released just last week ‘And The Anonymous Nobody…’ Here we find our heroes in reflective mood. Beginning with an acoustic guitar noodling gently before ending with a short swell of strings and the payoff lines Saviors? Heroes? Nah/ Just common contributors/ Hoping that what we create/ Inspires you to selflessly challenge and contribute/ Sincerely, anonymously, nobody.’ Gorgeous stuff.
Track 20. Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by The Platters.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Here’s Paul to close this weeks proceedings with a soul slowie closer. Everyone should be familiar with this classic Jerome Kern cover released in 1958. If you’ve never experienced a chill run up your spine when Tony Williams’s voice slightly cracks at the two minute mark with that glorious ‘Oooh-Oh-oh-oh’ then I seriously doubt you are in possession of a functioning heart or soul.
Okaaaay then. That’s it for this weeks feast of fun. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you have, tell your friends and do the usual sharing ting on soshul meeja. If you haven’t, get stuffed. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page Here and get a daily dose of non-playlist tracks plus You can also post your own top pop picks in a friendly environment where anything goes. We’ve had some excellent shares lately and that’s what it’s all about, don’t be shy!
I’ll see you at the same time, same place next week for twenty more slices of old, new, borrowed and blue.
Until then, fight the power.