Hullo. Once again, an NL with a massive readership is followed by mediocre viewing figures the next week. Funny old business this blogging carry on. We’ll keep plugging away though. As I’ve said many times before, if just one person reads the blog or listens to one track from the playlist, then it’s job done. I’ve got nothing better to do anyway, so I’ll keep on trucking even if it means playing to an empty room!
Nobody’s Listening numbero forty four-o is the usual aural delight. My very good friend, bandmate and Jamaican dancehall aficionado Paul D’Cruz is here of course with his Pick Of The Week. This time around he’s gone for a band who I forget exist from time to time, but it’s always a delight when I reacquaint myself with their work.
Alright then, here we go round the mulberry bush..
Track 1. Getaway Tonight by Opossom.
For the second week running, we kick off with a Kiwi band. Kody Nielsen is the brother of Unknown Mortal Orchestra frontman Ruban and his brand of dreamy pop isn’t a million miles away from his sibling’s band. This is from the 2012 debut LP ‘Electric Hawaii’. It’s great fun with a frantic tempo and a chorus that sets up camp in your brain then refuses to budge for days.
Track 2. Nothing Can Stop Us by Saint Etienne.
This was the third single from Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs’ retro dance band and the first to feature guest vocalist Sarah Cracknell who went on to become the third member of this weeks cover stars soon after. Built around a looped sample from Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face’, this is a sunheeine indie-pop classic that is an unbelievable 26 years old. I met Bob Stanley at a book signing once, he was a thoroughly decent bloke, smiling politely as I recounted my love for ABBA and his brilliant tome ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’, probably the best book about popular music I’ve ever read. Get it.
Track 3. M&M’s by Black Heat.
Taken from their second Atlantic LP, 1974’s ‘No Time To Burn’, this is a proper funk workout which after an almost free-jazz breakdown at around the four minute mark before it locks back into a solid groove. It’s an ideal backing for chucking those final few sausages of the summer on the grill while dancing around your garden one last time.
Track 4. There Is No There by The Books.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Masters of collage, The Books released four albums in their 13 year career from 1999-2012. Paul has gone for a track from the second of those four, 2003’s ‘The Lemon Of Pink’ and it’s a typically spliced up mix of folk instruments, electronic bleeps and beats and sampled speech. This duo are true originals, and are more than worthy of your investigation. May I suggest you begin with their swansong, 2012’s ‘The Way Out’ and work whichever way the wind takes you from there. Treasures await.
Track 5. Yahan Nahin Kahoongi by Charanjit Singh.
We featured a track from Singh’s seminal proto acid house LP ‘Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat’ a while back now and since then I have gone back and sampled some of the hundreds of film soundtracks he recorded during his long career. This one begins with a twangy Beatles-esque guitar before a primitive Joe Meek-y synth takes over. I can gather no info as to which film it’s from or when it was recorded, but I’ll hazard a guess at a mid seventies Bollywood cowboy epic. No video, unsurprisingly.
Track 6 For One Night Only by King Creosote.
I wouldn’t say I vociferously praise Kenny Anderson’s work. He’s released over forty albums and there always seems to be a fair amount of filler in his vast catalogue, but every now and then he stops me in my tracks with a release that makes you realise he’s one of those artists that just has to get the music out. This track was part of his soundtrack to the archive documentary ‘From Scotland With Love’, released in 2014. It’s a swooping fast paced affair recounting the rare occasions his forefathers would enjoy a big night out, an infrequent occurrence in those austere days. Backed by some stunning images, he captures the moment perfectly.
Track 7. Days by Cool Ghouls.
This quartet from San Francisco released their third LP last month from which this is the lead track. As I write, I’m presently in an air conditioned hotel room on the hottest September day for fifty years, trapped in a nightshift induced zombie like state. This song with its piano and acoustic stylings is making perfect sense right now.
Track 8. Samba De Uma Nota Só by João Gilberto.
I’ve recently been attempting (and failing spectacularly) to learn bossa guitar. I’m convinced Brazilians are all born with an extra digit that enables them to negotiate a fret-board with ease, picking off jazz chords as if they were part of their genetic make up. Don’t be fooled by the lyric, this is not ‘Just a little samba / Built upon a single note’. It’s a one way ticket to frustration and possible arthritis. Beautiful stuff from one of the fathers of B.N but.
Track 9. Viva Tirado by El Chicano.
This instrumental is from the 1970 debut LP of the same name. A jazz-soul cover of Gerald Wilson’s original song about a bullfighter. Odious subject matter yes, but these Mexican Californians captured pure sunshine on this track. It’s almost stirring me to venture outside and enjoy this late summer heatwave. But I’m in Slough, so I won’t.
Track 10. Apple Tree by Hintermass.
Unlike our previous three summer infused tracks, our next selection has a distinct Autumnal feel to it. Taken from the bands debut LP released earlier this year, Hintermass is the current project of our old friends Ghost Box recording artists Jon Brooks (The Advisory Circle) and Tim Felton (formerly of Broadcast and Seeland). More pop based than their previous work, this still has a haunting melancholia to it more in line with their usual offerings.
Track 11. Mama Didn’t Lie by Jan Bradley.
This next track was penned by the late, great Curtis Mayfield who discovered Ms Bradley in the mid sixties. After a dispute with Chess records, their partnership was dissolved and Curtis moved on up (ahem) to greater things while Jan released a few more singles before retiring to raise a family in the early seventies.
Track 12. Keep Your Mind Open by Kaleidoscope.
Californian psych-folk troupe Kaleidoscope released four albums at the arse end of the sixties, this track is cribbed from the debut, 1967’s ‘Side Trips’. With their Middle Eastern flavours, Kaleidoscope were one of the progenitors of World Music and also influenced Led Zeppelin, guitarist David Lindley often taking a bow to his plank a few years before Jimmy Page did the same.
Track 13. A Momentary Taste Of Being by James Blackshaw.
As a, by my own admission, quite poor guitarist, I’m quite conscious of my breathing when recording anything. This doesn’t seem to bother Blackshaw who’s nasal inhales and exhales are quite prominent on this beautiful piece. I can only surmise they were left in post production to add an air of authenticity. Don’t focus on that though, just admire his mastery of the instrument which has earned comparisons to such greats as Bert Jansch, Robbie Basho, John Fahey, Jack Rose, and Leo Kottke. James announced that his show at Hastings last month would be his last, taking an indefinite hiatus. Shame, as I’ve only just bloody discovered him.
Track 14. Gangster Boogie by Chicago Gangsters.
This band of four brothers originally hailed from Ohio but after signing to Chicago label Gold Plate, they incorporated their adopted city’s name into the band. This 1975 track became a massively popular sample item for hip-hoppers and breakbeat aficionados, most prominently appearing on L.L. Cool J’s hit ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’.
Track 15. Di Enw by Sidan.
We remain in 1975 for our next track and stay relatively funky, however, we travel a few thousand miles east of Chicago to the valleys and this all female Welsh five piece. Featured on the excellently titled Finders Keepers compilation from about ten years back, ‘Welsh Rare-Beat’.
Track 16. Ku Mi Da Hankan by The Elcados.
It’s been a while since we featured something from the excellent Soundway compilations so here’s some premium afro-psych from Nigeria. There’s precious little information regarding The Elcados on the interweb. What I can tell you is the lead singer and guitarist is called Frank and he rules this early seventies curio.
Track 17. Stone Folk by The Advancement.
This next piece comes from the sole 1969 LP release of Californian band The Advancement. Formed by Bassist Louis Kabok and drummer Hal Gordon, they fused elements of jazz, psychedelia and hard rock and came up with some impressive proto-prog.
Track 18. Gloomy Sunday by Ricky Nelson.
This notorious song was composed by Hungarian pianist and composer Rezső Seress and published in 1933. Covered by countless artists, it’s most famous rendition is probably Billie Holiday’s take which was banned by the BBC until 2002. The reason behind its notoriety is the urban legend attached to it’s reputation as a ‘Suicide song’, thought to have been the last song listened to by a number of souls who had taken their own life. These reports were studied and found to be completely unsubstantiated. Still, it’s a strange choice for the then eighteen year old teen idol to tackle, although there was a fad for teenage tragedy songs at the time, cf ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ et al. There is a sad and relevant coda, the songs composer Seress took his own life in 1968.
Track 19. In The Rounds by Night Moves.
When this band surfaced in 2012,comparisons were made to The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev. This does them a disservice, as excellent as those bands are, Night Moves have a sound of their own. This from that years LP release, ‘Coloured Emotions’ has a beauty all of its own. Lead singer and guitarist John Pelant has an aching falsetto that transcends their ‘Freak Folk'(lazy label, Pitchfork) tag.
Track 20. My Adorable One by James & Bobby Purify.
Soul slowie closer time and a previously unreleased gem from Cousins James and Bobby Purify. This particular choice was initially going to be their big hit ‘I’m Your Puppet’ but after taking the time to listen to some of their lesser known tracks, I stumbled across this hidden gem and had to share it. You’re very welcome.
There you go, twenty tracks to move you, lose you and groove you. Join us again next week for issue number 45 but in the mean time, please join in the fun at our dedicated facebook page Here where you can share your own top pop (or whatever genre) picks. See you next time.
Until then, wear your love like heaven.