Hullo. Well, Autumn has finally reared its golden and brown head and Summer is officially dead. Sure, it’s a pretty season, but probably the dullest if you ask me. Here at NL we’ll try and keep the sunshine smiles firmly planted on your collective mush with tracks to help you forget that the icy grip of Winter is a growing, horrible reality.
We’ve a lot to get through this week including possibly my favourite track of the decade hardly anyone referred to as ‘The Noughties’, and of Course, Paul D’Cruz is back with his Pick Of The Week. As I type, I haven’t yet listened to his selection this week, but I’m confident my very good friend, bandmate and manufacturer of premium quality yoghurt based drinks has lived up to his usual excellent standards.
Alrighty then. Countdown is progressing..
Track 1. Watch The Sunrise by Big Star.
I’m amazed it’s took forty five editions of NL for this band to make their debut. I could be wrong but I can’t be arsed to check through and see if they’ve been included before now. Anyway, here they are, probably the biggest cult band of all time with a track from their debut, 1972’s ‘#1 Record’. Leader, and cover star Alex Chilton, for that be him up the top there, first came to my attention through The Box Tops, the sixties band he fronted as a teenager. Their most famous song, ‘The Letter’ was the song I manhandled on Karaoke the night I wooed the current Mrs Orley way back in 1998. She has no recollection of this, but I did. Thanks to its inclusion on the Minions movie soundtrack, it is now a firm favourite of my 5 year old son and he often requests I play and sing it while he takes his bath. I happily oblige and he seems to like it, joining in on the chorus. I digress, this is lovely and if you’re one of the people who hasn’t yet investigated one of the best kept secrets of the seventies, I urge you to seek out their back catalogue forthwith.
Track 2. Pretty Please by The Triplett Twins.
Leon and Levi Triplett were twin brothers from the Chicago projects who were part of the Curtis Mayfield and Eddie Thomas label Curtom Records. This 1970 single is a delicious pop-soul confection that has a smashing Hammond bubbling underneath. If it doesn’t make you smile at least once in its two minute running time then may I suggest you consult a GP, there may be a serious underlying condition.
Track 3. Why Don’t You Put Your Trust In Me by The 4th Coming.
We stay soulful but move south for our next track from short lived L.A funk outfit The 4th Coming. This comes from a compilation released just last year and is an untapped goldmine of potential samples for those of that particular bent. Always get clearance though and don’t say I pointed you in the direction of this rare nugget. I could do without any lawsuits ta very much.
Track 4. Easy To Forget by Drugdealer, Ariel Pink.
We leave the seventies behind for our next, brand spanking new selection. Not too far behind mind. This has a lovely relaxed sunshine feel that wouldn’t be out of place on a forgotten Californian beach-band album from that very era. NL favourite Ariel Pink provides the singing and reigns in his usual trippy vocal for a pretty straightforward take. Drugdealer is the alias of Michael Collins who also records under the RUN DMT and Salvia Plath monikers, his new LP released this week also has guest turn from another NL alumni, Mac Demarco.
Track 5. A Little Bit Of Lovin’ by Laurice.
A true one-off, Laurice Marshall was a session singer at Abbey Road studios in the sixties before going on to invent punk with his 1973 band ‘Grudge’ and their classic ‘When Christine Comes Around/I’m Gonna Smash Your Face In’. He later emigrated to Canada from his native U.K., becoming a disco diva with a global following. Laurice is still going strong today, releasing records and remaining staunchly involved in Gay activism. This comes from last years compilation, ‘The Best Of Laurice Part 2.’ and has a cracking fuzz bass and guitar backing.
Track 6. Dead Prudence by The Sandwitches.
Grace Cooper, Heidi Alexander and Roxanne Young make up San Francisco three piece The Sandwitches. This track is not, as the youtube description states, a Beatles cover but an original slice of slowcore that featured on their LP release from last year ‘Our Toast’. Paced elegance that has a lazy, Mazzy Star quality to it
Track 7. Torre Bermeja by Andrés Segovia.
A touch of class next with the famous Spanish guitar virtuoso. This piece was composed for piano by Isaac Albéniz but has become an important work for classical guitar. Few interpretations can compare to the grandaddy of them all though and the video below illustrates perfectly his mastery of the instrument he played for eighty odd years.
Track 8. Star Revue by Warren Lee.
A complete change of pace next with an r’n’b stomper. This slab of New Orleans Southern soul courtesy of NL favourite, the legendary Allen Toussaint, name-checks Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Solomon Burk and Warren himself, ‘The Mighty King Lee’. Push back the furniture, roll up the rug and shake that bad ass.
Track 9. Things We Said Today by The London Jazz Four.
Beatles covers were by no means a rarity back in the day. One way to guarantee a moderately successful hit rekkid was to have a stab at a fab four song, put a slightly different spin on it and watch the money and plaudits roll in. In 1967 The London Jazz Four released a full LP of Lennon/McCartney numbers, all presented in their Modern Jazz quartet style and sold the sum total of sod all. To be fair, they’re quite imaginative takes with some of the tracks barely recognisable as Wackers’ songs, cf their trippy take on, in my opinion, the greatest b-side of all time, ‘Rain’. The track I’ve plumped for is their version of the Macca fronted ‘A Hard Days Night’ flip side. Check out that vibes break. Nice.
Track 10. I’m Trying by Harriet.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
As I said up the top there, I’m giving this next track its debut spin as I write. Immediate impressions suggest an uncanny likeness to one of my favourite acts of recent years, The Shins. The lead singer has a tone so similar to James Mercer that if I didn’t know otherwise, I would swear it was him. This is by no means a bad thing. Nice find gatito, nice find.
Track 11. Bros by Panda Bear.
And so to the track I alluded to in this weeks introduction. As part of Animal Collective, Noah Lennox aka Panda Bear always provided my favourite tracks on their albums, his voice being far more palatable than the gruff delivery of Avey Tare. When ‘Person Pitch’, his third solo LP dropped in 2007 I was smitten from the first listen. The first two tracks, ‘Comfy In Nautica’ and ‘Take Pills’ had already confirmed this was potentialy the album of the decade. By the time ‘Bros’ had run it’s 12 glorious minutes I was convinced that we had something very special indeed. Not a second is wasted, the samples used all combining to something greater than the sum of their parts. As I mentioned up the top there it remains, for me, the high point of his career and a track I never tire of no matter how many times I’ve heard it. If you’re experiencing it for the first time, I envy You. If not, take the time to listen to it again, nearly ten years after its release and marvel at its groundbreaking majesty. Many copyists followed, few matched, none bettered. This is solid gold.
Track 12. Todo Irá Mejor by Tapi.
How do you follow that? Well you can’t really can you? So here’s a 1977 single that I have no information on whatsoever. I found it through a spotify crate digging compilation and it has lots I like. I like the trumpet break around the 1m 50s mark. I like the string backing and the piano that thumps the song along. I like it all, so it’s in.
Track 13. Paper Ships by Wilsen.
Now I’m not entirely certain if we’ve featured this track before. It’s hard to not repeat oneself after 45 playlists and 900 tracks so I’m sure You’ll forgive me if I have. I definitely don’t recall writing about it so maybe not. Either way it’s quite, quite lovely and warrants another listen. That is, if you haven’t heard it before, or even if you have. Just bloody go with it. Taken from their 2014 mini LP ‘Sirens’ this is the project of one Tamsin Wilson, born in the UK, raised in Canada and currently resident of Brooklyn. Beautiful, dreamy folk with Honeyed vocals.
Track 14. Daughter by Pearl Jam.
I wasn’t entirely enamored by Pearl Jam after hearing their debut LP ‘Ten’. Something about the polished production and over earnest delivery of Eddie Vedder didn’t sit quite right with me. It wasn’t until I heard this track from their sophomore release ‘Vs’ that I began to sit up and take notice, with a more honest and raw sound, it made a bit more sense. The whole album is great incidentally, with tracks like ‘Dissident’, ‘Go’ and ‘Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town’ all standouts. I quickly forgot about them soon after when my head was turned by those homegrown lads with guitars, haircuts and sixties obsessions that swept away any American invaders in a Britpop tsunami. I’m sure they went on to produce music of equal greatness, if you’d like to point me in the direction of anything to match the quality of the tracks mentioned, my ears are always open.
Track 15. Indian Summer by Eugenius.
We stay in the early nineties and the grunge soaked influence of Seattle. In fact it’s a sort of reverse influence as Eugene Kelly and his former band The Vaselines were a touchstone for a host of acts from the North West of The U.S. Kurt Cobain himself was a massive fan and invited Kelly’s new band, ‘Captain America’ to support them on Nirvana’s UK tour in the winter of 1991. I was there and they were smashing. Marvel comics didn’t take too kindly to the band’s name however, and insisted Kelly cease and desist using their all American superhero’s handle forthwith. After a swift rethink, C.A. became Eugenius and released their debut LP ‘Oomalama’ from which this cover of lo-fi indie legends ‘Beat Happening’ comes.
Track 16. It’s All Right With Me by Erroll Garner.
Garner was a musician who had a true talent for the piano. Learning to play from ear at just three years old, he never learned to read music throughout his long career. This didn’t stop him becoming one of the most respected jazz pianists of the golden age and he went on to release dozens of albums including 1955’s live LP ‘Concert By The Sea’, from which this Cole Porter classic is lifted. Despite a slightly out of tune Joanna and poor recording equipment, the record is a classic and showcases Garner’s trio at the height of their powers.
Track 17. Everyone’s A VIP To Someone by The Go! Team.
‘Thunder Lightning Strike’ was a breath of fresh air when it arrived twelve years ago. The debut album from the Brighton collective was a sample heavy joy and one of those records which seemed to capture the essence of Summer perfectly. This instrumental built around Fred Neil’s ‘Midnight Cowboy’ and Laura Nyro’s ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’ also benefits from the absence of their vocalist MC Ninja whose chanting became a tad tiresome all too quickly.
Track 18. Who’s Making Love by Lou Donaldson.
This is the lead track from saxophonist Donaldson’s 1969 Blue Note release ‘Hot Dog’. The main man himself doesn’t make an appearance until half way through the track, giving each of his band a chance to shine, in particular Charles Earland who provides some stellar Hammond rolls. Easy, funky souly goodness right here, fill your boots and shake your stuff.
Track 19. Forever by Mercy.
The follow-up single to their 1969 smash ‘Love Can Make You Happy’, this had been a hit for The Little Dippers nine years previously. Mercy were a band made up mainly of session vocalists from Florida and had little success after this went gold but this is an easy listening gem which is far too easy to dismiss as candyfloss guff when compared to the early heavy rock releases which were favoured at the time. It’s a pure treat for the ears with its gentle arrangement and soaring female vocal. The band are still touring today with band leader Jack Sigler Jr the only original member.
Track 20. Baby Baby All The Time by The Superbs.
We travel back to 1964 for our soul slowie closer this week and a vocal harmony group who hailed from Los Angeles. Fronted on this occasion by their female soprano Eleanor ‘Punkin’ Green who gives a superb performance, particularly on the recorded version included on the playlist. I’ve posted their appearance on American Band Stand below for historical interest, but listen to the spoken opening line on the single version, ‘There Are Eight Million Stories In The Big City, This Is Mine’ it sets up this doo-wop heartbreaker perfectly.
Blimey, I went on a bit there didn’t I? Hope you managed to make it to the end. Of course, the playlist rumbles on next week with Issue #46 and twenty more selections which will hopefully inform, educate and entertain.
If you haven’t already, please join the official playlist facebook page Here! where our members have been sharing some absolute beauties as of late. Join in and share yours too. We don’t bite.
I’ll see you next week, same time and place.
Until then, take good care of it babe.