Hullo. October already eh? To paraphrase a song that made a recent NL appearance, Where Does The Time Go? We’re hurtling towards our first anniversary this month and I’ve got something special planned to celebrate the occasion. Stay tuned for further details.
But first, we’ve got the business of Nobody’s Listening issue no 46 to conduct. More humdingers for you this week including a brand new instrumental track from the chap in the picture there. His second visit to the playlist since appearing all the way back in NL No.1. A long overdue return I’m sure you’ll concur.
Naturally, Mr D’Cruz is with us once again with his pick of the week. My very good friend, bandmate and Author of the self help book, ‘You Can Do It, With Just a Strawberry Flavour Chewit’ has once again come up with the goods and a new act to my ears.
Ok, let’s get lost…
Track 1. Noude Ma Gnin Tche De Me by Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou.
We hit the ground running this week with some splendiferous Afrobeat. Formed in 1966, this band hail from the Republic of Benin and released their debut LP in 1973. After splitting in the early eighties, they reformed a couple of years back following renewed interest in their 500 song catalogue. Pure, good time dance music with a magnificent beat and frantic guitar.
Track 2. Post Scarcity Sing-a-Long by Ad Astra Per Aspera.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
This Kansas band have been a going concern since 2001 but have been completely absent from my radar in all that time. Thankfully Paul is around to casually adjust my antennae and nudge me towards new sounds. It appears they haven’t been overly productive in that time, releasing just two albums and an EP, so it shouldn’t take too much time to catch up. This particular track begins with jangly guitars and an out of tune keyboard that is reminiscent of very early Fall, but soon develops into a shouty, jaunty romp before collapsing in on itself again. Good stuff.
Track 3. Gotta Wanna by Gun Outfit.
I’m a sucker for male/female vocal interplay and this track from Gun Outfit’s fourth LP released last year has both Carrie Keith and Dylan Sharp taking turns like a latter day Johnny Cash and June Carter. The music itself also has a countrified feel to it, albeit wrapped in a 21’st century slacker blanket.
Track 4. And When I Die by Laura Nyro.
I mentioned Laura Nyro last week when we featured The Go! Team’s ‘Everyone’s A VIP To Someone’ which sampled her classic ‘Stoned Soul Picnic’, it seems only proper that we feature this often overlooked singer/songwriter in her own right. Written by Nyro when she was just sixteen years old, this song was sold to Peter, Paul And Mary for $5000 and was later a gold record for Blood, Sweat and Tears. Nyro’s version, featured on her debut 1967 LP ‘More Than A New Discovery’ is a thing of true beauty, backed by warm brass and ending with Lauras wonderful falsetto. She is one of those artists who remained relatively underappreciated in her lifetime but has achieved a highly revered status since her death in 1997.
Track 5. Ragged Rain Life by Duncan Browne.
This English singer songwriter was discovered by Andrew Loog Oldham in the late sixties and released five albums over a 25 year period before his untimely death in 1993. This comes from the second of those five, his 1973 self titled LP and begins in a folk style before transmogrifying into a prog-pop wig out. Due to commercial indifference, Browne mostly worked as a session musician in those 25 years but achieved some moderate success when his co-penned song ‘Criminal World’ was featured on Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ LP.
Track 6. Love Aint Nothin’ But A Business Goin’ On by Junior Parker.
I first became aware of Parker when I heard his version of The Beatles’ ‘Taxman’ about ten years ago in a soul club in Leeds. I hassled the DJ to find out who the voice was and he kindly obliged and pointed me in the direction of his 1971 LP of which this is the title track, it quickly became a firm favourite of mine. The record also features two other excellent Wackers covers in the shape of ‘Lady Madonna’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, Parker’s honeyed vocals making them his own.
Track 7. Nothing More To Say by The Frightnrs.
Brooklyn’s Daptone records is one of the finest independent labels there is. With a roster of acts including Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings and Menahan Street Band, they are at the cutting edge of modern funk and soul. The Frightnrs are their latest find and fit right in to the Daptone ethos of a new ‘old’ sound. Sadly, the LP from which this title track comes was released under a cloud as lead singer Dan Klein recently succumbed to a Neurological disease. A real tragedy as his voice and band are an absolute treasure, their sixties reggae sound could easily have come from Studio One. Rest easy Dan.
Track 8. Baby, Now That I’ve Found You by Ronnie Aldrich.
I was initially going to feature the superb version of this song by Alison Krauss but instead plumped for this instrumental take from British easy listening king Ronnie Aldrich. Whenever I hear these soft arrangements of pop songs it always takes me back to Saturday mornings at the Odeon cinema in my home town. Every week you would be sedated by its soft orchestral charms as you slurped on your kia ora and finished off your Maltesers long before the feature started. It’s much more than nostalgia though, music like this suffered the indignity and ridicule of the label ‘Muzak’ for years before a re-evaluation in the nineties. It’s now recognised for what it is, warm, crafted excellence.
Track 9. Slow And Steady Wins The Race by Tom Brosseau.
And so to this weeks cover star. As previously mentioned, Tom appeared on our debut playlist with his wonderful tale ‘Hard Luck Boy’ and he’s one of those artists I’d happily feature every week if I didn’t feel you’d accuse me of subliminally hawking his records, which you should all listen to by the way. He’s one of my favourite artists of recent years and I greet any new release with great excitement. This track is from his brand new record ‘North Dakota Impressions’ and, despite it being an instrumental, tells a story just as well as his lyrical efforts. No video as it’s brand spanking new, but you can hear it on the below link where you can also purchase his wares, look into my eyes, PURCHASE HIS WARES!
Track 10. Cost Of The Cold by Joan Shelley.
Further acoustic gorgeousness next with a brand new track from Louisville folk artist Joan Shelley. This is taken from her fourth LP which was released just last week and fits these Autumnal days perfectly. Imagine taking a Sunday stroll through a quiet wood, the strong low sun beaming through the trees as they cling on to their last remaining leaves. That’s how this calmly sung, elegant track feels. Sad, but beautiful.
Track 11. Black Water by Rain Tree Crow.
This next track was the only single from the sole album released in 1991 by Rain Tree Crow, a band made up of David Sylvian, Mick Karn, Steve Jansen and Richard Barbieri. So, Japan then. Picking up where they left off in 1982, the sound is a continuation from their early work, with Sylvians idiosyncratic voice centre stage. Choosing to change their name proved a commercial misstep as the album sold poorly despite widespread critical acclaim. The other members were keen to revert to their previous moniker, but once again, Sylvian and his refusal to compromise artistic integrity for fiscal success caused another split.
Track 12. Sod Off by The Very Most.
I may have mentioned before that I road test these playlists in the works van on my long trips up and down the M1 from Leeds to that London. Certain tracks jump out as perfect driving fayre, and this and the next selection both had my hands hot on the wheel. Hailing from Boise, Idaho, The Very Most are obvious anglophiles, I’m not entirely sure the songs title is common parlance in the American North West. This 2009 single also shows their British pop influences writ large as it is massively indebted to New Order with its synths and Hooky-lite bass line. It’s great fun and transformed a rainy motorway into somewhere much more pleasant.
Track 13. Memory Pools by Foxes In Fiction.
The hypnotic loops of this next track also provided an enjoyable backdrop to a sunsoaked drive home last week. The project of one Warren Hildebrand, Foxes In Fiction had a surprise internet hit with the 2010 LP ‘Swung from The Branches’ from which this dreamy piece of ambient pop is lifted.
Track 14. (Not) A Penny In My Pocket by Jimmy Campbell.
This demo of a song by Campbell’s sixties beat combo The Merseys is in my opinion a cut above the track which would eventually be released as a single. There’s a sadness in Campbells voice and a more relaxed delivery that is missing in the upbeat released version. It’s still a cracking pop single though, and as the demo is unavailable as a video, here’s The Merseys with the 1968 single take.
Track 15. Recovery by Fontella Bass.
This follow up single to the million selling ‘Rescue Me’ didn’t perform as well as its predecessor, managing only #37 on the hot 100. That’s not to say it’s in any way inferior, possibly a little too similar to Bass’s biggest hit to persuade the public to part with their hard earned dollar. But as Mike Love once said to Brian Wilson, ‘Don’t Fuck With The Formula’. Nice one Mike, if he’d listened to your balding stupid bearded face, we’d never have had Pet Sounds. Go and practice your TM bollocks you money hungry, flat cap wearing control freak. Anyway, Fontella Bass. That voice man!
Track 16. Ené Alantchi Alnorem (I Can’t Live Without You) by Girma Hadgu.
This next track comes from the Éthiopiques compilation series, a collection of Ethiopian music which to date runs to 29 volumes. Each disc collects Jazz and popular music from the sixties and seventies scene in Ethiopia and this particular piece is taken from volume four, which was also heavily cribbed from by Jim Jarmusch for his 2005 film ‘Broken Flowers’. He missed a trick by omittiting this beautiful, whimsical piece. It has an incredibly cinematic feel with its wind sound effect, gentle Rhodes piano and playful flute.
Track 17. Tiger by ABBA.
By now, I’m sure you’re all aware of my love for the greatest pop act of the 1970’s. I’m going to carry on including them at every opportunity, so get used to it! I mean, if you don’t share my love, then you can always skip it, but I don’t think we can remain friends, it’s not me, it’s you. This time around I’ve gone for an often overlooked gem from The Arrival album. Featuring another of those hookworm choruses that Benny and Bjorn used to knock off in their sleep and the girls in fine voice.
Track 18. Time by La Düsseldorf.
Ok, I hear you. You want strokey chin music from the seventies! Not this Swedish pop guff. Settle down, this is a broad church and we aim to cater for all tastes. Having said that, if you prefer to pigeonhole your music then this probably isn’t the playlist you’re looking for, move along, move along.. When seminal Krautrock band Neu! disbanded following the superb Neu! ’75 album, Klaus Dinger immediately set to work on his next project, releasing their self titled debut the following year. This is the closing track on the LP and is no massive leap from the Neu! template. Motorik beat, swathes of synths and guitar and a vocal which ranges from whisper to shout. Just under ten minutes of brilliance.
Track 19. My Darling Little Baby by Spike Milligan.
Next, we stop for a minute of tomfoolery from one of the greatest comedians to grace this green Earth. One of the things I loved about Spike is that you could always hear the smile in his voice. A rare quality.
Track 20. The Right To Love You by The Mighty Hannibal.
Our soul slowie closer this weeks comes from a former pimp and heroin addict who spent time in prison for tax avoidance and lost his eyesight in later life. But let’s not focus on negatives. Hannibal possessed one of those pleading, almost desperate soul voices that was firmly rooted in Gospel and Doo-Wop, strongly evident on this 1966 release.
And that, as they say, is your lot for this week. Number 47 is already compiled and let me tell you, it’s a real humdinger so be sure to join us again next week. Don’t forget you can join in the NL experience at our facebook page by clicking this linky Here for the daily dose, sneak previews of the playlist and of course, our wonderful members and their very own shares. Come on in, the water’s lovely.
I’ll see you in this very spot next week, don’t forget to bring your ears.
Until then, keep falling in and out of love.