Hullo. Another slow week last week. Maybe you were all out making the most of the bonfire festivities, maybe you’ve just grown tiresome of having twenty quality choons gratis every Friday. Who knows? All I know is that given this weeks events, we need to lose ourselves for an hour or so. What better way to do it than with another crop of genre crossing selections to warm your cockles and shed some light as the thermometer drops, the nights draw in and we slide into inevitable Armageddon.
Paulo has been a good lad lately, submitting his pick of the week in advance so I don’t have to send the boys round with a gentle reminder. This week my very good friend, bandmate and the original milky bar kid has gone for an act who’s no stranger to the playlist. Hope You’ve brought your boogie shoes…
Rightio, here we go, go, go to the temple of consumption…
Track 1. All Things Come to Pass by The Babies.
We begin with a band formed by Kevin Morby of Woods and Cassie Ramone of the Vivian Girls. Whilst the two bands are great acts in their own right, the two members formed The Babies as a stress busting exercise which enabled them to concentrate on simple songwriting away from the pressures of their main concerns. The fruits of this exercise are evident here on their debut release from 2010, a freewheeling lo-fi effort with bags of charm.
Track 2. Reconsider Me by Margaret Lewis.
Next up, we go country with minor Rockabilly/Country star Margaret Lewis and her version of a song she co-wrote with Mira Smith. The most well known cut of this track reached No.28 on the Billboard Hot 100 for Johnny Adams in 1969 and was a soulified interpretation. Here, Lewis gives us her original Texas vision.
Track 3. The Day The Rain Came Down by Felt.
This is the second track on Felt’s fourth album which was produced by The Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie. Lawrence has been on the peripherals of pop since 1979 and has been unfortunate to not match his critical acclaim with financial reward. On he plugs though with his third band ‘Go-Kart Mozart’, surely a contender for best band name ever?
Track 4. Fallait pas écraser la queue du chat by Clothilde.
It’s been a while since we had some Yé-yé on the playlist so let’s put that right with a 1967 single release from the erstwhile Elizabeth Beauvais. She released just two records in her short career as a pop singer, the one we feature here has an English title of ‘Don’t Tread On The Cat’s Tail’. Sound advice.
Track 5. More Than Enough by Universal Togetherness Band.
This curio is the work of one Andre Gibson, a Columbia College student who spotted an engineering department flyer for an audio production class looking for bands to record in their studios. He jumped at the chance and he and his band managed to record free of charge for the best part of four years from 1979-1983, producing some superior late period disco-funk which has been recently rediscovered by the excellent archivists at the Numero Group.
Track 6. Konadu by Super Djata Band De Bamako.
Following on from last weeks appearance of Malian band L’Orchestre Kanaga De Mopti, we have another mystical piece of world music from the early eighties. Led by the late great Zani Diabaté, Super Djata Band De Bamako stands proud as one of West Africa’s fiercest orchestras.
Track 7. Sugar In Your Tea by Harumi.
I’m quite sure we’ve featured a track from this overlooked psych-pop gem in a previous edition of NL as it’s one of my favourite oddities that’s been unearthed in the past few years. If I haven’t, then let me introduce you to Harumi, a Japanese Ex-pat who recorded a self titled LP in 1968 for Verve. Working with Dylan producer Tom Wilson he crafted an album of phasey pop that has all the tropes of the classic psych LP’s of the time, but retains an original outlook.
Track 8. Sanningens Silverflod by Träd Gräs och Stenar.
We stay in the late sixties and a period of experimentation for some early Swedish prog from, to use the English translation of their name, ‘Trees, Grass and Stones’. This is the opener to their 1970 self titled debut and is a stone gas.
Track 9. Shake by The Shadows Of Knight.
Sixties garage from Chicago next with a band who originally christened themselves The Shadows before they learned of Mr Marvin and his cohorts. After success with a cover of the Them classic ‘Gloria’, the band went their separate ways leaving lead vocalist Jim Sohns to recruit new members. This he did and scored a minor chart success with this track released in 1969. The original surviving members played together for the first time in 49 years at a concert in August this year.
Track 10. Time And Tide by Basia.
I was a big fan of this Polish chanteuse back in the late eighties. The debut solo album from which this track shares it’s title and the follow up LP ‘London, Warsaw, New York’ were never far from my turntable. It also helped that I had a massive teenage crush on Ms.Trzetrzelewska stretching back to her days with Matt Bianco. Basia acheived her greatest success in the U.S, where both albums sold well over a million before semi retiring in 1998. Listening back to them now there’s some cloying eighties production to her latin tinged songs but her three octave voice still has the power to stop you in your tracks.
Track 11. I Don’t Mind by Psychic Ills.
This track from experimental Brooklyn duo Psychic Ills was released earlier this year as a precursor to their latest LP ‘Inner Journey Out’. Pedal steel and acoustic loveliness elevated by the always welcome tones of guest vocalist Hope Sandoval.
Track 12. You Bet Your Love by Herbie Hancock.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Right. Got those aforementioned Boogie shoes ready? This week, Paul has plumped for a slab of late disco vocoder funkiness from legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock. This comes from his twenty seventh (!) LP released in 1979, ‘Feets, Don’t Fail Me Now.’ and is a four to the floor workout which probably had the dancefloor at Studio 54 ablaze. Why not recreate those heady times by imbibing some Colombian marching powder, pushing back the furniture and asking the kids to turn the ‘big light’ on and off?
Track 13. Saving My Tears For Tomorrow by Faron Young.
Another clunking gear change as we turn the clock back 64 years to 1952 and an early single from ‘The Hillbilly Heartthrob’. I first became aware of Faron Young through the Prefab Sprout track featured on their ‘Steve McQueen’ LP. Intrigued by the titular character, I found a greatest hits LP and quickly fell for his honky-tonk stylings. Rarely mentioned these days, for me he’s up there with Hank Williams as one of the finest Country singers to grace this green Earth.
Track 14. Don’t Play That Song by Aretha Franklin.
From one of the greatest country singers to probably the finest soul voice ever. In fact, probably the greatest voice of any genre. Just listen to her effortless take on this song first performed by Ben E King in 1962 and penned by Ahmet Ertegün and Betty Nelson, she wrings emotion from every single word.
Track 15. Crop Dustin’ by Steve Cropper.
Our cover star this week is Memphis guitar legend Steve Cropper. Perhaps best known as one third of Booker T’s MG’s, he has been responsible for some of the best known tracks to come out of that famous label, Stax. Along with influential work with house band, Booker T & The MG’s, Cropper co-wrote ‘Knock on Wood’ with Eddie Floyd, ‘In the Midnight Hour’ with Wilson Pickett and ‘(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay’ with Otis Redding, and that’s just for starters. Here’s the first track from his first solo LP, 1969’s ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’.
Track 16. ‘Til I met Thee by Cody Chesnutt.
Rounding off a triptych of soul infused goodness we have Atlanta born, neo-soul singer and guitarist Cody Chesnutt. This is the first track from his 2012 LP ‘Landing On A Hundred’ and below is an (almost) acoustic version that is absolutely wonderful. If you only have the time to watch one video this week, make it this one.
Track 17. I’m The Unknown by Cavern Of Anti Matter.
A second NL appearance for this Berlin-based trio composed of Stereolab’s Tim Gane, Joe Dilworth (Th’ Faith Healers/Stereolab), and Holger Zapf. This is the title track from an EP released just last month and expands on the quirky synth drenched themes of their debut LP ‘Void Beats/Invocation Trex’.
Track 18. Keep It Heavy by Creme Soda.
Late period psych from Milwaukee is the order of the day here. Creme Soda released just the one LP in 1975,’Tricky Zingers’ which is a fuzzy beast that missed the boat by a good few years but is still a worthy addition to the movement. This particular track is bang in the middle of the album and is a melodic, folk rock portion of floaty goodness.
Track 19. Face Like A Lemon by Ben Bryden.
Scottish born, New York based Jazz saxophonist Bryden released a collection of instrumental covers of the late, great Ivor Cutler earlier this year. Exploring the inherent jazz that permeates all of Cutlers music, he managed to bring to the fore the experimental nature of the Scottish bards work. This is the album opener ‘Face Like A Lemon’ which featured on Ivor’s 1974 LP ‘Dandruff’. No vid I’m afraid..
Track 20. Heart by Jimmy Ruffin.
Our Soul slowie closer this week is the b-side to Jimmy’s first ever single release, 1961’s ‘Don’t Feel Sorry For Me.’ Losing out to his younger brother David as the leader of The Temptations, Jimmy forged his own path, gifting us with one of the finest soul records of all time in the shape of ‘What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?’. if you’re inclined, You should seek out the 1970 LP he recorded with his sibling ‘I Am My Brothers Keeper’ those two solid gold voices sparring and complimenting each other in equal measure.
So, there it is, another twenty tracks to keep you going until we meet here in the same place in a weeks time. That’s if the planet hasn’t exploded… Be sure to join us again for another hour and a bit of quality audio. Tell your friends, tell your friends friends, tell your enemies if you like. Spread the word, spread the sounds and spread the love. Also, keep sharing your own findings and raves at our dedicated facebook page Here and I’ll (hopefully) see you next week.
Until then, We’ve got to have peace.
EDIT: This weeks playlist was compiled before the sad news of Leonard Cohen’s passing. Full tribute will be paid next week.