Hullo. As I mentioned last week, this is the final Nobody’s Listening of 2016. Seasonal family and work commitments mean it would be a stretch to find the time to compile and compose the blog for a few weeks. Dry your eyes though, I’ll be back in the new year with some fresh sounds and half arsed blather.
So, as we wave goodbye to the oddest revolution around the sun in living memory, it’s comforting to know that one constant remains. That is twenty tunes of distinction and some crappy commentary from yours truly.
Not just yours truly of course, my very good friend, bandmate and proud owner of the largest cabbage patch doll collection in West Yorkshire, Paul D’Cruz is here once again with his pick of the week.
So, without further ado, Cum On Feel the Noize..
Track 1. Above And Beyond by Edgar Winter.
We begin our last playlist of the year with an almost instrumental space disco piece from Edgar Winter, younger brother of the late Johnny. This comes from his 1979 LP ‘The Edgar Winter Album’. Slap bass, obligatory ‘woohs’ and squelchy synths combine to funky effect.
Track 2. Groove Is In The Heart/California Girls by Crocodiles.
This inspired cover of Dee-Lite’s biggest hit combined with The Beach Boys 1965 classic was released as the b-side to the San Diego band’s 2010 single ‘Sleep Forever’. The familiar Bootsy Collins Bassline is played through a fuzzed up guitar backed with Jesus And Mary Chain style vocals and noise terror adding a new dimension to two very familiar tracks. Play loud.
Track 3. A Tout Casser by Johnny Hallyday.
Gallic singer and actor Hallyday has been called both ‘The French Elvis’ and ‘the biggest rock star you’ve never heard of’ in his time. Absolutely massive in his home country, he is virtually unknown outside of mainland Europe. This 1968 track (English title;’Breaking Everything’) featured on his LP ‘Jeune Homme’ and is notable for the appearance of session musician Jimmy Page who was fresh from a dissolved Yardbirds. It’s a cracking psych number replete with panned sounds, backwards echo and wah-inflected guitar licks, all signature elements that the guitarist would employ to great effect in the years to come.
Track 4. That’s The Chance I’ll Have To Take by Jessi Colter.
Jessi Colter met Country legend Waylon Jennings in 1968 shortly after her first marriage to king of twang guitar Duane Eddy disintegrated. The couple were soon wed and Jennings produced her 1970 debut LP ‘A Country Star is Born’ which features this cover of her new spouses song which he penned for his own 1966 major label debut LP ‘Folk-Country’.
Track 5. Memory Lane by Eddy Current Suppression Ring.
Our next selection opens this Melbourne bands sophomore LP, 2008’s ‘Primary Colours’ which won the Australian music prize for that year. With its choppy guitar and nasal Iggy vocals it owes an obvious debt to The Stooges but also has echoes of fellow countryman Craig Nicholls’ band The Vines.
Track 6. Yo Chavez by Yuseff Kamaal.
This London-based project led by Yussef Dayes and Kamaal Williams (Henry Wu) alongside Mansur Brown, Tom Driessler and Nick Walters released their debut album ‘Black Focus’ just last month. This is the lead single from it which dropped in August and is a seventies influenced jazz funk instrumental which has a lot in common with Floating Points, particularly its loose structure which allows some superb improvisation.
Track 7. I Wanna Be Where You Are by Leon Thomas.
We previously featured Michael Jackson’s wonderful interpretation of this track which was penned by Leon Ware and Arthur ‘T-Boy’ Ross, brother of Diana. This version, recorded by avant-garde jazz singer Thomas is a slower take and features his trademark ‘yodel’, a style he developed after he fell and broke his teeth before an important show.
Track 8. Reconsider Baby by Lowell Fulson.
This famous blues standard from 1954 was Fulson’s first chart hit. It has since become recognised as one of ‘The 500 songs that shaped rock ‘n’ roll’ and has been covered by Elvis Presley, Bobby Bland, Ike & Tina Turner, Freddie King, and Eric Clapton.
Track 9. You Came, You Saw, You Conquered by The Ronettes.
Veronica Yvette Bennett’s voice has become synonymous with this time of year due to the three songs featured on her then husband’s now essential Xmas LP ‘A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector’. Here, we find this weeks cover star sans her sister Estelle and third Ronette Nedra Talley on a one-off single released on A&M in 1969. This was the last record she made before a long hiatus and is an over-looked gem which still captures all the magic of Spector’s imperial phase.
Track 10. December Lilies by Loney Dear.
Emil Svanängen released this seasonal offering last month which is a taster from his forthcoming LP ‘#7’. In his own words it’s ‘A greeting from LONEY DEAR for the upcoming winter holidays season. Freshly baked with frost bites from Småland and death kisses from the desert valleys.’
Whatever that means? All I know is that it is further proof that the Swedish singer songwriter is showing no signs of a dip in quality after six wonderful LP’s. I await next years album with high hopes.
Track 11. Hot Little Hand by The Wave Pictures.
The Wave Pictures released their sixteenth studio LP last month continuing the furrow they have ploughed for the last 19 years with their patented brand of witty pop songs shot through with deft touches of Americana. This track is a warm, organ enhanced song and is just one highlight on an LP choc full of them.
Track 12. I Love Madonna by The Amazing Jonny Polonsky.
Jonny Polonsky is no stranger to Nobody’s Listening, I featured his excellent cover of Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’ as a Daily Dose on the facebook page a few months back. Here he makes his playlist bow with a sort of original composition he wrote as a teenager celebrating the queen of pop. I say sort of as it’s a bastardisation of Cole Porter’s ‘I Love Paris’ with lyrics extolling the material girl’s many virtues. Good, unclean fun but no vid I’m afraid…
Track 13. Who Are You Trying To Fool by Little Ann.
Our next track is the flip side to a covered-up Northern Soul monster. When the a-side, ‘When He’s Not Around’ was unleashed onto dance-floors in the eighties it was credited to Rose Valentine to avoid further digging from aficionados. The actual performer is Ann Bridgeforth, nicknamed Little Ann by her family, a jobbing nightclub singer from Chicago who cut a handful of tracks with Dave Hamilton in the mid sixties. She eventually received the adulation due when a crate digger unearthed the original at Hamilton’s home in 1990 going on to perform to packed NS nights until her death in 2003.
Track 14. Let It Go – Part 2 by KC And The Sunshine Band.
For the second consecutive week the third act of our playlist is dominated by instrumentals from disparate genres, only this time around I’ve gone for a bumper five in a row. Some tunes that you can deck your halls to that aren’t too saccharine. We begin with a track from Harry Wayne Casey’s second, self titled LP from 1975 which spawned three colossus disco hits in the shape of ‘That’s The Way (I Like It)’, ‘Get Down Tonight’ and ‘Boogie Shoes’. The album is book-ended by ‘Let It Go’ Parts one and two, the second of which makes an appearance here. Good time, seventies light funk with some fantastic breaks.
Track 15. Barbacoa by Guantanamo Baywatch.
Our next stop on our no vocal journey is Portland, Oregon and a surf guitar/garage band who wear their Dick Dale guitar licks with pride. This comes from their 2012 LP ‘Chest Crawl’ but could have easily been recorded fifty years previously. Cracking punning in their choice of moniker too.
Track 16. Candy Shoppe by Emeralds.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Electronic ambiance is our third music only track in a row this week. This US duo existed for just seven short years from 2006-2013 but managed to produce five LP’s in that time. Paul has gone for the opener of one of two double albums they released, 2010’s ‘Does It Look Like I’m Here?’.
Track 17. With All My Love by Mélanie De Biasio.
Our fourth instrumental is a Belgian Jazz artist who first came to my attention through Gilles Peterson’s excellent worldwide show on BBC 6 music. He called upon some big names across the jazz, electronic and indie worlds to rework Mélanie’s acclaimed 2013 LP, ‘No Deal’, including EELS, The Cinematic Orchestra, Hex, and Seven Davis Junior. Here is the track in its original form as it appears on the album. Gorgeousness.
Track 18. Samba De Orpheus by The Vince Guaraldi Trio.
Rounding off our trip is an NL favourite. Vince has been a popular choice with the Orley’s youngest since I first heard his piano over the old Peanuts cartoons back in the eighties. The fact that he looked a little bit like my old Dad made me warm to him even more. His Charlie Brown Christmas album is never far from my ears at this time of year but, as I don’t want to ‘date’ any of these playlists, I’ve gone for a track from his 1962 LP ‘Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus’ and his interpretation of Luiz Bonfá’s score for the 1959 film Black Orpheus. Incidentally, If you’re hankering for some seasonal music, here’s another reminder that you can enjoy last year’s Crizzle speshizzle Here.
Track 19. New Forest by Cathy Davey.
After three increasingly ambitious and profile-building albums, this Kildare-based multi-instrumentalist bade adieu to the music industry to follow her heart in setting up and running an animal rescue. She returned after a six year break in September of this year with the stunning LP ‘New Forest’. This is the title track.
Track 20. Can You Hear Me by David Bowie.
Of all the losses we suffered this year the biggest hole for me personally was left by this man. It’s been almost a year since Bowie took his leave and I still find it difficult to listen to his music. Time, we’re told, is a great healer. I’m sure I’ll eventually be able to get through one of his songs without experiencing the sadness I felt on that cold January morning. It’s only proper that the last soul slowie closer of the year should be another cut from 1975’s ‘Young Americans’, his most soulful work.
So there you go. That’s your lot for a few weeks as I’m off to enjoy the festivities. Not sure exactly when I’ll be back in the new year but You’ll be the first to know. And don’t forget, you can still get my daily dose and contribute to the facebook page Here.
All that remains is for me to thank you for reading, listening, sharing and liking and to wish you an enjoyable, peaceful yuletide and a prosperous and safe New Year. I’ll see you again in 2017 for Nobody’s Listening. No.57.
Until then, may all your days be merry and bright.