Hullo. You look nice today. Had your hair done? It suits you. Welcome once again to Nobody’s Listening now in it’s sixtieth edition. Sixty! That means you’ve had nigh on 1200 top pop picks forced into your earholes since I started this folly. No need for thanks, I live to give.
We’ve got just under an hour of groovetastic goodness for your pleasure this week. Including, of course, Paulo’s Pick Of The Week. My very good friend, bandmate and heir to the Covonia cough syrup empire has this week selected some latter day prog from Chicago. And it’s ace.
So, here comes the nice..
Track 1. Kitsch by Barry Ryan.
Kicking us off this week is ‘Eloise’ man Barry Ryan. Along with his twin brother Paul, this Leeds born lad notched a fair few top fifty hits in the mid sixties until stress took its toll on Paul and he stepped back to concentrate on writing, leaving the limelight to his brother. Barry struck gold with the aforementioned Eloise which reached number 2 on both sides of the Atlantic. Keen to replicate it’s success, Paul continued to roll out virtual carbon copies of the melodramatic hit for his sibling to sing, including this overlooked beaut from 1970.
Track 2. I Can’t Get Satisfied by The Telmo Fernández Trio.
This modern day jazz act is made up of guitarist Fernández who leads the trio alongside drummer Jose Luis Gómez and ex-pat British organist Phil Wilkinson. Here, we find them in party mood with handclaps behind the chanted title all held together by Fernández’ guitar riff which allows Wilkinson to mooch about his keyboard, providing some funky rolls.
Track 3. Curry Courier Career by Monobody.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
So here we are with the latter day prog I alluded to in the introduction. Actually, this has more in common with jazz fusion acts such as Weather Report albeit with an experimental approach (and an extra bassist to make up for no Jaco Pastorius!). Delightfully wonky, the obvious passion for their craft is plain to see in the excellent live rendition below. Another quality find from the Wortley warrior. Keep on gifting us with these superb picks PDC!
Track 4. Singing Saw by Kevin Morby.
Cover star time with Texan and former bassist for noise-folk group Woods Kevin Morby. This is the title track from his third solo LP released last spring. Beginning with a looped guitar and Morby’s relaxed vocal it grows into a different beast as the song progresses with female backing, electric licks and a nagging piano before coming full circle. This is modern day folk which, while never afraid of looking back, is firmly rooted in the now. The album is definitely worthy of your attention too, check out the stunning ‘Dorothy’, a fuzzy, fizzing poppy ode to his guitar.
Track 5. High Castle Rock by Chris Forsyth And The Solar Motel Band.
We remain contemporary for track No.5 however this next band takes its cues from classic seventies guitar rock. A ten minute instrumental which comes across as a perfectly executed jam session. With obvious nods to Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’ this piece, taken from their sophomore LP released last year, finds leader Forsyth and guitarist Nick Mellevoi locked in an axe duel which ascends to marvellous, giddy heights. The video below is a live performance from last June and whilst they don’t appear to be the most visually exciting of acts (could do with some trippy lighting if you ask me) the mastery of their instruments is mightily impressive.
Track 6. We Dug A Hole by Kathryn Williams.
Like many, Kathyrn first came to my attention when her second LP ‘Little Black Numbers’ gained a Mercury Music Prize nomination way back in 2000. I was immediately struck by her gentle vocal style and delicate guitar particularly on this, the first track on the LP. She has gone on to enjoy a fruitful career, releasing a further nine albums and perpetually on the road. Particular praise must go to 2008’s gorgeous ‘Two’ on which she collaborates with Neill MacColl. Seek.
Track 7. Mozamba by the Afro Soul-Tet.
Next up is an all too short latin-soul-jazz number with some groovalicious Nigerian and Afro-Cuban polyrhythms. The band actually hailed from L.A. and were previously known as The Afro Latin Blues Quintet +1 before changing their name and releasing the test album ‘Afrodesia’. The platter only had a limited press of between 500 and 1000 LPs and with no release date listed on the record, official hazy opinion puts the date range between 1968-71.
Track 8. Watermelon Sugar by Helvetia.
We travel up the West coast to Seattle for our next track. Taken from their 2007 LP ‘The Acrobats’ this is a delightfully rambling piece of gentle noise core with a delicious guitar hook and shuffling drum beat throughout. Easy going and poppy, it still has some off the wall effects to keep you on your toes.
Track 9. Still Waters by Breakbot.
Breakbot is the alias of French producer and DJ Thibaut Jean-Marie Michel Berland and this is the title track from his second album released last year. This eighties influenced piece of euro-dancepop has echoes of Whitney Houston’s superb, (yes, I said superb, wannafightabout it?) ‘How Will I Know?’ in it’s main melody line but that’s not the only thing to love here. From the vocoder robot voice to the programmed beats and synth breaks. Close your eyes and you’re transported to a time when we had an oppressive Tory government, there was a bumbling fool in the Whitehouse who had no idea what he was doing and money was king. The good old days, eh folks?
Track 10. You Can Make It If You Try by Yvonne Fair.
Soul slowie closer time and this week we have Yvonne Fair with a b-side from 1966 with backing from James Brown and his band. Probably best known for her mid Seventies chart hit, ‘It Should Have Been Me’, Ms Fair was a protege of the godfather of soul recording five singles under his tutelage. One of those 45’s, 1962’s ‘I Found You’ was later re-worked into Brown’s evergreen hit, ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’.
Well alright then. That wraps things up for another week. Hope you enjoyed yourself. I did.
I’ll be back here in seven days time with more of the same and something different.
Until then, keep the car running.