Hullo. We all still here? The planet hasn’t reached Armageddon yet? Good.
Last weekend on the dedicated facebook page (linky up the top there) I made the frankly ridiculous claim that this weeks NL would be the best ever. Of course, I was very, very drunk. As I write these words, sober, and from an uncomfortable hotel bed in Wandsworth Town at 5 am on a Tuesday morning, that statement seems a tad ambitious. It’s a good one, but the best ever? I’ll let you be the judge.
Paulo has certainly contributed to the excellence of this weeks list with a beaut. So good in fact, that my very good friend, bandmate and subject of a restraining order from the actor who played Mr Bennett, the caretaker from ‘Take Hart’, is kicking off this weeks proceedings.
So then, as the musician from ancient Greece said to the infant pugilist, come on baby fight my lyre..
Track 1. I & Thou by The Daredevil Christoper Wright.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
We begin gently with PPOTW. This is a lovely piece of harmony driven latter day folk from Wisconsin. The Daredevil Christopher Wright unites brothers Jon and Jason Sunde with the percussion and vocals of friend Jesse Edgington and their sound immediately draws comparison with another trio from the late sixties. CS&N are all over this track which is the opener from their 2012 sophomore LP ‘The Nature Of Things’.
Track 2. Don’t You Know by Jan Hammer Group.
The first four tracks on this weeks list are all fairly chilled, probably testament to the copious amount of bourbon consumed whilst compiling it. Our next selection marks the second appearance of ‘probably best known for Miami Vice, but oh, there’s so much more to know’, Mr Jan Hammer. This comes from his 1977 LP ‘Melodies’ and is a wonderfully laid back piece of vocal electronica which predates blissed out Balearica by a good ten years. Grab a glass of something long and cool and imagine you’re doing that watching the sun go down thing that everyone does in Ibiza.
Track 3. It’s Gonna Be Easy by Doug Sahm.
Former leader of sixties band Sir Douglas Quintet who had a hit with ‘She’s About a Mover’, Sahm released his debut solo LP in 1973 from which this slice of tex-mex country comes. The album was made with the help and contributions of some famous faces in the shape of Bob Dylan, Dr. John, David Bromberg and Flaco Jiménez.
Track 4. A Long Time, A Long Way To Go by Todd Rundgren.
Rounding off our laid back start this week is a true musical genius. Todd Rundgren has been making music for an astonishing fifty years now beginning with Nazz, the garage band he formed in 1967. This piano-led track is taken from his second LP, 1971’s ‘Runt-The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren’ the album which preceded his most successful work to date, the double album and bonafide classic ‘Something/Anything’.
Track 5. Famous Last Words by Har Mar Superstar.
Ok, it’s time to pick up the pace with a track which featured on ‘Best Summer Ever’ Har Mar’s sixth long player which was released last year. Produced by Julian Casablancas, HMS conceived the album as a fictitious greatest hits from 1950-1985 with each song harking back to production values of the given time. This stormer is supposedly from the eighties and as the title suggests, was inspired by the final utterances of various celebrities. Over to the erstwhile Sean Tillmann to explain..
“I got the idea from researching the last words of a bunch of interesting people, and it’s really interesting to see what certain people would say. All the lyrics are pulled from real last words that people said right before they went, like Truman Capote just said “mama” over and over again before he died, and Steve Jobs said “wow” over and over. I like Eugene O’Neill, his last words before he died were something like, “Born in this hotel room, goddammit, I’m dying in this hotel room.”
Track 6. Aankhen Meri Maikhana by Asha Bhosle.
Immortalised by Cornershop, Asha Bhosle is officially acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most recorded artist in music history. Her long and distinguished sixty year career as a Bollywood playback singer has led to to the recording of over 12,000 songs and she’s still going strong today at the ripe age of 83. This is just a toe dip in that vast ocean, a track from the 1970 film ‘Sawan Bhadon’. It’s typically batshit crazy with genres mashed up to bits, and just check out those drums at the beginning, marvellous!
Track 7. Fritzy Baby by Birds ‘N Brass.
During the easy listening resurgence in the mid to late nineties, tracks like this would be standard after club fare. There’s something comforting about the lounge sound and it certainly went someway to easing and soothing a frazzled, post night out mind. The brainchild of Keith Roberts, Birds ‘N Brass derived their unique sound from conventional brass, guitar, etc and fused this with the wonderful voice of Barbara Moore. This comes from the first of two albums under the B’N’B banner released on none more seventies lable, Rediffusion and contains some unexpected bursts of psych guitar.
Track 8. Blue Hawaiian by Pavement.
A warm return to the playlist from Malkmus and the lads next. This time around the selection comes from their fourth LP, 1996’s ‘Brighten The Corners’. Much like the Beatles, Pavement albums are constantly fighting in my head to be a current favourite. One month it’s Abbey Road, the next I’m in a Hard Day’s Night frame of mind. BTC is currently in my significantly large headspace and this has been an earworm for a long time now, a more than welcome guest. Special mention most go to Mark Ibold’s understated bass.
Track 9. Mysterious Semblance At The Strand Of Nightmares by Tangerine Dream.
I’m by no means a Tangerine Dream aficionado, they are an act I have enjoyed whenever I’ve caught them in passing but I’ve never really dug deep into their work. This track warrants inclusion merely because it was featured on Stuart Maconie’s excellent Freakzone programme a couple of weeks ago (8-10 PM Sundays, Six Music). I was in bed when it was played and didn’t quite make it to the end of the track as its slow, phased Mellotron gently placed me in the arms of Morpheus. I added it for inclusion the next day and gave it a second airing on a rain sodden M1 Sunday night just gone. Fortunately, this time around I managed to stay alert for the duration. It’s certainly prompted me to further investigate their back catalogue.
Track 10. Charms Of The Arms Of My Love by Alice Clark.
Our soul slowie closer this week comes from another returnee to the playlist. I’d be more than happy to feature every single track from Ms Clark’s 1972 self titled album, a record which frequently receives heavy late night rotation in the Orley household. Give it a go next time you’re feeling tired and emotional. Her voice can take you places man, it really can.
There you go then. The best NL ever? It’s certainly up there. Why not join us next week to see if it can be equalled or maybe even topped? Same time, same place in seven of your Earth days.
Until then, keep on runnin’.