Hullo. Well, after my reach out to you all last week with the offer of appearing on the webs most ignored blog, I was inundated with replies. In fact, the grand sum of bot all responses filled my inbox. Not to worry, I’m used to these things falling flat on their arse. I can only assume You’re more than happy with the selections that spew forth from my humongous napper, so I’ll keep on trucking solo for now eh?
Of course, when I say solo I mean aided by our top pop picker Paul D’Cruz and his pick of the week. At least I can rely on my very good friend, bandmate and the keyboard player for ‘Rich Gypsy’ the UK’s eighth placed choice for a song for Europe in 1982.
Ok then, I want you, to show me the way..
Track 1. Hey Spaceman! by Tracy Bryant.
Bryant was just ten years old when his father took him to his first gig, the legendary Chuck Berry. This early exposure to Rock’n’Roll’s finest had a lasting impression on the young L.A musician and his influence is palpable, not least in the classic approach he takes to making records. This single from last year is both lo-fi and deftly produced at the same time, attributes Charles Edward Anderson would wholly approve of.
Track 2. Maybe This Song by Bruce Haack.
A welcome and long overdue return to the playlist for electronic music pioneer Bruce Haack next. This comes from an LP recorded in 1971 under the pseudonym ‘Jackpine Savage’ and has more in common with the psychedelic children’s music that Haack developed in the sixties than the Musique Concrete he explored in later works. It’s tremendous fun, with its simple message backed by pleasing bleeps and squelches. You’re sure to have a soppy grin on your kipper come the ‘shave and a haircut’ climax.
Track 3. Evocation by Anna von Hausswolff.
Our cover star this week is Swedish singer and organist Anna Michaela Ebba Electra von Hausswolff. With a style much akin to her exotic moniker, she has crafted 4 superb records in as many years. This particular track is the second single release from the latest of those albums. Full of drones and crashes, it’s all underpinned by Anna’s wonderful voice, an instrument which she utilises perfectly as it glides across the piece with the still grace of a swan on a crystal clear lake.
Track 4. Dulux Super 3 (instrumental) by Mike Sammes.
Sammes was a British vocal arranger and musician who led The Mike Sammes Singers, a male vocal group who appeared on some of the biggest hits of the sixties. Their easy tones can be heard backing Helen Shapiro, Tom Jones and Zinglebert Bumbledack as well as the fab four, lending their close harmonies to ‘I Am The Walrus’, ‘Goodnight’ and the much maligned choral backing on ‘Let It Be’. This track is from one of many forays into ‘Jingle Work’ and was unearthed by the inimitable Jonny Trunk for the compilation LP ‘Music For Biscuits’. Perversely for a choral group, it’s an instrumental.
Track 5. Alone In Kyoto by Air.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
This week, our favourite (and only, tch!) contributor has selected a track from the Gallic duo’s third LP, 2004’s ‘Talkie Walkie’. Also featured on the soundtrack for Sofia Coppola’s ‘Lost In Translation’, it’s Air by numbers. Twenty first century easy listening with a soft, haunting melody and samples of waves lapping a far eastern shore, it’s the definition of studied elegance.
Track 6. Ain’t It Funky Now (Parts 1 and 2) by James Brown.
I’m currently engrossed in Ben Ratliff’s excellent book ‘Every Song Ever’, a study in how to make sense of the listening experience of today. In a world where music from all eras is instantly available at the swipe of a finger, Ratliff suggests there are common themes which link disparate genres. This playlist and blog was founded on that very premise. Truly anything goes. We hop from time to place and back again as exploration leads to broadened horizons. This 1969 James Brown single was released over two sides and is marked out in the first chapter of Ratliff’s tome as an example of how repetition can lead to an expansion of an idea, the first steps of a long journey. Who better to lead you there than the Godfather of Soul himself?
Track 7. Ten Per Cent – Walter Gibbons Sunshine Sound Acetate Edit by Double Exposure, Walter Gibbons.
Speaking of Godfathers… This next track was the first commercially available 12″ when released in 1976. Its A-side has a remix by DJ Walter Gibbons, a massive influence on later Jocks such as Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan. His work on this platter has been described as a ‘Blueprint for house’. A dancefloor stormer, this is disco at its peak.
Track 8. I’m A Dreamer by Josephine Foster.
Josephine Foster is a singer-songwriter from Colorado who has been active since 2000, releasing 14 LP’s in one guise or another. This is the title track from her 2013 album and is a soft, lilting song with some stellar piano complimenting Foster’s languid guitar and voice, all backed by brushed drums and woozy harmonica. Evoking images of still, warm nights, its Americana tinged strokes are only missing some chirping crickets. Beautiful.
Track 9. Isn’t It A Pity – Demo Version by George Harrison.
This song was originally offered for inclusion on three Beatles LP’s, Revolver, Sgt Pepper and Let It Be with L/M rejecting it each time. It wasn’t until Harrison released his post wackers break up solo album, 1971’s ‘All Things Must Pass’, that it finally found a home. It has since become one of the quiet ones’ most popular pieces of work and sits perfectly with the rest of that double LP’s themes of friendship, loss and salvation. Here, I’ve gone for the demo version recorded in 1969 for the ‘Get Back’ sessions. Stripped of Spector’s (excellent btw) bombast, this take features just George and guitar. There’s an innocence here, not least in the McCartney-esque ‘Doo-Doo-Dooing’ he employs in lieu of a lead guitar and strings. May I also suggest you seek out Nina Simone’s 11 minute interpretation from 1972, a stunning performance from the doctor.
Track 10. Gotta Travel On by Timi Yuro.
Soul slowie closer time and this week it’s a 45 from ’63 recorded by one of the first exponents of ‘Blue Eyed Soul’, Timi Yuro. Dubbed ‘The Little Girl With The Big Voice’, Yuro recorded with Johnny Ray, toured with Frank Sinatra and was produced by Quincy Jones. She also made some poor decisions, rejecting the suggestion of Burt Bacharach to record his song ‘What The World Needs Now’, a classic she could have easily made her own.
That’s it for another week. I trust you enjoyed. If you did, tell your friends, tell the world! If you didn’t, keep yer big gob buttoned or I’ll send D’Cruz round for you and he’s dead hard. I mean Kung Fu hard. Seriously.
See you in seven days for more of the same.
Until then, stop, stop, stop all the dancing, give me time to breathe.