Hullo. These Fridays are rolling around quicker than ever. It only seems like five minutes since I last gifted you with ten pop picks. Roll on says I. The quicker we banish these dark nights and start enjoying those beautiful early spring days, the better. This weeks playlist should go some way in feeding that anticipation, with sunny selections from across this big ball of rock we call home.
Pee-dee-cee is here of course. This week he’s come up with a happy slice of new-pop that escaped my attention when released. He’s got some quality junk in his trunk has my very good friend, bandmate and wardrobe consultant to rotund, annoying TV cooks, the Hairy Bikers.
Alright then. Let’s get this party started right.
Track 1. Something Big by Burt Bacharach.
He’s never had the strongest of voices has our Burt. Indeed, when I was lucky enough to catch him in concert two years ago, the then 86 year olds pipes had withered away to a scratchy howl. Here, he takes a rare lead on one of his compositions. I say lead, the usual girl backing takes the lions share of vocal duties on this light bossa 45 from 1973, but Burts name is on the release, and that’s his wonderfully slight voice you can hear. A classy start to this weeks proceedings.
Track 2. Gypsy Woman by Joe Bataan.
Ex gang leader and jaibird Bataan makes his second appearance on NL next. This 1967 single was his first release after he completed a stretch of porridge for car theft. With his trademark style that encompassed Latin boogaloo and doo-wop, it’s a good-time party piece that will make your hips shake, your feet move and promotes a general feeling of well-being.
Track 3. Sparxxx by The Love Language.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Whenever Paul submits his weekly selection, I immediately repair to the nearest listening platform to check out his pick. Having not heard of this song and band I was especially keen to find out who and what he had gone for this week. The first thing that grabbed me with this eight year old song is the fantastically up-beat and poppy overall feel it has. This is from the bands 2009 self titled debut and with another two albums released since, it looks like I have a bit of catching up to do. Here’s hoping the rest of their oeuvre is as instantly likeable as this chunk of pop-heaven. Thanks again, gatito.
Track 4. Wild Situation by Dennis Wilson.
Cover star time, for that be the chiselled visage of the middle Wilson sibling Denny up there. When he stepped from behind his kit, Dennis proved to the world that he had a talent every bit as special as his brothers Carl and Brian. The 1977 LP ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ has been hailed as a forgotten masterpiece with it’s gospel inflected arrangements. This track is more of an r ‘n’ b growler and was recorded as part of the sessions for his debut LP’s follow up ‘Bambu’. A lack of funds and Wilson’s increasingly erratic personal life put paid to that records release but some of the tracks saw the light of day as special bonus tracks on a thrtieth anniversary re-issue of POB in 2008.
Track 5. Woman Can’t Live By Bread Alone by Honey Cone.
This all girl group were the first signing to Holland–Dozier–Holland’s ‘Hot Wax’, the record label formed when the songwriting/producing team parted company with Motown in 1968. Featuring lead singer Edna Wright (sister of Darlene Love) along with Carolyn Willis and Shelly Clark, the band had moderate success in the early seventies, most notably with their excellent billboard #1, ‘Want Ads’. This track comes from their fourth and final LP 1972’s ‘Love, Peace And Soul’ which was released shortly before Hot Wax went under.
Track 6. Enkèn Yèlélèbesh by Girma Bèyènè & Akalé Wubé.
We return to Ethiopia next, the first trip we’ve taken there in some weeks now. Here we have legendary singer, arranger and pianist Girma Bèyènè, a prominent figure on the Ethiopinan jazz circuit who enjoyed a scintillating early career with various formations and musicians. The political unrest in his native country forced the musician to emigrate to Washington D.C. in the late 1970s and effectively disappear from the music scene. On the invitation of young French band Akalé Wubé, Girma returned to the recording studio in 2016 to break a thirty year-long musical silence. This comes from the fruits of that labour, the LP ‘Mistakes On Purpose’ which was released last month.
Track 7. Winners by Delicate Steve.
New Jersey native Steve Marion has been active since 2010 releasing three LP’s and collaborating with such luminaries as Dirty Projectors, Tame Impala, Built to Spill Sonic Youth’s Lee Ranaldo, Dr. Dog, tune-yards, the Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Sigur Ros, Khaira Arby, Mac DeMarco, Fang Island, Ra Ra Riot and Akron/Family as well as a special request from none other than Paul Simon to appear on his latest record. I’m sure you’ll concur that’s some C.V. right there. Listening to this track from his latest LP released last month, it’s easy to see why his talents are in such high demand. A guitar hero for the modern age, his cues from those that have gone before are easy to recognise. There’s a distinct George Harrison influence on this cut.
Track 8. Moonchild – Plant Edit by Free The Robots.
Chris Alfaro is Free the Robots, the L.A. beat maker/ dj known for his unique sound, hinting at jazz, blues, psych, electronic, and hip hop. This track from 2005 lifts heavily from the King Crimson track which shares its name and showcases Alfaro’s skill and ability to pick semi-obscure samples and meld them with beats to produce work of originality whilst remaining respectful to the source.
Track 9. Calling Miss Khadija by Art Blakey.
Lifted from his 1964 LP ‘Indestructable’, his final record for Blue Note and one of countless albums the legendary sticks-man recorded with his band The Jazz Messengers, here we find Blakey in typically generous mood. Each member of the sextet has their moment to shine, not least the superb Cedar Walton on keys who lends his nimble fingers to a solo of some distinction. Of course, it’s Blakey’s band and his swinging, hard bop turn behind the kit is further evidence that bolsters his stature as one of the true jazz giants.
Track 10. I’d Rather Go Blind by Margie Joseph.
The temptation for this weeks soul slowie closer was to go for Etta James’ original take of this oft-covered soul standard. Instead, I’ve plumped for this version from Margie Joseph’s excellent self titled LP from 1973. With a harder approach than Ms James’ definitive cut, it’s easy to see why Joseph frequently garnered comparisons to Aretha Franklin.
There you have it then, ten more portions of qualit-eh sounds, gratis, free of charge, for nowt. I spoil you lot, I really do.
If you know what’s good for you, you’ll join us at the same time and general location next week for more of the same.
Until then, keep it real.