Hullo. A couple of minor changes this week. You may have noticed (read:didn’t at all) that I’ve re-named the blog to create ‘Brand Synergy’ urgh, and, ooh look, we’ve got a shiny new font! Unfortunately, there’s still no change with my bad heed situation but that hasn’t clouded my judgement when it comes to selecting top tunes for your favourite playlist and blog. I’m assuming it’s your favourite, for all I know you could be seeing other playblogs on the side. As long as you save a piece of your aural activities for NL, I’ll turn a blind eye and we’ll carry on like nothing has happened. Kay? Kay.
One feller who is as loyal as they come is our very own Paul D’Cruz. My very good friend, bandmate and Ex-hairdresser for eighties soft pop merchants Johnny Hates Jazz knows you don’t go out for hamburgers when you have steak at home. As ever, he’s right where he should be with his pick of the week.
Shall we get started then?
Ok, here she comes now…
Track 1. I Hate Hate by Razzy Bailey.
We begin this weeks picks with a track from Country artist Razzy Bailey. Now, I appreciate country isn’t for everyone but don’t head for the hills just yet. This 1974 single from the LP of the same name has more in common with Gene Chandler than Gene Autry. It certainly surprised me when I researched Baileys background to find out he’s a farm-boy from Alabama and not a Detroit based soul singer. This could easily have lit the floor alight in the Wigan Casino, and for all I know, it did.
Track 2. Spindrift by Colin Stetson.
Now, because of my ongoing labyrnthitis, I’ve been unable to drive for the past couple of weeks and therefore I’ve not had the chance to road-test the playlists as I would normally (volume up, motorway). Instead, the old headphones have been my preferred method of ensuring these tunes are fit for your consumption and I must say, this is a track that needs to be played through cans for full effect. Taken from his forthcoming LP due to be released next month, this is American saxophonist and multireedist Colin Stetson at his esoteric best. Just take the time to immerse yourself in those waves of sound without any outside distraction. Nice vid too.
Track 3. Together We Are Beautiful by Fern Kinney.
To my knowledge, I believe this is the first number one single we’ve featured here at Nobody’s Listening. This isn’t a conscious decision, as I’ve explained before there is absolutely no agenda to these playlists. If I like it, it’s in. And oh, do I like this. You’re bound to be familiar with this song, it was all over the wireless at the time and indeed, still crops up frequently. I also seem to remember it was on some advert or other a few years back but again, that doesn’t hinder its inclusion here. Steady, light disco with some ace production and a lovely vocal from Kinney, for me, it’s an absolute pleasure. No guilt involved.
Track 4. You by Good Morning.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
PPOTW time and this week the gatito del espacio has gone down under and selected a Melbourne duo who have a gift for crafting askew classic pop. This track has a guitar which sounds like it was recorded through a dictaphone just underneath a melancholic vocal and is very much trying to hide its light under a bushel. The song shines through though, revealing its quality in an economic three minutes.
Track 5. Consolation Prize by Orange Juice.
This was the second track I heard from Edwyn Collins’ Postcard outfit, almost ten years after ‘Rip It Up’ appeared on top of the pops. It was at Newcastle Mayfair on Aztec Camera’s ‘Stray’ tour of 1990 that Roddy Frame introduced a ‘special guest’ to deputise for Mick Jones on his politico-pop hit of the time ‘Good Morning Britain’ and out walked this weeks cover star. He stuck around to perform this song with the band, the two friends having a whale of a time with its fey themes, pretending to be rock gods at the same time. There’s a recording of it from the Barrowlands on the b-side of GMB from the same tour, if you can find it, have a listen to the two pals pissing about. Here is the original version from OJ’s debut LP ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’ which I quickly purchased after the gig.
Track 6. Sunday In New York by Carmelo Leotta & Carol Sudhalter.
Taken from the 2011 LP ‘Carmelo and Carol Remember: The Great Film Music of the Sixties’, this is an interpretation of Peter Nero’s theme for the sixties rom-com ‘Sunday In New York’ which starred Jane Fonda and Rod Taylor. A joint venture between legendary saxophonist Sudhalter and bassist and band leader Leotta, both musicians shine on this extended take, Carol’s turn on flute is particularly outstanding.
Track 7. The Proud One by Frankie Valli.
The 1974 cover by toothsome Mormons The Osmonds is probably the better known take of this Bob Gaudio/Bob Crewe penned song and is a polished piece of seventies pop in its own right. Here though is the original, released in 1966 and credited to Valli although it featured Gaudio and the other two seasons, it is one of those torch ballads that Valli could sing in his sleep. Which is the better version? That’s up to you to decide but for me, the Jersey Boys in their pomp are hard to beat.
Track 8. Friendship (Is a Small Boat in a Storm) by Chicano Batman.
This comes from the Californian latin-psych troupe’s fourth, brand new LP and is a solid soul jam enhanced by the appearance of New York’s all-female Mariachi Flor de Toloache on backing vocal duties. Lead singer Bardo Martinez gives it some full on Gaye with a cracking falsetto that was no doubt encouraged by the producer, NYC soul revival go to man Leon Michaels.
Track 9. Into Forever by Eat Lights Become Lights.
When we last featured ELBL with ‘Bound For Magic Mountain’ way back on NL.49, our very own Paul D’Cruz got in touch to express how much he enjoyed the track and that it took him back to his head banging days as an 18 year old. Here we find the electronic masters in a much more laid back mood with the ten minute title track from their last album to date. It’s been three years since this LP came out, I do hope it isn’t the last we’ve heard from this Krautrock inspired collective and that they’re cooking up another epic for release imminently.
Track 10. Have A Little Mercy by Jean Wells.
Our SSC this week comes from an artist who made just one LP, 1968’s superb ‘World!, Here Comes Jean Wells’ which, while now a much sought after collectors item, sank without trace at the time of release. Previous to this she released her biggest hit, this deep soul cut which made a minor dent in the R&B charts in December ’67. Wells’ gospel voice fills the track which has some excellent production, with minor backing and perfectly judged brass stabs allowing those pipes to shine. On the flip is a glorious northern soul style dancer ‘With My Love And What You Got’, complete with a vibes filled rhythm section, it’s also well worth your attention.
That wraps things up for another week. Hopefully my head won’t feel like it’s going to drop off by the next time I greet you with a cheery ‘Hullo’.
Until then, Lean on me.