Hullo. Hope you all enjoyed your break and are suitably sick of chocolate. Whilst you were enjoying your families and eggs, I have spent the past two weeks scowling at the railway. Rest easy, my bad mood hasn’t influenced this weeks selection of sounds. In fact, there’s quite a cheery air throughout no doubt influenced by the blue skies and warmer temperatures we’ve had recently. I suffer so you don’t have to.
Paul is here of course with his pick of the week. This time around my very good friend, bandmate and puppeteer for Topov, the sinister rag-monkey from seventies kids show ‘Pipkins’ has selected a groove-tastic instrumental that escaped my attention on its release.
Alright then, come fly with me..
Track 1. Showrooms by Sam Prekop.
I don’t think I’ve included anything from Prekop’s band, ‘The Sea And Cake’ on previous playlists, an oversight I will rectify in the coming weeks. For now, here is the quite lovely opener from his 1999 self titled debut solo LP. Featuring the production work of one Jim O’Rourke, it has a delightfully sunny feel to it. Brisk and bossa-nova influenced, it fits these spring days perfectly.
Track 2. Rosa Rosa by Andrzej Korzyñski.
Next, we have the first of five instrumentals featured this week and the first of a segue that bleeds well into PPOTW. If you have the crossfade function, make use of it here, it works really well. Korzyñski is a Polish composer known for his soundtracks to Eastern European horror flicks who also recorded pieces for experimental film, political allegories, lost television shows, sound libraries and radio. This body of work was collected by Finders Keepers for the excellent anthology ‘Secret Enigma’, released in 2012. This track, which features on that tome, is a harmonica heavy piece which recalls those other two great film sound-trackers Morricone and Barry.
Track 3. Berries That Burn by Tobacco.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
On submitting this weeks pick, Paul was convinced that this track may have been featured on a previous NL. I assured him this was not the case as it was the very first time I’d had the pleasure of hearing it. Tobacco is actually one Thomas Fec, an American electronic musician, he is the frontman of the psychedelic rock band Black Moth Super Rainbow who have featured in these pages before. It’s cracking. A sleazy, beaty piece that deserves your EQ bass setting to be as high as your ears will allow.
Track 4. Peppermint by Spectrals.
I was mildly obsessed with this track when it was released in late 2010. A wonderfully retro sound with reverby vocals and surfy guitar, it was the work of one man band Louis Jones and showcased a maturity well beyond the twenty year old’s years. With the assistance of his brother Eli on drums, Two albums followed which were well received and full of similar fayre until Louis abruptly called a halt on the project in 2013. A loss really, as these two Leeds lads could have been massive. A quick skeg on the internet reveals that Jones has since taken up lead guitar duties with plodding indie-ska has beens The Ordinary Boys. Jesus, that’s like throwing away Champagne to chug on meths.
Track 5. Genedigaeth koring-bato by Catrin Finch, Seckou Keita.
The harp is no stranger to NL. Just a couple of weeks back we featured the superb Mary Lattimore and the legendary Dorothy Ashby has graced this playlist in the past. My love of the instrument stems from about age 9, when, as a special treat, a harpist paid a visit to our school. I recall being absolutely rapt as I sat cross legged in the assembly hall and the magical sound of those 47 strings threw an imaginary blanket around me. Here, we have Welsh harpist Catrin Finch and West African kora player Seckou Keita with a piece taken from their 2013 collaboration ‘Clychau Dibon’. Take the time to lose yourself in this, and maybe find your own blanket. Stunning.
Track 6. Playboy Of The Western World by Connie Converse.
This weeks cover star is Elizabeth Eaton “Connie” Converse, now recognised as one of the very first singer-songwriters. Active during the fifties, her music came to the notice of animator and amateur recording engineer and cartoonist Gene Deitch, who had made tape recordings of John Lee Hooker and Pete Seeger in the 1940s. Deitch made a number of tape recordings of Converse in the kitchen of his house in Hastings-on-Hudson in the mid-1950s which remained largely unheard until they resurfaced 50 years later, collated into the 17 song compilation ‘How Sad, How Lovely’. It is unknown if Connie is aware of her late recognition. In 1974, after struggles with depression, she packed her belongings into her VW Beetle and disappeared, never to be seen or heard of again.
Track 7. Mountain View by Pye Corner Audio.
A long overdue visit to our friends at Ghost box next and a track from last years ‘Stasis’ by Martin Jenkins’ project Pye Corner Audio. Whilst not as straightforwardly vintage as other G.B. releases, this still fits the labels remit nicely and has a warm analogue feel to it, conjuring up comparisons with early eighties European cold wave type soundscapes.
Track 8. Shift-work by The Fall.
Another welcome return next and the title track from The Fall’s thirteenth LP released in 1991. This was the first Fall record released as a four piece after Smith culled two members shortly before recording. It’s a fine line up though with stalwarts Steve Hanley, Craig Scanlon and Si Wolstencroft combining as a tight unit. Here, they produce a locked in groove over which MES gives one of his more introspective vocals.
Track 9. Minor’s Holiday by Kenny Dorham.
The underrated Dorham’s 1955 Blue Note album ‘Afro-Cuban’ from which this next track is lifted is now rightly recognised as the finest recording of the trumpeter’s short career. This is hardly surprising when you consider the artists in this nontet. With Horace Silver on keys and the great Art Blakey behind the kit there’s also brilliance in the supporting tenor and baritone of Hank Mobley and Cecil Payne and on trombone, bebop legend J.J.Johnson.
Track 10. A Kiss From Your Lips by The Flamingos.
We return to doo-wop for this weeks soul slowie closer and a single from early 1956 which gifted The Flamingos their first chart success, reaching No.12 on the R&B hit parade. You know exactly what you’re getting here, wonderfully evocative reverb drenched backing with tenor Nate Nelson taking the pleading lead. Absolute gold.
That wraps things up for another week. It’s good to be back in the swing of things after last weeks quickie. Don’t forget to set your radar for the same frequency next week when there will be another ten quality tracks and a 1000 or so poorly constructed words to describe them. See you in seven days.
Until then, You Know My Name (Look Up The Number).