Hullo. Nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us once more for a trip through the wonderful world of pop. This weeks selections include the very first offering from the biggest band of the twentieth century, an early cut from an act I’ve seen more times than any other and a big hit for a Country legend but probably not the one you’d expect.
P-D-C has of course offered up another Pick Of The Week. This time around my very good friend, bandmate and former centre half for the 1995 Scottish third division champions Forfar Athletic has selected a ten minute slice of experimentation from Canada.
Ok then, Slide away and give it all you’ve got…
Track 1. Instant Hit by The Slits.
We hit the ground running with this weeks cover stars, The Slits. I recently enhanced a dull commute to and from Waterloo station with Viv Albertine’s biography ‘Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys,’, An enjoyable, if sometimes grisly warts and all account of her time (and beyond) as the guitarist in one of the truly great punk bands. This prompted me to spin their classic debut LP, 1979’s ‘Cut’ of which this is the opener.
Track 2. Bad Cloud Overhead by Blackrock.
This is the b-side of legendary single ‘Yeah, Yeah’ the only release from four Stax and Hi records session musicians who christened themselves ‘BlackRock’. The label ‘Black Rock’ was the original Memphis terminology for Funk and this is the early knockings of soul transmogrifying into one of the most enduring genres of the late twentieth century. With a darker atmosphere than the a-side and with lyrics about the drug culture of the time, this 1969 release is one of the earliest examples of a movement that would dominate black music for the next few years.
Track 3. Shine A Light by Spiritualized.
I mentioned up the top there that one of this weeks selections is by an act I’ve seen more times than any other. I’m not entirely sure just how many times I’ve seen Jason Pierce’s outfit but it’s easily in the twenties by now, catching at least one show for every album tour since their sophomore release, ‘1995’s ‘Pure Phase’ as well as countless festival appearances and one off shows. I did miss out on the tour from which this selection comes, their debut ‘Lazer Guided Melodies’, but I’ve seen the Spaceman perform this early track on numerous occasions and it’s always a set highlight.
Track 4. In Spite Of All The Danger by The Quarrymen.
This McCartney/Harrison composition is the first recorded example of the wackers and was the flip of The Quarrymen’s acetate only single which featured That’ll Be The Day on the a-side. Reportedly featuring Macca on lead, backed up by Lennon on harmony (although to these ears it sounds the other way round, take it up with thumbs aloft) and George on guitar it is a slice of history. With only one pressing, it is thought to be the most valuable single ever, worth in excess of £100K. Don’t go rushing to ebay just yet though as Paul is the owner and I don’t think he’s short of a few bob at the minute.
Track 5. Silurian Blue by Floating Points.
Brand spanking new release from N.L regulars Floating Points next which is taken from an upcoming short film and soundtrack about the Mojave Desert. Sam Shephard conceived of the project when he and the band traveled to the Mojave last summer to rehearse in between tours. As he explains, “Whilst we were out playing and exploring the area around us – the sound reflecting from the rocks, the sound of the wind between them, complete stillness at night and packs of roaming coyotes in the distance, it became apparent that we could use this as its own unique recording environment,” It certainly works well with FP’s brand of proggy experimental vibes and is a welcome return of one of my favourite acts of the last couple of years.
Track 6. Dan Glo by Bendith.
This next track comes from the debut self titled LP from Welsh band Bendith which was released last year. A slow burner, it blossoms into a delightful waltz with Autumnal tones aplenty. The band is actually a collaboration between the Welsh bands Colorama and Plu with both acts combining their respective folk and indie pop roots to produce a warm, contemporary sound.
Track 7. I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Cline.
My first experience of this song was the version that appeared on Michael Nesmith’s second solo LP, 1970’s ‘Loose Salute’. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I heard Ms Cline’s original interpretation and I must say that it was a wonderful surprise. We all know Cline for the colossus that is ‘Crazy’ but this is my favourite performance by a true country star taken well before her time.
There’s a lovely story regarding the song told here by its composer Harlan Howard..
“On the night of the session, we absolutely did NOT want to do the standard 4:4 shuffle that had by then been done to death. We were trying all kinds of other (basic rhythm) combinations, but they all just laid there and bled all over the floor. So, it had to be the shuffle then, like it or not. But the amazing thing was, once Patsy got into the groove, she just caressed those lyrics and that melody so tenderly that it was just like satin. We knew we had magic in the can when, on the fourth take, every grown man in that studio was bawling like a baby and (producer, Owen) Bradley said `That’s the one’.”
Track 8. Sack O’ Woe by Ray Bryant Combo.
This 1961 mod stomper is a cover of a Nat ‘Cannonball’ Adderley tune which is a favourite on the Northern Soul scene. Bryant was a respected pianist and band leader from Philly who backed up Aretha Franklin on her very first recordings and also worked with such jazz luminaries as Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Dizzy Gillespie.
Track 9. Contain (Astoria Version) by Ian William Craig.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
This Classically trained Canadian artist was lauded by Rolling Stone Magazine as “The most exciting experimental composer of 2016” and from Paulo’s selection this week it’s easy to hear why such hyperbole is attached to his name.
The opener to ‘Centres’ his LP release from last year, this is a ten minute journey that has at its core his tape-deck manipulated vocal surrounded by soundscapes that veer off in different directions. Exciting indeed.
Track 10. Take It From Someone Who Knows by The Ovations.
The Ovations’ lead singer Louis Williams Jr. closely modelled his vocal style on the great Sam Cooke and this cut from 1972 is a glimpse into what might have been had Sam survived into the seventies. Released on XL recordings this is the flip to their 1972 single ‘Hooked On A Feeling’, a cover of the B.J. Thomas song which was in turn covered by Blue Swede in 1974 and memorably included on the Reservoir Dogs Soundtrack.
Well alreet, well alroot well alright. That concludes your ten piece portion for another week. I may take that long promised spring break next week as I am attending a quite intense training course. Then again, I may need to let off some steam and another clutch of top pop picks could possibly make an appearance at the same time and place next week. Who knows?
Until then, or whenever, someday, we’ll be together.