Hullo. Nice to see you again my chickadees. Welcome to another ten pop picks and some half arsed blather. As usual, we have something for everyone be it Fifties jazz, Sixties African psych-garage, Seventies soul, Nineties indie, Noughties guitar pop or Teenies (is that a thing?) Scandi-Folk. All bases covered there, I’m sure You’ll agree.
Paulo is here of course, this week my very good friend, bandmate and collector of out of production raw-umber Crayola crayons is pushing some Germanic Jazz into your collective earholes.
Shall we get on with it then? Strap yourselves in, there’s quite a bit of waffle this week. Walk this way..
Track 1. The Lights Went Out by The Cribs.
Kicking us off is the next installment in my ‘Long Goodbye To Leeds’ feature. As mentioned in the previous few blogs, I’ve spent the past 14 years here in the white rose county and as I’m due to return home to my native north east very soon, I’m taking the time to reflect on my years here in West Yorkshire. This week I’d like to take you to Wakefield where I lived from 2004-2007 and probably their most famous sons of recent times, The Cribs. It was on Marc Riley’s long defunct six music show ‘Rocket Science’ that my ears were first pricked by those wonderfully messy guitars and sing a long choruses that are now a well established Jarman Bros. trademark. I quickly got around to procuring their debut album and was bowled over by the sheer joy of each track. From then on and for the next year or so they quickly became a favourite and given their proximity to my home it was easy to catch them on any given week. Admittedly, my wife Kim became a much bigger fan (stalker) than I ever was, travelling up and down the country to enjoy their always energetic, frequently shambolic live shows. Just a couple of weeks back we caught them at Leeds Arena where they performed their 2007 LP ‘Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever..’ in full and I must say, their polished performance was testament to a solid 16 years of touring, but this is where they hooked me and those early chaotic performances will always be hard to beat.
Track 2. All I Know About You by The Supremes.
I’m presently devouring Stuart Cosgrove’s book ‘Detroit ’67, The Year That Changed Soul’ which documents a turbulent 12 months for Berry Gordy’s Motown against the backdrop of the social and political changes that tore apart the motor city. The bulk of the book concerns The Supremes who were already the most commercially successful of the labels incredibly rich roster of acts. This track, which I’ve hitherto been unaware of, was the b-side to their classic early ’67 single ‘The Happening’ and in the book Cosgrove describes it as “a song of such shameless joy, it was closer to Eurovision pop than soul”. Well that piqued my interest right away and unsurprisingly, I love it.
Track 3. The Long Tomorrow by Tied & Tickled Trio.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Cor blimey! He can’t half pick ’em can our Paul! This is an act and track which is completely brand new to me which is surprising as they’re right up my alley and I note they’ve been a going concern since 1994. Just goes to show that if you dig, you’ll unearth new discoveries every day and oh, do I dig this. Paul has gone for the opener from the German septet’s third LP, 2003’s ‘Observing Systems’, a record I feel I am going to become very familiar with over the coming weeks.
Track 4. Rich And Strange by Cud.
Never fashionable but all the better for it, Leeds’ very own Cud released some smashing pop singles in the early nineties of which this is probably the best. Eminently danceable, with that addictive guitar line and lead singer Carl Puttnam’s unmistakable voice, this should have gone down in the annals as one of the great indie-disco tunes but was unfortunately largely ignored on release.. There’s a little story attached to this tune. It was around ten or eleven years ago that the band were due to play the now defunct but much missed Summer Sundae Festival in Leicester. When Carls wife went into labour and was unable to attend, the band battled on and invited members of the audience to join them on stage for some ‘Cud-eoke’. Much to my chagrin, I was too late in putting my name down for this track and some useless get proceeded to mumble it into his t-shirt when it obviously demands the grand gestures and big voice I would have been only too happy to provide. As a protest, and full of cider, I rushed my way onstage to provide some choice dance moves to try and gee the feller up. The audience (and band) loved it and as a mark of my appreciation of their wild cheers, I threw both of my brand new flip-flops into the throng, never to be seen again. Bit of an error as they were dead comfy and quite stylish too. But of course I was vey, vey drunk. There’s evidence on youtube somewhere, but I’ll spare you.
Track 5. Kingdom Of Not by Sun Ra.
More jazz you say? Go on then. Here’s former cover star Sun Ra and his Arkestra with an early piece from his 1957 LP ‘Super-Sonic Jazz’ which was one of the first recordings for his own label ‘El Saturn’. A fascinating character, Sun Ra is famous for releasing over one hundred full-length albums, comprising well over 1000 songs, making him one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20th century. This is just a toe dip into an incredibly rich and diverse back catalogue.
Track 6. Flowers On The Wall by Nancy Sinatra.
From a former cover star to this weeks artist lucky enough to grace the front page. Nancy’s sixties work with Lee Hazlewood is probably the high water mark of a long career which continues to this day. This, taken from the 1966 Hazlewood produced debut LP ‘Boots’, is a cover of The Statler Brothers tune, used memorably in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Never the singer her father was (who will ever be?) Nancy still plays to her strengths and provides a playful rendition backed by punchy brass which stands next to the original with its head held high.
Track 7. Falcons by Amanda Bergman.
Swedish artist Amanda Bergman released her debut full English language solo LP last year titled ‘Docks’ and this is the stand out track. With Bergman’s soulful voice backed by a nagging drumbeat and shining ascending melody, this has a build that reaches it’s denouement bolstered by strings and brass. Top class songwriting from an undeniable talent.
Track 8. In Parallax by Algiers.
This Atlanta “Dystopian Soul” four piece released their debut LP in 2012 but it wasn’t until my friend, pun-master and all round good egg Ryan Coleman sent me a link to their superb latest single ‘The Underside Of Power’ that my ears were well and truly pricked. I was lucky enough to catch them live in Dalston last week in a humid 200 capacity venue and they were stunning, this particular track from that debut LP was a stand-out, vocalist/guitarist Franklin James Fisher giving his all with those unbelievably strong set of pipes. Smashing stuff, something tells me they won’t be performing in pub back-rooms for much longer, try and catch them before they explode onto the big time.
Track 9. Baby I Love You by Gino Garrido & Os Psicodélicos.
This next track is taken from an excellent compilation that surfaced a couple of years back. ‘On Blast: African Sixties Garage, Vol. 1’ and features tracks which are exclusively by bands from Congo, Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa. Much like the acts featured on the famous ‘Nuggets’ series of sixties garage compilations, these are all groups that existed for short blasts of time but had a keen influence on the generations that came after. The early knockings of afrobeat are contained in these primitive recordings and for that we should be eternally thankful.
Track 10. Super High On Your love by Bobby Barnes.
Our SSC this week is a shuper sheckshy shlow jam from 1977. A trawl through deep soul sites on the internet reveals precious little on Bobby Barnes except that he was active for a good thirty years or so but only released a handful of 45’s sporadically. Every commentator agrees however, that he was a top class vocalist that didn’t release a single duffer and should have enjoyed greater success. This goes some way to prove that theory. Get a room.
That’s it. Your Lot. I’ll see you next week when I’ll try not to go on as much as I know that you don’t come here for the words, you come here for the sounds. I’m cool with that.
Until then, keep your ‘lectric eye on me, babe.