Hullo. How’s tricks? I’m tickety boo, thanks for asking. Here we are, back again with another ten top pop picks to enjoy at your leisure. This week we have, among others, a much missed legend, a cult garage band and a Swedish Playmate, rrwarrr!
Paulo is here, at least I think he is as it’s Monday evening and he still hasn’t submitted this weeks choice as I type. I was out with him on Saturday too, the slackarse! I’m sure my very good friend, bandmate and Chairman of the Giddy Game Show appreciation society will come up with the goods as always..
Shall we get on with it then? Ok. Come go with me..
Track 1. When You Are Who You Are by Gil Scott-Heron.
I’m currently reading our cover star’s posthumously published memoir ‘The Last Holiday’ so it’s perhaps inevitable that he makes his debut appearance on the playlist this week. What’s surprising is that it has taken 82 N.L’s before the great man has made a bow, an oversight that I can only apologise for. I’ve gone for this cut from his essential 1971 debut ‘Pieces Of A Man’ which was co-written with keyboardist and long time collaborator Brian Jackson. There’s some superb turns on the album and standing out on this track in particular are guitarist Burt Jones with some delicious licks in the middle eight and Huber Laws whose Sax steps in towards the end to wonderful effect.
Track 2. JJ by Priests.
Released late last year, this is the first single from the Washington D.C. bands debut LP ‘Nothing Feels Natural’. With a twangy, almost rockabilly guitar line backing front-woman Katie Alice Greer’s impressively snarly vocal, this is great fun from start to finish and is represented by the below video which must have given rise to a fair few takes due to corpsing.
Track 3. Cinderella by The Sonics.
We move from the district of Columbia to Washington state next and from modern day Punks to one of the groups that are rightly credited as one of the very earliest progenitors of the genre. The Sonics formed in 1960 and were one of the most revered of the sixties garage bands due to their genuine groundbreaking sound. They went on to become a massive influence on bands such as The Cramps, Nirvana, The Flaming Lips, The White Stripes and The Fall (who indeed still perform a cover of their classic, ‘Strychnine’ in their live shows to this day). A going concern for almost sixty years now, they continue to tour although the only original member is saxophonist Rob Lind. This comes from their sophomore LP, 1966’s ‘Boom’ and is typically raucous stuff.
Track 4. You And I by Madleen Kane.
As is our remit here at Nobody’s Listening, we change tack completely for the next of this weeks picks. In-between posing for Playboy, this Scandinavian model and singer had moderate success in the late seventies/early eighties with space age disco-lite ballads such as this floaty piece of pop heaven. Not exactly challenging, this nevertheless has bags of charm and is a perfect encapsulation of the clamber for sophistication that was prevalent at that time. According to the old Wikipedia, it has since become a wedding day favourite in Canada. Which is nice.
Track 5. Attica Blues by Archie Schepp.
This funky offering which features an absolute powerhouse of a vocal courtesy of “Joshie” Jo Armstead is the title track of the Saxophonist’s 1972 LP which was released on the superb Impulse! label, dubbed “The house that ‘Trane built”. Schepp actually played on the sessions for what is probably their most famous release, Coltrane’s ‘A Love Supreme’ but his takes were cut from the finished article, resurfacing on a mid 2000’s re-issue.
Track 6. I’m Just A Prisoner (Of Your Good Lovin’) by Candi Staton.
I’ve always loved Candi’s voice, and from the very first time I heard the wondrous ‘Young Hearts Run Free’ on the wireless as a nipper in the seventies, she has been a singer that I never tire of hearing. I was lucky enough to catch her at Glastonbury in 2010 and those pipes were very much intact and at their best, she put on a great show. Here she is with a lesser heard track from the 1976 LP which also bore the YHRF title and it’s a builder that puts that voice front and centre. Long may she continue to encourage the babies.
Track 7. Replicate by Disappears.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Here he is, better late than never, with a psych-heavy cut from Chicago noisers Disappears. This was the lead single from their 2012 LP ‘Pre Language’ and features Sonic Youth Sticksman Steve Shelley on tub thumping duties. A pumping rocker that doffs more than a cap to Magazine’s splendid ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’ in it’s crunching guitar motif. Great stuff, and well worth the wait. Now get your shit in order and submit next weeks pick D’Cruz, or there’ll be trouble. Do You hear me? Trouble I sez. (Love You, man).
Track 8. Odgkin Kane by Whichwhat.
This 13 minute curio comes from Nottingham based lite-proggers Whichwhat’s only LP release, 1970’s ‘Whichwhat’s First’. Active from ’68-’71, they found more success on the continent than they did back home before calling it a day shortly after the LP was released. You know exactly what to expect here, hoary rock vocals, smatterings of Jazz flute, Guitar wig outs and an over enthusiastic drummer, but it all works, and works very well indeed if you like this sort of thing. And I do.
Track 9. Quiet Houses by Fleet Foxes.
Next, we have a quick return to the playlist for Seattle’s Fleet Foxes, this week taking up the ‘Long Goodbye To Leeds’ feature. It was early 2008 when I first experienced the ethereal sounds of Pecknold and co and on hearing their debut album I quickly rushed out and secured three tickets for their Leeds Brudenell gig at the princely sum of £5.50 each. It was by far and away the best value ticket I have ever bought in my gig going life. They were absolutely faultless. A room of around four hundred people were rendered speechless by their gorgeous harmonies and delicate songs and it was a performance that I, and my two Cylinder brethren James and Paul often cite as one of the most special shows we have ever been fortunate to witness. Fast forward around six months and they returned to Leeds to play the Academy, a much larger venue and a much more depressing experience. The majority of the crowd appeared to be there just to say they were there and there was little of the respect and attention they received at the good ol’ Bru’, with senseless chattering during the quiet moments and pissed up idiots ruining any chance of enjoyment. Still, success attracts morons and I’m thankful I caught them at a time when those very morons were unaware of their existence. Here’s one of many highlights from that stunning debut.
Track 10. All In My Mind by Maxine Brown.
Our soul slowie closer this week is the debut 1961 release from a singer of some quality who had a rotten run of luck in the sixties. Firstly, she was pushed to the side while her label concentrated on the emerging Dionne Warwick and then her writing team of Ashford And Simpson moved to Motown where songs penned for her and former Nobody’s Listening alum Chuck Jackson went on to be massive hits such as “Let’s Go Get Stoned” for Ray Charles (co-written by previously mentioned Jo Armstead) and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”. This proved to be her biggest hit, reaching number 19 on the U.S. Hot 100.
That’ll do pig, that’ll do.
See you next week for more of the different and less of the same.
Until then, don’t talk, put your head on my shoulder.