Hullo. And welcome to another chuffer ride on a soggy Tuesday morning. Yep, it definitely looks Autumnal out there but I refuse to give up on the sphere of hot plasma just yet. Surely we can squeeze a few more weeks of soleil before reaching for the mittens?
I’m keeping the Summer alive on the playlist with Hot soul, sunny, jangly indie and thoughts of festivals past, so keep your hands off that thermostat and don’t pack away your beachwear just yet.
Paulo is joining me in denying the end of the season. My very good friend, bandmate and Farrier to Gary Wilmot’s prize winning Shetland ponies weighs in with a distinctly breezy piece of sixties pop.
Y’all Ready for this?
Track 1. Barabajagal (Love Is Hot) by Donovan.
This weeks cover star is Donovan Philips Leitch. The man who would be Dylan started out as a folk troubadour however, it was when he rode the wave of the summer of love that he really came into his own. Teaming up with Mickie Most he began releasing exceptional pop fayre such as ‘Sunshine Superman’, ‘Mellow Yellow’ and ‘Jennifer Juniper’. This single from 1969 has wonderfully chuggy backing by The Jeff Beck Band is probably my favourite of his (it’s up there with the majestic ‘Atlantis’) and was his last Top 40 hit on both sides of the Atlantic.
Track 2. Mapping by Fitkinwall.
Our next selection comes from FitkinWall, the partnership of pianist and composer Graham Fitkin and harpist Ruth Wall. Moog and autoharp heavy atmospherics is the order of the day here and this track from 2015’s ‘Lost’ has the thankful ability to transform a sodden train journey down the east coast mainline to somewhere more attractive. It’s ethereal qualities have been most welcome this morning when the aural alternative is listening to the two business ladies sat at my table discussing sales figures and projected targets.
Track 3. Johnny Yen by James.
Like most, it was the breakthrough hits ‘Sit Down’ and ‘Come Home’ that pricked my ears with James, but it wasn’t long before I quickly devoured their back catalogue including their first two LP’s debut ‘Stutter’ and sophomore effort ‘Strip-mine’. This, for me, is the stand-out track from that first record and was a set highlight when I was one of the unwashed, but reeking of patchouli masses who made the trip down to Alton Towers in 1992 to pay homage to their towering indie anthems. I recall imitating Tim Booth’s ‘Radged scarecrow’ dance as the Staffordshire rain soaked my daisy t shirt to the skin. Happy, care-free times..
Track 4. Kites Are fun by The Free Design.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
When Paul submitted this weeks pick, I was convinced that I had already featured it on a previous Nobody’s Listening. This may be the case, and I can’t be bothered to look through 86 playlists to verify. Besides, I’ll always have time for this delightfully light slice of late sixties easy listening so any repeat showing is more than welcome. I recall I first heard it on a sunny Sunday afternoon whilst living in Wakefield ten or so years ago and fell for its charms instantly. It’s difficult not to love a song extolling the joys of this most genteel of pastimes.
Track 5. Life & Death by Chairmen Of The Board.
Leaving behind the solid gold soul-pop of hits such as ‘Give Me Just a Little More Time’ and ‘(You’ve Got Me) Dangling on a String’, Chairmen Of The Board turned full on psych-funk-rock for their final LP, 1974’s ‘Skin I’m In’. Hardly surprising when you consider their back up band at the time included several members of Funkadelic and Parliament, including Bernie Worrell and Eddie Hazel. This is that albums centerpiece and is an epic cover of Sly Stewart’s ‘Life and Death’ that blends the song’s pulsating melody with flowery instrumental passages built of Mellotron and synthesizer.
Track 6. Fazon by Jonathan Wilson.
Augmented by James King’s dazzling Saxophone, this cover of short lived San-Franciscan psych rockers Sopwith Camel graced Wilson’s second LP ‘Fanfare’ which was released in 2013. The LP is a continuation from his wonderful debut ‘Gentle Spirit’ and features an impressive list of collaborators including Roy Harper, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Benmont Tench, Father John Misty and Patrick Sansone. Below is a mesmerising live performance of the track recorded for Seattle based radio station and doyens of eclecticism KEXP-FM.
Track 7. People Help the People by Cherry Ghost.
We reach 2012 for my long goodbye to Leeds feature this week and a recollection of my first visit to the Deershed festival in North Yorkshire. This was the first time we took our young son to such an event and after years of hedonism it made a pleasant change to actually enjoy some music for once. We’ve returned to Topcliffe every year since and it is now a highlight of the summer. This band closed the Sunday afternoon of that year (being a family orientated festival, there was no Sunday night ‘out with a bang’ massive headliners) and as Simon Aldred sang his gentle acoustic observations with the sound of children’s laughter surrounding me, I’m not ashamed to say I got a tad emotional. Included in his set was a beautiful cover of the recently departed Whitney Houston’s ‘How Will I Know’ which I’ve not been able to find since but would love to hear again.
Track 8. If You Want by Reptaliens.
Brand new stuff from Portland lo-fi peddlers Reptaliens next. This four piece, spearheaded by husband and wife Cole and Bambi Browning, released their debut LP two weeks ago and this is the lead track from it. Inspired by all things sci-fi their moniker derives from an interest in cult mentality, transhumanism, and conspiracy theories. That doesn’t hinder their knack with a decent pop song as is evident here. With a dreamy melodic line and hooks that penetrate after just one listen, this lot are an exciting prospect.
Track 9. Another Sleepless Night by Anne Murray.
This piece of undemanding pop fluff was a country hit for Canadian songbird Anne Murray in 1982 and was used to hilarious effect by Vic and Bob on their second sketch show series for the BBC, ‘Bang, Bang, It’s Reeves and Mortimer’ in 1999. If you haven’t seen it, vidi Here and when you’ve dried your pants, have another listen, it really is splendid pop music in the mould of Neil Sedaka.
Track 10. Oh Girl by The Chi-Lites.
We’re in 1972 and the peak of soft Chicago Soul for this weeks slowie closer. ‘Oh Girl’ was the Chi-Lites’ first and only number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at that position in May 1972 for one week. Subsequently covered by eighties heart throb Paul Young and pock-marked soulman Seal, but nothing touches this original performance and that lovely harmonica line.
That wraps things up for another week then. Numbero eighty-eight-o will be winging its way to you at the same time and place in seven days time. So I’ll say ta-ra for now but before I go, we lost two genuine legends this week, tribute is paid below. Rest Easy, Walter and Holger.x