Hullo. A record low for views last week. I mean, I know it’s called Nobody’s Listening but it would be nice if somebody did! If you did take the time to check out the cracking list that was NL 90, then thank-you, you will be rewarded in the afterlife in line with your belief system. If you didn’t, then you disappoint me, see me after class.
You can always go back through the archive and see what you missed of course. It was quite the list too. But man, this weeks is a belter, even if I say so myself.
Hopefully my very good friend, bandmate and Meg Ryan’s personal handbag shopper Paul D’Cruz can add to the superb collection of songs below. He’s back to his old lazy ways and hasn’t submitted yet. Cuh!
Worrevs, Shall we get going? You better, you better, you bet..
Track 1. Vapour Trail by Ride.
If you’re going to pick a Ride track, then why not go for the obvious choice? Actually, it was a toss up between this and the epic ‘Leave Them All Behind’, two songs which are enhanced by the excellent sticks-work of Laurence “Loz” Colbert behind the kit. His fill heavy turn on this and the stunning tub thumping he contributes to LTAB are the reason I love both songs. In the end Vapour Trail wins out simply for that absolutely gorgeous string quartet coda. I still haven’t caught them live since they reunited a few years back and their new material is reliably robust, but this takes some beating and is as fresh today as when I first heard it 26 years ago.
Track 2. The State (I’m In) by Josefin Öhrn And The Liberation.
Our next track was the second single from this Swedish outfit’s second LP ‘Mirage’ which was released late last year. With influences ranging from Can to Suicide to Spacemen 3, the band do a great job of taking all the best bits of each and combining them to create something old but new at the same time. This is thanks in no small part to Josefin Öhrn’s mantra like vocal which shimmers over the drone noise and repeated organ motif with the delicate grace of a gossamer wing.
Track 3. Turkish Bath by The Don Ellis Orchestra.
Taken from Ellis’ Grammy nominated album ‘Electric Bath’, here we have a big-band instrumental whose sitar bookends firmly stamp the year 1967 on this ten minute epic. A punchy, brassy journey that begins in Persia but soon settles in to full on Latin lounge before returning to its middle eastern origins, it has lots to admire including the front-man’s turn on trumpet and some ahead of it’s time electric piano noodling in the final third. Ellis went on to compose the dynamite soundtrack for William Friedkin’s ‘The French Connection’ and also released his own funked up version of John Williams’ Star Wars main title which is well worth a listen should the fancy take you.
Track 4. Slow Down by Loose Ends.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Here he comes, swanning in at the eleventh hour. Better late than never I suppose. I mean, cruising in with this contemporary piece of UK R&B at this late stage? Do you know, I’ve become quite a fan of eighties UK soul over the past two years due to its ubiquity on the Top Of The Pops repeats on BBC4. I was never a massive fan at the time but stuff like this really floats my boat now. So yeah, he’s done it again albeit right on the deadline. It’s a good job he has impeccable taste and I love the tardy get.
Track 5. Marbled Birds by The Mantles.
It’s impossible to describe this next band without mentioning the word ‘jangly’, so let’s get that out of the way at the very beginning. These jangly San Franciscans have had a steady career since their 2009 debut, releasing a record every couple of years or so with absolutely no progression in their garage/eighties college pop style. This is by no means a bad thing, once you find your niche there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sticking with it, especially when you are knocking out delightfully laconic fayre such as this, the opener from their sophomore LP, 2013’s ‘Long Enough To Leave’.
Track 6. If There Is Something by Roxy Music.
If you were reading last week, and as I moaned about up the top there, not many of you were, you may recall that I mentioned I’ve currently got my massive schnozz in Simon Reynolds’ excellent ‘Shock And Awe, Glam Rock And It’s Legacy’. Unsurprisingly, a hefty amount of pages are given over to this weeks cover stars. Reynolds’ analysis of the track we feature here prompted me to revisit their debut LP, a record I’ve not listened to in an absolute age. It really is a stunning piece of work and I imagine that a fair few jaws dropped in 1972 on hearing something that was completely not of this world. Bryan Ferry’s vocal on this track is singled out in the book, the author describing that stunning vibrato thus; “Ferry’s most blood-curdling vocal theatrics ever-stricken histrionics wrenched from deep within, at once harrowingly visceral yet somehow utterly beyond human”. Again, I was in complete agreement with his account and immediately visited an online streaming service where that wonderful debut lifted me from a drab commute from Waterloo to Windsor to another, ahem, Virginia Plain.
Track 7. Playmate by Rolf Kühn.
Our second instrumental of the week comes from German clarinetist and bandleader Rolf Kühn. Beginning his recording career in 1960, Kühn has released discs in each of the last six decades and worked with some of the greats of Jazz, including Joachim Kühn, his pianist brother. This break-beat heavy slice of early seventies sophistication features a splendid turn from the younger sibling on Fender Rhodes and is included on the excellent compilation LP ‘The In-Kraut Volume 3’.
Track 8. ‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore by David Bowie.
The penultimate year in My Long Goodbye To Leeds feature next and we’re back in the annus horribilis that was 2016. We said goodbye to some true giants last year but the major loss for me was the thin white duke’s death right at the beginning of that most wretched twelve months. Released on 8th January, his 69th Birthday, the album ‘Blackstar’ proved to be Bowie’s swansong as two days later, he was gone. I look back at that day often and recall the absolute and total grief I felt for someone I had never known personally, a first for me as I have always managed to keep an air of detachment when it comes to celebrity. Not this time though. I struggled to stem the flow of tears for days after his passing and even now I find it difficult to listen to his music as it brings back the sad memories of that dark time in January. Still, with every month that falls from the calendar it gets easier to go back and appreciate what an absolute one-off he was. This track from Blackstar has steadily become one of my favourites, not just from that LP but from his whole canon. The superb free-form sax from Donny McCaslin which powers the track is one of the reasons, but it’s David’s voice that I return for. There are signs of his frail state, but his god given instrument is still an absolute joy to behold. We’ll never see his like again you know. Never.
Track 9. Pianni by Mara Carlyle.
I first heard this track a couple of weeks ago when Guy Garvey featured it on his BBC 6 music show ‘Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour’ (Sundays 1400-1600 BST). It was a typically lazy Sunday afternoon and as I laid semi-comatose with a belly full of roast dinner, this simple but beautiful piece of music gave me an overwhelming feeling of immense calm and well-being. It’s criminally short however, indeed Garvey mentioned that he played it over and over for a fair few times while looking after his baby boy and never tired of each repeat. I’ve since discovered that it was used as the backing for a commercial for a popular Scandinavian furniture store a couple of years back which is news to me.
Track 10. Sincerely by The Moonglows.
Another week, another Soul Slowie closer. This doo-wop classic reached number one on the Billboard R&B chart and the top 20 of the pop chart in 1954. Managed by legendary DJ Alan Freed who has a co-writing credit here, this was their debut single for the Chess label and became their signature song and biggest hit.
Alright then, that should do you for another week. Hope you enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone who spreads the good word on facebook every week. Your shares are truly appreciated. I know more than anyone that it’s tough to switch people on to new things, but as long as we keep trying, we’re fighting the good fight.
Before I go, we lost another legend this week. Sleep well Tom.x
I’ll hopefully see your lovely faces at the same time and place in seven Earth days.
Until then, Keep on movin’, don’t stop like the hands of time.