Hullo. So, we’re almost halfway through October and speeding towards the second anniversary of NL. It only seems like five minutes since I posted that first clump of twenty tracks that I thought others might dig. We’ve seen some changes since then, including the decision to half the number of picks earlier this year. Still, you’re getting value for money this week as we clock in at just over an hour thanks to the final pick of my Long Goodbye To Leeds feature which is an epic, fourteen minute jazz odyssey.
Paulo’s pick of the week helps elongate this weeks playlist too. My very good friend, bandmate and proud owner of the largest collection of back copies of ‘Whizzer & Chips’ in the west riding has also plumped for a long song. Unusually, he provided his selection a week in advance. My constant moaning must have pricked his conscience.
Shall we get on with it then? What time is it? It’s time for house..
Track 1. Shoreline by Seazoo.
We begin with a fizzing slice of indie pop from this five piece. This brand new track is the second single taken from their debut LP which is due to drop on Thrill Jockey in a few weeks. I note they hail from Wrexham where you may remember I spent an uneventful fortnight last month, however, their sound is a million miles away from that unremarkable town in North Wales and shares some of the psych pop leanings of their fellow countrymen Super Furry Animals as well as American bands such as Grandaddy and Yo La Tengo. Delightful stuff and providing I am still plying my trade in the capital, I shall be making the trip across town to catch them live at the social on Portland Street next Month.
Track 2. Kid by The Pretenders.
You know when you find yourself in front of a stage at a festival with no idea who is coming on next? A lot of the time this is the best way to do things as you can quite often catch an act who by turn surprise and delight. It was Glastonbury 1994 that I found myself at the ‘Other Stage’ waiting for the Manic Street Preachers when Chrissie Hynde and the boys, unexpectedly to me, strode onto the stage and took Worthy Farm by the bullocks. As hit followed hit, I found myself thoroughly enjoying an act I previously had only the slightest of passing interests in. I caught them again at the middle-class latte-fest that is Latitude (never again) some 12 years later and was completely won over yet again. This, their second single which was released in 1979, was a set highlight on both those occasions and has been an earworm for the last couple of days, hence its inclusion this week.
Track 3. Pharaohs by Tears For Fears.
Following on from last weeks pick from Mara Carlyle, here we have another track which featured on Guy Garvey’s excellent Finest Hour show on BBC six music a few weeks back. I’ve always had a soft spot for Tears for Fears, their ambitious, polished pop always seemed out of sync with trends in the eighties and was peppered with intelligence and skill, components missing from most of their contemporaries. This instrumental was the b-side to their 1985 smash ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ and is a slower, largely instrumental variation of the a-side featuring a recording of BBC Radio 4 announcer Brian Perkins reading the Shipping Forecast.
Track 4. When I Grow Too Old To Dream by Jimmy Smith.
We’re a tad instrumental heavy this week, but there’s nothing wrong with that is there?, especially when one of the tracks is this wonderful version of Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II’s evergreen classic. Lifted from Jimmy Smith’s 1963 Blue Note release ‘Back at the Chicken Shack’, it’s his solid organ groove that holds the piece down with superb support from the rest of the quartet which comprises Kenny Burrell on guitar, Donald Bailey behind the kit and a wonderful turn from Stanley Turrentine on tenor sax
Track 5. Cefylau by Catrin Finch and Seckou Keita.
This next selection is another of those tracks that sent me to another place when I heard it on the wireless a few weeks back. Welsh musician Catrin Finch began learning the harp at the age of six and went on to win countless awards as well as an appointment to become the official Harpist to the Prince of Wales, an office reinstated by Prince Charles which had been vacant since the reign of Queen Victoria. This beautiful piece, which translates as ‘Horses’ in English, comes from the 2013 album ‘Clychau Dibon’ a project she undertook with Senegalese Kora player Seckou Keita, their two variations on the stringed instrument complimenting each other perfectly.
Track 6. Final by Wilsen.
This next artist featured on Nobody’s Listening Number 45 way back in September last year. At the time, her long awaited full length album was slated for a release in October but didn’t actually materialise until April this year. As things go it was well worth the wait, a record filled with quiet, restrained songs which allow Tamsin Wilson’s pure, unaffected voice to take centre stage. This track which is taken from that LP titled ‘I Go Missing In My Sleep’ is a perfect example of what to expect should you decide to immerse yourself in the record’s understated beauty.
Track 7. Truth by Kamasi Washington.
Here we are in the present day and my last selection in my Long Goodbye To Leeds feature. A bit premature, as it now looks like we’ll be relocating to the north east in the next few weeks but let’s not get bogged down with technicalities. This track was a ‘Daily Dose’ on the NL facebook page earlier in the year but it’s just too fantastic not to warrant its own slot on the playlist itself. It also ties in nicely with the feature as the artist in question was, to date, the last act I have seen in my adopted city. It was in June this year that I convinced my two very good friends, James and Paul (of pick of the week fame) to have one last hurrah and round off a good ten years of gig going together to catch this weeks cover stars at Leeds stylus. While I was a little disappointed that he didn’t play this opulent, gospel infused opus, the band were simply stunning, a performance that will live long in my memory and a fine coda to what has been some of the best years of my life. I will truly miss West Yorkshire and the opportunities it has afforded to catch world class acts such as Mr Washington and his band.
Track 8. Remember Last time by Avi Buffalo.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
Earlier than usual with his choice, Paul has come up trumps yet again with his pick of the week. Avigdor Benyamin Zahner-Isenberg landed on the scene at the tender age of 19 back in 2010. His self titled debut LP, which he recorded for Seattle based Sub Pop, dropped in the same year and was widely lauded at the time. With good reason too, this prodigy has a natural gift for creating assured, ambitious pieces of perfect pop such as this seven minute jam which graced that wonderful first record. I was lucky enough to catch him at Leeds Brudenell Social club shortly after the record was released and even managed to have a chat with him before he took to the stage. An affable, energetic chap, he was a delight to talk to.
Track 9. Solstice by Brian Bennett.
Bennett is probably best known for his role as drummer for The Shadows but there’s so much more to the musician than a time keeper for Hank Marvin. A prolific composer, he has provided many popular TV theme tunes including music for BBC sports such as the wonderful Rugby Special theme ‘Holy Mackerel’ and BBC Golf’s ‘Chase Side Shoot Up’ as well as various sitcoms including the memorable piece for ‘Robin’s Nest’. This instrumental comes from the 1978 LP ‘Voyage – A Journey Into Discoid Funk’ which pretty much does what it says on the tin.
Track 10. Go On Fool by Marion Black.
For our soul slowie closer this week, we once again dip our toe into the warm waters of one of the Numero groups excellent compilation albums. This 1971 single became a minor hit for Ohio born songwriter Black in 1971, peaking at No.39 on the US Billboard R&B chart. It’s another of those lost classics with a fine turn from the singer, wringing emotion from every phrase with his distinctively deep voice.
That’s your lot for this week. Don’t forget to keep sharing, we had another spike in views last week which pleased me no end, let me tell you.
See you next time for another ten tunes and some waffle.
Until then, save the last dance for me.