Hullo. December already eh? 2017 has fair rattled past if you ask me, it only seems like five minutes ago that I was welcoming you to your new streamlined version of the playlist and here we are with the festive season upon us once again. Blimey.
Ok, what do we have this week on the penultimate regular Nobody’s Listening? All sorts of good stuff is what. Three tracks from this very year are nestled between a superb, little heard song from a glam rock hero and his missus (see photo up there) and a psych-pop oddity from the seventies.
Paul is on the ball this week, submitting his pick with seven days to go. Typical of my very good friend, bandmate and third duke of Wetwang to get his act together when I’m about to pull the plug on this playlist! Cuh!
Alright, breathe and stop, for real, and give it what you got..
Track 1. Come To Europe by Michael Farneti.
Kicking things off this week is a piece of seventies pop majesty courtesy of Floridian Michael Farneti. The interweb comes up short with any real detail on this artist and the LP from which this track is lifted, 1976’s ‘Good Morning Kisses’. I must admit, it was a record that I stumbled upon when I read a review proclaiming it as a ‘true masterpiece of the self-released, self-produced records of the seventies and eighties’ and ‘a visceral experience of such potency’. Well, such hyperbole is impossible to resist isn’t it? The album certainly doesn’t disappoint, choc full of batshit crazy pop but also genuinely touching songwriting (The albums closer ‘The River’ is a thing of real beauty). Imagine if Scott Walker had continued as a pop star and took up residency in Vegas and you’re half way there.
Track 2. Cry Baby by Gloria Jones.
We stay in ’76 for this weeks cover star(s). This track appeared on Jones’ third studio LP ‘Vixen’ which was produced by her partner Marc Bolan and featured no less than seven of his songs including two co-writes with Jones, this being one of them. A T-rex record in all but voice it has the hallmarks of classic Bolan, fuzzy guitar, background strings, a busy bass-line and all with the added bonus of Gloria’s wonderful vocal. It is a superb piece of seventies rock and soul that, for my money, deserves to be as well known as the rest of the pop-pixies canon.
Track 3. I’m A Bigger Badder Bro Than Any Game Of Thrones by The Bongolian.
Ok, next up we have a triptych of tracks which were all released this year beginning with a stand alone track from Nasser Bouzida aka The Bongolian. Released around three weeks back, this continues the feel good vibe of his fifth LP which dropped in early Summer ‘Moog Maximus’ and is a seventies inflected slab of heavy percussion, squelchy synths and funky, proggy Hammond. Move your furniture, roll up the rug, grab something long and fruity, crank the volume and stick two fingers up to these cold December nights by cutting loose to its relentless sunshine groove.
Track 4. Lead The Way by Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
Our second selection from this annum comes from The H.B.E., an eight-piece, Chicago-based brass ensemble consisting of eight sons of the jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran who released their first album in the best part of ten years just last week titled ‘Book Of Sound’. This is the first record they have made since the passing of their father earlier this year and its themes mainly focus on the unknown universe, asking questions of the great beyond while contemplating mortality. This is the first track from that LP, an arpeggio led piece that sets the scene for a disc that has its roots in some of the great Sun Ra’s cosmic jazz.
Track 5. Saptiro by Locust Toybox.
Leeds based David Firth who trades under the moniker Locust Toybox rounds off our trio of recent releases with a track from his latest record which came out just before Halloween. Warm synths and a steady build provide the backbone with Firth layering sounds until its bleak beginnings transmogrify into something more welcoming. As Firth explains..”I really wanted the misty bleakness of Northern England to come across. It’s an exploration of spacious areas, of descending into comforting madness, of being submerged under miles of water, surprised you are still able to breathe.”. Heavy.
Track 6. Goodbye, My Loneliness by Leland.
And so, we leave the current day behind and head back to the seventies where we find one Leland Yoshitsu. A self financed, cape wearing psychedelic warrior, he released his debut LP in 1976 to an uninterested world. As is the case these days, nothing seems to stay unheard forever and his psych-punk weirdness has finally found it’s audience with hipsters desperate to unearth the next big old thing. Having said that, credit must be paid to whichever bearded digger found this buried treasure, it’s marvellous. Check for yourself..
Track 7. If You Gotta Go by The Flying Burrito Brothers.
Taken from 1970’s ‘Burrito Deluxe’ this Dylan cover is a barnstorming effort from the FBB’s. All wrapped up in an economic two minutes, it is up there with my favourite interpretations of his work. As I’ve mentioned in these pages before, I’ve never been fully on board with ‘ol Bob as I’ve always struggled with that voice but there’s no denying he is one of, if not the, most important songwriters of all time with even his most slight and throwaway numbers carrying more weight than a metric tonne of Ed Sheeran’s efforts. Imagine that! A metric tonne of the copper topped, tiny guitar playing loop merchant’s saccharine blandness! Blurgh.
Track 8. Love’s Unkind by Donna Summer.
****PAULO’S PICK OF THE WEEK****
So he’s on time and gone all disco on our collective asses..full of surprises that boy. This reached number three in the U.K. hit parade in ’77 and was another of Ms. Summer’s collaborations with diminutive Italian genius Georgio Moroder and whilst it isn’t as truly groundbreaking as ‘I Feel Love’ or ‘Love To Love You’, it’s still incredibly great fun. Some of you may recall it was uninspiringly covered in the early nineties by Sophie Lawrence, the actor best known for her role as Sid Owen’s sister in miseryfest ‘Eastenders’.
Track 9. ’56 by Derek Gripper.
Derek Gripper’s 2012 LP ‘One Night on Earth’ was recorded in a single all night session and features interpretations of the Malian kora on guitar. It takes some musicianship to reproduce the rhythmic complexity of a 21-string African harp, played by the world’s great virtuosos, on a simple six-string guitar but Gripper pulls it off in spades, retaining the haunting quality of the original compositions. This track, taken from that record, is his cover of Ali Farka Touré’s ’56 and is absolutely stunning
Track 10. Superwoman by The Main Ingredient.
Our soul slowie closer this week is one of six songs either written or co-penned by Stevie Wonder which made an appearance on The Main Ingredient’s 1973 LP ‘Afrodisiac’. This song, which featured on Wonder’s ‘Music Of My Mind’ album from the previous year, marked a departure from Stevie’s classic Motown sound and this version slaps some further gloss on, not least in the marvellous lead vocal courtesy of Cuba Gooding Sr.
And with that, Number 98 draws to a close. Be sure to join us in seven days time for your final regular playlist before we bow out with some style the week after with NL 100.
Until then, I’ll love you ’til Tuesday.