It's the end of July. It's been a straight month of 90-100 degree days here in Lower Binfield, Flatland and it's made me lazy. I hate Summer, always have. I don't look good in shorts and I hate having to wear them in public, but when it's 98 degrees out who wants to wear tapered ankle swingers? Not me. Bring on the cold so I can get out my Pringle sweaters, my suede jacket, my porkpie collection, my scarves, my dufflecoat and my wool patterned trou! But wait we're here to chat music , not weather. Appylodges......
1. HERBIE HANCOCK-"Speak Like A Child"
LOVE, love, love this number. It's from an unscripted moment from an unwritten film in my mind set on a hot sweaty Summer's day in NYC in the late 1960's encapsulated for 7 minutes and 52 seconds. It's mellow, not too busy and despite it's time period not polluted by the funkiness that put me off most post '66 jazz. Paul Weller must've liked it as he borrowed it's title for his synth soul band's debut release.
2. WAYNE FONTANA-Waiting For A Break In The Clouds
I've been digging a lot of Wayne Fontana solo (post Mindbenders) stuff I'm coming across on YouTube (best new place to get free music) and this one sticks in my craw the most. Poor Wayne sorta faded away after two solo hits, but this B-side is perfectly in the U.K. 60's pop-psych that I so adore.
3. SMOKEY ROBINSON & THE MIRACLES-Come Round Here (I'm The One You Need)
A brilliant bit of Motown magnum opus style with no expense spared on the production, delivery etc. Motown's gotten a bad shake because of all the tracks you've heard one too many times but past those 12 songs you never need to hear again there's gems like this. I like soul music. Make mine Motown.
4. THE TEARDROP EXPLODES-"Reward"
Back in 1980 when I was a young budding mod I liked a lot of music, not just The Jam and the Specials and from the moment I heard this on the radio on WNEW's "Things From England" (wedged in between The Jam and XTC I believe) I loved it. You'd think with my distaste for a lot of 80's music and 80's production I wouldn't be able to like a lot of it now, but Julian Cope and Co. had it down. Maybe it's the punchy horns on this or the urgency of it all, but you've got to admit this was and still is an amazing record.
5. DERRICK HARRIOTT-"Tang Tang Festival Song"
This my friends is a wonderful bit of proto-rocksteady with amazing horns and that murky bass/keyboards mix before it got slowed down and mutated into something white college students could blast while smoking too much reefer. An Island records 45 from '68 that my friend Jennie Wasserman played me on a Derrick Harriott compilation album.
6. HAMILTON & THE MOVEMENT-"I'm Not The Marrying Kind"
This was another one of those amazing mondo obscuro U.K. 60's bands Bill Wyman produced, gave songs to, managed etc (see The End, Moon's Train etc). Billy wrote and produced this one and given his penchant for shagging everything that moved one can't help but think this was a none too subtle message to pass on to Mrs. Wyman instead of fessing up. It's a perfect slice of soulful British r&b, punctuated by great horns and a lead singer with an amazingly soulful voice. Though one cringes when imagining a '67 Stones version with Mr. Drawl himself, Mick Jagger attempting the lead vocals.
7. LOS SHAKERS-"Espero Que Les Guste No.42"
Uruguay's Shakers will go down in history for their classic "Break It All" with their "Hard Day's Night' posturing and even a drummer with a big honker (and their LP which even got a release here in the States). But after "Revolver" hit things were never the same anywhere no matter what country you were from. Backwards tapes, rushes of harmonies, off beat drum rolls, you name it this number has it. I'll take this any day of any of that over hyped Tropicalia stuff. This was unearthed for the world on the CD compilation "Pepperisms-Around The World", a nice look at how the Fabs took acid and how everything after "Help" changed the face of 60's music all over the world.
8. GEORGIE FAME -"Blossom"
Georgie Fame's response to Blossom Dearie's tribute to him "Sweet Georgie Fame", it's a pretty straight forward jazz number with some great melodies and licks. My only complaint is that his voice is run through a Leslie making it sound more like The Moody Blue's "Dear Diary" than a straight ahead jazz record, which it is in every other respect. One of Georgie's finest compositions!
9. THE JAM-"Boy About Town"
Sharp crisp little Rickenbacker riffs, horns, massive key changes, a driving beat. Man in 1980 The Jam had it down, they'd gotten away from the multi-layers of guitar overdubs that threatened to turn LP's like "Setting Sons" into Boston and were rediscovering minimalism and added some horns to fatten that up a bit. "Sound Affects" was the first Jam LP I bought hot off the presses and I often refer to it as their "Revolver" (with all it's backwards bits, horns etc it WAS!), sadly the gig was up and Weller got tired of being a spokesman for 14 year old's like me.
10. THE HOLLIES-"Tomorrow When It Comes"
Status Quo's "Pictures Of Matchstick Men" affected British 60's music just about as much as Procol Harum's Bach infused "A Whiter Shade Of Pale" did a year earlier. The Hollies, never one to miss a good trend duly went off and wrote their own wah-wah psychedelic pop master piece "Tomorrow When It Comes" utilizing the same technique. Sadly it never saw the light of day till the 90's. In the 90's Britain's Aardvarks (also never ones to miss a lick nicking) took the riff from this and re-wrote it as "Till The Morning Comes".
11. (one extra) KING PLEASURE-"Moody's Mood For Love"
I can never turn down King Pleasure, his vocalese perfection is the epitome of cool. Somethings are left brief and sweet. Till next month......