Tuesday 23 June 2015

En Vacances

There will not be a lot to see here for the next couple of weeks as we are off on the long drive to Portsmouth tomorrow where we will catch the ferry and sometime late Thursday afternoon we will reach the lovely house in the picture where we will indulge in eating too much bread, cheese and just the right amount of wine.

Here is one of my favourite cover versions.

Lone Justice - Sweet Jane

Monday 22 June 2015

My Northern Soul Top 50, 10 - 1

I have had a bit of a dilemma regarding the last two posts in this series. You see I go on holiday on Wednesday and don't intend to line up any posts for when I'm away so you would have had to wait a further week for the Top 5 if I had proceeded as planned. I realise that this would not have been the worst hardship in the world but I know that two people are waiting until all the tracks are posted before listening to any of them and I know that if that was me I would have been mightily pissed off having to wait another week, so I decided to just post the ten tracks today.

10. Bobby Kline - Say Something Nice To Me.

Another track that oozes pure class and is probably worth the £1000 + price tag for an original, there is a copy on Discogs at present priced £1888.15. Regarded as too slow during the 70s, the merits of the record have only been realised over the past decade on the scene. I know nothing about the artist but the label the record was released on MB,  was a local label out of Queens,  New York so it wouldn't be unrealistic to think that Mr Kline was a native New Yorker.

9. Rita And The Tiaras - Gone With The Wind Is My Love

I think that Motownesque is the only word to describe this record which has inveigled it's self into my affections over the past few years prior to that I thought that it was an alright tune but the more I played it the more it grew on me and these days it gets an airing at least one a month.

8. Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)

So everybody knows the story behind this record, the most expensive single in the rare soul scene and probably the rarest with definitely two copies but maybe as many as five copies in existence? No, well there is a brief history here. What makes it so special, you may ask and I am not sure as it's ubiquity recently should mean that every northern soulie should be utterly sick of it, it seems to be on every cheap compilation,  featured on an advert for fried chicken not that long ago and is wheeled out as the example every time northern soul is discussed,  yet still when this record is played at any soul night  you are guaranteed that the floor will be filled in seconds and everybody will be grinning like an idiot and singing along. It is such an utterly joyous track

7. Eloise Laws - Love Factory

This is another song that if you didn't know better, you would believe was released on Motown. Not surprising really as it was penned by Holland-Dozier-Holland and released on their Music Merchant label in 1973 and although it got extensive radio play failed to hit the charts. Once again that man Ian Levine found a gem and brought it back to the UK where it has been a favourite on the scene ever since. Another of the tracks included on that Inferno album that got me into this music in the first place.

6. Don Thomas - Come On Train

Come On Train too could have been ruined by it's use in an advert in either 2008 or 2009 but again sheer quality saves the day, we shall draw a veil over the remix that was released on the back of that ad. For me there is something incredibly sexy about this track, you can hear the expectation in the vocal delivery as Thomas sings about being reunited with the love of his life after a long time apart, the insistent backing vocals and soaring strings helping to create the atmosphere and then it just finishes!

5. Otis Smith - Let Her Go

I'm not quite sure what it is about Let Her Go that I love, I can't pinpoint what it is about this rather understated groove that floats my boat but it does and gets regular turntable space in this house.

4. Moses Smith - The Girl Across The Street

From one Smith to another. Moses Smith this time with a song whose lyrics most of us can relate to, the mysterious unattainable girl that you want to be the other half of. The lyrics are great,  the beat is just right for dancing and Moses Smith's vocal is just about perfect. I find it impossible to fathom why a record of this quality was not a hit.

3. Ruby Andrews - Just Loving You

Just sublime!

2. Ace Spectrum - Don't Send Nobody Else

The song that broke the dancefloor on the opening night of the Togetherness soul weekender in Fleetwood in October 2002. When this record was put on there was such a rush onto the floor from all sides that the purpose built dance floor came apart and more than a few frustrated dancers had to wait an hour or two until the hardwood floor was put back together again. it is quite a sight to see a couple of hundred people dancing, spinning and clapping along to this, let's face it disco beat. The track was a minor hit when released in 1975. There are a few other versions of this Don't Send Nobody Else out there by Millie Jackson amongst others but none comes close to this.

1. Jackie Wilson - Because of You

From the moment I heard this track it became the greatest northern track ever in my eyes and I haven't heard anything since that has even had me think twice about it's position. Everything about it is just so damned good, the intro,  the vocal performance,  the orchestration even the ending. Jackie Wilson's story is such a tragic one, he was only forty one when had the heart attack which resulted in the comatose state he would remain in until his death 8 years later. How much more beautiful music would he have been capable of that tragedy had not happened?

Sunday 21 June 2015

Mellow Sunday

Here's another track from the SlowClub RSD 15 release of cover versions. I know that Echorich is particularly fond of this one.

Slow Club - Seasons (Waiting On You)

Friday 19 June 2015

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

I have been trying to get myself in holiday mode as we are off en vacances from next Wednesday but what with work and the weather here being positively autumnal apart from a few days last week when it was great, it has been a hard job. So I thought a wee bit of summery dance music may be the order of the day and plumped for a bit of Haim remixed by Duke Dumont from a couple of years back. And it was doing the trick until it had me reaching for an old Scottish Rave tune from when I was still a lad without any responsibilities. I was never a big fan of the Rave scene but every now and again a track did appeal to me and Energy Rush was one of those.

Is it just me or are there some similarities with these tracks?

Have a good weekend people.

Haim - Falling (Duke Dumont remix)

Suburban Delay - Energy Rush

Thursday 18 June 2015

Sometimes All You Need Is . . .

. . . something penned by "the boy Gedge". Further explanation is superfluous.

The Wedding Present - Take Me

Wednesday 17 June 2015

You Got To Go Bother The Man

Detroit Red was the nickname that El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, better known as Malcom X acquired when he was a hustler on the streets of Harlem,. A profession that led him to prison where he re-educated himself and became the political activist that he is remembered as these days.

This record was released by Fold to highlight the brutality that young black men in the USA still face at the hands of what appears to be an "institutionally racist" police and criminal justice system 50 years after the death of Malcolm X. In some parts of America things seem to have regressed rather than improved.

This track is not for download as a few copies of the very limited single are still available here and  the track is also available for  download at a very reasonable price of £0.59. The other side of the single is pretty damned good as well.

Fold - Detroit Red

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Real Love

I have posted Drizabone  here previously with the single Pressure which incidentally I see listed at seventy odd quid on Discogs, surely it can't be that rare? But I digress, Real Love was the single that preceeded Pressure, Released in 1991, I am not sure why the three year hiatus between singles. It is very easy to place this single at the beginning of the 90s  as it is very much of it's time not to say that it is dated, sounds good to these ears at least. I am not known for my love or knowledge of "modern" soul but I do like a bit of it now and again.

Drizabone - Real Love

Monday 15 June 2015

My Northern Soul Top 50, 15 - 11

The last fifteen and we are in "classic", some may say obvious,  territory now.

15. Sissie Houston - Bring Him Back

A storming tune from 1966. Strangely this Doc Pomus song that did absolutely nothing was covered twice within a year of it's release. It just goes to show that although the general public had no taste both Dusty Springfield and Stella Starr recognised a belter when they heard it. It also goes without saying that neither are a patch on Whitney's mom's original.

14. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons - The Night

I'm sure that Berry Gordy had high hopes for the New Jersey quintet when he signed them to the Motown subsidiary Mowest in the early 70s. Sadly it wasn't a very rewarding period for either party. it did however produce this dark track from 1972's Chameleon album that was to be released as a single in the US but withdrawn after the promotional copies were sent out with the artist printed as just Franki Valli on the records. It did reach the lower end of the charts in the UK and was "big in Wigan" as they say.

13. The Isley Brothers - My Love Is Your Love (Forever)

This track was another stupidly good Motown recorded track that languished on the shelves for years before being released on a Netherlands only Music For Pleasure compilation album where it was found by some crate digger or other. It has been popular on the scene in recent years. This lovely Stevie Wonder penned song was released at the turn of the century on the Tamla Motown Connoisseurs cd and a couple of years ago pressed on 7" as part of the Motown Sound Volume1 box set, where my copy comes from now, replacing the dodgy white label pressing I had prior to this.

12. The Poets - She Blew A Good Thing

I have loved this track ever since I first heard it. Another one of those tracks that make me shiver and give me goosebumps,  the lead vocal and the harmonies are just sublime and that bit where Ronnie Lewis sings "a would have went to a jeweller's and bought her a ring" gets me every time.

11. Madeline Bell - Picture Me Gone

Another track from the Scooter Club Do's . Picture me gone was the flip side of I'm Gonna Make \You Love Me which was a hit for the former Blue Mink vocalist in 1967. The song was originally recorded the previous year by Evie Sands and is probably a lot of people's favourite version of the tune but for me this version is the one.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Mellow Sunday

In honour of Van the man's acceptance to be part of the establishment here is a track from the album that has taken the place of Astral Weeks as my favourite album of his over the past few months. Sadly no download as posting something by Morrison always gets a take down notice so you will have to put up with a Youtube clip.

Friday 12 June 2015

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

It was the yearly celebration of feudalism here in Lanark yesterday and the weather was absolutely glorious as it was on Wednesday when I was driving home from Manchester and the ipod selected this track which is very apt and I haven't been able to get out of my head ever since. With vocals from Kate Holmes, Alan McGee's better half.

Have a good weekend people.

Drum Club - Follow The Sun

Thursday 11 June 2015

Kid Wave

In a perfect world Kid Wave's debut album would be huge and would be the soundtrack to your summer. They won't but it might just might,  if you invest your hard earned pennies on Wonderlust. Sure it harks back to the late 80s/early 90s when bands were more interested in staring at their Chuck Taylors than engaging with the audience but that is no bad thing when the sound is this good.

No download but this video is one of the tracks that was on the first ep Gloom and is also available on the album. I wish I could still go a skateboard.

Wednesday 10 June 2015

John Barleycorn, Nicotine and the Temptations of Eve

A couple of Fridays ago I posted Wear Your Love Like Heaven which sampled Let It Out by the Hombres. Not to be predictable or anything but here is that original single crackles and all. Released in 1967 the tune has been used to flog a few things over the years and been covered by the likes of the extremely unsavoury Jonathan King and John Mellencamp. The lead singer, B.B. Cunningham Jnr who was gunned down in 2012 while employed as a security guard, was the brother of Box Tops bass guitarist and keyboard player Bill Cunningham.

The Hombres - Let It Out

Link now sorted.

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Mr Rich Man (Version)

I haven't posted any reggae here for a long time. Here is a track the original of which was on the 1977 album Superstar which was produced by Bunny Lee and mixed by King Tubby. Here Tubby's protege Prince Jammy takes the controls and dubs it up in fine style.

If you are interested in the evolution of Jamaican music may I recommend the excellent Bass Culture by Lloyd Bradley which can be heavy going but well worth sticking with.

Leroy Smart - Mr Rich Man (version)

Monday 8 June 2015

My Northern Soul Top 50, 20 -16

We're into the top twenty now and these tracks will probably be better known to most than some of the ones in the previous sections of the run down as most of these are staples on the scene.

20. Melba Moore - The Magic Touch

This is another of those tracks that are synonymous to me with the "function suite" of pubs in central Scotland in the late 80s.  The Magic Touch was an unreleased master from 1967  and the original version of the song recorded by the Bobby Fuller Four. It amazes me that some inept record executive could deem this unworthy of release. Thank god for Ady Croasdell who resurrected this and also all of the other crate diggers who have found tracks. Moore was just fifteen when she recorded this by the way!

19. Gene Chandler - There Was A Time.

Gene Chandler manages to out do Soul Brother #1 on this,  for me the Duke's best performance on vinyl from 1968. A furiously paced record that like Paul Mason I have never successfully been able to follow on the dance floor. About as far removed from The Duke Of Earl as it's possible to get.

18. Al Wilson - The Snake

The smell of two stroke is strong on this release as well. Oscar Brown Jnr's tell of a "silly woman" and a snake is probably Ls favourite soul track and one that was popular with the members of the LSC (Lanarkshire Scooter Club) back in the day. I love the sound of the guitar in this track and also Wilson's vocal delivery. A classic.

17. Margie Joseph - One More Chance.

This one just oozes class, that brass! One More Chance was produced for Stax offshoot Jolt by Willie Tee in 1969 but again failed to set the heather on fire. Joseph went on to have a fairly successful career in the 70s  and then giving up music but returned to recording with a gospel album in 2006.

16. The Carstairs - It Really Hurts Me Girl.

From the group with the same name as the Lanarkshire village where the State Penitentiary and the East coast/West Coast  junction for trains from England are located. This was practically a new release when Ian Levine heard it on a radio station when on holiday in Miami. Of course he sought out the record brought it back to the UK played it at the Mecca and the rest is history. This is the tune that ushered in a new era in northern soul with the emphasis changing from the stompers to a more subtle sound. Another of the tracks from that Inferno album.

Sunday 7 June 2015

Mellow Sunday

I really do love Le Thug. If you don't own anything by this band you should head over to Song By Toad records here and order the brilliant Place IS ep, lovely clear vinyl for those of you who have a record player and for those who just want to have a lovely piece of art to display or keep somewhere as it comes with a download code as well, unlike the latest Fall vinyl. This track is from their first digital only ep, Ripping, the rest of which can be purchased here . I live in hope of a vinyl release of Swam, easily the best tune of the last few years.

Le Thug - Staff Room

Friday 5 June 2015

It's Friday . . . Let's Dance

I'm just back from a couple of days in Luton which is always nice and have had no time to think about a Friday posting, So how about a bit of cheesy Italohouse from back in 1990. I actually quite like this although the "to the right. . . to the left" bit is totally unnecessary and annoying.

Have a good weekend people

Dj H featuring Stefy - Think About 

Thursday 4 June 2015

The Hit Parade

Do you remember Unkle Bob?

No, neither did I until trying to clear up my music library on the new laptop. I listened to the album that I have, Sugar and Spite, possibly a reason why I bought the album in the first place, it was either that or I had read a review of the Glasgow band's debut in some music magazine and bought the cd on the strength of that. Anyway it sort of washed over me it was all too samey. Very well crafted songs but it just lacked an edge apart from the track that was lifted as the first single for the album, The Hit Parade which really is very good. Come to think about it, I probably heard this and then bought the album.

Unkle Bob - The Hit Parade

Wednesday 3 June 2015

We All Do What We Have To Do

Where Were You Twenty Five Years Ago Today?

A few weeks ago Stiff and I were reminiscing about the Big Day, 3rd June 1990,  when the streets of the best city in  the world were filled with between 250 000 and half a million people all intent on hearing some of the best and worst of Scottish music for free and this being Glasgow after all,  more importantly having a party.

We spent a large majority of the day as I've mentioned before at Customhouse Quay listening to the likes of Billy Bragg, Natalie Merchant and Michael Stipe. But we did wander around the city, leaving the scooters parked up as the place was hoaching with police as you would expect and I illegally had my girlfriend on the back of the P2. The streets were absolutely mobbed and trying to get to George Square was a feat in itself but once we were there, jesus, we realised the scale of the event. My memory is quite hazy of who we saw there but what does vividly stick in my mind was hearing, as seeing the Kevin McDermott Orchestra, was not an option,  play Mother Nature's Kitchen, the title track to one of the most underrated and criminally ignored albums of the late 80s and a track that just summed up the day to perfection.

I am not sure that we realised what was going on that day as there are virtually no pictures on the web that I can find and hardly any accounts outwith the Scottish press of the event even happening. Sure as shit had there been any violence which is the stereotypical view of the city it would have been all over the media. For those of you who were not there and were not aware that it even happened here's a link to an article from the Daily Record,  not at the time but twenty years later. it's all I can find as nobody so far has been arsed to do a Wiki page. Typical Glasgow, if it had happened in Manchester there would have been t-shirts, books, TV plays and probably moody black and white films detailing it all in minute detail but as it was Glasgow most people's memory is probably a bit hazy as I suspect that there weren't many Haddow's offies with much in the way of supplies the following morning. Me and Stiff, well,  we were sober.

See culture, we had it in buckloads in 1990.

Kevin McDermott Orchestra - Mother Nature's Kitchen

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Falling From Grace

After leaving her position as the cello player and singer with Belle and Sebastian and prior to being the Nancy Sinatra to Mark Lanegan's Lee Hazelwood, Isobel Campbell released a couple of albums as the Gentle Waves. I'm not sure how the first one, The Green Fields of Foreverland sounds but the second album Swansong For You is full of delicate 60s inspired indiepop, which could I suppose be described as "twee as fuck". Fallen From Grace was the single released from the second album back in 2000. It conjures up black and white images of men in sharp three button suits and women with bobbed hair and mini skirts.

Gentle Waves - Falling From Grace

Monday 1 June 2015

My Northern Soul Top 50, 25 - 21

More than half way through this now and I'm already thinking that there are tracks that I have forgotten about that should be in this run down but I am at a loss as to any that I now feel no longer warrant a place in the fifty.

25. Human Beinz - Nobody But Me

Surely that wouldn't be the garage rock band from Youngstown, Ohio, the Human Beinz? Yes it is. Then why you may be wondering are they included in a soul run down? Well, northern soul is a broad church with room for many different styles of music and besides I defy anybody at a soul night to not sprint onto the dance floor when you hear the opening bars of this major label US hit from 1968.

24. Frank Beverly and The Butlers - If That's What You Wanted.

I am really surprised at the placing of this track at number twenty four as if somebody had put me on the spot and asked me to name some of my favourite soul songs before I started this endevour this would have been one of the first tracks I would have mentioned as my relationship with this track goes back a long way . This was also on that first Inferno compilation that I bought that was so influential in the shaping of my musical listening and collecting habits. I think that Beverly has a great voice. My copy is the Inferno released 7" that came out in 1979. I love clear vinyl it looks great but here it just looks totally incongruous which is probably why subconsciously this doesn't grace my turntable as often as it should.

23. Dee Dee Sharp - What Kind of Lady

The smell of two-stroke and the very tangible threat of violence, the memories of scooter club do's in the back room of dodgy pubs in Lanarkshire and other parts of Scotland come rushing back when I play this record more than any others however I am not sure that this was played any more than say The Magic Touch or The Snake . Written by Gamble and Huff and sung by the former Mrs Gamble this track has everything a pounding beat a nagging piano line and incredible vocals. Quality soul.

22. Connie Clark - My Sugar Baby

For years it was thought that Connie Clark was in fact Chris Clark, the first white woman on Motown and mistress of Berry Gordy but in fact she was a not very famous ex opera singer. The track was written and produced by the legendary Frank Wilson and like many of his songs it has a joyous feel about it, No moaning here about useless cheating men just an out and out love song proclaiming one person's desire for another. Frank Wilson recorded a version of this song himself which languished in the vaults at Motown until exhumed and released on the first Cellar Full of Motown cds in 2002.

21. Sam Williams - Love Slipped Through My Fingers

Up until five minutes ago I had the versions by Sam Williams and The Ohio Players sharing the number twenty one spot, however after playing both for the 5th time today I have finally come down in favour of the Williams version, it's just that little bit better. From the piano intro, the brass stabs and then that vocal and the choral backing vocals,  it's shivers down the spine from start to finish. I love it ! The whole performance just stays the right side of melodrama. One of those tracks that sound best in a huge hall filled with people dancing and enjoying themselves.