Friday, 23 January 2015

James Bay - Scars

Joe writes: This is the first James Bay track I've really liked, but I do really like it.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Emmy The Great - Swimming Pool

Joe writes: Someone on YouTube described this as Lana Del Rey without the artifice which seems accurate.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Jeff Buckley - Mama You Been On My Mind

Joe writes: Lapsley did the bedtime mix on Annie Mac's Radio 1 show last night including Jeff Buckley's cover of this early Dylan break up song:

Jeff Buckley was a brilliant interpreter of other people's songs. He needed nothing more than a guitar and vocal to elevate them into something magical (he reminds me of Eva Cassidy in this respect).

I've just added this to my Spotify playlist of favourite Dylan songs:

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Ona Watson - Take This Job And Shove It

Joe writes: I heard this on Cerys Matthew's excellent 6 Music show. She prefaced it by saying that a large proportion of people who quit their jobs do so in January. It's a 1978 cover of a song by David Allen Coe. It wasn't a hit and Ona doesn't appear to have recorded again, but he's still performing in Birmingham, Alabama. The track is hard to find but it has been compiled by the excellent Tony Rounce on the album Cold Cold Heart: Where Country Meets Soul volume 3, which is available here.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Bob Seger inspired Prince to write Purple Rain this article explains (it also explains a lot of other fascinating stuff about Purple Rain).

Joe writes: So here are my two favourite Bob Seger songs.

We've Got Tonight - you can hear how this might have inspired Purple Rain:

and Still The Same, which my dad used to sing all through my childhood, but didn't own, so I didn't hear the Bob Seger version of it until years later:

and here's Purple Rain which is even better than the best of Bob Seger:

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Dion and the Belmonts - Where or When

Phil writes: One of my all-time favourite songs by a singer I like a lot.  Released in 1959, it's very much a performance of its time but it's no wonder that it was his, and their, greatest hit:

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Hot Chocolate - You Sexy Thing

Joe writes: Iggy Pop just played this on 6 Music (along with Alfie by Cilla Black). Sometimes hearing a track in an unexpected context makes me realise how brilliant it is. The backing track is super catchy - classic Mickie Most - but what really makes it stand out is Errol Brown's unbelievably passionate vocal.

Like Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive, this started life as a B side and ended up being Hot Chocolate's (and, arguably, Mickie Most's) greatest hit.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

TQ - Westside

Joe writes: I heard Westside by TQ on 1xtra recently. It still sounds great. This kind of melodic rap/R&B hybrid was never cool even when it was huge, and seems to have disappeared now, although I guess you could say there's a hint of it in Drake's music.

See also Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis - Baby Bye Bye

Joe writes: Is this ray of sunshine a cover? I do hope not - I'd be really impressed if it's not.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The Best of The Crimea and The Crocketts

Joe writes: The Crocketts built a dedicated live following but there was something slightly comedic about them (not least their name, as their singer was called Davey), which I felt held them back. But they did have one wonderful song, Mrs Playing Dead. Its opening lines are almost perfect: "It's not every afternoon that you walk into a bar" (I always thought it should be "a room") "and I look at a woman and I know I'm gonna love her all of my life".

Next came The Crimea, who featured two members of The Crocketts - singer and songwriter Davey Macmanus and drummer Owen Hopkin. They were a serious band with a serious name which was partly a reaction to the comedic element I mentioned earlier. I stumbled across them by chance at In The City (a now-defunct music industry conference which gave many bands early opportunities). Their gig was shambolic but I thought songs like Baby Boom and Bombay Sapphire Coma were literate yet anthemic, with the most wonderful extended melodies, and lyrics that pinpointed the male psyche like no-one else. They became the first signing to my publishing company and the first band I worked closely with.

There was a time when every relevant Radio 1 specialist DJ was a fan of theirs, including John Peel and Zane Lowe. Then they signed to Warner Bros US and disappeared to the US to remake their album (which, in retrospect, was unnecessary). By the time they returned home, their moment at Radio 1 had passed, never to return.

After leaving Warner Bros, they made headlines around the world by giving their second album away for free online, but they didn't manage to capitalise on that moment in the spotlight, nor on a TV ad for the most commercial track on that album, Loop The Loop.

Like The Crocketts, they built a loyal fanbase without truly breaking, and I'm still hurting about that, but at least they left behind some wonderful, unique music:

There's one Crimea song you should hear that isn't on Spotify et al - Six Shoulders Six Stone, wherein Davey's girlfriend dies from anorexia. It's hard for me to be objective about The Crimea so I will you leave you to decide whether this is brilliant or uncomfortable or both. It's definitely brave:

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Best of Laura Marling

Joe writes: I know lots of people love Laura Marling's debut album but I didn't get it at the time and, as you'll guess from this playlist, I still don't. But from the second album onwards, she became one of my favourite artists. For me she just gets better and better. She's one of very few contemporary artists who I feel could have stood shoulder to shoulder with the folk rock greats of the early seventies.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Greywind - Afterthoughts

Joe writes: Greywind are an Irish rock band and their tune Afterthoughts is a total standout for me. The vocal really cuts through, the song is good, and the video shows them on the cusp between the endearing enthusiasm of a new band of amateurs and a group with worldwide potential.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Bobby Charles - Small Town Talk

Joe writes: I'd never heard Small Town Talk until this year and now I've heard it twice, most recently chosen by Baxter Dury when he was a guest on my new favourite radio show - Cerys Matthews on 6 Music.

The whistle on the intro, the way the vocal is slightly behind the vocal, the horns, the laid back feel throughout... Sadly, they don't make them like this anymore.

You can hear that Baxter has taken some inspiration from Small Town Talk and he said his dad Ian was a big fan too.

Rick Danko from The Band wrote the song with Bobby, who appeared at The Band's Last Waltz concert.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cris Cab - When We Were Young (and Mika and Whipping Boy)

Joe writes: Listening to When We Were Young for the first time was a nerve wracking experience - would it be as brilliant as it promised from the start? They should have used more of the Mr Wendal vocal part that comes in at 47 seconds, but there are so many great parts. Almost brilliant.  

This isn't on Cris Cab's debut album but it is on an early EP and it's available for download on his Facebook.

The guitar riff reminds me of my favourite Mika track. I could never understand why this wasn't huge; Mika was never huge again.

And I couldn't post a song called When We Were Young without remembering another track that should have been much bigger - When We Were Young by Whipping Boy.

Oh and here's Mr Wendall:

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Flyte - Light Me Up

Joe writes: I really like Flyte and their singles are getting better and better. This one reminds me of Avalon-era Roxy Music.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Duncan Browne - Journey

Joe writes: I heard this track for the first time recently on Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie's excellent BBC 6 Music show. It reached no. 23 in the UK charts in 1972 on the RAK label - another sad reminder that the moderate hits of that era would be amongst the best releases of this era.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Cousin Cole's re-edit of Marcia Griffiths - Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover)

Joe writes: I used to think Everywhere was uncoverable because the brilliance of the Fleetwood Mac version owes a lot to Christine McVie's vocal. I take it back - Marcia Griffiths' reggae cover is great - thanks to Cousin Cole for bring it back to life.

Get more Cousin Cole remixes at Legitmix