Saturday, 18 April 2009


April, come she will. Some songs.

1. Muddy Waters – “Diamonds At Your Feet” (1956)
She’s got to take sick and die one of these days/ All the medicine I can buy, and all the doctors she can hire/ She’ got to take sick and die one of these days/ When she dead I’m gonna bury her very deep/ I’m gonna bury her very deep, rubies and diamonds around her feet”. Muddy sounds suspiciously upbeat about the prospect.

2. Arthur Alexander – “Go Home Girl” (1962)
After knocking off his best mate’s girl, Arthur suddenly has an attack of the conscience and tells her to go on home. The sly old fox.

3. Ornette Coleman – “Eventually” (1959)
From the LP The Shape Of Jazz To Come, “Eventually” is notable for a three note motif that Coleman employs ten times during his solo. You’re right – I nicked that from the sleeve notes.

4. Banny Price – “You Love Me Pretty Baby” (1965)
Taken about four, five, years to nab a copy of this brilliant bluesy dancer since hearing Roger Banks spin it at the Rocket. What strikes me now is how loaded everyone sounds on it. Price can barely slur the words out, the brass is woozy and wobbly, and when the end is in sight (after a whole two minutes) they all lose whatever concentration they had in the first place.

5. Chris Clark – “Don’t Be Too Long” (1965)
Motown recorded the backing track in 1962 and it sat there for over three years until Clark added her sumptuous, smoldering vocals. Deserved more than the flip side it eventually became (of “Do Right Baby, Do Right”).

6. The Isley Brothers – “This Old Heart Of Mine” (1966)
Talking of Motown, doubt it’s escaped your attention that 2009 is their 50th Anniversary, and all and sundry are being asked what their favourite track is. I must’ve been out when they called, so I’ll tell you anyway - it’s this. Brenda Holloway’s “Starting The Hurt All Over Again” is in second place and maybe Kim Weston’s “Helpless” in third.

7. Patti Smith Group – “Rock N Roll Nigger” (1978)
Never quite “got” Patti Smith as much as I thought I should, but “Rock N Roll Nigger” turns up the heat to a riotous inferno. Honorable mention to Birdland for their 1991 version (which is the one I heard first and occasionally appropriated for the Electric Fayre in 1996).

8. Antony and The Johnsons – “Kiss My Name” (2009)
There’s nothing Mrs Monkey enjoys more than me sticking on Antony and The Johnsons and warbling along at full volume. Loves it she does, loves it.

9. The Rakes – “1989” (2009)
Although a bit Television and a small part Joy Division, the jagged, all-elbows sound of The Rakes comes equipped with dollops of wry observational humour serious lacking in those other miserable bastards. They’ll never match the perfection of “22 Grand Job” but, three albums in, “1989” is the closest they’ve come.

10. The Low Anthem – “Home I’ll Never Be” (2009)
Oh My God, Charles Darwin starts like Fleet Foxes, morphs into Tom Waits, and by the time it gets to track four it’s this moonshine swilling, pistol whipping, mule scaring, railroad rave-up. Yee-fucking-har.

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