Sunday, 28 July 2013


Ten records that have got the juices flowing this month.

1.  Rev. Sister Mary Nelson – “Judgement” (1927)
Sister Mary’s intense throat shredding growl is offset by the accompaniment of a couple of young whippersnappers keen to warn gamblers, drunkards, liars, adulterers, false pretenders and hypocrites they’d better get ready for judgement day.  

2.  The Bently Boys – “Down On Penny’s Farm” (1929)
I’d always assumed Bob Dylan based his 1961 “Hard Times In New York Town” on Woody Guthrie but the song’s roots can be traced back to at least this recording from 1929, although in his Anthology of American Folk Music Harry Smith wrote “Down On Penny’s Farm” was a regionalized recasting of an even earlier song, “Hard Times”.    

3.  Mello Souls – “We Can Make It” (1966)
Somebody with £12,913 burning a hole in their Oxford bags won this at auction this month. It’s a pretty good record. 

4.  Willie Hutch – “I Can’t Get Enough” (1966)
If anyone asks for an example of a Northern Soul thumper produce this exhibit. All the classic ingredients delivered with a punch.  

5.  Elvin Jones and Richard Davis – “Raunchy Rita” (1967)
This month’s token jazz entry comes from drum and bass Jones and Davis’s Heavy Sounds LP and if I could find more smokin' stuff like this there’d be more; exactly how I like it. The album is also notable for including the only version of “Summertime” worth having.  

6.  Sandie Shaw – “Frank Mills” (1969)
Some of Sandie’s vocals on her early records could shatter crockery so it’s nice to hear her soft delivery on this from the musical Hair.

7.  Tommy James and the Shondells – “Crystal Blue Persuasion” (1969)
Must be honest and say I heard this in Season 5 of Breaking Bad as the main characters cooked their latest batch of crystal meth. Whether the song’s tranquil mood captures that of a crystal meth high I couldn’t possibly say.

8.  Raw Spitt – “I Dig Black Girls”  (1970)
“If you had a choice of colors, which one would you choose, my brothers?” asked Curtis Mayfield. Raw Spitt, aka Charlie Whitehead, knew (or rather Swamp Dogg who wrote it did).

9.  Chas & Dave – “Punchy and the Willer Warbler” (1977)
Not a sideboard, beer, rabbit or snooker table in sight. It’s quite a revelation to hear their earlier records when they sounded akin to a North London version of The Band.

10.  Dolly Mixture – “Everything and More” (1982)
The Scared To Get Happy 5-CD indiepop collection is so packed it’ll take a long time to digest properly so this is a fairly arbitrary pick but a joyous bell-chiming one.

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