1. Yusef Lateef – “Psychicemotus” (1965)
Most hipsters were still a couple of years away from psyching everything in sight but by 1965 saxophonist and flautist Lateef had been expanding minds for years with his Eastern infused jazz. I’ve only recently scratched the surface (there’s much digging to be done in Lateef’s vast catalogue) but the few albums I’ve got - Eastern Sounds (1961), Psychicemotus (1965) and Yusef Lateef’ Detroit (1968) - are all different but all great. This track, with its bamboo flutes and sparse complex rhythms, is Moondogtastic.
2. The Turtles – “Outside Chance” (1966)
Saturday mornings always begin with Brian Matthew’s Sounds of the 60s show on Radio 2. Yesterday he played this fantastic folk-punker.
3. Dick Wagner and the Frosts – “Sunshine” (1967)
Debut single from Detroit area rockers Michigan rockers The Frost was a suitably groovy and thinly veiled ode to the lysergic stuff.
4. Bobby Womack – “Tried and Convicted” (1968)
Bobby was due to play in Walthamstow this weekend but he got the call from soul heaven so went there instead. Bit of an extreme measure to avoid E17; we might not have a 110th Street but we do have a Hoe Street.
5. James Brown – “Just Enough Room For Storage” (1971)
The instrumental album by the James Brown Band, Sho Is Funky Down Here, is more of a surprise than one might expect. There’s a funky jazz groove on the title track but what makes the record an oddity is all tracks are co-written credited to James Brown and Dave Matthews. JB never one to give credit (and royalties) lightly, it has to be assumed the vast majority of the work was by arranger Matthews, and that certainly comes across with acid rock guitar leads unlike anything else associated with Brown.
6. Clydie King – “’Bout Love” (1972)
Although Clydie King is one of countless singers to never really “make it” – earning her crust in the shadows as a backing singer – she’s one of the more unlikely examples. Her vocals on ’65-’66 singles for Imperial – “Missin’ My Baby”, “If You Were A Man”, “Soft And Gentle Ways” etc – are knee-tremblingly gorgeous and she looked stunning. Her recording career stretched back to 1956 but Clydie had to wait until 1972 to cut Direct Me, the first of only two solo albums, which included the rather pertinent “Ain’t My Stuff Good Enough?” and this glittery stomper.
7. Billy Swan – “Don’t Be Cruel” (1975)
The new Country Funk II compilation is every bit as good as the first volume. A swampy mix of late 60s and early 70s countrified soul and funk opens with Billy Swan taking “Don’t Be Cruel” at a stoned alligator pace but accompanied by a dope breakbeat. Yes, I’ve just typed dope breakbeat without really knowing what one is. Dig that crazy rhythm. Groovy. Wicked. Whatever.
8. The Jetset – “Wednesday Girl” (1984)
The Jetset were South London’s maraca shaking, striped hipster wearing, Jetsetmobile driving version of The Monkees as you can see here on Spanish TV.
9. St. Paul and the Broken Bones – “I’m Torn Up” (2014)
Paul Janeway might look like Alan Carr but, thank the Lord, sounds more like an overwrought James Carr. Alabama born, he and his Broken Bones mixed their debut, Half The City, in Muscle Shoals and not only does Janeway’s possess an amazing voice there appears to be a genuine understanding and love of soul music in the groove. The majority of these new/old soul combos leave me cold but for the most part Half The City positively smoulders.
10. Manic Street Preachers – “Europa Geht Durch Mich” (2014)
Futurology isn’t the masterpiece some have claimed but it’s still very good and easily the best Twelfth Album Of A Career a band has ever made.