1. Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders – “Like I Did” (1965)
This was an unexpected pleasure when sent to me by a thoughtful reader the other day. The B-side of “She Needs Love”, the last single before Wayne and his ‘Benders went their separate ways, is a sumptuous track; neatly written and deftly performed with subtlety and grace. Impressive.
2. Jimmy Smith – “Ain’t That Just Like A Woman” (1966)
The Incredible Jimmy Smith rips it up on the Hammond with such lightning dexterity a whole big band, conducted by Oliver Nelson, gets left puffing in his wake. From Smith’s Hoochie Coochie Man LP.
3. Gary Walker & The Rain – “If You Don’t Come Back” (1968)
Post Walker Brothers, Gary formed Gary Walker and the Rain and they made one album, entitled Album No. 1 - curiously only released in Japan – before splitting. There’s a mixture of styles, from psych to pop to soul to folk, as if they couldn’t quite decide which direction to take but it’s no less enjoyable for it, as it mostly all works. Here they decide to give the Leiber-Stoller song made famous by the Drifters a heavy dose of acid-rock.
4. Herbie Mann – “Hold On, I’m Coming” (1969)
Mann’s Memphis Underground, recorded for Atlantic, is a funky flute (Mann) and vibes (Roy Ayers) soul-jazz-rock sensation from start to finish. It’s brilliant. This nine minute monster goes nuts around the halfway mark with guitars sounding like they’re trying to communicate not with the underground, but outer space.
5. Lonnie Smith – “Move Your Hand” (1969)
Recorded live at Club Harlem, Atlantic City on August 9, 1969, the ever-dapper Lonnie Smith (check his threads on the sleeve of this LP) finds the biggest, fattest, soul-jazz groove and sits on it.
6. Smoke – “Dreams of Dreams” (1970)
It’s a mistake been made many times but this Smoke were not The Smoke who cut “My Friend Jack” and “Waterfall”. This young quartet of Bury St Edmunds long-hairs managed to eke out this one super rare 45 for Revolution records before disbanding. However, if York’s The Smoke had continued another couple of years they may well have sounded like “Dreams of Dreams” – sharp riffs and hazy vocals - so the confusion is understandable to my ears at least. Now reissued as a beautifully packaged two-single edition by Spoke Records, mastered from the original acetate and in crystal clear audio, it's available here.
7. The Soul Brothers Inc. – “Girl In The Hot Pants” (1972)
Dead on the heavy, heavy superfunk. The Soul Brothers Inc. can hardly contain their, er, frenzied excitement at the sight of girls dancing in red, blue, pink and black hot pants.
8. Sonic Youth – “Youth Against Fascism” (1992)
Was digging through an old half-forgotten pile of 45s the other day and gave this a spin. Been on repeat ever since. That bass!
9. Chuck D featuring Mavis Staples – “Give We The Power” (2014)
If you want message songs - songs about empowerment and self-respect - who better than these two? It’s a pairing so blindingly obvious you wonder why it hasn’t happened before. The result is bang on everything one would wish for. Mavis gets the majority of the work and she rasps and crackles her way through the snaps and beats and Chuck’s raps. Watch the video here for footage outside Chess Studios in Chicago.
10. The Primitives – “Spin-O-Rama” (2014)
Here come the Prims, pirouetting out the music box like the opening scene of Camberwick Green to share the secrets of their delightful new hooks and handclapping single, “Spin-O-Rama”. Tracy Tracy takes the listener by the hand, twirls them around in her dainty finger and then, as soon as they’re settled, dumps them by the wayside leaving them wanting more. Short, sweet and very addictive. Paul Court takes the lead on the flip, a version of “Up So High”, a track originally released in France in ’66 by obscure Californian LSD munching garageheads The What’s New. That nagging buzz line could’ve been written for the Primitives. Out 1st September on Elefant Records, limited to 500 copies on clear vinyl. Snap ‘em up.
|The Primitives: In a spin.|