Friday, 24 October 2014


1.  Maxine Brown – “The Secret Of Livin’” (1966)
Maxine has at least three indisputable Northern Soul anthems to her name and whilst Wand 45 “The Secret Of Livin’” isn’t one of them it’s a neat overlooked pop-soul gem.

2.  The Beau Brummels – “One Too Many Mornings” (1966)
Anything the Byrds can do with a Dylan song…

3.  Dave Pike – “Blind Man Blind Man” (1966)
The Herbie Mann produced Jazz For The Jet Set for Atlantic Records features an air travelling dollybird in green go-go boots on the sleeve and marimba playing Pike in the grooves. Herbie Hancock makes his debut on organ, Clark Terry lends his trumpet, and the whole album has the air of cool sophistication. 

4.  Peter Walker – “Second Song” (1968)
When Timothy Leary invited folks back to his gaff to turn on, tune in and drop out, he’d often employ guitarist Peter Walker to provide a suitable soundtrack to accompany the evening’s main event. If Peter isn’t available for your next acid party his album Second Poem to Karmela or Gypsies Are Important is as trippy as the title suggests. 

5.  The Supremes – “I Wish I Was Your Mirror” (1970)
The first post-Diana Supremes album,New Ways But Loves Stays, has some fine camp classics on it (“Stoned Love”, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”); some interesting covers (“Come Together”, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”); and some straight ahead smooth soul movers like this Frank Wilson tune. The Four Tops did a version too but it’s not as good as this.

6.  Syl Johnson – “Annie Got Hot Pants Power” (1971)
Syl reckoned this would’ve been a hit if it had been called simply “Hot Pants Lady” as in his opinion, “Black women are more sophisticated now. They don’t want nobody calling them Annie”. He’d later release a weaker version under that title and claims it was his song James Brown based his big “Hot Pants” hit on. There can never be enough hot pants or songs about hot pants in my book.

7.  Esther Phillips – “Sweet Touch of Love” (1972)
I always hear one of the opening lines as “Sting your furry toes”. That coupled with Ms Phillips on the back cover ofFrom A Whisper To A Scream with her housecoat undone revealing more than a lady oughta is an unsettling image.

8.  The Primitives – “Secrets” (1989)
The Primitives launched their new Spin-O-Rama LP with a great show at the Garage in Highbury last Saturday. Half new stuff like “Petals” and “Hidden In The Shadows” and half old, and one couldn’t see the join. An oldie they didn’t play was “Secrets” which, bizarrely, was the song I woke up with stuck in my head the following morning. When bands can afford to omit singles like this from their live set you know their cup overfloweth.

9.  Ride – “Twisterella” (1992)
It’s impossible to say when Britpop began but when this came out I clearly remember it marking a noticeably shift for both Ride and the mood of the time. More overtly 60s; clean, chiming Rickenbackers; vocal harmonies; underscored by a black and white video recreating The Who at the Goldhawk Road Social Club. Better than almost everything that came in its wake. 

10.  The Higher State – “Wait For My Love” (2014)
In between Easter Everywhere and Bull of the Woods, the 13th Floor Elevators cut “Wait For My Love”, a poppier than usual track earmarked as their new single. Instead, it languished in the vaults for years. It finally makes it onto a white-vinyl 45 thanks to Elevator acolytes The Higher State’s faithful recording for the covers label Fruits De Mer. The earlier Elevators track “You Don’t Know” takes the flip.