Wednesday, 30 September 2015


September has been soundtracked by these...

1.  Lead Belly – “On A Monday” (1943)
Huddie Ledbetter sings the old prison song which Johnny Cash later cut as “I Got Stripes”. An arbitrary selection from the wonderful treasure chest that is the five-CD boxset Lead Belly: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection.

2.  Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames – “Humpty Dumpty” (1964)
Was fortunate to attend BBC’s Maida Vale studios this week with Monkey Snr for the recording of Radio 4’s Mastertapes, focusing on Georgie Fame’s Live At The Flamingo. John Wilson interviewed Georgie about the album and the era, interspersed with live performances of Work Song, Eso Beso (with special guest appearances from Blue Flames Colin Green on guitar, Mick Eve on tenor and Eddie ‘Tan-Tan’ Thornton on trumpet), Green Onions, Yeh Yeh and Humpty Dumpty, which as well as appearing on the LP was also on one of the very first records to migrate from my dad’s collection to mine, the Rhythm and Blue-Beat EP.  The show will be broadcast in two parts later in the year.

3.  The Victorians – “Monkey Stroll” (1964)
A whacking, echo-drenched, Gold Star studio, Wall of Sound, monkey dancer. What’s not to love?

4.  Mary Love – “Baby I’ll Come” (1966)
There’s a touch of “I Can’t Wait Until I See My Baby’s Face” about this slow and moody winner from Ms Love. Great vocals, great strings, great song from Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

5.  Cool Benny Velarde & His Stone Swingers – “Wobble-Cha” (1966)
Not generally a fan of Latin stuff but this is cool release on Virgo Records from timbalero Velarde and his Bay Area band.

6.  Modern Jazz Quartet – “Home” (1966)
If you wake up one Sunday with the hangover from hell, The Modern Jazz Quartet’s Blues At Carnegie Hall, with the vibes of Milt Jackson, might ease you back to some semblance of normality. 

7.  The Faces – “You Can Make Me Dance, Sing Or Anything (Even Take The Dog For A Walk, Mend A Fuse, Fold Away The Ironing Board, Or Any Other Domestic Shortcomings)” (1974)
Now that’s a song title.

8.  Janko Nilovic – “Drug Song” (1975)
Man, this is some super-strength shit. Spectacularly groovy funky flute from Montenegrin Nilovic’s Soul Impressions LP.

9.  Bronco Bullfrog – “Marmalade” (2015)
During the great British pop party of the 90s, Bronco Bullfrog tapped gingerly at the window, outsiders, scandalously uninvited and thus arriving late. It was a shame as the Broncos had much to offer: specifically a holdall stuffed with magical gems, and in a backward looking scene they were masters of evoking old memories, even if tinged with sadness. On the strength of this new 45 they’re now more than content in their isolation, managing to squash ‘I’m A Man’, ‘Funeral Pyre’, some Hollies harmonies and some Who powerchords into a track that finishes before their Mother’s Pride pops out the toaster.

10.  Kontiki Suite - The Greatest Show On Earth LP (2015)
It seems an aeon since I made Kontiki Suite's debut, On Sunset Lake, my album of 2012 but three years later their new one, The Greatest Show On Earth, finally sees the light of day in October and is odds-on to snatch the prize again. Things are slightly more muscular in places this time around, more confident, but everything I fell in love with is here - the meticulous playing, the carefully crafted arrangements and, of course, most of all, the gorgeous cinematic songs and guitars which don't so much jingle-jangle but shimmer and sparkle. The Greatest Show On Earth sees Kontiki Suite canter into view on horseback, with the autumn sun beginning to set, before pitching up to open their hearts under glistening stars and a listening moon. It's a beautiful trip. To put simply - it's bloody magnificent!

The Greatest Show On Earth by Kontiki Suite is available on CD and download from Kontiki Suite's Bandcamp page from Friday 2 October and on vinyl from 30 October via Sunstone Records (Broncos 45 from them too). 


  1. Great stuff as always. Bronco Bullfrog sound right up my alley!

  2. Great B-side to the Broncos 45 too. (Actually it's labelled - quite rightly - a double A side).

  3. Hi Monkey - just ordered the Kontiki Suite album; a no-brainer purchase if there ever was one!

  4. Gets better with every listen. They are in a different class.

  5. Didn't know about the new Bronco Bullfrog single, must search that out, have some of their releases - all brilliant