1. Mark Murphy – “Li’l Darlin’” (1961)
Ace Records this month issued a new comp, Georgie Fame Heard Them Here First, featuring 25 tracks covered by our Georgie. Such was the vast array of tracks to pick from, this, from Murphy’s Rah, didn’t make the cut.
2. Brian Auger – “Blues Three Four” (1961)
Pre-Hammond Auger, here demonstrating his jazz chops on the piano. It’s the opening track on a new Brian Auger anthology Back To The Beginning. Unfortunately the collection is let down by poor liner notes which don’t supply details of where this track was taken, so I’ve guessed the year. Possibly recorded with Dave Morse? Answers to the usual address.
3. The Wanderers – “After He Breaks Your Heart” (1963)
Led by Ray Pollard, the Wanderers had already recorded for a decade before they cut this typically clean New York slice of Big City Soul for United Artists. Now included on the superb new Lost Without You: The Best Of Kent Ballads 2 compilation for Kent.
4. The Pirates – “Cuttin’ Out” (1965)
Tough switchblade slashing rockabilly punk from a Texan combo who left behind a couple of 45s, this being their highlight.
5. Jimmy Witherspoon – “Man Don’t Cry” (1965)
From Jimmy’s swinging Spoon In London which attempted to place him in a slightly more pop-soul setting. That said, “Man Don’t Cry” is a haunting, big voiced, big band creeper.
6. David Bowie – “Let Me Sleep Beside You” (1967)
Recorded on 1 September 1967 for Deram, “Let Me Sleep Beside You” was the first Bowie single produced by Tony Visconti who sat a neat bass and drum rhythm on top of a sweep of strings. I'm generally indifferent to Bowie but like this.
7. The Standells – “Looking At Tomorrow” (1967)
The Standells production team went to town on this, creating a clanging echo drenched protest number with composer Larry Tamblyn taking lead vocals and putting his organ high in the mix. That’s not a euphemism.
8. Miles Davis - "Bitches Brew" (1970)On any given day the same piece of music (and I'm primarily talking jazz here) can either enthral or infuriate. Depending on one's mood, 27 minutes of this one track could easily do either.
9. Hollywood Brats – “Sick On You” (1973)
After my effusive praise for Andrew Matheson’s recent memoir, Sick On You, it was little surprise to see Mojo magazine crown it Book of the Year. The song of the same name should’ve similarly won accolades in the year of its completion.
10. The Stairs – “Flying Machine” (1991)From side two of their first EP and the second song played at Thursday’s reunion gig in Liverpool, setting the tone for what was a triumphant return, exceeding all expectations. More about this later.