1. The Staple Singers – “It Rained Children” (1953)
I’m guessing Pops took a stylistic approach when omitting the comma between rained and children; and that’s fine by me as offspring Mavis, Pervis and Cleotha join their father on one of the family’s very first recordings with Evelyn Gay accompanying on piano. Mavis, incredibly when you hear her sing, had only recently turned 14 years old.
2. Ricky Nelson – “Lonesome Town” (1958)
This caught my ear in the pub recently and having never really paid Nelson much attention I looked him up. Quite a colourful life, with this line in his Wikipedia entry capturing some of the flavour: “In 1980, Nelson met Helen Blair, a part-time model and exotic animal trainer, in Las Vegas.” Who wouldn’t want their Wiki page to include stuff like that?
3. Horace Silver Quintet – “Filthy McNasty” (1961)
Opening track from the killer Blue Note LP Doin’ The Thing, live at the Village Gate, New York City, in which Silver introduces the evening by suggesting the audience might wish to clap their hands, nod their heads and tap their feet. Try not doing those things.
4. Wallace Brothers – “Woman, Hang Your Head In Shame” (1969)
Funky, horny, Clarence Carter/Muscle Shoals vibe to the penultimate single from these Atlanta cousins (not brothers).
5. Chuck Cockerham – “Have I Got A Right” (1969)
Gotta love a man called Chuck Cockerham, gotta love this gorgeous slice of sweeping soul.
6. Spooner Oldham – “Julie Brown’s Forest” (1972)
“Don’t go walking in Julie Brown’s forest,” warns Spooner. Dunno who Julie was but it sounds like good advice. From the rather cool Pot Luck LP, recently reissued by Light In The Attic.
7. Kris Kristofferson – “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” (1970)
Any song that begins with “Well, I woke up Sunday morning/ With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt/ And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad/ So I had one more for dessert” is okay with me.
8. Ride – “Grasshopper” (1992)
Kinda surprised how much I like this. In truth it’s little more than a lengthy instrumental jam to pad out the extra tracks on a 12 inch (remember those?) – in this case Ride’s “Leave Them All Behind” single. That said I’ve played it about half a dozen times over the last couple of days which is five more than I did in 1992.
9. Mr Ray’s Wig World – “Faster Kittykat Play Play” (1992)
Can’t remember much about this band other than they were from Liverpool and, I think, named after a shop there. Huge wash of distortion and wah-wah, as was the way in the early 90s (see Ride above), on the lead track of an EP which was possibly their only release. The other tracks indicate much madcap potential, sadly unrealised.
10. The Holmes Brothers – “There’s A Train” (1997)
I only stumbled across the Holmes Brothers recently, just in time to discover two-thirds of this soulful gospel blues trio passed away in 2015. This was the first song I heard. Love it.