1. Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – ‘Moanin’’ (1958)
Can’t beat that gospel call-and-response thing between the piano and the horns. Even the original liner notes call it “the quintessence of funk”, and that was in 1958.
2. Chet Baker – ‘Born To Be Blue’ (1965)
In the new film of the same name about Chet Baker, his dad – none to impressed with his son’s lifestyle choices – asks why he sang one of his favourite songs, ‘Born To Be Blue’, “like a girl”? And fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie tells him “you know you can’t sing”. Can’t say I’ve ever been much of fan of his voice either but came away from that film appreciating it a touch more.
3. The Avons – ‘Since I Met You Baby’ (1968)
Need a lift? A little pick-me-up? A blast of pure unadulterated joy? Step this way folks.
4. Stellius – ‘What I’d Like’ (1970)
One of the things Stellius would apparently like is to ride a kangaroo. Readers may find it easier to simply ride this fat breakbeat driven groove.
5. Kobza – ‘Progulka’ (1972)
In a moment of semi-idleness, I typed “Ukrainian Psych” into YouTube and it brought up this. A kind of groovy folksy mash-up making me think of both ‘The Work Song’ and the ‘Theme From Hawaii 5-0’. Result.
6. O.V. Wright – ‘I’d Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy’ (1973)
There’s always someone who has to take things a step (or two) further. Well, actually Mr. Wright wouldn’t be able to, would he?
7. The Fingers – ‘Isolation’ (1977)
This prime piece of Pittsburgh punk is stupidly rare in its original Para Dox 45 format due to only 100 copies pressed and few known to survive. A lookalike reissue is more than adequate for those without $4000 in loose nickels and dimes.
8. The Tours – ‘Language School’ (1979)
I suppose Kid Jenson and Radio 1 DJs would’ve called this “New Wave” at the time; funny how that description has been dropped from the genre-tagging box nowadays. It’s good though, that’s for sure.
9. The Senior Service – ‘Caballo Sin Nombre’ (2016)
From their debut imaginary soundtrack album, The Girl In The Glass Case, this is the scene where a matchstick-sucking Graham Day and co swing open the saloon doors to find a shoot-out between Lee Marvin and Mr Spock.
10. William Bell – ‘Poison In The Well’ (2016)
Difficult to pick one track from Bell's new Stax album, This Is Where I Live, as there's no duff song and they all belong together but 'Poison In The Well' stood out during his long-awaited and memorable London show this month.