|Standing In The Shadows: Little Ann|
1. Big Jay McNeely and his Band – ‘Psycho Serenade’ (1959)On the appropriately named Swingin’ label, Little Sonny Warner takes the lead vocal and battles against creaking doors, laughing gibbons, general nuttiness and jittery rhythms on this madcap 45.
2. Little Ann – ‘Deep Shadows’ (1967)Sounds like in was recorded in a Detroit tin shack but Little Ann’s truly stunning vocal will stop you in your tracks and tear straight to your heart. Phenomenal and rightly something of a belated classic.
3. Art Butler – ‘Soul Brother’ (1968)The name might not be familiar but Artie Butler had a hand in a humongous number of hits from ‘Leader Of The Pack’, ‘Chapel Of Love’, ‘Solitary Man’ to ‘What A Wonderful Life’ and beyond. Here he lets loose on the Hammond for surely the funkiest, grooviest go-go few minutes of his career.
4. Slim Harpo – ‘The Hippy Song’ (1969)“Let me tell you something, long hair don’t make you bad”. Check out old Slim here rooting for the hippies and sticking it to the high society moneymen shortly before he died. “It’s wasn’t those long-haired hippies who killed the president”. Go Slim!
5. Kim Fowley – ‘Animal Man’ (1968)A white-knuckle magic carpet ride over a zoo of lunatics. From Fowley’s Outrageous LP.
6. Lee Hazlewood – ‘Wait and See’ (1968)The way Hazlewood sings “It’s gonna be all right, wait and see” must rank as one of the most soothing examples of the recorded voice ever made.
7. Alice Clark – ‘Charms of the Arms of Love’ (1972)“The pulse of time makes a terrible noise”, unlike the noise Ms Clark makes on this marvellous, strident slab of jazzy soul. (Note: if searching on Spotify it’s marked up incorrectly, so you'll need the one tagged as ‘Hard Hard Promises’).
8. Julius Brockington – ‘Forty-Nine Reasons’ (1973)Brockington was the hip organist but it’s Steve Turner’s funky flute that steals the show on the spacey closing track on The United Chair.
9. Felt – ‘Ballad of the Band’ (1986)Lawrence goes full-on ‘Positively 4th Street’ Dylan/Al Kooper on this smash miss single from 1986.
10. The Greek Theatre – ‘Stray Dog Blues’ (2016)
From a new three-track 7-inch EP by Swedish combo who caused gentle ripples of delight from sensitive souls with Lost Out At Sea a couple of years ago. 'Paper Moon' is the lead track but it's this one which does it for me. Not so much stray dog blues but sleeping cat curled under the shade of the tree with a butterfly circling its head. Delicate, warm and beautiful. Available as part of Sunstone Records super-limited 150 Series. Get in quick.