1. Big John Patton – ‘Fat Judy’ (1965)
A classic and one of the templates for Acid Jazz. I hadn’t heard the complete album it came from, Oh Baby, until recently and if, like me, you like Hammond grooves you’ll love it.
2. Bobby Bland – ‘I Ain’t Myself Anymore’ (1966)
Another sensational Bland (pictured above) track to add to the list with one record dealer describing it far better than I could: “A cocktail of understated horns, his controlled gravel-coated throat, purrs the lyrics out, like a sun-basking lion, in wait for the kill.”
3. The Lovers – ‘Whatcha Gonna Do Baby’ (1966)
Formed by a group of serving officers at the Deal Air Force base in Northern California as the Emotions, a name change to the Lovers saw one 45 in 1965, ‘Do This To Me’. A beautiful, Impressions-like follow-up featuring ‘Whatcha Gonna Do Baby’ failed to happen and languished in the vaults for 50 years until Kent rescued in this month for their Harmony of the Soul comp.
4. The Gaylads – ‘Sounds of Silence’ (1967)
Tis brave to attempt a Simon and Garfunkel song but Jamaican vocal group The Gaylads do so with some style, giving it a graceful rocksteady overhaul.
5. Baby Huey – ‘Listen To Me’ (1970)
Within the space of a month in 1970 Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Baby Huey all checked out, with Huey (James Ramey to his folks) not even making it to 27, falling short by a year. His Curtis Mayfield produced album The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend was released posthumously and opens with this fat funker.
6. The 8th Day – ‘You’ve Got To Crawl (Before You Walk)’ (1971)
The full refrain being “You’ve got to crawl before you walk back into these arms of mine”. Storming early 70s soul from Holland, Dozier & Holland’s Invictus label.
7. William De Vaughn – ‘Be Thankful For What You Got’ (1974)
It was hearing Arthur Lee and Love’s 1975 cover that got me interested in this song and then by complete coincidence, 25 years after it was released, I finally got around to listening to Massive Attack’s Blue Lines and it was on there too. All versions are good but De Vaughn’s cool and unhurried soulful vibe is sheer class.
8. Neil Young – ‘Barstool Blues’ (1975)
Suitably woozy, boozy and ragged; a strong contender for my favourite Neil Young song.
9. Altered Images – ‘A Day’s Wait’ (1981)
‘Happy Birthday’ was a big bouncy pop hit but not typical of what lay on the rest of that album. Produced by Siouxsie & the Banshees’ Steve Severin it’s not too far removed from the Banshees own JuJu, out at the time; obviously not as terrifyingly dark (what is?) but the guitars and drums are very similar in places.
10. The Coral – ‘Million Eyes’ (2016)
I’m usually fairly tepid towards the Coral but they put on a great show at the Kentish Town Forum this month with heavy-hitter ‘Million Eyes’ from new LP Distance Inbetween rocking like a late 60s Fillmore gig with an eyeball shredding lightshow to match.