1. Max Roach – ‘Freedom Day’ (1960)
“Freedom Day, it's Freedom Day. Throw those shackle n' chains away.” With lyrics by Oscar Brown Jr, sung by Abbey Lincoln, Max Roach’s We insist! Freedom Now Suite is a potent, unflinching album fuelled by the civil rights movement.
2. Ken Jones – ‘Chicken Pot Pie’ (1963)
The label credit reads Ken Jones, His Piano and Orchestra but you can add Kitchen Sink to that list as Jones cooks up a swinging OTT instrumental feast of go-go goodness.
3. Darlene McCrea – ‘My Heart’s Not In It’ (1964)
Darlene sang with the Cookies but this Gerry Goffin/Russ Titelman song and production tops anything they did.
4. Him - 'It's A Man Down There' (1966)
He was Doug Sham and this featured on the first Sir Douglas Quintet LP but curiously was released as a 45 under the more mysterious name. Either way it's swampy Texan blues to get down to.
5. Jimmy McGriff – ‘Miss Poopie’ (1969)
When Starsky and Hutch busted some badass pimps in a New York strip joint, the band played on.
6. Frumpy – ‘Indian Rope Man’ (1970)
Worst band name ever and although teetering on the brink of proggy, German rockers Frumpy knock out a pretty groovy version of the Richie Havens via Brian Auger/Julie Driscoll classic.
7. The Supremes – ‘Life Beats’ (1970)
Earmarked for their first post-Ms Ross single, only for it to be ousted at the last moment for ‘Up The Ladder To The Roof’, it showed there was still plenty of life in the Supremes.
8. The Deep Six – ‘Heading For A Fall’ (2017)
Makin’ Time were one of the shining lights in the mid-80s Mod scene so it’s good to hear from co-singer Mark McGounden again. New album with new band, Introducing The Deep Six, doesn’t have the gloss of his illustrious past – sounds like it was recorded on a tight budget – but Mark’s knack for breezy 60s toetappers remains with ‘Heading For A Fall’ the pick of the bunch.
9. Childhood – ‘Californian Light’ (2017)
My thanks to Ian Pople of The Acoustic Egg Box for repeatedly nudging me about Childhood who’ve transformed themselves into a sleek modern soul band – part MGMT, part Isley Brothers - all top down, arm out the window, cruising the coast of Santa Cruz via the mean streets of South London.
10. Len Price 3 – ‘Telegraph Hill’ (2017)
Forthcoming Kentish Longtails (out 15 September) is currently in pole position for the Monkey Picks album of the year, it's that good. The usual bish-bash rowdy singalongs remain, as do the mod-pop Townshend windmilling anthems, and while they’ve done subtler songs before (‘Medway Sun’ for example) they’ve truly up their game here with a handful of soft-centred corkers. ‘Telegraph Hill’ is truly beautiful: full of tea-and-biscuits romanticism, with echoes of the old Hovis advert and Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag. Bonus points for “The hurly-burly and the hullabaloo, won’t stop us doing all the things we want to do, before we get much older”. Song of the year for sure.