1. Barbara & The Browns – ‘I Don’t Want Trouble’ (1965)
Straight down the line Sticks and Stonesy R&B dancer from Barbara and her Brown brothers and sisters for Stax.
2. Chuck Jackson – ‘What’s With This Loneliness’ (1965)
What a voice, what a track, what a man.
3. Nico – ‘These Days’ (1967)
I’ve always liked some of Chelsea Girl but struggled with it as an album until this month when, finally, the penny dropped. Might crack The Marble Index soon.
4. Bobbie Gentry – ‘Recollection’ (1968)
As someone who’s only previously chicken-scratched the surface of Bobbie Gentry, the lavish new 8-disc box set The Girl From Chickasaw County: The Complete Capitol Masters is proving a revelation. Featuring her seven albums from 1967-1971, all remastered with bonus demos and unreleased tracks, and an eighth disc of live BBC performances, it’s packed with delightful diversity: Gentry offering her unique take on - and blurring the boundaries of - country, blues, soul, pop. The gothic poetry of ‘Recollection’ from her third album, Local Gentry, stuns and haunts in equal measure and it’s far from the only track to do so. Fantastic collection.
5. John Williams – ‘Can’t Find Time For Anything Now’ (1967)
This John Williams was a member of the Authentics whose claim to fame was supporting the Yardbirds at the Marquee before Williams ventured out on his own. The A-side to this Columbia release, ‘Flowers In Your Hair’, is a good ray of sunshine pop with a hint of cynicism in the lyric. On the flip that turns into full-blown depression. The catchy cello parts subsequently borrowed (to my ears) by Thomas Fersen on his brilliant ‘Encore Casse’ in 2017.
6. Mulatu Astatke – ‘Kulunmanqueleshi’ (1972)
Vibes, woodwind, wah-wah and subtle rhythms conjure sheer magic from Mulatu of Ethiopia.
7. Caesar Frazier – ‘Hail Caesar!’ (1972)
This month’s funky soul-jazz Hammond groove spot is captured by Caesar Frasier.
8. Paul Orwell – ‘Speak of the Devil’ (2018)
'Speak of the Devil’, the first taste of long awaited second proper album, Smut. finds Orwell donning a leather jacket to join a motorcycle gang for a glamorama glory stomper, leaving Carnaby Street for dust as he swings into Devilgate Drive. A horny Bolan boogie for howling children of the moon.
9. The Coral – ‘After The Fair’ (2018)
The Coral save the best track until last on their middling Move Through The Dawn. This fingerpicking acoustic number embellished with strings prompted me to dig out Everything But The Girl’s version of ‘English Rose’ afterwards.
10. Paul Weller – ‘Aspects’ (2018)
True Meanings is built for quiet contemplation and nowhere is it more moving than here.