|The Wild Magnolias in full bloom.|
1. BB King – “Sixteen Tons” (1956)
Fare thee well Blues Boy. “Sixteen Tons” – like “Wade In The Water” – is one of those songs where it’s hard to find a version I don’t like. This one I love.
2. The Avons – “When The Boy That You Love (Is Loving You)” (1967)
Super sweet and sexy girl group soul from Nashville based the Avons. Written, arranged and produced by Bob Holmes this wonderful track has only now seen the light of day thanks to opening Volume 5 of Kent Records’ Northern Soul’s Classiest Rarities series. Worth the 48 year wait.
3. Roland Al and Beverly’s All Stars – “The Cat” (1967)
Rare inclusion of a Jamaican track in the playlist but tenor saxophonist Roland Alphonso and gang cut a mean version of this.
4. Marvelettes – “So I Can Love You” (1970)
After a decade spell, their final release, the album The Return of The Marvelettes, was a slight of hand from Motown. The group had disbanded leaving only Wanda Young who recorded some tracks with Smokey Robinson for what she thought would be her solo album. The powers that be thought the Marvelettes’ name carried more weight than Young’s so was released with under the group name, upsetting everyone in the process. None of this should detract from a classy soul album (albeit one packed out – as was Motown’s way – with familiar titles).
5. Buddy Guy and Junior Wells – “A Man Of Many Words” (1972)
The album title, Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Play The Blues, only hints at what’s on offer. Yes it’s the blues but it’s a funky, full, warm sounding blues made by a couple of old Chicago buddies who don’t sound like they have a care in the world. Everyone gotta dig those blues.
6. The Wild Magnolias – “Handa Wanda” (1974)
New Orleans Mardi Gras group the Wild Magnolias supplemented their vocals and percussion tools with the cream of New Orleans musicians including Willie “Walking Up A One Way Street” Tee and Snooks “Richard Barnes’ Mods book” Eaglin on keyboards and guitar respectively. Together they created an album impossible to keep still to.
7. Suede – “Moving” (1992)
Who saw Suede’s Glastonbury set at the weekend? Mr. Anderson was working it like a spotlight-starved maniac from start to sweaty finish. Absolutely brilliant. It’ll be online somewhere.
8. Wooden Shjips – “Back To Land” (2013)
Folk who enjoyed Paul Weller’s recent apostrophe burning Saturns Pattern might enjoy the Wooden Shjips long-player Back To Land.
9. The Sonics – “The Hard Way” (2015)
The Sonics still sound like The Sonics but with hints here of returning the favour to the Jim Jones Revue and the Dead Kennedys.
10. Sarah Cracknell and Nicky Wire – “Nothing Left To Talk About” (2015)
Crackers returns with a pedal-steeled summery pop winner that even Wire singing, as always, like a deaf man vocals can’t spoil. Lovely.