1. Billie Holiday – “I’m A Fool To Want You” (1958)
Opening track from the classic Lady In Satin. Ray Ellis’s arrangement and Lady Day’s all-too-believable vocal are exquisitely paired on this Frank Sinatra song.
2. Jimmy Gordon – “Buzzzzzz” (1963)
Wicked surf-fuzz instrumental released on Challenge by Hollywood session man Jimmy Gordon.
3. Hoyt Axton – “Thunder ‘n’ Lightnin’” (1963)
Hoyt’s mum wrote “Heartbreak Hotel”; something for you trivia fans. There’s nothing trivial about this earthy and manly folk tune.
4. David Newman – “Miss Minnie” (1967)
Fathead Newman swops his tenor for his flute on this nimble little mover.
5. Sons of Champlin – “Fat City” (1967)
Hammond and horns workout guaranteed to shed a few pounds on any dancefloor. This and the Jimmy Gordon track above are included on a new 3-CD set Looking Stateside: 80 US R&B, Mod, Soul & Garage Nuggets, an excellent compilation to create a club vibe at home.
6. Brenda Lee Jones – “You’re The Love Of My Life” (1967)
After a few singles as half of Dean & Jean, Brenda threw everything but the kitchen sink into this magnificent soul-pop number.
7. The Electric Toilet – “Mississippi Hippy” (1970)
I’m not making this shit up, there honestly was a band called the Electric Toilet. Here they sound like a swamp-funk Tony Joe White which isn’t something to be sniffed at.
8. Roy Ayers Ubiquity – “He’s A Superstar” (1972)
Roy gets spiritual and funky. The sound of the son of a carpenter donned out in a purple flared suit and floppy felt hat.
9. The Sorcerers – “The Horror” (2015)
ATA Records is an independent, musician owned and run record label based Leeds who create and release a mix of new takes on classic 60’s & 70’s soul, gospel, funk, R&B, jazz, library, Big Band and film music using vintage analog equipment, tape machines and plenty of valves. The Sorcerers self-titled LP is a suitably spooky cauldron of jazz beats and breaks.
10. Mavis Staples – “If It’s A Light” (2016)The wonderful Ms Staples has an album of new songs out this month, Livin’ On A High Note, and this one written by Charity Rose Thielen from Seattle’s “indie folk” The Head & The Heart and sung beautifully by Mavis is one of the highlights.