Summertime Soul

I dunno why, but Summer always seems to mean soul to me. I think it is the heat, the sun, it has a languid lazy feel that makes me want to listen to some mellow grooves.

Anyway, here are a dozen tunes that seem to say SUMMER to me, mostly stuff from the 1970s, which was the heyday of blissed out summer soul and lazy funk grooves.

Something for the Summer: Baby Queens

Baby Queens at Dinefwr Literature Festival, 21/6/14

Baby Queens at Dinefwr Literature Festival, 21/6/14

As I’ve mentioned before, my mission at every festival I attend is to get hooked on a new act. This year, rather than Glastonbury or somewhere else with hundreds of different stages and performers, I was at the Dinefwr Literature Festival near Llandeilo in West Wales, mainly because Trwbador were playing. An interesting new experience – great set from them, fascinating guided tour of the remains of Dinefwr Castle, got heckled by the comedian Bridget Christie (I’ve never actually been to a stand-up performance before, but I do have a vague idea it’s supposed to be the other way round…) and heard the amazing Viv Albertine in conversation (but missed getting my copy of her book signed as I had to head off to Trwbador – dammit, Dinefwr, if you have only three stages why can’t you synchronise the timings properly to allow people to move between them..?).

However, the emphasis on the literary side of things did mean that the musical pickings were a little thinner: four blokes with copious beards who had clearly decided that the future of music was a fusion of Coldplay and Fleet Foxes (they may of course be right), some badly distorted noise with unintelligible vocals (needed more dynamic contrast, and I needed a beer – a shout out to Jacobi Brewery’s Red Squirrel) and… Cardiff’s Baby Queens. Perfect summer music: vocal harmonies that remind me a bit of En Vogue, plus some effective rapping; catchy songs with a chilled soul/RnB groove, with a hint of dub in the live performance (but they really need to get a proper bass player – the sound needs a bit more bottom end to be perfect). Four songs released so far (links to two of the catchiest ones below the fold), and an album planned for 2015. The one thing I find disturbing is that Gary Lineker is a fan, through a family connection, but please don’t hold that against them… Continue reading

Grammy for Snarky Puppy

It’s always good to see an independent band getting some long-deserved recognition in a mainstream awards show.

Texas/New York based Snarky Puppy won a Grammy award last night in the category best R&B performance for their collaboration with Lalah Hathaway, Something, from their latest LP Family Dinner vol. 1.  It’s a phenomenal track, for Hathaway’s astounding vocals as much as Snarky Puppy’s trademark compositions which switch seamlessly across dramatically contrasting moods and tempos.

Something will probably be getting considerably more air-play in the coming months so here’s my favourite track from the same album, Gone Under featuring Shayna Steele, a revitalising blast of gospel-drenched soul jazz.

Buried Christmas treasure

christmas small
I recently received an early Christmas present in the shape of a pen drive loaded with the entire Buried Treasure back catalogue, and as Tom Petty’s radio programme is currently in its eighth season and there are 24-5 programmes per season with 20 or so tracks per programme you better believe that’s a fair old amount of music. I’m currently listening my way through Season Two and I came across this Christmas show which I thought you people might like. He does play two of his own recordings, which isn’t usual, but those of you who don’t like TP&TH can always skip those.

Happy Christmas!

1 Theme Song
2 I Feel OK – Detroit Junior
3 Merry Christmas, Baby – Otis Redding
4 Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
5 Who Took The Merry Out Of Christmas – Staples Singers
6 Silver Bells – Booker T and the MGs
7 White Christmas – Otis Redding
8 Tom’s Mailbag
9 Christmas Comes But Once A Year – Albert King
10 Santa Claus Is Back In Town – Elvis Presley
11 Merry Christmas – Lightnin’ Hopkins
12 Santa Claus Baby – The Voices
13 Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ – Sir Mack Rice
14 The Christmas Song – King Curtis
15 Run, Run Rudolph – Chuck Berry
16 Red Rooster – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
17 Back Door Santa – Clarence Carter
18 Happy New Year – Lightnin’ Hopkins
19 Christmas Song – The Chipmunks
20 Feels Like Christmas – Al Greene
21 Little Drummer Boy/Silent Night/
Auld Lang Syne – Jimi Hendrix
22 Jingle Bells – Booker T and the MGs

Which Cut Is The Bestest?

true love Waits

It may be a song much used & abused by karaoke maniacs, bedroom youtubers, & egotistical pop stars but let us not forget what a phenomenal tune it really is. Cat may have sold it to PP for £30 back in the day – but which version of the three do you prefer? Or do you know of a better one (I have looked for a noisy indie rock version, and failed, but would love it if there was one in existence)?

‘Spill points are available, and there are bonus ‘Spill points if you can explain why Tom Waits is holding a bunny. caption the Tom Waits & bunny photo.

Before Beer – visit the A.T.M

An automated theft machine or (ATM), also known as a hole in the scruples in British English, is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the suckers banking with a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public space without the need for a cashier, human clerk or bank teller having to face outraged disgruntled customers.
On most modern ATMs, the customer is identified by shafting a plastic get out of jail free card in their orifice. Authentication is provided by the customer giving their hard earned money to a millionaire via the bank, the government, and any old bonuses the managers wish to add.
The newest ATM’s operate without ethics or morales of any sort. Do nothing and a boss will automatically withdraw the cash.

Engineers in Britain developed their own cash machines during the early 1960s. The first of these that was put into use was by Barclays Bank on 27 June 1967. This machine was the first in the UK and was used by English comedy actor Reg Varney, at the time so as to ensure maximum publicity for the machines. Thus cementing the fact that Barclays should always be remembered as one huge Piss Taking JOKE.

12 for 2012 No. 6: Smackvan

I know absolutely nothing about Smackvan, but I’m sure as anything I’m going to try and find out more about their late-night, miserablist, slowcore, Becktonian, Scots amblings in 2012. It doesn’t help either that their record label has called it a day and deleted their website with it. However I do know that this song is just fantastic.

Thanks to Matthew at Song, By Toad Records for pointing this one out to me.

1971

He’s Gonna Step On You Again – John Kongos
Freedom To The People – The Heptones
You Know You know – Mahavishnu Orchestra
Dig Deep In Your Soul – Bobby Boyd Congress
Feel Flows – The Beach Boys
The Lady With The Braid – Dory Previn
People Make The World Go Round – The Stylistics
Continue reading

1961

 


Rahou – Fairuz
Song To Woody – Bob Dylan
Kadia Blues – Orchestre De La Paillote
Fever – La Lupe
Love For Sale – Barney Kessel
My Favorite Things – John Coltrane

Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing

Just an appreciation here of a great ’70s soul group featuring one of the great soul voices, Gwen Dickey. Seems like all of their top songs were covered by others, and none can hold a candle. Madonna did a vile cover of Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. Ok, Mary J. Blige does have a good voice. Still her cover of I’m Going Down isn’t a patch on the original. Ditto Xtina and Missy Elliott’s Car Wash cover. Beyonce’s cover of Wishing on a Star is pathetically anemic. Gwen doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page.

Have i mentioned lately that i miss Magicman? Continue reading

New ‘Spiller!

What? You wanted to keep your phone bill??

I’d like to introduce you all to a new member of The ‘Spill team. This is Hector, who is 5 months old, and whose hobbies include bringing rocks in from the garden, being in cahoots with the baby to get soil from the potted plants everywhere, and generally being a big sook. Hector has not as yet expressed any preference for specific music, but likes to listen to Radio 4 through the night.

treefrogdemon on the air

On March 14 I got an email from TP’s fan club saying that the radio station that hosts his programme was holding a competition to celebrate the 6th year of the show – we had to suggest a question for TP, to do with music/the radio programme/whatever, and 21 people would be chosen to go to LA and ask him the questions at a special event hosted by the station. Well, I got very excited because I thought that was a competition I might very well win, and I spent a whole week pondering what kind of question would be likely to be picked, and thinking of a question and refining the question…and it wasn’t till a week later that the entry form went up and I found out only people in the US or Canada would be eligible.

So I was well miffed, and on listening to the programme (an ordinary one not the special competition one) later that week I decided I would email TP and tell him so. And while I was at it I submitted a request, since he said he was wanting people to do that, and the request was for a Freddie King instrumental called Pulpwood – I know TP likes Freddie, and as his grandfather’s nickname was Pulpwood (TP’s not Freddie’s) I thought he might well play it so he could talk about his grandfather; well, he didn’t mention his grandfather but as it happened the Heartbreakers drummer Steve Ferrone was on the track – which I didn’t even know! – so he talked about that instead. DJs always want something to say, you know.

Here’s what he said, then – oh and by the way, in general I don’t like to be referred to as ‘a nice lady’. But if TP wants to call me that, it’s OK.

What’s Happenin’ Stateside!

I previously posted the jazzy ‘Low Lights & Trick Mirrors’, which was one of four compilations from Autumn 1986 provided by the NME.
Here’s another cassette from that series which is a compilation of predominately soul tunes from the EMI catalogue.
It was also issued in truncated versions as an LP & CD for the knock-down price of 99p at the same time and tracks have since appeared on various ‘Talcum Soul’ northern soul compilations, but none of them have the same flow.
From The O’Jays to Bettye Swan, here are 17 killer tracks that should have you groovin’ around your PC, if not you really need to see a doctor …

2000

Ms Jackson – Outkast
Strung Out – Drugs
Camping Jazz – Chateaux Flight
Where Have You Been – Jay-Z
Our Way To Fall – Yo La Tengo
Finally – Kings Of Tomorrow
Man With The Red Face – Laurent Garnier
If I Ever Feel Better – Phoenix
Since I Left You – Avalanches
Africa – D’Angelo

1970

Laughing At Me – Alice Cooper
Mahlalela – Letta Mbulu
Viva Tirado – El Chicano
You Never Come Closer – Doris
Metamorphosis – Ananda Shankar
The Ghetto – Donny Hathaway
Mama Told Me Not To Come – Three Dog Night

1960

I Want A Lip – April Stevens
Think – James Brown
Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting – Charlie Mingus
Mule Skinner Blues – Fendermen
Indépendance Cha Cha – Joseph Kabaselé & L’African Jazz
Ooh Poo Pah Doo – Jessie Hill


Amen

If you like soul music, you like gospel. The greatest gospel group in South Africa is called Joyous Celebration, and they shift more units than any pop act. Untouched by apartheid, possibly the reason why gospel is very big news down here. I’m posting one song here called “Total Praise” or  “Thixo Bawo” in Xhosa, which is itself an astonishing performance, and in these religious communities total praise happens in a state of euphoria, but the reason why I’m banging on about it is the “Amen” at the end. This is very special stuff indeed. A euphoric Amen.

I can’t see the video here. Maybe you can. I’ve pasted the embed link, that’s all I can do. But here’s the URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rq8PPSDAr-w

2 turntables and a crate of sane


nilpferd and steenbeck started up an idea about hip hop instrumentals on the RJD2 post .. so having filtered three different files worth – here’s an hour and a half (anyone got about that much time to waste?) kind of tunes loosely coming in under that banner. What I’ve done is try and make it interesting – i know – always helps – tried not to frighten the natives of the ‘spill too much. and produced something that would play out well… go on give it a spin, it’s easier to understand than cricket.
… and if anyone has a favorite tune that could squeeze into the hip hop instrumental getto.. please shout out, if there’s enough interest we’ll open a dropbox file… enjoy.
Continue reading

We bumped our heads against the clouds…

I don’t get in here much, but I hope this contribution will be welcome. In bed with a summer cold, looking for a summer music cure to enable me to get up and make some long-awaited rhubarb and ginger jam (yes, SatanKidneyPie, it’s coming, really it is) I found this…

Slate magazine has included a page about what they called ‘McSweeney’s mix CD for the Obama era’WE BUMPED OUR HEADS AGAINST THE CLOUDS enclosed with the July/August print issue of Believer: “THE 2010 BELIEVER MUSIC ISSUE CD”

Notes by Chuck Lightning: “For black artists, our new president has meant the start of a different age. This music aims to capture it” and others.


Most of it is great, which – coming from someone who mostly doesn’t ‘get’ hip-hop – suggests easier listening than most. (A couple sounded dreadful to my ears first time round, but you never know until you try a few times). I’ve tried to find all the available free plays of these tracks, some videos, some downloads and a spotify. I’ll add the 5  missing tracks when I find them – or you can if you do. I particularly like Nina Simone covering Alice Cooper, but then I’m an old fashioned girl.

TRACKLISTING

1.  DEEP COTTON – SELF!  [link missing]

2.  OF MONTREAL – HYDRA FANCIES

3.  ROMAN GIANARTHUR (FEAT. KEVIN BARNES) – DEPRAVED VALET

4.  CODY CHESNUTT  - COME BACK LIKE SPRING

5.  SAUL WILLIAMS -B.S. IN A TAMPON  [link missing]

6.  JANELLE MONÁE  - COLD WAR (WONDAMIX)

7.  BLK JKS – IIETYS

8.  SPREE WILSON  – CHAOS  [link missing]

9.  SCAR – REWIND

10. ROB ROY  - VELVET ROPE BLUE [download]

11. HOLLYWEERD – HAVE YOU EVER MADE LOVE TO A WEIRDO?

12. FEAR & FANCY – OFF THE GRID

13. GEORGE 2.0 – TURN OFF THE TV [close enough]

14. M.I.A. – BORN FREE

15. HOT HEAVY & BAD (JOI) – ONE  [link missing]

16. TENDABERRY<- COLD BOY

17.  MOTHER NOVELLA  – CLOSER 9 1/2  [link missing]

18. NINA SIMONE – I NEVER CRY

Also, while looking for these tracks online, found this by ekua adisa, which I liked a lot.

Can blue-eyed men sing the whites?

One of the big questions in the 1960s was “Can white men play the Blues?”, beautifully parodied by the Bonzo Dog Band.

However, by the end of the decade the next big thing wasn’t so much as the authenticity of white people doing blues music. It was a phenomenon that came to be known as Blue-Eyed Soul. OK, so white musicians had been covering soul and R ‘n’ B songs for the previous decade or so and the influence of Motown in particular was massive.

What we had in the ’70s was a bit different though. It was a conscious thing, a kind of White Soul Boom to mirror the ’60s Blues Boom. Plenty of people jumped onto the bandwagon but there were those whose music was rooted in soul, Hall and Oates had been backing singers in the Philadelpha Soul scene, Van Morrison had long been using black music as a stepping off point and, in a reverse cross-over, Seals and Crofts were responsible for writing one of The Isley’s biggest hits, Summer Breeze.

The sound of Blue-Eyed Soul in my mind is closely linked with big wide flared denims, the smell of Charlie (the perfume! Naughty people), bubble perms, platform soles and that time between the end of glam and the start of punk. It was HUGE in the mid 1970s, before disco came along and even David Bowie turned his hand to some soul grooves on his Young Americans album. Some quite unlikely people turned to soul, the feverish preppy, art school punk of Talking Heads took a turn towards the funk after their first album and, without blue-eyed soul as a forerunner, a lot of ’80s music might not have happened.

Anyway, here are some of my favourites;

Boz Scaggs – What Can I say
The Doobie Brothers – What A Fool Believes
Kokomo – I Can Understand It
Talking Heads – Take Me To The River
Hall and Oates – Sara Smile
Laura Nyro – Stoned Soul Picnic
Seals and Crofts – Diamond Girl
Todd Rundgren – I Saw The Light
Van Morrison – Domino
Average White Band – Work To Do