Here are some of the things keeping my feet dancin’ at the mo ….
Beautiful Brazilian debut from a couple of years, by this young female singer-songwriter. CeU is pronounced ‘sew’ and translated from Portuguese means ‘sky’ and ‘heaven’. This starts slowly and sweetly and a little mainstream, but hidden in it are all sorts of depths and quirky tunes, beats and melodies drawing on soul, jazz, trip hop and Brazilian grooves.
Polyphonic Voices of Georgia: Anchiskhati Choir
A fascinating release and departure for the stunning Soul Jazz Records with a Sacred Music series. Georgia (the Transcaucasian republic) is a very special place and a historic crossroads between several cultures and societies, and one of the most wonderful places I have ever visited. The Anchiskhati Choir record an album of some of the most beautiful and moving music in the world.
Sweet, Action: The Anthology
From the sublime to the ridiculous! The Sweet had a pile of catchy bubblegum pop hits in the 1970s and then slowly faded into a world of seediness and tragedy with Brian Connelly’s premature death. All the hits, ‘Teenage Rampage’, ‘Ballroom Blitz’ and much more are here. Seriously due a reassessment!
Jefferson Airplane, 2400 Fulton Street
I have had this years and have only just got into it. Grace Slick’s pompous psychedelic ponderings from another age: from striking ‘Wooden Ships’ and ‘Triad’ to a selection of Levi Commercial Adverts.
Singing in the Streets: Scottish Children’s Songs
A great gem of a record from the unique Alan Lomax. This is the companion to his Scotland World and Folk Music album, and an amazing exploration into Scotland in the fifties when this was recorded, and into a lost culture of much further back. Lomax went around the country recording school kids and artists singing children’s songs such as ‘Harry Lauder and Mussolini Are Dead’ and ‘A Tisket A Tasket’ – a Scots folk song which was later recorded by Ella and others.
The Best of Louis Jordan
I have just discovered Louis Jordan and what a character! Jordan’s stunning rhythms and syncopated lyrics were huge hits in the States in the 1940s, and played a big role in jazz and soul evolving. ‘Caldonia’, ‘I Want You To Be My Baby’, ‘Five Guys Named Moe’ and every track on this album make you laugh, shake your hips and want to hit the dancefloor!
And here are three old classics (!!!! ) and one old fav I have been returning to:
Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures
This is an album which when it came out I found too difficult, discordant and unpleasant listening. That is not to say I didn’t appreciate it as I have been a total Joy Division obsessional since I was a kid; I just didn’t play it much, and preferred the softer, more accessible sound of ‘Closer’. Slowly in the last year or so I have started to be drawn to this. Everything about it is breathtaking: the famous, striking cover, the sound, the vocals, the songs. This isn’t the sound of the suburbs, or the sound of the estates, but a bitter, brutal Britain ’79, underground ’69 and a sound from another world!
Joni Mitchell, The Hissing of Summer Lawns
I have been a huge Joni fan all my life and always liked this, but preferred ‘Hejira’. I have resisted the charms of this album a bit, annoyed by it being the Joni album for NME readers, but it is stunning, a brilliant set of songs and insights on fame, stardom and the life of the cosseted LA elite in the mid-1970s.
Hue and Cry, Seduced and Abandoned
Okay this is not a classic album, but it has a special place in my heart! I have always loved those first three Pat and Greg singles, ‘I Refuse’, ‘Labour of Love’ and ‘Strength to Strength’, and they have aged remarkably. They are just so darned catchy, and Pat’s voice is brilliant throughout. A couple of years ago I told Pat how much I liked this album, and how I played it on tape in my study in the late hours, and he rather insistently told me I should throw it out as it wasn’t very good. I commented that you could actually hear the joy of him and Greg discovering and expressing themselves in the studio through the catchiness of the melodies!
And I nearly forgot! The last Chic album was released in 1992 at the time without much excitement or commercial success. Sadly with Bernard Edward’s death in 1996 it is the last real word from Chic, despite Nile Rodgers’ taking the band out on the road – including recently playing Edinburgh. There is something a bit MOR about some of this which does not reach the heights of their hits (Good Times, Everybody Dance, My Feet Keep Dancing etc), but the infectiousness of the groove, the bass, the whole thing is just so well … irresistably Chic!
And funnily enough I haven’t played one Michael Jackson album since his tragic death. I wonder how long it will be before I can get ‘Off the Wall’ out and revel in it!