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July 2007



Blimey, Summer is here already and it still feels like much earlier in the year. It`s doing my head in, and I know as soon as I`ve really realised it`s Summer it will already be Autumn. Well regardless of seasons I have been snooping in all corners of anywhere to find new things to entertain my insatiable musical head. And as I nearly always say here it isn`t getting any easier, but I am finding that hard looking does pay off sometimes. But only sometimes. A few weeks ago I managed to do a “trade” with my mate Joel, something I`ve never ever been good at. Some people just love trading records, I`ve never really managed without feel slightly short changed which explains why I refuse to do it most of the time, but on this one swap I might have got it right. I was also lucky enough to go to Australia recently and managed to put in a day of intense record shopping in Sydney. There are a couple of very good shops out there with their very own topsy turvy pricing policy. By this I mean albums rated here are not rated there, and albums not rated here are rated there. This was good news at the time. One shop also let me use their lavatory.

CHILD`S SONG — HENRY LOWTHER:
Sounding not too dissimilar to early electric Miles, like In A Silent Way and that, this funny British record is possibly most famous for Lowther`s choice of geography teacher`s footwear. Please note, mustard yellow socks and brown sandals, all together at the same time. Shocking I know. This is one of those albums that, once you`ve got over his feet, reward you with sweet, deep but oddly naove treats every time you listen. But then again I think that was Henry`s idea in the first place.

 

FOLKLORE AND BOSSA NOVA DO BRASIL:
This classic Brasilian record was issued by MPS in Germany and then pressed over here by Polydor. It`s a true folky classic and offers a hot, honest and sexy taste of music by the true legends from southern America. You can`t really improve on this LP, unless of course you are listening to it in your birthday suit outdoors somewhere nice with a loved one, and maybe with a cold drink with a straw in it to your left. Anyway, nice idea putting a plane wheel on the cover montage. I`d have preferred a girls bum or a bikini or an air hostess.

 

DANCE TO THE MUSIC — NELSON / HAACK:
This is one of the later Dimension 5 albums but it lacks none of the invention and totally madness that runs throughout the others. Here all listeners are invited to hand jive and play a kooky, corrupted version of musical statues, with Miss Nelson urging you to wiggle a bit when you`re supposed to be still. Another highlight is their idea of Soul Transportation — this is Haack`s version of simple daydreaming but a bit weirder. If only real life and commercial music was this free and this much fun. I`d better mention that this album is quite badly pressed but I can just about deal with it, and my son, Little Bert who listens along with me couldn't give a fig as he`s way too busy spreading milk into the rug.

 

THE SHIRLEY TEMPLE SONGBOOK:
irstly I`d like to say I am not embarrassed to admit that I like Shirley Temple records. I say this now as people really do frown and hint at sexual oddness when you stick up your hand and say “Yeah, I love Shirley”, but then again it depends how you say it and how you stick your hand up I suppose. This double album includes some of her maths work but not in song form, so you can see just how clever she was off camera too. The music here is quite miraculous a lot of the time, both lyrically and aurally.

 

TETE A TETE:
Back in the late 1950s a rather hip fellow called Peter Burman got into modern jazz and managed to bring together all the disparate parts of the British jazz scene every Sunday on the South Bank. Yes, he had a series of afternoon sessions at the Royal Festival Hall called Tete A Tete where a mixed bag of musicians with funny names would clash, swap jazz thoughts and jam overlooking the Thames. Sounds good to me. Anyway he managed to blag himself an album to feature or re-record some of these sessions and I really can`t get enough of it. It`s calm, beautiful and unmistakeably Britain circa about 1960. The line up and collaborations include Shake Keane, Johnny Scott and even someone called Ray Premru. This also has one of the greatest jazz sleeves I have ever seen, but as usual on these pages, I only include a small portion of the sleeve because my scanner is quite small.

 

SAJID`S ALBUM:
TV stars making pop records can be very hit or very miss. This example is both I reckon, and here Sajid cashes in not only on his exciting new telly career in “Maja” and his new swelling fan base but also on the current trend (back in `67) of sunshiney pop magic. Not only to I love the cover of this album for its laid back Indian grace but also for its hippy dippyness — note love beads, blurred pink phallic flowers and an obvious look of calm. I also love his cover of Moon River, which has a slight tramp / smack-head undertone, which is think it's not supposed to have.

 

BLACK LIKE ME — CORPORATION OF ONE:
Recently I retrieved some albums from a storage space I have - it`s called the back of my sister`s garage. One of the records retrieved was this, a hip hop joint made a white geezer called Freddy Bastone in 1989 or thereabouts which samples everything from early 80s futurist bits to Queen. I put it on thinking it was going to get stuck somewhere in the early 1990s, but it still sounded cohesive and a teeny bit dark, raw and dare I say “fresh”. There is one really bad track with flat singing on it, but I just stop the record when that one starts. I wouldn`t be able to tell you what sub genre / school of rap this falls into, and frankly I don`t care, I just like it.

 

AMBER TURNING MAUVE — JOHNNY HAWKSWORTH:
This is bonkers. It`s got a cover by the same brave and nearly talentless person who illustrated the mental Carribean De Wolfe LP, and includes several badly drawn members of the ugly bug ball flitting all about. In fairly typical De Wolfe style, this album is mad and quite beautiful at the same time, with several different versions of the same poppy pastoral tune, which eventually make you think you`re going mad or the clocks have stopped. There is one number on here which is quite amazing and all spooky and I can`t remember what it`s called but it`s on side one, about the sixths or seventh track in.

 

 

THE QUITE NEW LAURA VIERS ALBUM:
I was sent this by mistake I think to review, and it sat on my desk for a few months, with Laura gorping up at me from the front cover. Well she kept looking and looking and getting on my tits a bit and so one day I decided to stick it on so I could stop her looking at me. I liked what I heard. I don`t know why, I`m not sure if it`s that original or special or anything but I now hum some of the tunes and sometimes even sing bits out quite loud, especially in the car. This is not like me at all. No, not at all. Hopefully it won`t last.

 

THAT OLD JULEE CRUISE LP:
Produced and written by David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti, this album looked like it tried to cash in a bit on the massive global success of the original Twin Peaks recording. Whether it managed to or not means nothing here, what I am interested in though is the bonkers track “Rocking Back Inside My Heart”, an extraordinary, wanton, drifting and comical country thing. It`s a love song, it`s slightly camp, and for me it`s perfection in 5 minutes and 45 seconds, even mentioning an owl in the lyrics near the end. This is another one that came from my sisters garage.

 

A ROSE FOR ALL:
Most of Bacalov`s soundtrack bossas are all the same, possibly because the same ones punctuate his different albums. The ones on this album are different however, and even sound really good through the endless crackles that permeate this rather badly kept album. Well it was badly kept until I got it and now it`s still shot to pieces but well loved and put back carefully after use.

 

GETTING BACK TO NOTHING:
Soul surfing was the subject talked about and documented on this indie surf flick back in about 1970. To tell you the truth there is almost next to nothing on this LP worth hearing, but there are a couple of life saving musical moments, the dippy spoken word montage bits and a cue called Setting The Tempos which is all effects and guitars and has that drift I associate with vintage short board surf. By the way, this film features Peter Drouyn who has made an appearance on these pages before. This album was issued by the Fable label, a company with officially the worst logo I have seen this year.

 

THE STRINGS TALK:
Mr Sermad put me onto this, after he bought a large stash of immaculate Italian library albums. All music here is by Umiliani and it`s a blissfully sad record, but there is nothing wrong with feeling totally miserable every now and then. To take the title and run with it a little, the strings here are talking sunsets, death, solitude, romance between ladies and non-violence. And as Sermad told me, it`s one of the finds of the year, and I agree totally. This has rarely been off the deck, and will remain close for a long while yet.

 

LES ENCERCLES:
The journey through French film eps is an immense one, and not that rewarding if you ask me. I haven`t really bothered that much with them as the quantity of them is far greater than the quality offered. Nice sleeves and all, but often mediocre sounds, and hard to find in good nick. Recently this little feller came my way, and I bought it as it`s a funny collaboration between two labels, one of them being Saravah. I can find little about about this ep but I was intrigued by it because the title tune is written and sung by Brigitte Fontaine and another bloke I`ve not heard of before. The B side is really quite bad.

 

HEAR, O ISRAEL:
The extraordinary, unique and sublimely wonderful Herbie Hancock recording that Trunk will issue roundabout September. I really can`t get enough of it. There is preview track from it on the all new Trunk Sampler ”Now We Are Ten”. You lucky, lucky people.

 

WORKFORCE — PERCUSSION UNIT:
Quite a mental electro library thing this, and there is a distinct possibility that Christian Vander from Magma is the composer Chris Vander here. This makes bugger all difference to me, but may excite people like Steve Davis the snooker player. This album, dating from 1980, has a classy, minimal electro / techno sound which has travelled well to arrive with us now still sounding good. Well quite good. And anything with a track on it called Dancing Toothbrush has to be taken seriously.

 

PERSON PITCH BY PANDA BEAR:
Great artwork. Music sounds like the Beach Boys mixed with my alarm clock with batteries that really do need changing. Some would say this album is self indulgent, especially when one track clocks in at about 12 minutes plus, but I think Mr P Bear gets away with it, and musically it is quite trance inducing if you are in the right mood. I think this is an interesting bit of work, I may think differently in a few weeks, or a couple of months, but I really hope not. It`s very unusual for me to have two newish albums on the recommendations page. Something must be going on.

 

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE:
Having been tipped off that a small collection of Italian records had arrived in a shoppe called “The Time Machine” somewhere near Melton Mowbury. I got in the car, shot up the A1 and ended up at said shoppe early one Tuesday. The weather was dreadful, but the man in the shop was cheerful and made me some tea. He had walls full of great TV memorabilia, none of which was for sale. I bought this record along with a pile of others, and left as the local undertaker walked in.

 

DON BURROWS ON CAMERA:
According to this album, in 1962 Don Burrows and his merry musicians became the on screen band for a couple of Australian TV shows called “someone or other on the telly”. They all decided it would be a good idea to make an album of the standards and originals played out on these shows, and so they did, all here arranged by Don or his talented, sexy pianist at the time, the legendary Judy Bailey. And what a bloody groovy album they produced. Along with a few originals which bring to mind odd hairy creatures with big legs, there are some blistering and dare I say, anarchic covers. The one that has become a surprise hit in the Trunk front room is their version of “It Aint Necessarily So” played at the same time as “Summertime”. Brilliantly confusing.

 

SOME MYSTERY REELS AND MASTERS:
Recently I took possession of some very beautiful old master tapes, all recorded between 1957 and 1977. 32 tapes in all, which means lots of listening: 16 hours of non-stop listening in fact. I can`t say much at the moment, but here is a picture of one of the reels, which will give you no clues at all about anything. IF you have any ideas what it might be, email Jonny. There will be further exciting news about this on the next updates.

 



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