Sunday, December 20, 2015

December's Picks

We're dispensing with December's picks before month's end like we do every year so that we may get on with the holidays....


1. THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR-"The Mole From The Ministry"
Recorded in 1985 by XTC members Andy Partridge, Dave Gregory and Colin Moulding (along with Dave's brother Ian on drums) their debut mini LP "25 O'Clock" was cut using vintage musical AND recording equipment at a small Christian recording studio.  The results of this "fake" band were microdots beyond any "real" so called "psychedelic" bands as this cross between "I Am The Walrus" and "We Are the Moles" will tell you.

2. BUSTER'S ALL STARS-"Sounds And Pressure"
Easily the most soulful thing Prince Buster ever did, this 1967 LP version (previously issued as a Blue Beat 45 credited to Buster All Stars but is actually Hopeton Lewis, BB 372 ) eschews his usual  groove for something far more r&b than ska or rocksteady with call and response vocals and some professionally recorded brass.

3. STATUS QUO-"Gentlemen Joe's Sidewalk Cafe"
I often forget about a lot of 60's bands.  Status Quo are among them.  They have but one brilliant LP and a handful of singles before the center partings and paisley foppery gave way to denim and 10 minute jams. This simple but catchy slice of Farfisa fueled pop more than redeems them in my book. It was also the flip side to their debut 45 "Pictures Of Matchstick Men".

4. THE SALVADORS-"Stick By Me Baby"
Having a zillion Northern soul compilation CD's and LP's and the fact that the genre is pretty played out and overrated in my opinion I suppose I can be excused for overlooking/ignoring this one which I have evidently had on a comp for eons.  It wasn't until my Philly rude girl pal Sara hipped me that the film "Northern Soul" was on Netflix streaming and I watched it and was cottoned to this up tempo stormer.  In true Northern Soul fashion an original will set you back $1,500+ according to

Merry Krimbo all of you, here's my fave Xmas track of all time from the froggy, gravely throat-ed Sonny Boy Williamson. The moral of the story, stay out of the ladies (dresser) drawer(s)....

6. THE END-"Loving Sacred Loving"
Bill Wyman's psychedelic protegees decamp from their mod/soul career in Spain back to England to cut a monster LP ("Introspection") during down time on the Stones "Satanic Majesties" album sessions with Mr. Perks twiddling the dials. This was issued as the flip to their first offering of the sessions March '68's "Shades Of Orange" (Decca F 22750).  Those of you who follow this blog will no doubt tire of me proffering this suggestion but with the way these tracks sound just imagine the '67 Stones output if they'd let Bill produce instead of A.L.O. or themselves?! The new 4 CD end box set contains no less than three versions!

This track was later given new lyrics and became "Street Fighting Man" but a cursory listen to this track and you can hear the instrumentation (especially Keith's acoustic guitar recorded through a portable cassette player) so much better than the normal finished production.

8. DENNY LAINE-"Say You Don't Mind"
Eight months after bidding The Moody Blues farewell Denny Laine released his brilliant solo debut on Deram.  "Say You Don't Mind", with it's full on Denny Cordell production is nothing short of a baroque pop masterpiece and is everything you'd expect from a '67 Deram 45 with woodwinds, string section and funky background with the bass and Denny's Spanish guitar flourishes chugging along.  It's alleged there's an entire LP worth of unreleased Denny Laine Deram era material out there. One can only hope.

9. THE UPSETTERS-"Double Wheel"
I can't decide what I like better the eye catching flashy short lived Spinning Wheel label (just 8 singles from '70-'71) or the Upsetters reggae-fied muzak instrumental of Blood Sweat & Tear's "Spinning Wheel" retooled as "Double Wheel".

10. DAVID BOWIE-"Heroes"
I recently read the amazing "Bowie In Berlin: A New Career In A New Town" by Thomas Jerome Seabrook and it sent me on a path to rediscovering my second fave Bowie period (my first being the 60's). And I had all but forgotten how I love the fuck out of this song, from it's freaky musical backing, the powerful lyrics and Bowie's emotional delivery it's all there.

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