Monday, September 24, 2012

September's Picks

1. The Four Tops-"Walk Away Rene"
The Four Tops pulled off quite a few covers of "contemporary" tracks like no one else could thanks to the power of Levi Stubb's.  Shit he could sing the ingredients from the side of a cornflakes box and make it sound good, but their "pop" covers period is no better exemplified by any other track than this!

2. Dexy's Midnight Runners-"Tell Me When My Light Turns Green"
We here at "Anorak Thing" will always hold a torch for pre-"Come On Eileen" Dexy's perfectly illustrated by this soulful number full of their trademark ballsy horn section.

3. The Pretty Things-"Defecting Grey"
The Pretties managed a few brilliant seven inch moments between their much maligned but fucking amazing "Emotions" LP and the somewhat overrated "S.F. Sorrow" epic.  This was one of them, quite lysergic and convincingly at that, aided in no small part due to the production of Norman Smith, also responsible for similar miracles with the very first Pink Floyd album.

4. Andy Lewis-"Mr. Camera"
"Don't wanna be a teacher, don't wanna be a preacher don't want to be a painterman, don't wanna be a pilot in the Royal Air Forece dropping bombs on the Taliban.....but I quite like spending my money on second hand clothes and LP's...". Amen.

5. The Babyshambles-"Delivery"
My pal Dave Woj from The Insomniacs shared a bunch of CD's by these guys a bit back.  I'd been skeptical but dove into them with an open mind and was suitably impressed, especially by this punchy "Kinks updated" style track, a formula Dave's band perfected long before Pete Doherty smoked his first ciggie.

6. Manfred Mann-"Trouble And Tea"
One of the beautiful things about living near a groovy used record store is you never know what you'll score there.  Well I stumbled upon a $9.99 Japanese CD of  the Manfred's first Mike D'Abo era LP "As Is" (with both stereo and mono mixes) and couldn't pass it up as it'd been on my Amazon wish list for eons.  And wow, this mono mix of this tune contains an entire flute track I'd never heard before and additional un-heard guitar/organ licks that make the number even better than it was in stereo!

7. XTC-"In Another Life"
Cheers to my pal Matt for hipping me to XTC's "Wasp Star" CD, which after a few serious listens becomes their first long player (bar their two Dukes of Stratosphear LP's) I've enjoyed since 1982's "English Settlement".  This track indeed has the kitchen sink drama and jauntiness that would've been right at home on the previously mentioned platter. And of course it's 12 years old there's no danger in me liking something "contemporary".

8. The Prisoners-"Melanie"
The Prisoners are one of those rare bands from the 80's that stood the test of time because they were never "too mod", never "too garage" (their Englishness obviously making them impenetrable to all the comic book 80's American garage scene stereotypes) and above all were masters of their instruments.  Yeah they nicked a few tunes here and there but they rocked as this video clip from 1983 proves!

9. Booker T & The M.G.'s-"Something"
It's own up time kids.  I'll admit here and now I've long avoided "McLemore Avenue" because, well I pretty much disdain any post '67 stuff the Fab's did bar a track or two here and there so why would I enjoy the Memphis foursome doing the whole "Abbey Road"?  Well that still holds true but I must say I do dig their treatment of this number, which in it's original form is the template for my dislike of all things Fab Four post psychedelia.

10. Barbara Streisand-"Our Corner Of the Night"
Stumbled on this reading the set sale list on this cool site run by the cat behind this VERY cool blog.
Who'd have thought Babs had it in her?  This 1968 A-side sounds like Reparta and The Delrons cutting a disc with Sandie Shaw!  Wowee!
Babs and her "natural look" in the 60's.

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