I have contemplated submitting a chart for a while now, but having to up load a track for inclusion in the “Best of 2009” swap has provided me with the ability to do so, therefore I have no further excuses. Spurred on by some of the many excellent charts that regular contributors have submitted, I intend to add to and up-date this chart as often as I find time. Many of the charts have a running and coherent theme and whilst this is admirable and cohesive, as well as most pleasing, I do not feel I can follow in the great footsteps of VG+ers and keep it genre based. With this in mind I will compile stuff that I think relevant to current board discussion, combined with stuff that is either new or re-discovered and that has moved me or struck a chord. By no means are the tracks I will include meant to be super rare or undiscovered, just things I am feeling. I therefore I make no apologies for any randomness that the chart may bring about. Here’s hoping that it appeals to folk in the main.
Track 1: Dave Liebman.
I have, on more than one occasion, rallied against that often-found imprint ECM, dismissing it out of hand as bland, noodling and uninspiring. Last month Piglet represented it as one of his favourite labels (or at least it was included in a thread discussing labels of love) – I rolled my eyes! Shot from the hip and dismissed his claim. I am not a proud man and will admit when I am wrong. I will therefore admit that it is not a total washout and of course it has redeeming pockets of goodness. The thread made me pull out one of the ECM LP’s I had categorised as ok to reappraise. The LP in question is by Dave Liebman and is titled Drum Ode. Dave gets busy on Soprano and tenor sax and alto flute, but essentially this is an LP to give the drummer(s) some. (Note that John Abercrombie is on electric and acoustic guitars)
The LP was recorded in NY (1974), but I think that this ECM release is it’s initial and only pressing. I do not recognise all the drumming personnel, but Bob Moses is one of the drummers, Patato Valdez gets busy on congas and electric congas and there is tabla and also female vocals on the session (although not on the track charted).
The LP as a whole is really strong but my favourite track is “The Call”.
Sometime last year I started a thread about a record by Jackie McLean and Michael Carvin asking if there was anything similar, this is in the same ballpark I feel. I really like the hard blowing’ and relentless drums, it may have appealed to the jazz dance crowd back in the day. One obvious selling point to me, to lift this above later ECM fodder, is that it is a great LP to hold; laminated sleeve with nice artwork and it just feels right. There I gone done and said it – I like (some) ECM.
Track 2: Latin Tempo.
This is a track from the self-titled LP from Latin Tempo on Fania. I have two or three LP’s by this group this is not actually the strongest one, but I have been dipping into some old boxes trying to section off and down size. This led me to playing some Latin LP’s that have lay unloved for many moons. This is a good NY latin-soul / salsa tune to me. I have played this tune out a couple of times, it’s not instant, but I like the horns and the way one of the guy’s blows a raspberry at aprox 2.20 minutes when the breakdown comes.
This is on the ‘clouds’ Fania label, mixed by Larry Harlow and led by trombonist Louis Garcia. The track is called “Papa Boco”. The sleeve is a master class in getting the loud shirt and moustache combo just right.
Track 3: After the War.
Just recently we have a short-lived debate about which group was better, Placebo vs. Nucleus, there was not really a decisive winner. I like both, but think Nucleus shade it for me. (Not that I own OG Placebo LP’s, but Nucleus have a more complex sound. That said I re-checked the Counterpoint RI and the first disc is really cool. I miss my Balek 45)
I pulled this LP out as I remember this group have elements of the sound discussed. The LP is by Trouble and is titled ‘After the War’ – although it could be the other way around! I have had the LP over 10 years and still I haven’t done any research on it. Not something I imagine is particularly rare, perhaps uncommon though. Recorded in Denmark I guess, the group is a ‘super group’ type gathering with Ray Pitts tenor/sop sax and flute and Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on Fender-bass. The track is “Three/Deep Six”. It is over nine minutes long, so you will have to stick around, it really gets going around half way. It’s a German pressing on Telefunken and hails from 1970.
As I say it has elements of the sound attributed to Placebo and/or Nucleus, although I would never be so bold as to brand it Placebo-esque.
Track 4: Claudette Soares.
Again, this is something I have had for some years. I really like Claudette and have tracked down a few of her LP’s. Being from the 1970’s this is not my favourite and not the most consistent, it is however lovely. Brazilian pressing on Odeon, complete with a cool inner. This track is such a groove. It is a Jorge Ben composition titled “Eles Querem Amar.”
Track 5: Memphis Slim.
Some recent discussions about blues have coincided with a few finds and re-discoveries. This LP was listed in one of my finds post last month. The LP as a whole is nice, this is a UK release on Ember from 1973 – originally released on US LAFF I think. The LP is titled Soul Blues, the track included here being “I’m Lost Without You.” I have developed a real liking for this sort of blues gear, kind of jazz leanings and almost MOD.
Track 6: The New Departures Quartet.
This is a relatively rare UK jazz recording, released on Transatlantic Records in 196? I have owned this LP for about 10 years, I remember buying it off Preston market when my jazz knowledge was only in its infancy, strange that it sat there without any other jazz LP’s to rub shoulders with, but it has been a rewarding buy all the same. I tend to play this LP about once every three months so there is something that keeps bringing me back to it. This ensemble of UK jazz heavyweights first got it on in 1961 and the bulk of the stuff they played was improvised, relating to the jazz/poetry movement of the era. I should have clean this LP by now, seeing I have owned it for such a while, so apologies for any surface noise. The line up is as follows: Bobby Wellins, Stan Tracey, Laurie Morgan & Jeff Clyne. I believe that the leader is of Scottish heritage, hailing from Glasgow (jazz mod related titbit).
The track included here is “Afro Charlie”, it is fairly long but I really like the recurring theme, I am sure the VG+ jazz mafia may too.
Track 7: Gordon Beck.
Well, I just love the modal goodness of this. Taken from Gordon Beck’s Major Minor LP – Dr Dolittle Loves Jazz – “Beautiful Things” is one of my favourite UK jazz tunes. Nice and strong piano line, deep modal theme, it’s a good one. Released in 1967 this is one of two LP’s Gordon Beck released on Major Minor, the other being Experiments in Pop (with a cool version of “Boots Were Made for Walking” that no one danced to in Belfast when I DJ’d many years ago!!) This has a US release also I seem to remember which should be cheaper.
Track 8: Magic Slim.
I could have posted this in this months finds, but better to slot it here I feel, with a nod to the Blues thread. Beacon Records, for me, is really interesting. I have never bought anything on it that isn’t worthy of future listens, this ‘budget LP is no exception to the rule. This is one I haven’t seen before, the two other volumes of budget LP’s (Beacon Brings it to You Vol I & II) are well known and loved, this one may also be common, but it’s new to me. A compilation of four artistes essentially, I have chosen the track “Scuffling” by Magic Slim, cause it’s cool to my ears.
Track 9: Ozz and his Sperlings.
A nice cover of the Grace Slick tune, that I am sure is well regarded, this has a northern edge to it and one that just missed the cut to my Christmas mix.
Track 10: Sharon Forrester.
I really like this LP, mostly for the sublime Ashford and Simpson cover of “Silly Wasn’t I?” but there are other excellent bits and bobs across the LP. The musicianship on this LP is really solid and features quite a who’s who of Brit jazz and session players of the era. Henry Lowther and Harry Beckett feat on trumpets, Ray Swinfield and Ray Warleigh on flutes and amongst others Del Richardson makes an appearance. I have chosen the Leon Russell tune “This Masquerade” & I let the recording follow through to also include “Silly”. Silly was recorded in Jamaica the rest recorded in the UK at Morgan studios in London. The LP is on Ashanti and was released in 1974. You also get a fantastic fold out inner with photos from the session. Perhaps not to all tastes but I like it.
Track 11: Roland Kovac.
Despite not being the biggest fan of library records I still regret flipping a lot of what I was lucky enough to score in a job lot some 15 years ago. I still have a few, this is one that stayed, due mainly for the jazz angle. The title of the LP is City Visit and was released on the Harmonic label, the track is by Roland Kovac (Trip to the Mars dude) and called “Throughway”. There are three good fast paced jazzer’s on this LP.
Will do a proper update over the next couple of days with a bit of luck. Just one, as I have set the deck up again to test it.
This is in honour of the release and passing of Working Man's Soul. Got mine the other day, great stuff as ever. Here is my WMS track from the last week.......
Group from M/cr with a disco slant, but this self penned # is excellent. Some Tower of Power type horn work going on too. The drum solo comes in and at the ends gives a nice open drum break.
The Mark James Band - Smash and Grab - Private