This week musically …. its my usual varied bag of eccentricity mixed with if one is being honest by repeated listens of some things too often, and even some things so beyond cheesy as to be beyond redemption.
The Lovin’ Spoonful, Greatest Hits:
Am a particular fan of some of their great, supposedly lesser hits, Coconut Grove, Darling Be Home Soon, Younger Generation …..
Nino Katamadse, White:
An evocative electro-pop diva from Georgia (the nation, not the REM place) who has shades of Goldfrapp, Pet Shop Boys and Liza Minnelli. Finally available in the UK and US from a Russian record label ….
Earth, Wind and Fire, I Am:
Not perhaps their greatest album, but their last huge spinner. One I remember my mother buying when it came out in ‘79, it is packed with some of their biggest hits, ‘Boogie Wonderland’, ‘After the Love Has Gone’. Brings back certain memories of my childhood – and seeing them tear the roof off in Paris, Paris at Vegas in 2001.
Petula Clark, Essential:
Long seen in her later years as someone so dull and easy listening to be beyond reclaiming, Petula in the 1960s recorded loads of memorable hits written and produced by Tony Hatch, ‘Downtown’, ‘Call Me’, ‘Don’t Sleep in the Subway’.
John Stewart, California Bloodlines:
John Stewart’s music defies simple categorisation – crossing folk/country distinctions. He recorded some great songs in his time – Daydream Believer – being the most well known – and California Bloodlines – from ’69 – is one of his most convincing albums, filled with songs with memorable melodies and striking characters.
Various Artists, Concert for George:
This is one that came out a few years ago and although I was aware of it – it passed me by listening wise. Now as the record industry moves into a fullscale George Harrison reclaiming/reissue programme with a dodgy ‘Best of’ to promote, this album is a poignant way to remember George. A wide selection of George songs are played from across his Beatle and n0n-Beatle career, and it is revealing to hear Paul McCartney (who had a diffcult relationship with George for many years) play a ukulele version of ‘Something’ and ‘All Things Must Pass’ (a song he didnt think cut the mustard for the Beatles).
Arthur Russell, The Sleeping Big Sessions:
Newly released collection of Russell singles on the aforementioned label. Russell was a musical polymath in 1980s New York and this collection builds on with repeating the wonderful ‘The World of Arthur Russell’ on Soul Jazz a few years ago. His music combines disco, soul/jazz, dance, ambient, new wave and classical influences – and this disc is a bit looser, freer and more experimental than the Soul Jazz set.