Tuesday 16 October 2012

In The Garden

Today's challenge: name a prettier 60s tune than Triste Janero's airy, jazz-flecked"In The Garden":

...I knew you couldn't!  With a honeyed tone pitched midway between Tracey Thorn's and Debsey Wykes's, my heart was always going to flip for Barbara Baines's voice.  Original White Whale issue copies in Not Unloved friendly condition go for around the 50 pound mark so I had to plump for a second hand copy of the Jazzman reissue which coupled it with the nowhere near as lovable "Baby True" by Gettysburg Address and was mine for a much more modest 2 pounds*.  Joe Foster's Rev-ola reissued the group's "Meet..." lp on cd a few years ago (although it doesn't appear in this discography, for some reason).  I saw it in Monorail but somehow it never quite rose to the top of my lust list so I don't own it.  I'll rectify that someday, I'm sure.

Read more about Triste Janero here

* - It was actually the second time I'd bought it. Unfortunately, however, the first copy was lost in the post - just one of the many drawbacks of buying records mailorder.

Monday 15 October 2012

September Girls (again!)

Magic multiplies when it comes into contact with vinyl so I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of some September Girls vinyl after enjoying them so much on tape and cd-r. Both are fine formats, of course, but somehow neither has vinyl's mysterious power to multiply.  "Green Eyed" b/w "Danny Wood" is nearly here - it's out on 22nd October - and it's as bold and dramatic as it is pretty.  With a melody of pure end of summer sadness swept along by a powerful fuzz undertow it's the kind of song you don't tell people about so much as evangelise about - really, I'm only 3 plays away from having a sandwich board made, booking a week off work and parading up and down Argyle Street to make the people of Glasgow sit up and take notice of September Girls.  It also just happens to be book-ended by just about the most resplendent guitar nugget I've heard in 2012; just too much.  The accompanying video is worth a spin, too:

Almost makes you nostalgic for pre-smoking ban gigs.  And those sections with the overlaid faces, Loop and Spacemen 3 woulda walked over hot coals for visuals that cool.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Delores Hall "Good Lovin' Man"

There could be hard times ahead so Not Unloved is stockpiling records with the fervour of a mad-eyed doomsday cultist preparing for The Armageddon.  Delores Hall's knockabout "Good Lovin' Man" was bought in haste after hearing it on Patrick Foisy's amusingly named Parka Avenue blog but it's such a fun, zesty record that there will certainly be no repenting at leisure.

Unplayed Keymen Records originals are kicking about on ebay for around the tenner mark.  Considering that a lot of soul reissues cost roughly that these days it's worth a punt, I'd say.

Brenda Ray is my new heroine

It's true to say that I know practically diddly about dub, reggae and lovers rock.  I do know one thing, however, and that's that Brenda Ray's music has been heard more than anyone else's round these parts of late.  The groundwork for her "Walatta" cd (recently reissued by EM Records of Japan) was probably laid almost a year ago to the week by Hollie Cook's stunning Glasgow show and impeccable debut album. "Walatta" really should have been reissued by Heavenly Recordings as Brenda's voice puts me in mind of Dot Allison (both solo and with her stupendous group One Dove) or her Heavenly labelmate Sarah Cracknell at their breathy best. Come to think of it, "Another Dream" sounds exactly how I'd imagine a Saint Etienne dub single would sound:

Those spoken word sections are uncannily Sarah Cracknell-esque aren't they?  Quality-wise, "Walatta" is from the top drawer throughout with the tone being set right from the "Sweet Jane" shimmer of the intro to opening track and wafting pop masterpiece "Star Light":

Some dub heavyweights' names appear in the credits (Prince Far I, King Tubby etc.) and many of the sounds a novice like me would associate with dub records are present and correct (the forlorn melodica, the spring reverb and the odd vaguely rum-soaked sounding male singer) but, really, it's the softness of Brenda's voice and her lightness of touch as a producer which makes "Walatta" a record to obsess over.  It's hard not to feel a little more positively about life after a period of immersion in it.  Words like 'dream', 'sweet' and 'love' are recurrent and seep into your soul so that when on "D-I-Z-Z-E-E" she mildly suggests “Come on now and get unhinged, cos I am gonna make you swing” you're more than happy to get a little unhinged and have that second custard cream whilst dancing round the kitchen in the most understated way.  Life's good when Brenda's singing.

Coming soon to Not Unloved: Brenda Ray - D'ya Hear Me! Naffi Years 1979-83

[Glaswegians: Monorail has a bunch of copies of "Walatta" on cd just waiting to take away yr dreich autumn blues!]