Sunday, 12 December 2010

DEBC - 'The Pulse'

This starts out quite jolly and floaty - intelligent jungle, they used to call it - before a filtered synth line snakes in under the door, itchy as a swarm of flying ants, and expands into a jittery buzzsaw hook.

This reminds me of frantic drum and bass sets at Dust in Leeds. Frantic because in the space of 4 hours, we'd squeeze in as many different genres as could - ska, nu-metal, house, disco, pop cheese, rock. I mostly did the dance slots, which would be me trying to play 10 records in 15 minutes. The crowd loved it, but it was hard work.

This record was good for about 90 seconds - basically, the intro and the first drop. Then, quick out into something a bit more recognisable - the drum and bass remix of 'Ready or Not' by The Fugees.

Mindless, sweaty, happy nights.

Tags: prototype, drum and bass, DEBC, 1999

Friday, 10 December 2010

Beck - 'Odelay'

The first thing you notice about this record is that it's super-heavyweight vinyl - audiophile 180gm, or something. It gives the impression of quality and, dare I say, phatness before the needle ever touches the groove.

Beck Hanson is essentially a surrealist artist. His musical career was something of an accident, catapulted as he was into the mainstream by the single 'Loser'. The rest of that album, 'Mellow Gold' - we'll be getting to that at some point - is a whimsical, downbeat set of doodles that wouldn't have seen the light of day without the chart-crushing juggernaut of 'Loser'.

'Odelay' is the sound of a white boy finding his dancing feet, releasing the funk, and cutting a fiery swathe across an indie dancefloor. The classic surrealist trademarks are all here - unusual juxtapositions, dreams made real, a strange hallucinatory quality pervading everything - and yet this is surrealist art you can dance to. It has a musically timeless quality to it that means it could be anywhere from Sgt. Pepper to the present day.

What does it remind me of? It reminds me of seeing Beck live at Leeds Festival in (I think) 2000. He wasn't quite at the peak of his powers, but there was a feeling that, as he boogied manically in front of 20,000 people, he couldn't put a foot wrong. He evoked the spirit of David Byrne in 'Stop Making Sense', which is a must-see gig-movie. He epitomised coolness, was slightly deranged, and was backed by DJ Swamp, who performed the most deck-defying feats of vinyl manipulation I'd ever seen. A year later, I found the 'DJ Swamp Skip-Proof Scratch Tool', and I was sold on the way of the wicky-wicky.

I'm not sure that Beck ever got any better than this, but crucially, he never got much worse either.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Various Artists - 'Def Beats 1'

It's funny the crap you find in your record collection.

This reminds me of a couple things. The first is working in the printroom at Georgina von Etzdorf, with a guy called Ellis. He was bang into his hip hop, and sort of got me into it. I remember him telling me how to 'transformer scratch' (look it up), and I went home to learn how to do it. Of course, I didn't have Technics and a mixer, I had a crappy belt drive turntable and a tape dub button, but you can get a pretty good approximation of the effect with a Jesus & Mary Chain record and plenty of enthusiasm.

It also reminds me of an early trip to New York, staying at my friend Dave's place on Hoyt Street, Brooklyn. Being a music obsessive, I used to travel with tapes all the time, even though I'm not sure that I ever had a walkman to play them on. I guess I would show up and ask to put a tape on, which seems quite rude in retrospect.

Anyway, I remember Dave and his then girlfriend Leslie looking through my tapes. Leslie found the one that said 'Def Beats Vol 1' on it and said 'yayyy Def Beats'. Dave looked at her shocked and said 'you know this?'. Of course she didn't - she was just being nice.

This record is tripe - a sort of futuristic Ronco compilation deigned to exploit the current trend. It's one redeeming feature is that it features the late Derek B. Even he's crap on here, but we all know how great he became, right kids?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Overseer - 'Zeptastic EP'

Hillariously, this record threw me a total curve ball. When I saw it, I thought it was going to remind me of late-90s Leeds, when everyone and their mate had a sampler and was making music. Seeing the record immediately took me back to Rob's bedroom studio in the top of a house on Brudenell Road in Leeds' Hyde Park.

I dropped the needle on to the first track, ready for the reverie continue, but was jolted forwards five years by the opening on 'Zeptastic'. I'd completely forgotten that this track had been reworked and re-recorded in the sessions for the album 'Wreckage'. It never made the final album, which was a shame as I think it was the best vocal I did for the entire record. I think it got buried under the weight of its own potential - at one point, the vocalists on it were me, Des Fafara (then of Coal Chamber) and (I swear I'm not making this up) Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue. Nikki Sixx slapped a great chorus onto it, but wanted to call the track 'Shake Your Pussy', which was clearly a non-starter for all sorts of reasons. Once you've got Nikki Sixx calling a track 'Shake Your Pussy', it's not going to make the cut.

I haven't even got a copy of that track any more - all my DATs and white CDs were pinched in a burglary in about 2005. Which is a shame, as my clearly biased opinion is that it's the great lost Overseer track, languishing in vaults, ready to swoop forth like rain washing scum off the streets.

The EP is good, the track 'Zeptastic' is great. Who knows what might have been....

Monday, 4 October 2010

Gravediggaz - 'Nowhere to Run, Nowhere to Hide'

Contrary to the previous record, this has a wonderfully epic swagger to it. It's the sound of a hip hop supergroup trading rhymes, smashing it and generally having a great time.

What really surprises me is how little connection I have to this. I remember it coming out, and being really excited about it, but I just doesn't stir anything in me. It's a good hip hop track, but it doesn't transport me to a time or a place. Maybe I made the mistake of believing the hype, or maybe music doesn't need to be an eternal. I guess pop music can be both great and disposable at the same time - why not hip hop?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Gravediggaz - 'Diary of a Madman'

I played this ten days ago, and it reminded me of using a sampler. How crap is that for a memory? I played it a few more times, and still nothing.

Boooring. It's not a bad record, but it means zip to me. And I spent 10 days thinking about it. NEXT!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Blur - 'Blur'

Having listened to this album, I'd thought of something clever to write about it, but then realised that Blur had beaten me to it by calling this album 'Blur'. This is the sound of Blur being Blur without any thematic conceit driving their creativity.

In the battle of Britpop, it was often said that Oasis were The Beatles, mainly because they ripped off so many of their songs. The truth is, The Beatles never really had 'a sound' in the way that The Rolling Stones did. What marks The Beatles out is their restless creativity, which surely peaked with 'Yellow Submarine'.

I'm kidding of course . To quote the late, great Bill Hick's, 'they were so high they even let Ringo sing'. It's hard to know if with their later albums, The Beatles reached a creative plateau, and never fulfilled their potential of becoming the band they could have been. Although according to Alan Partridge, that was the band 'Wings'.

It's impossible for this record not to be swept away by 'Song 2', a mosh-pit anthem for the blipvert generation. So when this comes on, I'm reminded of dancing to it in sweaty clubs in Leeds. And I don't mean just as a punter, but also as a DJ. And I don't really mean dancing, I mean jumping up and down, with my fists clenched and my arms outstretched, feeling every little bit stress leave my body as I make myself one with the heaving mass of dancers, all screaming in unison, WOO HOO!

Catharsis. It feels good.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Eat - 'Sell Me A God'

I love this record so much. It's not just that it's a great record - and it is - but this is one of those records that I looked for for years before I found it. It seems impossible now, in the age of the internet and immediate downloads, but once upon a time, you actually had to hunt out music. You had to go to big cities to find better record shops, or visit record fairs on the offchance of them having what you wanted. Crazy times.

Musically, this is a proto-Britpop record, marking a time between the guitar-scrubbing of Ned's Atomic Dustbin and the swooning, swooping hysteria of Suede. If you've never heard it, you should check it out - you can probably download it for pennies.

This reminds me so much of a friend from Salisbury, Robert, who I worked with in catering for a few years, on and off. He was a rabid Eat fan, and was also one of the funniest guys I've ever known - really clever, capable and sharp, with a great eye for the absurd. He could also play air guitar and drums like no-one I've ever met. We did the adult access course together at Salisbury College, and went our seperate ways at the end of it. I hope he's OK - like many clever, funny people, he had a sort of underlying malaise that suggested he was never comfortable with himself. Maybe education helped him find his niche.

M-Beat featuring General Levy - 'Incredible'

If I told you that this record's USP was General Levy's ability to emit high-pitched sonar-like hiccups while delivering a high-paced ragga chat, you'd do well to be bemused. It's only on the b-side, with a more underground mix, that this kicks into gear more effectively, with cartoony stretched vocals and epileptic drums.

This reminds me of clubbing in Leeds, at Think Tank, late 90s. Hot, trebly, drunk on Red Stripe. The music really sounded like the future - broken, twisted, like the machines had actually taken control. My inability to take it seriously. The hilarity of time-stretched and speed-up vocals - I never understood that bit.

This is a mad record - if you focus on any one element it sounds absurd, but as a whole, it perfectly captures that mid-90s jungle scene. And it's also a right laugh to try and impersonate the General. Altogther now: 'I am de in-cred-HIC in-cred-HIC incredible general BOOYAKA! Selec-selec say HIC HIC HIC say sensaaayshonaaal!'

Friday, 30 July 2010

Dope Skillz - '6 Million Ways'

Mid-paced drum and bass track that sounds a bit like 'Super Sharp Shooter' by the Ganja Kru, but lacks a bit in the inventiveness stakes.

Reminds me of DJing at Dust. You stick this in the middle of a D&B set, and then just as people lose interest, slam into something really rowdy. Top DJ tip there, for nowt.

Not very exciting really. The smell of nightclubs, smoke and drunk teenagers.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Wham! - 'Fantastic'


There's a card in Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies pack (you're at a web-enabled device, go and look it up) that says something like 'Take the most embarassing detail and magnify it'. When I started this blog, I knew there were some iffy records on the shelf, and some embarassing stories to go with them, so let's magnify and embarassing detail, shall we?

This reminds me of going to the Downton Memorial Hall discos with my mate Andy. I guess it would have been the last year of school, so this album had already been out for a few years. We were really into the shole psychobilly thing - The Meteors, King Kurt, swamp rock, The Cramps, enormous rock-hard hairsprayed quiffs and huge baggy combats. But like a lot of early teenagers, I guess we hadn't fully committed to it, because I know damn well we were listening to Wham!

I know that because I remember walking home with him after a Memorial Hall disco one night (it must have been summer, because I remember it was still light), and we were having a go at duetting 'Wham! Rap (Enjoy What You Do?)'. I thought we'd given it a pretty good go, but when we got to the end, he said 'you know Zak, there are these things called lyrics - the songs actually have right words. You should check them out'.

Happily I can't remember what I'd been rapping, but that's been a trademark of my music apprecistion over the years - misheard lyrics like you can't imagine. And yes, I'm aware of the irony of a vocalist/MC/rapper who doesn't listen to other peoples' lyrics.

Still, what's even more embarassing is I'm certain I didn't buy this at that time - it's a sneaky retro purchase. Let's just say it hasn't dated very, shall we?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Sex Pistols - 'Never Mind the Bollocks'

Although this is starting to show its age a bit in terms of production, the sneering, bile-fuelled attitude of this record is such that it still cuts a slice across your face with a jagged blade as soon as the needle hits the opening chords of 'Holidays in the Sun'. It doesn't really matter who played the music (there are rumours that at least half of it was done by session musicians), it's a perfect snapshot of a revolution taking place. And if the late Malcolm Mclaren was a svengali behind it, so much the better - I love a bit of situationism.

This reminds me really vividly of my brother, early 1980s. We had a portable tape recorder (they used to call them boom boxes, you know), and he had a tape of this album in it. He walked into the kitchen with it paused, and said 'Listen to this'. He released the pause, and the stanza of 'Bodies' just after the false ending kicked in. 'FAAHCK AND FAAHCK THAT! FAAHCKING IN THE THE FAAHCKHOUSE, FAAHKING BLACKS!' screamed Johnny Rotten. I looked at my brother, secretly envious that he'd laid his hands on this near-mythical (to a 1t year old) artefact from ancient history, but also appalled that he'd decided to play that bit of it in the kitchen, in front of our parents. Incredibly, they didn't notice, and later Jan confessed that he'd made a mistake by playing that - it was just a coincidence that he'd paused it at that point.

I still can't believe my parents didn't notice. It clearly made quite an impression on me.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Cure - 'Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me'

It's easy to forget what an awesome, world-conquering band The Cure once were. And although they are styled as being a none-more-Goth act, on their later albums, they are closer to vaudeville storytellers than adolescent doom-mongers.

I'm pretty sure I got this when it came out in 1987. It reminds be of being the sort of obnoxious, self-assured Goth-haired teenager that only gets produced in small towns. It's something to do with being so cocooned from the rest of the world that your home town becomes the entire universe. Wanting to be a big fish in a small pond, unaware that you will eventually be released into the ocean. And the ocean is big, cold, and full of things that, as pond life, you can't begin to understand. I think I might have stretched that aquatic metaphor to near-breaking point.

It was unfortunate that Salisbury was a garrison town, because my particular blend of sartorial statement (printed velvet trousers, huge white tail shirt) didn't go down well with the squaaddies in town on R&R - mostly Paras, unfortunately. A shove in the back, and a shaven-headed face asking 'does your mum know you've got her clothes on?' tends to focus the mind.

Happy days.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Echo and The Bunnymen - 'Ocean Rain'

What an epic record. What a great title. What a great cover. It's hard to believe that this record is over 25 years old - not only does it have a soaring, fresh energy to it, but it sounds of youth, of arrogance, of endless energy and possibility.

In fact, I'll go even further - this record is the sound of immortality. It perfectly captures the swagger of youth, disbelieving of the certainty that it will eventually become tired of the fight, and inevitably mellow with age. That said, the last time I saw Ian McCullough on stage, he looked like a total badass who still fighting that fight.

This record doesn't recall remind of anything specific in my life, just the power and beauty of youth and, inevitably, the maxim that youth is wasted on the young.

U2 - 'Zooropa'

I got really excited when I pulled this out - Zoo TV, Bono as Macphisto, telephone calls to world leaders and cultural bigwigs live from stage every night. It was U2 embracing postmodernism, going slightly mad, and reinventing themselves (again). Sadly, this is the boring zoo TV album - 'Achtung Baby' is the exciting one. This is a bit turgid and, if you were a U2 fan, you would have found it revolutionary at the time. Maybe it was, but it sounds tired now.

Maybe I feel like that because all it reminds me of is watching Zoo TV on telly. Maybe if I'd got off the sofa, gone out and engaged with it, it might mean more to me.

Hmm, have I only just realised that this music loving lark is two-way street?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

The Breeders - 'Last Splash'

This reminds me of my friend Ali. Partly because when I moved home from New York and formed a band with him on drums, he was really into The Breeders' first album 'Pod'. But also because we went to see The Breeders play at Leeds University. That was a fun night for so many reasons, reasons that mostly aren't suitable for public airing. But two events stick out.

The first is getting on stage and dancing with support act Luscious Jackson. I wasn't a stage invader - there's one song where they invite people up onto the stage, and I managed to do so in Leeds, Manchester, New York, and at the Glastonbury festival in 1994.

The other thing that happened that night was that we were followed around by a couple of girls who giggled behind their hands whenever we happened to look at them, which we did fequently, mainly to see if they'd stopped following us around. This went on for far too long, and only stopped after they disappeared off to the toilets. We knew they'd been to the toilets, because one of them had managed to trap the toilet roll under her skirt, and was walking round with five feet of it dangling behind her. We couldn't help but laugh and, mortified, they left us alone after that.

Happily, it's a great album too.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Buzzcocks - 'Singles: Going Steady'

Another mid-teens record I bought while living in Salisbury, with no particular memories attached to it. Hanging out with friends Steve and Katie, compiling tapes from John Peel's radio shows.

I think I bought it primarily for 'Ever Fallen in Love?', but it's a solid collection of tunes, particularly the aching, yearning emotions conveyed in 'Why Can't I Touch It?'. But this isn't a critique blog, it's reminiscence therapy, so I'll stop there.

Adam and the Ants - 'Kings of the Wild Frontier'

What a cracking album. Even 30 years after its release, it still has a vitality, freshness and a uniqueness to it that makes it sound as thought it's been beamed in from another planet. I'm not saying that this is an epoch-defining album in the way that, say, Sgt Pepper's has become - it isn't - but as a piece of conceptual pop-art, it's pretty great.

Of course, I'm totally biased. This is the first album I ever bought, and so has a special place in my heart. I can remember going to WH Smiths in Salisbury with my dad and buying it, and the little round price sticker that I carefully peeled off (£2.99). I can remember playing it over and over on my parents' little Dansette-style record player - well, of course I did, it was the the only album I had.

As I just flipped the record over and played the start of side two, the tribal drumming at the start of the track 'Kings of the Wild Frontier' kicked in. My 18 month old son looked delighted and started jumping up and down, and whirling like a dervish, so maybe this record really does stand the test of time.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Peter and the Test Tube Babies - 'The Loud Blaring Punk Rock LP'

This is one that I definitely bought while I was still living in Salisbury. I know that because I can remember taping it and taking in to play in the print room at my first job, screen printing fabrics by hand at fashion label Georgina von Etzdorf.

It was typical of the sort of work I've done. We work in absudly hot, filthy conditions, producing incredibly beautiful fabrics that graced the pages of Vogue, Harpers and so on. It was quite pressured, as we were always producing to tight deadlines, and our outlets for this pressure were loud music at work, and drinking lots of ale afterwards. One night after work, I drank a gallon of Tanglefoot - quite an achievement, given that I was probably only just 17 at the time. I'm not saying I was unaffected by it - quite the opposite, I vividly remember being horribly, unpleasantly drunk, and it was one of the very few times in my life that I've had to call in sick as a result of drinking too much the night before.

My most vivid memory of this playing at work was one of the partners, Jimmy, coming downstairs and taking the piss out of me for listening to such a crappy version of punk rock. In my defence, I'd argue that this a very punk record - essentially speeded up pub rock, peppered with distasteful lyrics and a pissed-and-proud attitude. But sadly, Jimmy was right - this actually is rubbish, precisely because of the things that I've outlined above.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Chameleons UK - 'Script of the Bridge'

This is yet another record that I bought from a thrift store on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The observant among you will have immediately noticed the fact that the band are called 'Chameleons UK', no doubt because there was already a band called Chameleons practising their art in the US.

I almost certainly bought this because it reminded me of my brother. When I saw the cover, it was him that I thought of, taken back to his front room in Salisbury, with a vague recollection of him talking about the mellow guitar work on this album. Maybe I was homesick when I bought it.

I didn't know anything about the band then, and surprisingly to me, I don't now. This is definitely the first time that I've played this, as I expecting some sort of chilled out, Ry Cooder-esque exploration of smoky, slide guitars and sweeping atmospherics. Instead, it's a slightly rowdy new wave racket with faintly new romantic pretensions.

My brother has always had ropey taste in music.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

U2 - 'The Joshua Tree'

God knows when I bought this. I'd guess it's another record I brought back from New York with me - the fanmail info address is in NYC. And God knows why I bought it - listening to it know, and looking at the Ansell Adams-styled cover shot, where the band are attempting to recast themselves as white boy soul icons, I would, to paraphrase Frankie Boyle, quite happily punch every one of them in the face.

Does it remind me of anything? It reminds me that U2 have made some great records. But for me, this is quite far down the list.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Radiohead - 'OK Computer'

What an amazing record. What a massive, mindblowing, perfect record. All the way through, I keep thinking 'this is the best bit of the record yet', time and time again. It's a rock record filtered through every studio device and human foible imaginable, and what emerges at the other end is damn near perfect.

It's odd that I think all this, and have absolutely no desire to go and see them live. I happily watched them tear the roof off the universe when they played Glastonbury, but I did it on TV, from my sofa, possibly from the far end of a bottle of really good white wine. I wonder why that is? Maybe if I don't go and share the experience with thousands of others, then Radiohead still belong to me, and me alone. No one else really understands them like I do. I LOVE YOU RADIOHEAD!

Anyway, as awesome as this album is, it reminds very clearly of one road trip that Rob, Aidan and I made from Leeds to Salisbury. We'd each made a mixtape for the journey, and at the time, Rob and I were really going to town on ours, using samplers to loop bits, overlay several tracks and so on. About halway through Rob's mix, the familiar computer-generated vocal of 'Fitter, Happier' started up. After a few lines of the acual lyrics, just as the mournful piano starts and the synths start to smother themselves to death, something weird happened. The voice started to go off message: 'when the seagulls follow the elephant with his trunk stuck up his own dung funnel...' and so on. Basically, Rob had performed a slavish recreation of the track, and then changed the vocal into meaningless drivel from the end of the 20th century. The effect was uproar: I remember wiping away tears of laughter and looking at Aidan doing the same, while he somehow managed to keep driving and not kill us all, with Rob in the back seat looking delighted and laughing at our reaction. It was the most brilliant, perfectly-timed and unlikely cover version I think I'm ever going to hear.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Killdozer - 'Uncompromising War On Art Under A Proletarian Dictatorship'

What a great title. What a great cover. Surely it can only go downhill from here?

Well, yes and no. Musically, this is now a pretty unappealing record, sounding a bit like Tom Waits fronting a shoegaze Cardiacs - cement-mixer vocals over wall of guitar noise, tempo shifts and angular guitar lines aplenty. And if you don't get the joke (such as it is, that the band are a group of disaffected communists seeking to overthrow the system via sludge-rock), then this isn't a very good album. Actually, I get the joke, and I still don't think it's a very good album.

But the thing that totally redeems them for me is when they played at Salisbury Arts Centre, mid-90s. They came bounding on stage and launched into a note perfect interpretation of 'Unbelievable' by EMF. The place went mental, and in terms of an unexpected icebreaker cover to start a gig with, it was inspired, the lollopping bassline with the gravelly vocals over the top. And Then they launched into one of the tracks from this album, and it all went a bit less mental.

Good concept, average execution.

Cat No: TG82A

Tracks: Final Market. Knuckles The Dog (Who Helps People). Turkey Shoot. Grandma Smith Said A Curious Thing. Hot 'N' Nasty. Enemy Of The People. Earl Scheib. Das Kapital. The Pig Was Cool. Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Lou Reed - 'Rock n Roll Animal'

I've no idea when, where or why I bought this. I'm not a huge Lou Reed fan. I mean, I love 'Transformer', but who doesn't? I think I just like the idea of Lou Reed more than the reallity of buying his records, although I have listened to 'Metal Machine Music' all through, once, just to see if it was rubbish as people said (it is). And I read William Burroughs' 'Naked Lunch' for pretty much the same reason, but at least Naked Lunch has the redeeming feature of being horribly perverted. 'Metal Machine Music' is just noise.

I don't get this album at all - it pretends to be all nihilisitc, but it has the most god-awful stadium-prog feel to it. In fact, I'd guess this is only the second time I've played it - and possible the last.


Tracks: Intro/Sweet Jane. Heroin. White Light/White Heat. Lady Day. Rock n Roll

Cat No: NL83664

The Hardknox - 'Coz I Can'

Hardknox is Lindy Layton, the artist better known for being the voice on Beats International's single 'Dub Be Good To Me'. I remember seeing her DJ in the bar of Back To Basics, late 90s. I was there with Aidan, and it was frankly a bit of a slow night. We were talking about leaving when Ms Layton hit the decks and tore the roof off the place with a mammoth breakbeat/hip hop/drum and bass set. Yes, people really did mix it up like that back in the day.

I remember that she had Skint label boss Damian Harris behind the decks with her, and about 10 minutes into her set she pulled out a record and showed it to him. He looked at it, looked at the dance floor, and gave her a proper 'yeees maaate' grin. She then dropped a white label drum and bass remix of 'Funky Beats' - the one with the cut up of Chuck D saying 'IF YOU REALLY WANT TO ROCK THE FUNKY BEATS, SOMEBADY IN THE HOUSE SAY YEAH'. Chuck D does actually rap in capital letters, by the way - it's what makes him so awesome. The place went mental, and we stayed.

If you're a studio geek, there's something irresistably sexy about women messing around with technology - just go to a Juana Molina gig and watch all the tight-jeaned geeks fidget uncomfortably. So the thought of Lindy Layton actually having spent time in a studio making this filthy slab of distorted electro breakbeat hip hop is quite appealing. Weirdly, I thought I wasn't going to like this, thinking that I'd bought it after being seduced by all the distortion and the thought of a woman's hand setting the attack levels on a bank of compressors, but actually this is enjoyably filthy and raucous.

Tracks: Because I Can. Because I Did. Fire Like Dis. Hip Hop Pranksters.

Cat No: SKINT 15

Friday, 30 April 2010

The Lovely Genette - 'Dreadnaught EP'

This reminds me very clearly of an afternoon at Moose's airy, sun-dappled flat. We went round to listen to the upcoming Soundclash releases - I vaguely remember that it felt a bit like a team-building day - and The Lovely Genette (John Bolton) was there, looking like a speed-fuelled postindustrial Tintin. It was mainly the steel toecapped boots, blond cowslick and rockabilly styling that gave this impression, with his baggy clothes hanging off a skinny drummer's body. Me, Rob Overseer John and Moose listened to a load of DATs, and when we played John's (it was the DAT master of this EP), Rob laughed and said 'Zak, meet your long-lost brother'.

Basically, we were both using a sampler trick to create a feel. You take a drum loop, but then move it up and down the keyboard, altering the tempo and feel of the drums. It gets irritating if overused, but at the time it sounded fresh and weird, again going back to Mixmaster Morris's assertion that no two records would ever sound the same once sampler technology became affordable and widespread.

Musically, this is a weird gospel-dub hybrid, starting out like the coolest record you've ever heard, but not moving on from that. You'd think that sounding like the coolest record you've ever heard would be a good thing - an enormous breathy organ bassline, stomp-clap drums and sampled 'trouble, trouble, trouble' blues-gospel vocal line - but it doesn't really progress over the four tracks of the EP.

Cat No: SOUND 010

Tracks: Well Boss. No More. DiscoHead. Kick Their Booty.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Cornershop - 'When I Was Born For the 7th Time'

I like this album, but it really groans to support the weight of the opening two tracks. 'Brimful of Asha' was a big chart hit, and although the original version seems a tad languid compared to the Fatboy Slim remix that took it to the top of the charts, it's still a great pop song.

However what totally ruins this album for me is the the first four bars of 'Sleep on the Left Side' were used as a backing track for the talkie introduction to their daytime Radio 1 show by DJs Marc Riley and Mark Radcliffe. So every time I play this, I'm instantly taken back to a halcyon period where Radio 1 had two hilarious (but largely inappropriate to the demographic) chaps at the helm of their lunchtime show. They were dry, sardonic, intelligent and totally at odds with the rest of the DJ roster. It was as though the controllers of the station thought that their listeners gained 20 IQ points for a couple of hours at lunchtime.

The PRS alone for that snippet of backing track must have made Cornershop a fortune.

Cat No: WIJLP 1065

Tracks: Sleep on the Left Side. Brimful of Asha. Butter the Soul. Chocolat. We're in Yr Corner. Funky Days are Back Again. What is Happening. When the Light Appears Boy. Coming Up. Good Shit. Good to be one the Road Back Home Again. It's Indian Tobacco My Friend. Candyman. State Troopers. Norwegian Wood.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Deadly Avenger - 'Charlie Don't Surf EP'

I love Deadly Avenger. I've never heard anything by him that didn't demonstrate his understanding of music, technology, and the prevailing zeitgeist. Put those three things together and you get a really cool bit of music. FACT!

Four tracks, two slow and sprawling, one very fast, and one mid-paced hip hop mash up. It's that last one I'll have bought it for, no doubt, and carried to every DJ gig I ever played, but probably never actually played.

It's a great sounding record, but other than it having a ticket on it telling me that I bought it from Music & Video Exchange for the princely sum of £6.50, I couldn't tell you anything more about its life with me. I also notice from the catalogue number etched into the run-off area that it's Illicit's first release. They must have been very proud.

Cat No: ILL-001

Tracks: not listed

Saturday, 17 April 2010

DJ Shadow - 'Endtroducing'

This was such a massive record when it was released that it's hard to explain precise connection with it at all. It was such a big part of my life that it's like trying to describe what an old fork or a glass means to me. This is the record that every bedroom sampler geek wishes they'd made. It's simple but profound, a staement of humble genius.

The track titles hint that this album is compiled from masses of material, multiple versions of the same track, something that anyone who has made music at home will relate to - there's never a definitive mix of a track until it's mastered and in the shops. And even then there is the opportunity to release different mixes of tracks - I know I've got a version of 'Midnight in a Perfect World' somewhere with a vocal on it.

And yet this is a record that is so of its time that it it's almost empty now. It's a guy with a sampler trying to sound like a guy with a drum kit. It was such a cool record when it was released that it almost seems meaningless now. I think you had to be there at the time, or know the story of times, to really get this record.

Weird - I thought I'd go ga-ga hearing this again, but it's left me a bit cold.

Cat No: MW059

Tracks: Best Foot Forward. Building Seam With A Grain of Salt. The Number Song. Changeling. Transmission 1. Stem/Long Stem. Transmission 2. Mutual Slump. Organ Donor. Why Hip Hop Sucks in '96. Midnight in a Perfect World. Napalm Brain/Scatter Brain. What Does You Soul Look Like (Part 1 - Blue Sky Revisit). Transmission 3.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Cornershop - '6am Jullander Shere'

Man, this is a huge record. Not production wise, because it's pretty ordinary - low-fi even, on the album mix. But for me, culturally, this is a very significant record. For me, it's about visiting mates in Leeds, about early samplers, about techno-ethno fusion, Megadog, excitement and possibility.

The album mix is a beautifully simple chant (I remember being told it was based on a morning prayer chant) in one of the languages of the Indian continent (I'll guess Punjabi) over drones of string instruments and clunky percussion. I remember listening to it at Brudenell Road (where I would end up living 5 or so years later) and wanting to play it again and again. It's just such a joyful and exuberant piece of music, almost childish in its simplicity, and so almost timeless and placeless.

So many memories: Choque of Black Star Liner covering his car in leopard print (on the outside): buying warm samosas at Maumoniats: the gritty post-industrial feeling of Leeds, finding its feet and making sense of its place in the world at the end of the 20th century. Happy, mad,exciting times when anything felt possible.

I loved this track so much. I dropped the whole of it into a home studio-produced DJ mix, over a beat looped from the Prodigy's 'Poison', and it led out into Cypress Hill's 'Ain't Goin' Out Like That'. Most people I played the mix to had never heard '6am Jallander Shere' before, which to me was baffling, but I guess just underlines what this whole blog is about - personal connection to music.

Catalogue Number: WIJ48L

Tracklist: Jeh Jeh Vocal Mix. All Fetters Loose Mix. Album Mix.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Pressure Drop - 'Tearing the Silence'

This is all about one track for me - 'Up Against the Wall'. It's a bad-ass piece of electronic instrumental hip hop, with a couple of vocal lines sampled over it. It's atmospheric, funky and moody, and contains the shouted line 'up against the wall, motherfucker'. It's a line that still makes me smile, for two reasons.

Wall of Sound were a really cool label at the of the 1990s, and they did a DJ session on Radio 1 as the Wall of Sound Allstars. They played this track, and knowing that they'd been naughty using profanity on late-night radio, turned it into a cheery singalong of 'up against the wall, up against the wall, up against the waaall motherfaahckerrrr'. Maybe they were trying to demonstrate that if you keep repeating profanity, it loses its sting. Or maybe they were just drunk. Either way, it was pretty funny.

The other reason it sticks in my mind is that when we were working on the Overseer album 'Wreckage', Rob wanted to use that vocal sample, but clearance being what it was, Rob elected to 'recreate' it, getting Ricky Wilson (now of Kaiser Chiefs but then in local hopefuls Parva) to record 'us against the world, motherfucker'. I'd totally forgotten that until I listened to 'Wreckage' the other day.

The other memory it brings back is DJing with Moose (Paul Curtis) at the Elbow Room in Leeds. He was (and probably still is) a really good DJ, and I was grateful that he shared his deckspace with me. Now he's doing Symbollix - proof that the cream always rises.

Catalogue Number: HAND024T

Tracks: The Calling. Masher. Part 13. Tearing the Silence. Up Against the Wall. Torn Beats. Call to Mind

Sunday, 11 April 2010

The Verve - 'Urban Hymns'

I don't get Richard Ashcroft. I know that to many people he's like some modern rock shaman, chanellling the spirit of Jim Morrisson, wild, tortured and half-mad, but I don't see it. I see a lot of swagger and some good songs staggering under the weight of the enormous chip on his shoulder. This may or may not be influenced by the fact that even my good lady appears to have a soft spot for him. Watch it Ashcroft, she's mine.

I think I've only played this a handful of times, but for me the stand-out track by miles is 'Catching the Butterfly', which is the sort of naggingly beautiful but slightly weird production that people used to put on the b-side of a seven inch single. I've no idea why I bought it - it's not my thing at all. It reminds me of being in my room on Brudenell Road, Leeds, playing this record and thinking 'why have I bought this piece of crap?', which is all a bit literal, but perhaps indicative of how little emotional connection I've managed to make with this record.

Catalogue Number: HUTLP45

Tracks: Bitter Sweet Symphony. Sonnet. The Rolling People. The Drugs Don't Work. Catching the Butterfly. Neon Wilderness. Space and Time. Weeping Willow. Lucky Man. One Day. This Time. Velvet Morning. Come On.

Various Artists - 'Soul of Jamaica'

I could listen to reggae til it comes out of my ears. Hang on, that's a weird thing to say about something that goes into your ears. I could listen to reggae all day. That's a much better, if slightly more prosaic, declaration of enjoyment. I love the warmth of the production, and the humanity of the music. But there's something odd going on here.

Every track on this compilation album seems to be suffused with sadness. I don't know why that is - maybe there's a lot of minor key arrangements here, or maybe this is one of those records that I played on repeat at a low point in my life. Even the uptempo arrangement of 'Dream Lover' seems to be played briskly so as to get it over as quickly as possible. It reminds me of the saying 'the blues ain't nothing but a good man feeling bad', except this is reggae, and it's spookily mournful.

Despite loving it, I may never play this record again.

Catalogue Number: HELP15

Tracks: This is Reggae Music. Funky Kingston. Starvation. Concrete Jungle. UFO. The World is Upside Down. Hey Mr Yesterday. Chapel of Love. Guava Jelly. Dream Lover.

DJ Krush - 'Meiso'

God this is a great record. I bought this around the same time as I bought DJ Shadow's 'Endtroducing', and at the time, it seemed as though we - them and us, the producer and the consumer - were reinventing hip hop.

This is a sort of music that is totally stripped back to basics - a simple rhythm, some weird ambience standing in for a topline melody, and a vocal, a willing sacrifice of technical musicianship, an atavistic return to basics. The irony is that it takes a lot technology to make something sound so simple. Of course, you could argue that everything Mo Wax did was just James Lavelle selling a beautifully packaged lifestyle ideal, and you'd be right. But it was such a cool lifestyle that it was hard to resist.

This reminds me of Luke, who married my friend Bekki. He was a real Mo Wax junkie, and sort of still is - he's certainly still got lots of their first editions and box sets. I'll have to have a poke through his shelf next time I'm at their place, as we attempt to arrange a marriage between our children. I guess that makes us grown-ups, right?

Tracks: Only the Strong Survive. Anticipation. What's Behind Darkness. Meiso. Bypath 1. Blank. Ground. Bypath 2. Most Wanted Man. Bypath 3. 3rd Eye. OCE 9504. Duality. Bypath - Would You Take It?

Catalogue Number: MW039LP

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Various Artists - 'The Singing Detective'

I have no idea when, where or why I bought this. I'm not sure I've ever played it, sampled it or danced to it. Although it's a perfectly nice collection of jazz standards, compiled from original period recordings, it doesn't move me.

I watched a couple of episodes of 'The Singing Detective' a few years back. Despite remembering it as being groundbreaking and a bit creepy, I wasn't crazy about that either.

Sorry, not a fan.

Catalogue Number: BEN 608

Tracks: Peg o' my Heart. Limehouse Blues. Blues in the Night. Dry Bones. Rockin' in Rhythm. Cruising Down the River. Don't Fence Me In. It Might As Well be Spring. Lili Marlene. I Get Along Without You Very Well. Do I Worry? Accentuate The Positive. You Always Hurt The One You Love. After You've Gone. It's A Lovely Day Tomorrow. Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall. The Very Thought of You. The Teddy Bears Picnic. We'll Meet Again.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Various - 'The Deer Hunter'

I'm pretty sure that this is one of a few records I bought in a thrift store in Brooklyn, when I lived there in the early 1990s. I was sharing an apartment in a brownstone on South Portland Avenue, and had walked to the Silver Spoon on Flatbush for breakfast and a spot of bargain hunting. The walk over took in a fair number of run-down and vacant lots,a sort of urban wasteland. It was OK in the daytime, but you wouldn't want to be there at night. The discarded crack vials made that quite clear.

It's a nice-enough record, although a bit of a mish-mash - it doesn't really make sense without knowing the film. Strings, acapella folk, acoustic guitars, then a bit of polka, then some helicopters and machine guns. It's evocative, but it's hard to say of what - a forgotten America, maybe?

The helicopters sounded great sampled and played back as part of a track when we played a Speakerfreaks gig at The Warehouse in Leeds, late 90s, probably at 'It's Obvious'. I drew the line at machine guns - the KLF had a monopoly on that.

Did I really bring a load of second-hand vinyl home on a plane from New York? Madness.

Catalogue Number: SOO-11940

Tracklist: Cavatina. Praise in the Name of the Lord. Troika. Katyusha. Struggling Ahead. Sarabande. Waiting His Turn. Memory Eternal. God Bless America. Cavatina (Reprise)

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Deadly Avenger - 'King Tito's Gloves EP'

Sprawling, groovy breakbeat of various tempos. Nicely produced, and although I was going to dismiss this as the sort of thing everyone with a sampler and a keyboard was doing in 1999, it's a notch above the usual cut-and-paste dross.

'Live at the Capri' starts with the theme from Superman, and then a couple of really great vocal rap loops over a fat-ass beat. I've used it to kick start a DJ set before now, but you've only got about 45 seconds of good stuff before it all gets a bit cheesy nu-disco funk. By the time the meandering piano breakdown kicks in halfway through, people will be leaving the dancefloor, so use the first 45 seconds to good effect, then get the hell out. Rob Overseer did something similar with this very record for a Mary Anne Hobbes DJ set that was studio-recorded in Leeds. I remember it took hours to get the set right - I went to the pub, watched a football match, had a couple of pints, came back, and he and engineer Dave were still arseing about, adding snippets to it. The DJ set sounded great on Radio 1 (this was probably in 2000), but I'm not sure it was worth all the hours of recording toilets flushing (in stereo!), multitracking and overdubs.

I'd be amazed if Damon Baxter (for it is he) isn't now writing movie soundtracks. Anyone know?

Tracks: King Tito's Gloves. In Pursuit of the Pimpmobile vII. Live at the Capri (Supermix). Lopez Part 2.

Catalogue Number: ILL-002

Brian Eno - 'Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks'

Like the Eno ambient album a few days ago, again I've no idea when I got this. It might have been a charity shop find - the cover's a bit torn, as you can see.

I've probably only played this a few times. Looking at the credits, it turns out this is an accompanying soundtrack to a collage of films from the moon missions. I'm at a loss as to quite how the slide guitar on a few of tracks evokes the majesty of space travel.

Perhaps the most notable thing about this album is that Daniel Lanois is credited as playing and arranging elements of it. The year after this was released, Eno and Lanois produced U2's 'The Unforgettable Fire', and you can certainly pick up elements of that production here, notably the layers of keyboard washes. This isn't really music, it's sound to fill a space and create a mood, which is the sort of ambient music I really love. But put it on as a background for pudding at a dinner party, as I once did, and everyone rolls their eyes and says 'Uh-oh, it's all gone a bit Gong'. Philistines.

Catalogue Number: EGLP53

Tracks: Under Stars. The Secret Place. Matta. Signals. An End (Ascent). Under Stars II. Drift. Silver Morning. Deep Blue Day. Weightless. Always Returning. Stars.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Mellowtrons - 'Rhythmwide / Resolution 9'

This is a double A side piece of vinyl by Lee, an old mate from Salisbury. Lee is a bit of a dark horse - when you meet him, he seems slightly scatty and hyper, but underneath that slightly mad disorganised outer shell is a slightly mad but much more organised inner being. I know he's more organised then his outer persona suggests, because he's toured as a techie with Orbital, and I don't imagine you get to do that unless you really know your stuff.

I have lots of vivid memories of time spent with Lee: we turned up at the house of Jack Dangers (of Meat Beat Manifesto) and he played us the final mix of their latest album 'Satyricon' live off his home studio desk: he introduced me to Phil Hartnoll (of Orbital) just before their Manchester Academy gig in 1995 - Phil just said 'awright mate' as I stood there overawed at meeting this colossus of techno. He seemed a bit smaller than I expected, although to be fair to him, he'd have had to have been an eight foot tall robosonic cyborg to have actually lived up to my expectations.

My favourite memory of hanging out with Lee was a night out in London - I forget when, but it may have been the night before I attended the cut of the first Speakerfreaks EP. We were heading to a club with a bunch of his vegan mates, and I realised that I hadn't eaten enough for a night out. I stopped and grabbed a hot dog from a street seller, which sent a couple of his vegan mates a bit nuts. I remember one of them getting right in my face, going 'that's right shove it in', and generally making me feel bad about eating a tube of mechanically recovered meat, with onions and ketchup.

Musically, this is all over the shop. Lee was great at building soundscapes from obscure samples, slapping a funky beat over it (that's funky as in 'on the one') for 90 seconds, then breaking it down into slightly too much sprawling ambience, before hoofing a beat back in again. But give him his due - Chill Out were THE label to be on in 1995.

Tracks: Rhythmwide. Resolution 9.

Catalogue Number: CHILL12010

Monday, 5 April 2010

Leaf Records - 'Pole vs. Four Tet EP'

This is quite a new acquisition - my work colleague Dan gave it to me for my birthday a few years ago, so I guess it reminds me mainly of him. I met him in about 2003, when he was working at Polar Bear in Headingley, Leeds. He was a regular customer at Beer-Ritz. At the time, I thought I knew a lot about music, but Dan kept bringing in CDs from bands I'd never heard of, and everything he lent me was brilliant. It would be exaggerating slightly to say that I gave him a job to get access to his music collection, but only slightly.

Musically, I love this record - it's a great example of how electronic music can sound organic and human, which is odd given its clearly processed and bass-heavy production. Four Tet (Kieran Hebden) is a dab hand at making sequenced music sound natural and live, and if you've never heard any of his early albums, I'd strongly recommend checking them out. And if you like dub, the extreme minimalism of Pole's first three albums (handily titled 1, 2 and 3) are also a must.

Tracks: Heim (Four Tet Mix). Cload. Cload (Pole Mix). Heim.

Catalogue Number: DOCK20

Purusha and The Lovely Genette - 'Gasoline/Cambigil'

A weird, minimal spooked-out record this one, on a legendary but now defunct small Leeds-based, full of personal half-memories not really related to the music. I suppose this a classic example of 'sampler dub', which was quite popular at the time when everyone had sampler. For a while, Mimaster Morris's prediction that no two records need ever sound the same looked as though it might come true, although as we now know, sampling went the other way.

Soundclash was an almost well-known label at the time for releasing bass-heavy post-indutrial dub, and used to put on club nights using Iration Steppas' dub sound system, and I'm sure this record would have sounded awesome through it.

The Lovely Genette was a bloke called John, who played drums. Purusha was definitely a studio engineer, either double bass-playing Louis who mastered my first EP (at Leeds' Lion Studios), or a guy whose name I forget, who ran a studio in the top of Leeds Town & Country Club (which is now the Carling Academy). I remeber the T&C guy when I sat in on the mixing of a track for Overseer's first EP. He became slightly obsessed by identifying the drum sounds and samples Rob Overseer had used in the track, which culminated in a five minute discussion over whether a certain electronic sound from either the Roland 808 or 909 was called a 'thip' - onamatapeiacally correct, but very boring. I remember thinking that if the engineer couldn't correctly identify and name a thip, the whole session was doomed.

Tracks: Gasoline. Gasoline (Oil Drum). Cambigil. Cambigil (Sun Dub)

Catalogue Number: SOUND 005

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Rodgers & Hammerstein - 'South Pacific'

This is one that I inherited from my parents. When they were working at a hospital together in the mid- to late 1960s, there was a staff production of South Pacific, which I guess at the time was still a more-or-less contemporary blockbuster. It's pretty high on the old fashioned cheese, but it's still a great listen. The high point for me is the raucous singalong 'There Is Nothing Like a Dame', partly because I heartily, unreconstructedly believe in the sentiment, but also because I've never met anyone who didn't have a smile put on their face by it.

Two examples: I was driving back from a skiing trip with my friends Ben, Simon and Malcolm. It was long boring drive, given an added twist by Malcolm's gallstones; they meant that we were travelling with a whole roundel of Pecorino cheese, which Malc insisted was a perfectly sensible provision (in case you hadn't guessed, Malc is a chap of a certain age). As we hurtled along, in post-holiday sadness, eating slices of Pecorino on chicory leaves (we're not as metrosexual as that makes us sound), I treated everyone to a run-through of '...Dame', jazz-hands and everything. Well, it cheered me up, anyway.

Example two: I was in the studio as a vocalist during the making of the Overseer album 'Wreckage'. I forget exactly why I'd brought this in - it's just possible that we were trying to find something totally off the wall for a mixtape - and the general response to '...Dame' was 'This is DOPE!'.

The whole album is totally feelgood, with just enough raucousness to balance the slushy string-laden numbers. A stone-cold classic.

Tracklist: South Pacific Overture. Dites-moi. A Cockeyed Optimist. Twin Soliliquies. Some Enchanted Evening. Bloody Mary. My Girl Back Home. There is Nothing Like a Dame. Bali Hai. I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair. A Wonderful Guy. Younger Than Springtime. Happy Talk. Honey Bun. Carefully Taught. This Nearly Was Mine. Finale.

Catalogue number: RCA RB-16065

Brian Eno and Harold Budd - 'Ambient 2: The Plateaux of Mirror'

I have no idea when I bought this. I'd guess it was late 1990s, because there are bits in it that I remember sampling and hiding in the background of tracks, just to fill it out and give it a bit of ambience (pun intended). The piano motif at the start of 'The Chill Air' immediately takes me back to the mini-studio I had set up at my gaff on Meanwood Road in Leeds. I vividly remember having woken up really early, getting into the studio, and laying down layers of samples as the background to a track. I'd used loads of tiny snippets of sound, collaged together behind a drumbeat. I had a terrible lack-of-sleep headache, and what came out of the sampler was reflective of that - disjointed, irritated and disembodied. Not a productive morning.

Conversely, 'Ambient 2' is a beautiful record, really soft and dreamy, but at the same time quite structured. I'd guess that's the combination of Eno's production and Budd's meandering but strong piano lines. It's from a period when ambient actually meant 'evocative', rather than shorthand for slow, repetitive faux-ethnic techno.

I hadn't noticed before, but this really reminds me of 'Genny Hanniver' by Tatsuhiko Asano, which is a relatively recent record. It has the same textures and dreamy feel, calm and cool, but at the same time pulling the listener towards a destination. I don't have 'Genny Hanniver' on vinyl, but it's certainly one of the better electronic downbeat records I've heard in the last 10 years.

Tracks: First Light, Steal Away, The Plateaux of Mirror, Above Chiangmai, An Arc of Doves, Not Yet Remembered, The Chill Air, Among Fields of Crystal, Wind in Lonely Fences, Failing Light.

Catalogue Number: Editions EG EGED18

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong - 'Ella and Louis'

I don't really know anything about this record - for me, it's a really cool recording of two people at the top of their game, effortlessly swinging through a few standards. But maybe connoisseurs know this to be a cheesy commercial cash-in - whatever, I love it. There's a sleepy, languid quality to a lot of this. Even when they step it up on 'They Can't Take That Away From Me', you get the impression that they're both still sitting down.

I think I bought this from the now defunct chain 'Our Price' while living in Salisbury in the late 1980s. When I got it home, I was blown away by the warmth and intimacy of the recording. I'd just started getting into to hip hop, and this was the opposite of processed, sequenced music, a record in the truest sense - a recording of a performance. They probably knocked this out in an afternoon. To me, brilliant, warm, and deeply soulful.

It reminds me of sunny autumnal Sunday mornings in a bedsit in Salisbury, a rare moment of quiet between work and play. Which, thinking about it, meant being hungover and freezing.

Tracks: Can't We Be Friends, Isn't This A Lovely Day, Moonlight in Vermont, They Can't Take That Away From Me, Under a Blanket of Blue, Tenderly, A Foggy Day, Stars Fell on Alabama, Cheek to Cheek, The Nearness of You, April in Paris.

Catalogue Number: Verve 825 373-1