Well, here are some more recent hits, some of which will make their way onto Musical Taste before long.
Sandie Shaw & The Smiths – Jeane
I always loved this one, but for some reason I hadn’t thought of it for years until the other day. To me, this lovely spare version (with Johnny Marr’s outstanding acoustic guitar playing) is vastly superior to the Smiths’s own rather flat version, which appeared on the original ‘This charming man’ 7″.
Sylvia Telles – Sol de Meia Noite (midnight sun)
A very cool dramatic version of ‘Midnight Sun’, sung in Poruguese with some beautifully over-the-top string arrangements.
Elis Regina – Poema
An early Elis track in a similarly dramatic style, although this one is more percussive.
Esquivel – Gypsy Lament
A cinematic track from his ‘Strings Aflame’ album. The album is less accessible than lots of his work, but great all the same. This reminds me of some of Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks (which were all recorded several years later).
Raymond Lefevre – In the hall of the mountain king
A ridiculous funky version of the Grieg piece. It starts off sounding very cool, although I concede that it gets a bit hard to take towards the end.
Ozzie Torrens – Tijuana Grass
His Boogaloo in apartment 42 album sounds good, even if the tracks all seem to start with the same riff, in the same key!
Serge Gainsbourg – L’Alouette
This track is bizarre. It has a 70s piano feel that is similar to the Michel Colombier album that I have, Capot Pointu. I wouldn’t be surprised if Colombier was involved here. The piano plays some Bruce Hornsby-esque chords (cool, huh!), and meanders about, before the track explodes with some drums. The chord sequence kind of echoes ‘hall of the mountain king’, come to think of it.
Wilson Das Neves – Don’t go breaking my heart
This is a Brazilian instrumental pop version of the Bacharach song, and it appears on a record called Juventude 2000, a battered copy of which I picked up in Peru in 1998. The album is pretty cool, and the names and composers mean much more to me now than they did then!
Beaga Band’s – You Only Live Twice
A budget-sounding Brazilian band plays John Barry! This is very odd, with a slightly muted and out-of-tune bunch of players, with prominent woodwinds. The piano works quite well with the chords of the song to give it a really strange feel.
John Barry – Follow Me (Main Title)
I was familiar with the tune from the version on one of Barry’s 70s Polydor LPs. It’s cool to hear a vocal version, and the arrangement is beautiful.
Sven Libaek And His Orchestra – Misty Canyon
Apparently a notorious beaty library piece, this was recommended on Musical Taste. As I noted there, the secondary tune is borrowed from Bacharach’s ‘What the world needs now’. It’s a lovely instrumental with a strong beat and nice vibes.
James Brown – King Heroin
Another Musical Taste recommendation. Brown narrates a dark and depressing tale over a groovy backing.
Nancy Holloway – Sand and Rain
In a somehow similar vein to James Brown in the previous track, Nancy relates some nuggets regarding love, to a slightly more beaty and very cool backing.
Christiane Legrand – Cent Mille Poissons Dans Ton Filet (O cafona)
To be honest, this is one of the most annoying tracks ever! But I’m mentioning it because I think it’s remarkable that this French language translation of Marcos Valle’s scat-filled 1971 song ‘O cafona’ was ever written, let alone recorded! There seems to have been an increased awareness of quality Brazilian pop in France; I had no idea that tracks like this were really even known outside Brazil at the time. Christiane was Michel Legrand’s sister, and she sounds great. There is very little available by her on CD, aside from a compilation of early recordings, and isolated tracks that (like this) appear on Japanese compilations. Also, it doesn’t help that the store Dusty Groove insists on incorrectly referring to her as ‘Christine’.
Juan Torres – Jesuchristo (jesus cristo)
Another ‘difficult’ track! This bizarre organ version of the Roberto Carlos’s hit is from a record I bought in Peru called ‘Organ melodico vol. 11′. The album is pretty terrible – full of casio style meanderings. This track is ridiculous, but there’s something compelling about it. Some nice drums and backing vocals occasionally break through the organ sound.
Golden Boys – Chuva De Verao
Thanks are due to a commenter on Musical Taste called Galt for recommending this nice beaty Golden Boys track, which has some beautiful string arrangements. It’s not up there with their version of ‘Berimbau’ (one of my top tracks ever), but it’s pretty good.
Chris Montez – Keep Talkin
Chris sings Joao Donato’s ‘amazonas’ with words! It actually works really well! Thanks to Don aka opl3003 for hooking me up with this one, which is taken from the one A&M; album by Chris that I don’t have.
Donovan – Wear your love like heaven
This is a cool one. Donovan is ridiculous, but I think he knows it, and it’s entertaining to hear him over-enunciate lines like ‘crimson ball sinks from you’. The arrangement is super groovy with organ and drums. This was pointed out to me by my brother (the lazy one who never recommends anything at Musical Taste, even though he registered several years ago)
Jackie & Roy – Didn’t want to have to do it
I would love to get the original album this came from, ‘Changes’. It’s compiled on the ‘Get Easy’ sunshine pop compilation. This is of course a superb Roger Nichols-Paul Williams composition, and Jackie and Roy’s version is wonderful.
Bob Azzam – Mr Dieingly Sad
Another alternative version of a sunshine pop track, this came from Magnus (www.bellybongo.com)’s album of the week. Thanks Magnus!
Walk on by – Jack Mcduff
This is from an album I’ve had and loved for years, a Prestige issue called The best of Jack McDuff and the big soul band. A really nice version of this song, which as you might have gathered, I’m obsessed with.
Bobby Byrne and his Orchestra – Made in Paris
More Bacharach, but this time a more obscure soundtrack cut, recorded on the Command label. It’s a fantastic arrangement. It starts off sounding like a standard twist number, but has some wonderful string flourishes and some outstanding guitar playing from Tony Mottola, as well as superb organ work from Dick Hyman.
Richard Rome – Ghost a go go
I know nothing about this track, but it’s a groovy ‘graveyard bounce’ track with spooky organ and a super cool spare sound. This is what Stretcher Case wanted to sound like!
Sharon Tandy – One Way Street
I read about Sharon in last month’s Mojo, where if I remember correctly, she was described as ‘The South African Dusty Springfield of Swinging London’. I didn’t wind up enjoying the compilation quite as much as I had hoped to based on this fantastic track, which was the first I heard. It’s a soulful pop track that bounces along very nicely. Her voice is cool, but the arrangements are often a bit to rocky and guitar heavy for my taste.
Santo & Johnny – Bulls-Eye
A cool early track from my old favorites (note my spelling here. Am I English or American? Spelling-wise, I don’t seem to be able to decide). Like many of their tracks, this walks the tightrope between being beautiflly raw and being unlistenably out of tune. It just about falls the right side of that line.
Kai Winding – Spinner
A Claus Ogerman composition performed by Kai with Kenny Burrell on the More album. Very nice twangy neo-Hawaiian stuff.
Chaquito – Callan
Super cool laid-back late 60s/early 70s crime jazz from a record that constitutes the best 35p I’ve spent in my life.
Tommy McCook – The Shadow Of You Smile
A nice Ska version of this track (thanks to don aka opl3003 for this one).
Sound Dimension – Soulful Strut
Another ska version of one of my favorites, from the Studio One Soul compilation.
Brother Jack McDuff – Oblighetto
Finally, another Musical Taste recommendation. I’m a big McDuff fan, but had never picked up Moon Rappin’, from which this great track is taken. It’s long and jazzy with some spooky and appropriately other-worldly wordless vocals.