Recommendations - MAY 2006


So there I was with this little new child in my front room. He was asleep, but making the odd squeak here and there. It was also quite late. And I wanted some jazz. I chose this track, from a red label Argo double album called Will Power. It was quite obviously an expensive gatefold disaster when it came out even though Neil Ardley was at the helm. I mean who in 1975 would want to hear four sides of Shakespeare Birthdee celebrations, all in improvised jazz and sometimes utilising pictures of Charlie Brown eh? Exactly. And I chose this track, track one side two as it is a most blissful, quiet vocal duo with light touches of avant weirdness and perfect jazz tones. It fitted the dreamy mood in the front room so well we all listened to it three times. And it's a fairly long piece. Luckily, you no longer have to walk the earth in search of a rare original vinyl set like what I got as it has sympathetically been reissued by Vocalion on CD. It's worth it just for this one track I reckon. But it's also one of those rare LPs that grows with you. I originally got it for another track, which I hardly listen to now. And it also knocks the poo out of all those other jazz and poetry LPs that were issued in the British jazz scene which are all a touch on the pompous side if you ask me. My mate Stasis now has one of these Will Power LPs too, and his was a dollar in an American film music store. You see, these things still turn up cheap if you fly to expensive places. Right, I shall move on.


As featured in The Music Library book, this fine musical experiment came in very handy when I did a soundtrack show all about Trains. There is a track on it called Dining Car, and you get them on trains. Dining cars are a bit different now, and don't seem to serve the soup that everyone seems to be eating in dining cars in movies. Framond here is on fine form and manages to fuse, pop, jazz and classical references in an imaginative and very unique way. There are moments of cartoon madness here too, but that may just be me. This is modern composing of the highest order, but then you get that sometimes with library innit.


Now look, the library known as "Mozart Edition" has had a bad time. It's not known as a cool, groovy label at all. The sleeves are horrid but practical, very plain and orange. Much of the music is that late post war British period of easy classical composing, a mixture of junior classical sounds and vapid orchestral mood music. But in amongst it all are some important musical milestones. This track is just one example I am listening to at the moment. Mentioned by Jarvis on his Desert Island Disks as one of his favourite tunes of all time, I had no idea I even had this until I started looking at my Mozart LPs closely a couple of weeks ago. And lo and behold, this tune, used for thirty years or more as the accompaniment to the shipping forecasts is a total joy. Ronald Binge is a God. He basically discovered this sound all his own, and took orchestrations, especially string ones, to an all new place (and I'd say new high too). He'd get all the notes to drift on, which has this warming, delayed effect. It's brilliant. So groovy was he that he was employed as arranger for Mantovani for years. He did that killer "Charmaine" tune for him. This though, is his masterpiece. Two minutes and 34 second of orchestrated perfection. I believe you can still buy vinyl LPs from Mozart Editions for 12 quid. Have look on their website or something. Alternatively don't bother. Or buy the new compilation put together by Jarvis. It's on there. I've gone on loads about this and I will now stop.


I have no idea whether I've written about this before, but I am listening to it again. It is one of the few LPs I found in Essex when I used to live there. This is an incredible slice of British, sorry Anglo American Jazz. Issued on CBS this has an all Brit line up apart from the star. A touch straight, a little bit soulful too, this really got the new born going, especially in the alto sax and piano solos. By the way, even though I say "Lasha" like what it is spelt, you are supposed to pronounce it like "Lashay". Funny that. And very very wrong if you ask me.


I asked loads and loads of people and dealers if they knew about this folk LP, and no one did. I thought it was odd because she was a TV presenter, and this was a folk thing issued on a soul label. I got it when I issued the Wicker Man, the bloke at Portobello Market said it was Scottish, therefore similar and I should have it. And then it appeared on a rare folk list last year and now the little bugger is going to be reissued, which i think is a good thing. She has a sweetly reverbed voice, sounds unmistakably Scottish and this sits very nicely in the front room on a Sunday, when we are having a late lunch and are laughing at the impressive flatulence of out new son. It [the record] has a pleasing, calming influence until you get to the mega freakout odd thing at the end of one of the sides and then I have to rush over and take it off. I played it out once when I had to DJ for The Animal Collective and no one noticed how good it was then either. They talked to me about Deep Throat.


Unfortunately this is not the vocal tune from the Jack Hargreaves garden shed Sunday viewing. No, but this is instrumental theme from the series which was, by the way, a Southern TV production. I am very nearly positive this is the music that was playing when those two Shire Horses were ploughing the field right at the beginning. Or was it the end? I don't know. But I do know that this is a classic slice of "what the hell is that...I know what it is and I've heard it before but I just can't work out where...please tell me". A simple, pleasing guitar number with added strings towards the end. Nostalgia can be totally blissful sometimes, especially when played down the phone. And I played it down the old dog to someone last week and he had the best comments I've heard so far: "Jonny, this is bringing to me memories of boring Sundays, watching depressing TV and waiting desperately for The Big Match to come on. I hated Out Of Town, but I think I'd have a different view now". And what's even weirder and even more perfect for us here is that Jack Hargreaves once edited Lilliput magazine, and we all know about that don't we Derek???


This is the Dudley "white" album. I bought this many years ago in Chertsey, and it was a pain in the arse to find then. It has always been close to my side and I also enjoy holding up the cover of Dud's face and pretending I am he. This is a near perfect LP in my jazz opinion, and grows elegantly with age. We stick it on in the morning, in the afternoon when we are having cake and buns, or in the evening and it always drifts, floats and grooves its way around the house. I think I will possibly ware this LP out. Every home should have one of these.


Ever since I heard the OST Sebastian by Jerry Goldsmith, I have been chasing work by Tristram Carey. Carey did the electronics on Sebastian. He was also responsible for designing much of the VCS3. And he composed the Ladykillers soundtrack too. Anyway, for bloody years I've been trying to find more of his stuff. Finally I came across this baby. Issued on a private label from Norfolk in 1970, it is difficult to explain how totally beautiful this really is. In short, it the same piece, played on flute, twice. One version of each side of a 7 inch 33 rpm record. Not only is it a sublime piece of movement and mime music, but it is wholly engaging and a little otherworldly too. The idea here I believe is that the same piece of flute music was played twice and then recorded using manipulated tape speeds. It's a wonderful home experiment, and a wonderful home made package, with a large hand drawn fold out leaflet, drawings and much more besides. A total joy visually and aurally, and worth a long, drawn out and frustrating search if you ask me.


Wow, look at that big eyed French child. And listen to the pretty little child like music. This is what exactly you'd think really, quite lovely twinkly nursery rhyme carousel type tracks, and I really should grow up. But I now have a massive excuse to indulge in even more kiddy sounds and shall just carry on, possibly forever.


Good grief, I bought a new record. I got it because it was issued by a label (Bol Weevil) who have repressed a load of rare Shirley Collins, and also because it was a soundtrack to a film by Hiraki Sawa. It was a film in an art installation. I know nothing more. I don't know about the art, or the artist for that matter. It all sounds very pleasant when I am in a calm mood, which seems to be less and less these days. It has an electronic, studious and glitchy laptop sound to it also, that can get on my tits a bit if I'm not careful.


Well thank heavens for the sunshine eh? Hopefully more will be heading our way and this is the LP to wack on when it appears through my window. A breezy light and fluffy LP of classic spring and summery standards. Chris Montez sounds very cutesy, some of the tracks you can dance to and play out on the right night and every time I listen to it I think that Chris Montez needs to go to the lavatory. Either that or he's been kicked in the goolies. It's something in his high sweet voice I reckon. Try and find the MFP version of this with its most terrible cover as it will be only be about 50p and looks dead shit. That's incorrect actually, as I saw one this morning at Spitalfields record fayre and the geezer wanted two quid. Which is still alright. And he would have haggled I'm sure.


Dave at Fat Cat sent me this baby - Richter's latest album, after it had been recommended to me by Jeremy in Smallfish Records. And indeed it is a thing of odd delight. Great souring strings, plucking away at your inner emotions and all with tinkly bits every now and then. Very clever, cunningly simple, totally filmic and a bit odd. Oh. and a little dark too. Marvellous. And it does help to have a good sounding name with this kind of sound. And Max Richter is a good name.


Yes, a quick plug for the all new and most desirable Trunk release. A cute collection of music you may have heard some of before. And some of it you won't have heard before because it has not been released. But look, it's all a bit folky, a touch dark, a little psychedelic and great for kids and big people too. This has taken years to put together - years to find the records, years to find the unreleased recordings, years to think of a great title and once everything was sorted it still took another year. Read more about it here.


This useful flexi was sent in by Wayland, a long time devoted Trunk fan. It is very well produced, most entertaining, came with a free bottle of lotiona (back in 1968 though) and has come in very handy for dealing with a nasty rash in a very special place. Thanks Wayland.


I was lucky enough to get some of this album in a TV documentary recently. Without doubt this is one of the most prescient and hypnotic LPs ever made. It's also a dangerous record to own as it gets you hooked and you cannot stop listening to it. Simple but complex, old but very fresh and new. Trouble is mine has a small scratch on it. Beggars cannot be choosers I suppose, and I'm lucky enough to have one in the first place. The fabric based cover artwork here was done by Mary Anne Thomas. Anyone know anything about her??


And yes, another quick plug - only because I am listening to this forthcoming release a great deal. It's very, very hooky and I have ended up singing bits from it in the most odd of places. In short it's a collection of Mike Sammes advertising demos from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s. I found it in his home just after he had passed away. The full story will be on the sleevenotes and on this site closer to release. The recordings include adverts for Pink Marble Shield, Dulux Paint, Timex watches, TUC Biscuits, Ladies Girdles that don't pinch and of course adverts for tractors. Yes, that's correct, adverts for tractors. And all sung in delightful vocal harmonies. I can't wait to get this baby out. Read more here


The story of how I got hold of this baby was divulged in an old copy of Record Collector. It's a funny LP cos it looks just like a cheesy listening baroque LP but that could not be further from the truth. This really is exceptionally high quality interpretations of olde classics, and there is not a whiff of cheese to be heard. Mike McNaught was the quartet leader here, and his musical ideas are way, way ahead of their time. He worked with Harry Nilsson too on The Point, which is another super LP. But here he really is stretching himself musically, and produces one of the most subtle and perfect albums you could wish to experience. He takes songs that are hundreds of years old and gently spanks them up the arse. Occasionally heavy, a touch modal and always magnetic this rarely leaves the turntable at the moment. Well since Christmas anyway. And the bloke (Will Hodgkinson) who wrote the book Guitar Man is now after a copy of it. Having mentioned cheese earlier, I am now going to go and have some, I believe there is some mouldy old stilton under the cheese dish in the kitchen.


The man cannot spell. But he wears cool glasses. And there are also his funny sound drawings on the inside of his LP. And unusual letter and number codes on the front, possibly some early computer readout jobby or something. Who is this mysterious man in cool glasses who makes funny unpredictable musak eh?? I have no bloody idea, and I may well find out in time for the next updates. All In know is this is a peculiar, confusing but strangely engaging listen. You really never know what this man will do next with a "song" or sound. And he doesn't really sound like anyone else either. There is some backwards stuff on here, some tape manipulation, electronics and who knows what else. It's all raving mad and dead clever at the same time. I listen and I am glad I no longer take drugs. One thing I do know, the LP was recorded in Chipping Norton, which is really very impressive. I have scanned his glasses for you. They are quite "now".


Issued on the mysterious, inconsistent library label knows as National this is a seldom seen thing. Number 4 in the supermarket series but I am yet to see numbers 1 to 3. I bought this record because of the name Gisteri as it is said to be Alessandroni. And by the way, this is nothing to do with supermarkets at all. This music would never help you shop. It may well help on those singles nights they sometimes have at supermarkets, as the music here is quite wonderfully poetic, and also sometimes completely depressing, which would suit a night like that. Lots of isolated treats here, and some very dark, almost medieval moments too. A very funny LP in lots of ways.


It is now recommended that you leave Greek soundtracks well alone. They are massively overpriced, rare, and much of the time fairly dull. And sound like a bad Greek holiday. I think this score may well be an exception to the rule - certainly bits of it are. It's an early 1960s film all about love and hookers, which is fairly apparent from the title. Moments on this could be from a spaghetti western. Other moment are gentle and engaging. This is a timeless record if you can get past the thoughts of plate smashing. I haven't quite got used to it yet, but I like it a lot. Made in 1963 this supposedly revolutionised Greek cinematic scoring. But what do I know. I wasn't there.


I'm not quite sure whether this was a giveaway or you had to collect tokens or what. It's a long cut single, and both sides are the music to an advert by National petrol stations. Side one is John Mayer doing his Indo Jazz thing, which is OK. But it's the B side here that's the blissful one - a long and lively jazzy tune penned by old fashioned soundtracky legend Frank Cordell. This is the oncoming summer in black plastic for me. It's all in four four time but is has this killer on off swinging sound with lively bongos and a duetting thing going on between an alto sax and a bassoon. Killer. I mean killer. And it was made by a petrol station. Even more killer.