Edgar ‘Jones’ Jones – ‘Gettin’ A Little Help From The Joneses’ – I’m not quite sure what I expected from this album, but I do feel like it has not only met, but exceeded my expectations. As I said earlier in the week, it sounds like one of those utterly brilliant compilation CDs that come out on labels like Honest Jon’s and Soul Jazz comprising long lost classics. The sound is quite deliberately murky at times, and it’s no secret that Jones is rather fond of mono recordings. Ska, rock’n’roll, soul and out and out pop all nestle together along with a bit of funk and easy listening just to confuse matters. A great, fun, summer record that you should get hold of before the sun fucks off again.
The Northern Soul Story – A set of four CDs designed to offer a thorough insight into the Northern Soul phenomenon. Now, I’m quite happy to admit that I know a big bag of bugger all about this particular genre, other than that I like good soul music, and I know that Northern was essentially about importing the best, obscure American soul to play in certain clubs in the top half of the UK. The four CDs are based around four of the key venues for Northern Soul nights. Volume 1 focuses on ‘The Twisted Wheel’ in Manchester, while volume 2 looks at Stoke-On-Trent’s ‘The Golden Torch.’ I have to confess that I’ve not got as far as Volume 4’s look at the legendary ‘Wigan Casino’, but of the three I’ve listened to, it’s the third volume, looking at ‘Blackpool Mecca’, that’s really grabbed my attention. In particular, the quite brilliant, ‘Soul Improvisations Pt 2’ by Van McCoy. As a means of attempting to convince you to buy these tremendous CDs, you can listen to that track here.
Ryan Adams – Tough call for the third spot this week. The Loungs deserve another mention for their excellent psych-pop album, ‘We Are The Champ,’ but ultimately Ryan must sneak through as a result of the BBC Four Sessions show. I picked up ‘Love Is Hell’ on Thursday and couldn’t quite believe that I hadn’t been persuaded to do so much earlier. It’s a great record, and as I was saying previously about ‘Cold Roses’, once you give it the time it deserves, you start to realise that it isn’t overlong, it’s just a long album, full of great tunes. Quite what all the record company politics about it at the time were about, I’ve no idea. It’s not like it’s the sound of one man pissing in a bucket for an hour whilst tapping a spoon on a wheelbarrow. Why a record company would be annoyed with sixteen beautiful, heartfelt songs, I’ll never know. This renewed focus on Ryan has also sent me back to his most recent effort, ‘Easy Tiger’ which I’m starting to realise is one of the year’s best. Either dig him out yourself, or get buying if you’ve none of his in the house.
Non-musical Revelations Of The Week:
House – As the third series draws to a close on Five, it’s worth reflecting on just how good this programme really is. The character of House, so wonderfully portrayed by Hugh Laurie, is written to perfection and his team are a meticulously thought out balance of jobsworths, deviants and geniuses. I could quite happily sit and watch 40 minutes of House talking with Wilson, his colleague, confidant and best friend. I believe the DVD boxsets of seasons one and two are now ridiculously cheap. If you’ve not partaken of this particular joy just yet, then it’s time to change that. You won’t regret it.
Gareth Jenkins – A brilliant rugby mind. Honest. Oh, and chin up, eh Gav?
BBC iPlayer – Despite the fact that it makes my aging computer slow to the speed of an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping (ta, Slacky), I’m quite enjoying this latest development from the Beeb. With access to a chunk of the previous week’s televisual output you can download whatever you want to watch, and then have 28 days to watch the files before they cause your monitor to explode and your hair to go green. Or no. Presumably they just stop working via the usual DRM methods. Anyhoo, it’s good fun, and I believe you can still sign up for the Beta trial somewhere on the BBC website.