21/01/2021: “Love Don’t Pay The Rent (The Jinks Work Shy Dub)” by Mone

Mone is a veteran House vocalist, with a no holds barred powerful voice worthy of the genre.

A shame really, that this is the dub mix!

But what can I say? The groove is too great to ignore on this one. Although variously decorated with horns samples, soulful vocal snippets, and dubbed out guitars, the beat and bassline are solid enough to drive the groove for 5 minutes here.

Adding extra flavour is the simple up and down vamp which seems to be taken from the bassline of the original, as far as I can tell.

Star of the show, though, is that smashing drum beat, loaded with juicy, shuffling hi hats and cheeky off beat snares. What a jam…

The track sits on a four track E.P. released on Strictly Rhythm in 2010, Love Don’t Pay The Rent, with 3 other songs – the smoother, deeper DJ Meme cuts and the harder, more aggressive Scott Wozniak mix.

20/01/2021: “Earth” by Joe Henderson featuring Alice Coltrane

Anything Alice Coltrane touches is usually pretty brilliant. That cosmic outlook on life and music soaks into every note!

Despite being supremely talented herself, a high quality collaboration never goes amiss. You could certainly say Joe Henderson is high quality, and his composition skills are ably augmented with Coltrane’s playing abilities.

And his own, of course. Henderson is one of the most important sax players of post-war Jazz, and his skill is obvious here as he deftly blazes over the Eastern inspired backdrop.

Unusually for a jazz song, but not unusually for a work of this experimental scope, the drums are genuinely groovy – it’s a sick swinging beat!

You can find the piece on 1974’s classic The Elements. The whole affair is a journey through time and space, my favourite kind of jazz!

19/01/2021: “Slow Death” by The Flamin’ Groovies

Does it get more classic than this? Everything about this song is pure rock gold.

The hyperactive bassline, splashing drums and ‘rockstar’ vocals are all great, sure.

But they’re all window dressing to that smashing guitar riff!

The song was released in 1972 as a single, then re-recorded for the 1986 album One Night Stand. The Dictators covered the tune in 1978, adding an edge, but I much prefer the original.

18/01/2021: “Be By My Side” by Dom Salvador

A lot of people hold that music from the 60s was the best. And Brazil is generally considered to punch well above its already considerable weight musically.

So there’s no surprise that this energetic number from ’60s Brazil is so heavily laden with funkiness that it seems fit to burst!

The Bossa Nova background to Dom Salvador’s inspired piano playing is clear, as he sprints up and down the octaves and drags the drummer, bassist and horns player with him.

It fits somewhere between Bossa Nova and Funk – a great example of MPB, or ‘Música popular brasileira’ (Popular Music of Brazil).

The track was released on Dom Salvador in 1969, and reissued in 2016.

17/01/2021: “Capullito De Aleli” by Pepe Jaramillo

“Capullito De Aleli” was written in 1930 by Rafael Hernandez for Los Jardineros. It’s been covered many times since then, not least by Nat King Cole!

This is a solid version though, evocative of the Spanish speaking Americas even though it’s completely instrumental.

Pepe Jaramillo was a Mexican pianist, who rose to international fame after moving to London. He even gave a performance to the Royal Family…

This version of the song was released in 1960 on South Of The Border, and remastered in 2014 for a re-release as Al sur de la frontera.

16/01/2021: “You Can’t Turn Me Away” by Sylvia Striplin

Funky souly goodness from start to finish. You can’t help but love this, I feel!

Her voice is stunning, of course. But that groove is brilliant. The squelchy yet tight bass struts confidently over a solid drum beat. You’ve got a smattering of guitars and a couple of old school synths to complete the package too!

Roy Ayers, who Sylvia had worked with extensively in the 70s, helped to write the song. It’s become her most famous, especially after being sampled in a Notorious B.I.G song (“Get Money”, 1995), and used in a Grand Theft Auto video game.

The song was released in 1981, on Roy Ayers’ record label, “Uno Melodic”.

15/01/2021: “Love Has Found Its Way” by Dennis Brown

Even Bob Marley regarded Dennis Brown as his favourite Reggae singer. And what a career…

Dennis Brown, mirroring the development of Reggae music as a whole, started off singing American R’n’B as a young kid. He started early, recording his first album in 1970 – age 12!

The early 80s saw him pursue a more pop sound, before the dancehall era truly kicked in. This song, released in 1982 as the title track of an album, reflects that. It’s lighter disco influenced reggae, lovers rock for the masses.

But, although it’s not hardcore roots, it’s still a great tune. There’s a place for the watered down stuff, as long as it has soul. And nobody could deny that this song has soul in spades!

14/01/2021: “Born To Lose” by Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers

American Punk Rock icon Johnny Thunders rose to fame with the New York Dolls.

It’s a shame that his major project after that, The Heartbreakers, was beset with difficulties and fizzled out. Not least their album, L.A.M.F., released in 1977. Malcolm McClaren, naturally, was involved…

The sound, even by the standards of Punk, was roundly slammed for being badly mixed and muddy.

To be honest though, this one is still a raucous, foot stomping punk rock classic.

The furious guitar work, ranging from rock ‘n’ roll riffing to punk shredding, elevates the piece, while the vocals add extra energy and passion.

13/01/2021: “Commit” by Miraa May

This is everything a modern R’n’B song should be. Powerful, strident, yet sultry singing polishes off a thumping beat, stuttering guitar hook and hard stepping bassline.

The lyrics are delivered with bags of soul. It’s classic R’n’B stuff – some guy is refusing to be pinned down, but she’s still into him.

For some reason, this song isn’t massive. And I can’t see why for the life of me…

The song was released in 2016 on N15. N15 is the postcode of Tottenham, the area of London where Miraa May is from, which rubs off on the tuff production. You can hear it in her voice too, although it’s no less lovely for it!

12/01/2021: “Complete Control (Extended Mix)” by Jark Prongo

Jark Prongo is one of the many, many aliases of Dutch DJs René ter Horst and Gaston Steenkist. Currently, they are Piano House sensations Chocolate Puma.

One of their most legendary incarnations, back in the early 90s, was The Good Men. Then, another of my favourites – Klatsch!.

I couldn’t tell you why they’ve cycled through so many names. In each of their incarnations, however, the same timeless quality shines through – they make bangers!

“Complete Control” is a tribal, pulsating eight minute jam, never losing the groove, but adding clattering layers of percussion and subtle vocals as required.

This one was released back in 1993 on the duo’s Fresh Fruit Records label, which they set up first before their classic (and still current) Pssst imprint.