I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week, stepping between the puddles and the sunshine.
Some brilliant news this week – this weekend it’s the wedding of two of our gang! Massive congratulations to Sophie and Martin, Love Will Save the Day indeed ❤️.
As ever, the letter is split into three parts. The first; the playlist. The second; the rambling notes. The third; the tracklist.
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If you think there’s someone that might also enjoy our letter, please forward this email on. Love Will Save the Day.
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As I mentioned last week, throwing myself into being a wedding DJ means this week I’ve been spending my time building up stacks of reggae, ska, Northern Soul, classic soul, and some disco to boot. This has inevitably had an influence on this weeks list.
Aside from the wedding influence, Prince is back, it’s gone a bit experimental in parts, and trumpets and saxophones are most definitely back. As is hip-hop. Arthur Russell also makes his first appearance (well, at least as himself, he’s appeared before in another guise).
You’ll find this week’s playlist – here.
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In trying to get everything ready for this weekend’s upcoming nuptials, the letter is maybe a little shorter this week. This means either I owe you an apology, or you’re welcome.
So, I have to be honest now. I didn’t know a huge amount about Northern Soul before this week. I knew the classics (AKA the ones that have been on KFC ads), but I was a bit shallow with it all. I’d feel like a fraud playing it without knowing more about it, so I’ve done some pretty frantic learning this week! First steps were going through Northern Soul records that I already owned, and really listening. I think in the past they’ve basically been saved for dinner parties, which is the most frighteningly middle class thing I’ve ever written. Only Mancuso can judge me.
Of what I found, here’s what was good:
- Dave Haslam has two amazing books. One on night life through the generations, and another on the rise of the superstar DJ. Both are worth your time.
- One of our crew Frank (hi Frank!) recommended this playlist.
- There’s a brilliant compilation on Northern Soul.
- As ever, RBMA brings the goods with an oral history on the movement.
The latest Baker’s Dozen feature on The Quietus this week was from Sean Lennon, who seems to have very experimental tastes. The whole thing is worth a read, as the words to go with the choices are really interesting. This is where the strange Baia track by Cults Percussion Ensemble came from. Following a track from the best of the Coltrane’s (Alice, of course), this felt like a lovely segue into Cue 8 by Madlib, and not least because the instrumentation is similar.
There’s a heavier volume of jazz or jazz influence this week, mainly down to having had quite a stressful week, and jazz is most definitely my stress position. So, there’s Arts Ensemble of Chicago opening, a running theme through all of the hip-hop (the track from Common is ❤️), before falling deep into soul and disco, before Arthur Russell then brings us back to more explicit jazz influences with his track Wax the Van. Interesting, Wax the Van was the first track that Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy ever played at The Loft. Everything connects, in weird and wonderful ways. Flying Lotus makes a late (and I think his first) appearance, and again, weird connections aplenty – Ellison is the nephew of Alice Coltrane.
Mancuso and Levan definitely have a big hold over the middle section of this list this week. Eddie Kendricks, Sly Stone, Alicia Myers, Candido, G.Q… All artists that rarely left the shelves at The Loft and Paradise Garage. Spotify has a brilliant playlist for Mancuso here, for anyone wanting to disappear down the rabbit hole.
The last track I want to mention is I Can’t Stand the Rain. I first heard this track about six years ago, very very late (or early, depending on how you look at it) at a house party I’d thrown. It was late autumn, pretty cold, but the sun was out. After a night of pretty intense house and disco, one of my best friends (hi Tim!) put this on. I was properly floored by it. So flawed I forgot to ask him the name of it, and have, for the last six years failed miserably at describing it or finding it. Then I stumbled upon it this week by pure chance on YouTube, and it threw me back to my dew covered flat, with friends strewn everywhere, and the sun streaming through the windows. It was magical.
As always, if you’ve read to here, thanks for indulging me ♥️.
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1. Art Ensemble of Chicago – Ericka
2. Alice Coltrane – Blue Nile
3. Cults Percussion Ensemble – Baia
4. Madlib – Cue 8
5. Mad villain – ALL CAPS
6. Count Bass D – Closer
7. Common – Maintaining
8. Pastor T.L. Barrett and the Youth of Christ Choir – Nobody Knows
9. Ann Peebles – I Can’t Stand the Rain
10. Sly Stone – Searchin’
11. The Velvet Underground – Rock & Roll
12. Billy Preston – Eight Days a Week
13. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas – Nowhere to Run
14. Voices of East Harlem – Proud Mary
15. Eddie Kendricks – Girl You Need a Change of Mind
16. Alicia Myers – I Want To Thank You
17. Barbera Pennington – 24 Hours a Day
18. Belle Epoque – Miss Broadway
19. Candido – Thousand Finger Man
20. G.Q. – Lies
21. Boof – Birgit Boogie
22. Prince – Erotic City (Make Love Not War Erotic City Come Alive)
23. Ian Dury & The Blockheads – Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3
24. Arthur Russell – Wax the Van
25. Leon Thomas – The Creator Has a Master Plan (Peace)
26. Nicolas Jaar & Will Epstein – Never Have I Ever
27. Flying Lotus – Turtles
28. Grover Washington – Loran’s Dance
29. Miles Davis – Trevere
30. The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band – I Won’t Hurt You
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day.