Welcome to the first official Love Will Save the Day letter. We’re going to try and send the letter at 11am every Friday, hopefully just as you’re starting to think about the weekend.
The letter itself splits in two. The first section is the link to the thing that you’re here for – the playlist. The second section is the thing that we’re here for – the rambling notes, links, and explanations on why certain tracks were chosen.
– 🎼 –
Our inaugural playlist feels very soulful, and has undoubtedly been influenced by the glorious sunshine in London. It’s arranged to be played in sequence, but every song we’ve picked is great, so don’t feel beholden to the order.
– ✏️ –
Music this week comes from Juno, Sounds of the Universe, delving deep into a few Spotify playlists, two RBMA lectures, sample spotting, a San Proper Boiler Room, and stumbling upon some old stuff while sorting through records last weekend.
So, we begin with a very peculiar Buddy Holly track. It’s super stripped back, slowed down, and feels like Buddy’s had a few too many drinks. Blues-filled, booze-stained, but still with that unmistakable vocal pitch shift. It’s probably a weird way to start a playlist, but there’s something about it that just feels warm and fuzzy. Happy Friday.
The next track is from a compilation on the Numero label. This particular release is Shanghai’d Soul, and is definitely worth buying a copy of. I found Is There Any Love after buying the compilation off the back of the quality of the other Numero compilations I have, and now I’m on the look out for more Trevor Dandy. There’s a definite familiarity to the track, and the Darondo track after too (Didn’t I has been on rotation on 6Music for what feels like years, but the song never gets old – the album is great too).
I was in New York for work a few months ago and heard this Lord Echo track in a bar. It was one of those shit-I-wish-I-had-Shazam-installed moments. Luckily I used old school Shazam: asking the person playing the track. Turns out it’s an edit of the Sister Sledge classic, and is on the Melodies album, which is also brilliant too. Kid Creole is on because sweet Jesus that song feels like summer.
Last weekend I watched two RBMA lectures – Theo Parrish in Seattle, and Tony Humphries in Tokyo. If you’re into musical history, both are worth a watch. Parrish is the enigmatic (if not sometimes a bit aloof) Detroit producer who’s a really interesting character, and incredible selector / DJ (in that order). Humphries was part of the second wave of disco and I guess one of the founding fathers of modern dance music. Anyway, I’m rambling. In Parrish’s lecture he plays a clip from The J.B.’S Doing it to Death album (the title track), and it really blew me away. He was talking about hearing music in different contexts, and reframing what a certain song can mean. I bought the album from Juno pretty much immediately. Then in the Humphries lecture he spoke about finding an old gospel song while working in a record shop, which after playing in a nightclub he produced an edit. It was Stand on the Word, which is a song full of pure joy.
I also watched (and actually watched too, rather than listened to) the San Proper Boiler Roomset from Dekmantel a few years back. I’ve heard a few mixes by him before, but watching him definitely adds a new dimension, and him playing L.O.V.E. was a definite highlight, even if it is his own track. He is totally crackers.
Then we get into some jazz new and old. Old; Dorothy Ashby, who I found through Sounds of the Universe (without doubt my favourite record shop in the world). Then it’s Sons of Kemet, and Emanative, two parts of the current British Jazz invasion. Along with Sounds, Dalston’s Vortex, Gilles Peterson, and the entire district of Peckham seem to be the driving force behind the current crop of UK jazz talent. More UK jazz to follow next week, almost certainly.
There’s a little modern disco on there from Session Victim (have a listen to their new albumtoo), and TOKiMONSTA (who’s not exactly known for her disco production, but Death by Disco is sweet). There’s also quite a bit of 80s NY disco and NY No Wave too – Dinosaur L (found through Tim Lawrence’s excellent book Life and Death on a New York Dance Floor – if you buy that, also buy Love Saves the Day too), and an ESG tune that I’ve been listening to since buying NY No Wave in my teens and having a brief obsession with the genre.
Special mention must go to Andrew Ashong too, who’s track Special (that wasn’t intentional, but I’m not editing it out) is such a lovely sun-going-down-sat-in-your-garden-or-Victoria-park track. Last year, when I was going through a phase of buying lots from Theo Parrish’s Sound Signature label, I bought a track called Flowers without listening to it, and have been mildly obsessed with Ashong ever since. He’s also from South London. Must be something in the water.
There are a few tracks on the list that will probably sound familiar. Got to Give it Up, Part Oneby Marvin was the subject of a lawsuit last year because the Gaye family saw too many similarities between Marvin’s track and Blurred Lines. Suffice to say Marvin’s is a classic, and shouldn’t be messed with. Everyday People has been covered by everyone from Dolly to Maroon 5. There’s a cracking Roy Ayers cover from Kan Sano too. The final track should be instantly recognisable, but you might have to imagine Kanye and Kim riding a motorbike in a fake desert with her hair blowing the wrong way.
Also making appearances are Wings (who knew McCartney could do such low slung funk and soul?!); Jan Hammer Group (I heard this song on a Spotify Discover Weekly list a few weeks ago and haven’t really stopped listening to it since); and finally, probably a seemingly strange Spectral Display track (it’s in because the synth panpipes and drum machine reminded me of Talking Heads so much I had to put This Must be the Place in too).
Hopefully, if you’ve read this far, it makes a bit more sense as to why everything that’s in is in, and the order itself should hopefully make sense as things should string together a little (pace, tempo, themes, instruments – anything to post-rationalise!). Also, if you’ve read this far, thanks for indulging us.
– 📄 –
- Buddy Holly – Slippin’ and ‘Slidin’ (slow version)
- Trevor Dandy – Is there any love?
- Darondo – Didn’t I
- Lord Echo – Thinkin’ of You
- Kid Creole & the Coconuts – I’m a Wonderful Thing, Baby
- KC and The Sunshine Band – I Get Lifted
- The J.B.’s – Doing it to Death Pts. 1 & 2
- Marvin Gaye – Got to Give it Up, Part 1
- Sly & the Family Stone – Everyday People
- Dorothy Ashby – Essence of Sapphire
- Sons of Kemet – Play Mass
- Emanative – Love in Outer Space (Alternate Universe)
- The Joubert Singers – Stand on the Word (Studio Version)
- Ashford & Simpson – Stay Free
- Session Victim – Good Intentions
- TOKiMONSTA – Death by Disco
- San Proper – L.O.V.E. (feat. Hollywood & Steven van L)
- Dinosaur L – Clean on your Bean #1
- Daphni – Face to Face
- ESG – Moody
- Montezumas Rache – Wu Du Wu
- Wings – Arrow Through Me
- Jan Hammer Group – Don’t You Know
- Talking Heads – This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)
- The Jones Girls – You Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else
- Connie Laverne – Can’t Live Without You
- Kan Sano – Everybody Loves the Sunshine
- Spectral Display – It Takes a Muscle (To Fall in Love)
- Andrew Ashong – Special
- Ponderosa Twins Plus One – Bound
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day.
P.S. There will most likely be a live stream this Sunday afternoon, available here.