Letter #100

22.11.19
Hello, hello, hi, hey, hello,

How are you? Have you had a great week? I hope so.

So, here we are. The hundredth letter. I’m going to try and strike the delicate balance between not getting emotional (hard for me), and not being too cool for school (much easier for me 😂). But before I do… I genuinely never thought that this project would get past the first five letters. Look at where we are now! And I say ‘we’, and I truly mean ‘we’. I wouldn’t have carried on if you hadn’t kept on sending me messages to say you liked this whole thing. Thank you, and thank you for helping it to grow by sending it to friends that you think should join our crew. It honestly means the bloody world to me, and this project has grown to be much more than just an email I rattle off every other week.

You may have noticed that we’ve got a bright shiny new logo at the top, big thanks to Paul McDonald, and big props to him for the release of his latest artwork for Local Talk too (the cover art for the new Soulphiction release is all his work!). With a logo, this is almost starting to feel like a real thing ☺️

On to this week. Today’s mixtape is a little different; and the first thing you’ll notice is two links, one is to the normal Spotify version, and another is to a Mixcloud version. It’s the same mixtape, but one was recorded live last weekend (all vinyl, of course). I wanted to share it with you, because I’ve been working on it for a while, and it really encapsulates the music that I love about this whole project. It was my dream mix to put together, and hopefully you hear the passion too. I would love to know what you think.

The music I’ve chosen is made up of songs that I’ve loved from the last 99 letters, so there’s so many stone-cold classics in there. You’re going to love it. I’ve had so much fun putting it together!

The letter is also a little different too, and below you’ll find a bumper TL;DR section, in the notes I’ve put together a collection of some of my favourite of the last 99 letters (and collected up all of our guest letters too!), and I’ve also added in a call for guest editors section – next year I want more editors, and more diverse voices and music.

As with last year, I’m taking December off, so this will be the last time you hear from me until January. We’ve got two brilliant guest letters lined up for December, so worry not – lots of great music and letters coming.

So, next year. I’ve got big plans for next year.

The first thing is that next year we’re going to have a party in February. It’ll be in London, at a brilliant and intimate venue, and I’ve got the tight WhatsApp crew to thank, as there’s a bunch of us organising it. If you’d like to come along, register here. On the WhatsApp group front, if you’d like to be part of it (and I can tell you now it’s great), then reply and I’ll send you the link to join.

Finally, next year there’s going to be some Love Will Save The Day merch! I’ve hesitated and hesitated over this, but since Paul’s brilliant poster loads of people have been in touch to ask about what else might be coming up. So there’s going to be stickers, tote bags, and t-shirts (all at cost – this ain’t no gravy train). Again, if you’re keen, let me know and I’ll add you to the list. It’ll be a short run on all of it, so shout now or forever hold your peace.

Finally, and I mean this from my heart, thank you. You – and I mean you the person reading this right now – you make this worth while. I started this because I wanted to share music with people who I thought would love it too, and every letter I send out, I get the same buzz I’ve ever had from playing people music in clubs and bars. What makes this all the better is that you share music and ideas back, and that’s more than I could have ever hoped for. Thank you.

See you next year x

PS. New here? Here’s how it worksHere’s what you’ve missed so farAnd this is me.

PRESS ME TO PLAY (Spotify)
PRESS ME TO PLAY (Mixcloud)
🌪 TL;DR Section 🌪
  1. Spend a lot of time worrying about what other people are thinking? Yeah, me too. But stop it. No one cares, and that’s ok
  2. I’m just finishing up reading Stuart Cosgrove’s Detroit ’67 and holy moly what a brilliant book. I’ve tried to read it before but failed miserably, and after going back the second time I cannot understand what I was thinking. It’s brilliant. It covers the 1967 in Detroit, and while the focus is Motown, it covers so much more. I would highly recommend it
  3. I BEG you, listen to that first album by the MC5 and tell me that you don’t hear the same spirit of the 1967 Motown groups. While you’re listening to Kick Out The Jams, read this brilliant RBMA piece on John Sinclair…
  4. The excellent human and celebrated social academic Caspar Melville has a book coming out soon on how rare groove, acid house, and jungle broke London down and rebuilt it, pre-order It’s A London Thing here!
  5. Here’s some rare footage of Don Cherry, cronking his heart out
  6. While there’s not much new in here, this HUCK piece on The Loft and its enduring legacy was always going to be worth a read
  7. While you’re on a NY vibe, check out this classic essay from Lenny Fontana on Boys Own
  8. Gilles P sat down with Egon and Madlib, and as you’d expect it’s great. Check it on worldwide.fm here
  9. You’ll almost certainly know this already, but celebrate and behold! The RBMA archive of essays and lectures has been saved ❤️
  10. Resident Advisor’s Real Scenes series has been consistently on point, and the Sydney edition is one of my favourite so far – must watch!
  11. There’s a new record shop in London, check out Hidden Sounds
  12. Athena, the new album by Sudan Archives, is, as you’d expect absolutely brilliant
  13. This interview with Jaki Shelton Green (North Carolina’s Poet Laureate) is filled with gems, this in particular struck a chord, when she was asked about her views on art; “It’s the connectedness of my humanity wherever I go.”
  14. I’m certain you’ll have seen this, but this DJ Mag feature from Katie Thomas on The End is epic.
  15. This guide to William Basinski on Bandcamp is really nice. I’m not massively into ambient, but Basinski is slowly luring me in…
  16. The new album from Giant Swan is pummelling, chest crushing, genius. Read this Crack front page exclusive from Gabriel Szatan here
  17. I’ve only just come across this interview with Kerri Chandler (back from 2014), but as ever, Joe Muggs (hi Joe!) uncovers stuff previously unknown and circles round the culture in such a natural way it’s easy to forget how insightful this is!
  18. As a label and a shop, Mr Bongo is an absolute institution, and this mini-doc is a great celebration of the last THIRTY YEARS
  19. Latin American pop music is on a super-steep upwards trajectory, and this collection of reasons whyon Bandcamp is a good primer
  20. Cosmo’s Classic Albums By Women is out! Goes without saying, but obviously this is brilliant, and features some brilliant contributors (many of whom will be reading this now – thank you!)
  21. The excellent Jude Rogers has published a brilliant piece on Patrick Cowley in The New Statesman which is definitely worth a read
  22. I really enjoyed this collection of skaters talking about why skate shops still remain pivotal to the scene, HUCK smacking it out of the park as usual
  23. Jamael Dean is my new jazz crush – here’s why
  24. Rolling Stone has a long profile on Lee ’Scratch’ Perry – the “Salvador Dali of music” – that’s epic. Given I’m just about to start reading Bass Culture, this is probably a good primer…
  25. Read a rare interview with rock and roll photography legend Pennie Smith on the anniversary of that photo of Paul Simonon (and London’s Calling, naturally)
  26. I was dreadfully late to the work of Shawn Reynaldo, but now obviously I’m hoovering everything he’s ever written up furiously
  27. Jack White’s excellent jazzilike series is back for it’s fourth edition
  28. HUCK has a great photoessay of the not-so-seen LA in the 1980s
  29. Matt Muir shared this Excel-based drum machine (you heard me) in his excellent Web Curios newsletter recently and I’m mildly addicted to it
  30. Stevie Wonder bought Marvin Gaye a Moog for Christmas, so Gaye wrote a Christmas song on it
  31. Grace Jones is in charge of Meltdown Festival next June!
  32. And finally, and not just because of my distaste of odd numbers, but because it’s really good; here’s a piece on where ideas come from, in the New Yorker. A favourite subject of mine, and hopefully yours too
As I’m off of Love Will Save The Day duties for a month or so, I’ve got quite a reading list stacked up. I’m hoping to get through;
📚 The notes 📚

As we’ve reached one hundred letters, I wanted to share some of my favourites over the last few years. We’ve had some brilliant guests (all below!), music for parties, music for thinking, themed mixtapes, dark mixes too, and lots of essays. So here’s some of the best of the last one hundred ❤️

Guest mixtapes
Letter #20 – James Turner – sweet and raucous
Letter #22 – Chris Wood – disco-tinged
Letter #27 – Tom Armstrong – London-vibes
Letter #31 – Matt Hannigan – classic underground
Letter #35 – Olly Batho – a dub special
Letter #39 – Simon Veaney – a heartfelt special
Letter #49 – Mark Pinsent – pop perfection
Letter #65 – Becca Sawyer – a beautiful tribute
Letter #68 – Ben Isley – broken beats across the spectrum
Letter #72 – Paul McDonald – jazzy vibes
Letter #75 – Steven Doherty – sub-club warm up
Letter #85 – anon – a mental health rebuilder
Letter #87 – Eamon Murtagh – a funk and soul special
Letter #94 – George Knock – no such thing as a guilty pleasure
Letter #95 – Bibiane Blondy – focus on women

My favourite
My all time favourite, still to this day, was the letter that I wrote to my daughter.

A few others…
Letter #3 – a classic, for afternoon parties in the sun
Letter #21 – My tribute to drums
Letter #48 – It began in Africa 
Letter #80 – Super soulful
Letter #84 – a great essay (I think, anyway!)
Letter #86 – one of my favourite essays to write! (and loads of disco not disco)
Letter #91 – reinventions…
Letter #92 – Jazz not jazz
Letter #97 – a tribute to Prince
Letter #98 – On burnout and recovery (mental health)

📃 Guest editors 📃

What I would love to see next year is more people coming forwards to write guest letters. Specifically more women, and more people with more diverse tastes. We’re a diverse bunch, and as this thing grows, I want to celebrate our diversity more and more. So consider this a call out for anyone who’d like to write a guest letter next year to put your hand up!

Let me know if you keen, and I’ve written up some very loose rules below to writing a guest letter, but nothing too burdensome (I hope).

Letter

  • A set of accompanying notes that explain a bit about why you chose which music you chose – the best of these are often pretty personal, but don’t feel like you have to
  • Write it like you’re writing to just one person, and tell us a bit about you too 🙂
  • You don’t have to explain every single track choice, but if you want to that’s fine too!

Mixtape

  • 30 tracks long, with a start, middle, and end. I usually follow the Mancuso Bardo stuff – which is split it into three, the first third being about people arriving at the party and feeling the groove, then the middle section is circus time (full throttle), and then the final third is about bringing people back to earth gently.
  • My approach to track selection is trying to put something together that brings new (not necessarily new new) music to people, if I include something familiar then I want to reframe it a little, but I try to avoid ever going obscure for the sake of it (no show offs!)
  • No repeats. Unless it’s Herbie or Stevie. The full list of everything that’s ever been included is here.
  • There are no boundaries on genres or anything like that. We’ve had themed mixtapes, artist focused, era focused, mood focused, all sorts – go wild.

Most of all, it just has to come from your heart ❤️

If you’d like to put something together, please get in touch!

📃 The tracklist  📃
  1. Don Cherry – Utopia and Visions
  2. Dorothy Ashby – Essence of Sapphire
  3. Shabaka and the Ancestors – Joyous
  4. Sun Ra & His Arkestra – That’s How I Feel
  5. Andrew Ashong – Flowers
  6. Gil Scott-Heron – Your Daddy Loves You
  7. Stevie Wonder – As
  8. The Crusaders – Street Life
  9. Bill Withers – You Got The Stuff
  10. Fatback Band – Wicky Wacky
  11. Eddie Kendricks – Date With The Rain
  12. Herbie Hancock – Saturday Night
  13. Roy Ayers – Chicago
  14. K15 – Bordeaux (Kaidi Tatham remix)
  15. Prince – All The Critics Love U In New York
  16. Moodymann – I Think Of Saturday
  17. Stevie Wonder – Race Babbling
  18. Tenderlonious – Casey Jr.
  19. Prequel – Saints
  20. Moses Boyd – Drum Dance
  21. Pharoah Sanders – You’ve Got To Have Freedom
  22. Johnny “Hammond” Smith – Los Conquistadores Chocolates
  23. Miroslav Vitous – New York City
  24. Dexter Wansel – Life On Mars
  25. Theo Parrish – What You Gonna Ask For (Theo’s mix)
  26. Les Sins – Grind
  27. SAULT – Why Why Why Why Why
  28. BADBADNOTGOOD – Tried
  29. Emma-Jean Thackray – Make Do
  30. Rare Silk – Storm
💥 If you enjoy this letter, then please take a second to forward this email, or share this link with a recommendation on Facebook or Twitter 💥
See you on the dance floor.
Love Will Save the Day

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