Groove On 4

Vol 4 of Bella’s Radio show for the Corona time brought to you by Stewart Bremner. 

This episode of Groove On features a wider range of styles than previous episodes. With luck you’ll hear songs you’ve never head before and maybe even styles of music didn’t know existed, along with tracks by bands you’ve known since forever.

We begin this exploration of recorded music with a visit to the early middle of the twentieth century with ‘Hong Kong Blues’, recorded by jazz performer Hoagy Carmichael in 1938. We then forward to 1953 for some rhythm ’n’ blues with ‘Bam Balam’ by the Du Droppers, a band whose name seems to indicate they would be singing doo-wop, but somehow they’re not.

Next is a stone-cold classic by Muddy Waters called ‘Got My Mojo Working’, recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960. Known for it’s reserved nature, this raucous performance must’ve burned the festival down. We keep moving forward, to 1961, for an obscurity called ‘Shimmy Shimmy Walk (Part 1)’ by The Megatons, a groovy little rock instrumental.

Two swinging jazz tracks follow. First up is ‘For Mods Only’ by Chico Hamilton. A jazz percussionist, his remarkable full name was Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton. That’s followed by ‘Theme From “Any Number Can Win”’ by Jimmy Smith. Known as The Incredible Jimmy Smith, the organist transformed popular music by introducing the Hammond organ into jazz, from where it spread to soul, rock and beyond.

We remain in the sixties for some more tracks, beginning with ’Get Away From Me’ by The Angels. A girl-group, they recorded three albums of garage rock for Smash records. Ray Baretto’s version of ‘Mister Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ follows, from his album Señor 007 – an album that brings together a wonderful combination of latin jazz and James Bond music.

The next pair of sixties tracks are pretty far out. Farthest out is ‘Bliss’ by Emil Richards & The Microtonal Blues Band. It’s from Journey to Bliss: A Meditation Suite in Six Movements, that features a wild array of rhythmic instruments on some quite weird jazz. A little less far out is ‘Aquarius / Let The Sunshine In’ by The Moog Machine, a medley of songs originally found on the soundtrack to Hair. These cover versions were from an album that jumped on the craze for albums featuring the then newly-released Moog synthesiser, in 1969.

Something for all you pop-pickers out there now, with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s ‘Whole Lotta Love’ by CCS. If you’re old enough to have been young enough to have been watching Top of the Pops in the seventies, you’ll know this.

Now we’re in the seventies, it’s time for some funk. ‘Clean Up Woman’ is by Betty Wright, whose career stretched from the fifties to the 2010s. It’s followed by the even funkier ‘Am I Black Enough For You’ by Billy Paul. The follow up to a hit single, the Black Power sentiments in this track almost killed Paul’s career.

We move to down south next, with ‘I Have Seen’ by The Peddlers. A jazz-pop trio, this a stand-out track from their concept album Suite London that was recorded with The London Philharmonic Orchestra.

After that laid-back number, it’s time to get out your dancing shoes on for ‘Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)’ by The Rolling Stones, a somewhat forgotten but very funky track from the also mostly forgotten album Goats Head Soup, and ‘Machine Gun’ by Commodores, from their debut album when they were funky as hell. No, really, they were.

There’s more funk to follow, with a theme tune called ‘Keep You Eye On The Sparrow’ by none other than Sammy Davis, Jr, from a programme called Baretta. However it’s all change after that with ’T.N.T.’, an early track by AC/DC from their High Voltage album and then ‘Big New Prinz’ by The Fall, a single from 1988.

From rock we move to electronica. First is ‘The Box’ by Orbital, a lovely piece from 1996’s In Sides and then ‘Windowlicker’ which may be the most accessible track ever recorded by Aphex Twin. And if that isn’t strange enough for you, next is ’Where Is The Line’ by Björk from her acapella album Medúlla.

This episode closes with a somewhat jazzy, somewhat loungey cover of The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’ by Nouvelle Vague. Ta ta for now!

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