Growing up, I knew this song as a hit single for The Carpenters in 1975. For older pop fans, it’s Motown’s first number one single by one of the first girl groups, The Marvelettes, from 1961.

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RIP Jeff Beck (1944-2023)

12th January 2023 · 1970s, 1975, 2000s, 2007, Music

I think the only Jeff Beck record in my collection is the single Hi Ho Silver Lining, which does not exactly show the guitarist at his virtuosic best. But this does: an incendiary live performance of a tune from his instrumental album Blow By Blow, recorded at Ronnie Scott’s in 2007.

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Van Morrison – T.B. Sheets

11th January 2023 · 1960s, 1967, Music

Inspired by my birthday trip back to Belfast – and today’s ambulance strike – here is what must surely be Van Morrison’s finest moment. It’s certainly his most emotionally intense.

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This was the first big hit for Motown founder Berry Gordy (I think), and the first big hit for songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland (I think) and the first big hit for Martha Reeves & The Vandellas (for sure).

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Here is a classic sixties song that I had never heard until a version by Misty Miller popped up in Lena Dunham’s excellent medieval comedy Catherine Called Birdy and sent me delving for the original.

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Here’s another group I don’t know much about. The Du-Rites are a New York-based funk duo of drummer Jay ‘J-Zone’ Mumford (no relation, thankfully) and Pablo Martin who plays guitar and bass. 
 

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Jesse & Bill – The Line

5th January 2023 · 2020s, 2022, Music

Sometimes a song comes out of nowhere and grabs your ear. That happened to me when Guy Garvey played this on the radio just before Christmas.

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Here’s one of those songs I haven’t heard in years (decades?) but it comes right back to me the moment the needle touches the groove. I was never a fan of jazz-funk but you’d have to have a heart of stone, and feet of concrete, not to be moved physically and emotionally by the infectious groove, skittering bassline and blissful vocal of Southern Freeez.

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Soap&Skin – Italy

3rd January 2023 · 2010s, 2018, Music

Well this is just stunning; aurally and visually, it’s breathtakingly beautiful and emotionally powerful. It’s featured in two feature films, Sicilian Ghost Story and Corsage.

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When I first heard The Allergies I assumed they must be some long-lost American band from the early seventies. In fact they are a white duo from Bristol.

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