1972

I discovered Can at the age of 16, back when I was at school. Not because I was some sort of cool avant-garde kid but purely because they put out an album for a cut-price 59p. 

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Aretha Franklin had a US hit with one of Elton John’s early flops, Border Song, when she put it out in 1972 – two decades before they sang it together.

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Cymande – Dove

13th April 2023 · 1970s, 1972, Blues, Funk, Music, Soul

I don’t know if psychedelic drugs were involved in the making of this song but I would be highly surprised if they weren’t. Then again, just listening to it is a mind-bending trip.

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The opening chant of Vivian Jackson’s debut single in 1972 is what gave him his nickname of Yabby You (or sometimes Yabby U). (more…)

For Jamaicans, and an older generation of fans, Horace Andy is one of the legendary reggae singers from Jamaica. For a younger one, he’s synonymous with Bristol as the guest vocalist on some of Massive Attack’s best tunes. (more…)

Vocal trio The Abyssinians followed their seminal debut Satta Massa Gana with their second single, Declaration of Rights in 1972.

Never has a call to revolution sounded so sweet and heartfelt, the smooth harmonies of Bernard Collins and brothers Donald and Lynford Manning floating over the inventive bass lines of Leroy Sibbles.

With their devotional lyrics singing the praises of Rastafari, The Abyssinians were at the forefront of what would come to be known as “conscious” reggae.

This is the original version of the song, which they re-recorded for their debut album Satta Massa Gana which took its time to arrive belatedly in 1976.

The riddim was also used by Coxsone Dodd for DJ versions by toasters Sir Harry (Musical Rights) and Big Joe (Version Of Rights), as well as a horn version by Cedric Brooks (Father Forgive).

Numerous other artists have covered the song, including Johnny Clarke (with a dub by King Tubby and Prince Jammy) and The Mighty Diamonds, and many more have used the riddim, including Gregory Isaacs (Cease Fire), Sugar Minott (Thank You Jah) and Leroy Smart (Let Your Heart Be Pure).

Plenty of soul singers (Aretha, Otis, Whitney) had parents who were church ministers and plenty more began singing in church when they were young. A handful (Al Green, Eddie Holman) even went on to become ministers themselves. Only one earned the title “The Female Preacher” – Lyn Collins. (more…)

The Modern Lovers’ only album is, for me, one of the greatest albums ever. Roadrunner is pretty much a standard now. It’s astonishing that this song, which most of us only heard years later, was recorded back in 1972. (more…)

Cymande – Bra

3rd August 2021 · 1970s, 1972, Funk, Music, Soul

The cowbell is not an instrument you naturally associate with funk. And cowbell solos are as rare as hens’ teeth… unless you’re listening to this smooth groove by British funksters Cymande. (more…)

Not being of an overly religious persuasion, gospel has never been my go-to musical genre. But this exuberant fusion of gospel with soul and funk is irresistible. Especially on a quintessentially English summer’s day like today (ie. wet). (more…)