John Hammond, Jr – Shore Leave  

A great song, written by Tom Waits (from Swordfishtrombones, an incredible album), and sung wonderfully I think by John Hammond Jr., the son of legendary record producer John H Hammond who 'discovered', amongst others, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.


Taj Mahal – Brown Eyed Handsome Man


This has been on every compilation tape/mini-disc/CD of mine that I can remember. Fantastic version of the Chuck Berry song.

Percy Mayfield – Louisiana  

Great voice, great song. Percy Mayfield wrote 'Hit The Road Jack', made famous by Ray Charles.


Ella Fitzgerald – So Danco Samba (live)


So Danco Samba is an extraordinary live performance, Ella Fitzgerald scat singing with the amazing Duke Ellington big band behind her. You can find the footage to this, which is lovely, on YouTube. Recorded in Juan-les-Pins, on the French riviera, in 1966. 


Bob Dylan – Call Letter Blues

Impossible, too many to choose from. Dylan is in the background of my earliest memories. He's been a consistent soundtrack to my life so far. This was recorded for, but didn't make it on to, Blood On The Tracks. Probably the only album perfect enough whereby you could reasonably justify cutting a song this brilliant. But it was cut in favour of 'Meet Me In The Morning' and I think 'Call Letter Blues' is better.

Charles Bradley & Menahan Street Band- The World (Is Going Up In Flames)  

A friend gave me this recently and it's terrific. This is the opening track to Charles Bradley's debut album, 'No Time For Dreaming', released earlier this year (sounds like it could have been the 60's or 70's). Charles Bradley is 63 and has spent most of what has been a tough life working as a chef. Great song.

Darondo – Didn't I  

"A street savvy Al Green". An amazing voice and I think this single, released in 1973, is just a beautiful love song.

Toots & The Maytals – Bim Today (Bam Tomorrow)  

I've loved Toots & The Maytals for as long as I can remember. Their music makes me smile - I couldn't do without it.

Charles Mingus – Better Git It In Your Soul  

I grew up listening to Jazz. People like Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Roland Kirk, and Charles Mingus. This is my favourite song from my favourite MIngus album 'Ah Um'. I remember when I first heard this, I was a kid, and I thought it was the most exciting song I'd ever heard. It's an amazing song. Inspired, apparently, by the gospel singing MIngus heard as a child growing up in Watts, Los Angeles. 

Johnny Hodges & Earl 'Fatha' Hines – Caution Blues (Blues in 3rds)  

From the album Stride Right, which was the first LP I owned, a hand me down from my dad. The cover has a lovely photograph of Johnny Hodges and Earl Hines in rather splendid overcoats, laughing. I'm extremely fond of this album and Caution Blues is a beautiful beautiful song.


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