Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do) – Wham!
Oft remembered for camp pop and George Michael’s subsequent career people forget that Wham! were about revolution and social upheaval. The song correctly notes that happiness and work are impossible bedfellows. Says Wikipedia: “The song was explicitly political and indeed revolutionary. It flew in the face of the conventional British Left-wing who were talking about the ‘Right to work’ at the time. But, in a capitalist economy, the ‘Right to work’ is only the right to be exploited by the bosses.”
He’s Bad, Bad, Bad – Betty Wright
Released as a 7” 45 single in 1968, this is the slightly longer LP version featured on her debut My First Time Around when Wright was just 15 years old. The track was arranged by Steve Alaimo, who would later pen her big funky million-selling hit, ‘Clean Up Woman’.
It Only Takes a Minute – Tavares
A common surname in the Portuguese speaking world, Tavares comprised of five brothers of Cape-Verdean descent hailing from New Bedford Massachusetts. Originally called Chubby and the Turnpikes, this was their biggest hit – notably covered by renowned boy-band Take That, renowned sex-offender Jonathon King and sampled by renowned fat-ass from the block, Jennifer Lopez.
Stop Your Sobbing – The Pretenders
Produced by Nick Lowe and released in 1979, this Kinks cover was The Pretenders’ debut single. It would also feature on their first LP the following year though Lowe curtailed his involvement following the recording of this track, reportedly stating that they “weren’t going anywhere”.
Reverend Lee – Eugene McDaniels
By the late 60s, Eugene (Gene) McDaniel’s was bang into black consciousness. Appearing on his 1970 jazz rock LP, Outlaw, Reverend Lee would later be covered by as a B-side by Roberta Flack, Lorna Bennett on the Trojan label and see also Herbie Mann in this playlist.
Gimme Back My Man – Betty Wright
Taken from Wright’s 1973 Alston Records LP, Hard To Stop, this fab funky track kicks off side 2 of the album.
The Touch of Venus – Patrice Holloway
Younger sister to the more noted Brenda Holloway, Patrice also had a brief contract with Motown, though they failed to release any of her recordings. Holloway went on to record for Capitol and in the seventies became a minor hit on the Northern Soul scene. This track was released in 2002 on the Richard Searling compiled A Cellarfull of Motown album. Holloway is perhaps more memorable for her role as the singing voice for Valerie in the 1970 TV series Josie and The Pussycats (and spin-off LP). She also sang backing vocals with her sister on Joe Cocker’s cumbersome rockist cover of ‘With A little Help From My Friends’.
Midnight Rambler – The Rolling Stones
A lyrically contentious track written in Positano, Italy and released in 1969, this bluesy romp heavily alludes to the notion that the narrator is roaming murderer. The bleak subject matter was a common theme the rest of the album, Let It Bleed.
Northern Lites – Super Furry Animals
‘The Northern Lights’ is a common name for the Aurora Borealis phenomenon that takes place at the North Pole. Here SFA turn the topic of another weather phenomenon, ‘El Nino’, [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_nino ] into a summery Latin-tinged pop song taken from their third album, Guerrilla, in 1999.
Black Mother Goose – Patrice Holloway
See ‘The Touch of Venus’, above
Step Softly – Bobby Ellis & The Desmond Miles Seven
Originally released on Crystal Records in Jamaica, 1967, this instrumental was the B-side to Derrick Harriott’s ‘Walk The Streets’.
Renegade – The Zodiacs
Another spot of Jamaican rocksteady that found favour with mid-to-late sixties British mods via the Trojan label.
Come Into My Palace – Brenda Holloway and Patrice Holloway
This track is a 1964 demo that had previously been recorded in 1962 by Lee & The Leopards on Gordy 7002 and was also recorded by The Supremes. Unreleased by motown it only emerged on the second disc of the 2005 Brenda Holloway Motown Anthology (on disc two: The Artistry Of Brenda Holloway: Singles, Rare And Unreleased). Apparently this is the only track of the two sisters singing as a duet.
Reverend Lee (LP Version) – Herbie Mann
Herbie Mann was a New York born jazz flautist who played “word music” (shudder) and looked like a right hippy. This is a jazzy cut of Reverend Lee (see Eugene McDaniels, above) which Old Rope confesses to liking.