1. Little Nicky Soul – ‘I Wanted To Tell You’ (1964)
Handclapping, shuffling, gospel-soul dancer on the obscure and short-lived Shee Records out of New York. Little Nicky was Nichalous Faircorth and the song – with great supporting vocals – was, it’s believed, his only single. If you’re only gonna cut one record, make it a good in.
2. Patti Labelle & the Bluebelles – ‘All Or Nothing’ (1965)
Newly signed to Atlantic Records and Patti, Cindy Birdsong, Nona Hendryx and Sarah Dash rewarded the label with a number 68 pop hit. By rights it should have climbed higher as not only was it their best release to date it’s everything you’d want from a sultry and dramatic girl group 45.
3. The Sweet Three – ‘That’s The Way It Is (When A Girl’s In Love)’ (1966)
Another girl group beauty, this one written and produced by still-to-come Philadelphian legend Leon Huff. Nice flugelhorn intro and a gorgeous record from beginning to end.
4. Pharoah Sanders – ‘The Creator Has A Master Plan’ (1969)
Judging by the squawking terror that occupies a chunk of this sprawling 33-minute epic from Karma not everything went as smoothly as the Master may have wished.
5. Eldridge Holmes – ‘Pop, Popcorn Children’ (1969)
The fourth volume of Soul Jazz Records’ New Orleans Funk shows no sign of dwindling returns. There’s enough in the opening track to keep an old-school hip-hopper in breaks and samples for a month.
6. Jimmy Smith – ‘Recession or Depression’ (1971)
A vocal track with sweeping strings from the Hammond maestro, sounding for all the world like he’s written the soundtrack to a Blaxploitation movie before such a thing was even in vogue: recession, depression, unemployment, inflation, rich getting richer, poor getting poorer, trying to make ends meet. An unexpected moment in Smith’s catalogue.
7. Senseless Things – ‘Everybody’s Gone’ (1991)
Twickenham’s Pop Kids have reunited for what’s billed as a one-off show next March in Shepherd’s Bush. Saw them many times in the early 90s and revisiting their stuff now I’m reminded why. Great live band with short, fast, pogoing-punk belters with an ear for a good melody. Now all we need are for The Revs to be added to the bill.
8. The Prime Movers – ‘Don’t Want You Now’ (1991)
Much, I’m sure, to Graham Day’s irritation his time in The Prisoners will always overshadow his other work. Listening back to the second Prime Movers album, Earth Church, it must rank alongside the best things he’s done and ‘Don’t Want You Now’ encapsulates the mean, rock and roll fuck-offness of the Mr Day we know and love.
9. Peter Doherty – ‘She Is Far’ (2016)
It’s a pity there’s so much baggage with Doherty as it’s possible to produce some quality records out of him. New album Hamburg Demonstrations hits a high percentage of satisfying tracks. ‘Flags of The Old Regime’ is stunning and if Dexys had cut the evocative ‘She Is Far’ you’d never hear the end of it.
10. RW Hedges – ‘Wild Eskimo Kiss’ (2016)
They don’t make records like this anymore. Only they do. A magical, almost Orbisonesque, seasonal offering from RW Hedges ahead of a new album next year. Lovely. Listen here.