Take My Advice Now Hear You This

Steve Cobby, Dennis Bovell and Jimmy Brown have recorded together as BBC and since the start of the month have been offering Quality Weed for your enjoyment. This is serious stuff, heavy duty Jamaican rhythms and sonorous, chanted vocals from Mr Bovell, deep and dubby with instrumental and remixed versions. The remix version, which picks up the pace a bit, is currently my favourite. Quality Weed will be available in a physical format in September but in the meantime you can buy Quality Weed from BBC’s page at Bandcamp.

Monday’s Long Song

This is ten minutes of bliss from 2017, a Steve Cobby remix of a track from Tempelhof and Gigi Masin’s Tsuki album. The song sets out at a leisurely pace with xylophone, synth strings and pattering drum pads and isn’t in any kind of hurry to get anywhere.The vocal floats over the top, the words just so slightly indistinct that you can’t quite make them out. If only the sun would come out and we didn’t have to go to work, this would be the perfect way to start the week.

As Good As Gold

A new Steve Cobby album dropped into the ether out of the blue on Friday, titled Sweet Jesus (and with cover art to match).  Steve’s been on a roll for the last few years, from 2014’s Suadade to the following year’s double disc masterpiece Everliving and 2017’s Hemidemisemiquaver. The opening notes of song As Good As Gold have me hooked from the start, a descending finger picked acoustic guitar riff and some slide guitar, the sound of the sun going down while you sit in the beer garden, eking out a few more moments before going home.

I’m still getting to know the rest of it, twelve tracks showing the wide range of styles Steve plays- Lanspresado is drum machine and keyboard based, downtempo electonica with a dubby melodica part; Feline Plastique has Spanish guitar and castanets; the moody guitar and live drum kit of The Groom Stripped Bare By His Suitor with an ace snaking topline; the finger picking acoustic guitar back for the final pairing of songs, folky, downtempo Balearica from Humberside.

Sleigh Bells

I’ve pretty much avoided Christmas this year on here, no seasonal songs at all, so I’ll try to enter into the spirit of things by posting these two today (and giving the Monday Long Song a rest for a week or two). Low’s Just Like Christmas is a thing of beauty, a song I’ve posted several times before but which is always welcome. The sleigh bells and the sleigh ride rhythm are are joy, as are the lyrics- the band in the van travelling from Stockholm to Oslo seeing the snow fall.

Just Like Christmas

Sleigh bells ringing are the opening to Darlene Love’s Winter Winterland, one of the songs on A Christmas Gift For You From Phil Spector album from 1963. If you have to listen to an album of Christmas songs, it should really be this one (although I’ll make a shout for Wild Billy Childish’s Christmas 1979, the title track of which I’ve also posted before).

Winter Wonderland

And if you need something longer Steve Cobby has put together this mix, just over an hour of lesser known festive songs from the crooners and shakers including Dinah Washington, Dean Martin, Julie London and Nancy Wilson.

Whatever you’re up to, wherever you are and whoever you’re with, have a happy Christmas. Peace and love and all that.

Rick James Dwells In The Abyss

Steve Cobby’s album from last year, Hemidemisemiquaver, was chock full of electronic delights. One of them was this inspired electro plus vocal sample tribute (of kinds) to Rick James. There’s a killer guitar solo in there too. Steve’s made a video for it, having gone slightly mad with a Spirograph app (created by Nathan Friend)- it will hypnotise you if you stare at it for too long.
Rick James started out in LA playing bass in a handful of short lived bands including one called Salt, Pepper And Cocaine. Prior to this he had played with some future members of Buffalo Springfield and had also fled to Canada to avoid the draft during the Vietnam War. His solo career took off on  Motown in the 70s and into the 80s, with songs such as Mary Jane and his hit Super Freak. Rick James, as the vocal sample says, dwells in the abyss and by the 90s deep into the abyss was where he was- rampant cocaine use and a conviction for sexual assault which led to 2 years in prison. After his mother died, Rick said he went even further, “there was nothing to keep me from descending into the lowest level of hell. That meant orgies. That meant sado-masochism. That even meant bestiality.” Rick James dwells in the abyss.

Vesuvius And Fuji

When we were leaving Rome for the Bay of Naples the receptionist at the hotel we were checking out of asked where we were heading on to. After telling her we were going to Pompeii she looked at us like we were mad- ‘in this heat?!’ she said. And she was right, it was very, very hot. But also a genuinely breathtaking and amazing place. Having walked through the streets of Pompeii we turned into the Forum, the centre of the town, a vast public space with columns and buildings around the four sides and in the distance Vesuvius lurked- the reason the town was destroyed, thousands killed but also the reason the town survived.

Eighteen years ago Fila Brazillia played at Fuji Rock. The 9 song set was recorded, has been cleaned up by Steve Cobby and is about to be released as the first Fila Brazillia album for nearly two decades. You can buy it at Bandcamp and watch A Zed And Two Ls below. The set also features Throwing Down A Shape, New Cannonball, Slow Light, Little Hands Rouge, Ridden Pony, 6ft Wasp, Pissy Willy and Harmonicas Are Shite. By 2000 Cobby and Dave McSherry’s band was a fully fleshed out touring group, playing slow motion funk, disco inflected grooves, jazzy ambient house and every other down tempo genre you can think of. Cross pollination for the nation.

£-shop Communism

If you’re at a loose end this Bank Holiday Monday and have 99 pence (or more) to spare you could do a lot worse than download the new album from Hull pairing Steve Cobby and Russ Litten. Spoken word and poetry from Litten, a state of Brexit Britain address and response to Trump et al, set against the electronic funk, house and soul of Cobby. Innovative, inspired and on the money.