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Blow Smoke Rings

Summertime  -  Angelique Kidjo

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Summertime - Angelique Kidjo

OK I know there’s a myriad of covers of this Gershwin classic, and I already have featured Deep Dive’s version of it on this collection, but this puts a West African twist on the same song, and is beautifully different with its acapella style…

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Nothing More  -  Fotheringay

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Nothing More - Fotheringay

Fotheringay emerged from Fairport Convention in the late 60’s. “Nothing More” is from their one and only album, and is Sandy Denny’s attempt to reach out to her former bandmate Richard Thompson, quietly grief-stricken in the wake of the crash that killed his girlfriend Jeannie Franklin and Fairport drummer Martin Lamble…

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Spanish Steps  -  Van Morrison

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Spanish Steps - Van Morrison

If you’re expecting to hear the distinctive gravel sounds of The Man, well, unusually, this is an instrumental from him; a sweet sax piece with underlying piano and strings which then further develops into a piano solo. It comes from his lesser known 1987 album “Lesser Champions Compose”…

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Aquarius - Boards of Canada

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Aquarius - Boards of Canada

Championed by John Peel, and often cited as one of the pioneers of electronica, BOC – a pair of brothers called Michael Sandison and Marcus Eoin - hail from Scotland. “Music Has The Right To Children” from which this track comes was their album released in 1998 after sending out countless demos to labels…

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Mother Nature’s Spies - Fila Brazillia

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Mother Nature’s Spies - Fila Brazillia

A short-lived collaboration between two guys from Hull, Fila nevertheless were one of the new millennium electronica acts forging tongue-in-cheek stuff with wacky treatments and even wackier names – check out their albums “Maim That Tune” and “Luck Be A Weirdo Tonight”!…

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Castellorizon  -   David Gilmour

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Castellorizon - David Gilmour

Is David Gilmour the “real” sound of Pink Floyd?

If, like me, you’re something of a Pink Floyd fan then no doubt you’ve already struck gold by listening to David Gilmour’s solo album from 2006 “On An Island” from which this track is taken…I guess if you haven’t then you’re in for a treat…

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Cleo - Fragile State

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Cleo - Fragile State

Fragile State were another one of those short-lived electronica collaborations like Lemon Jelly that seemed to proliferate at the turn of the millennium – a golden age for sampling and downbeat. FS were formed by two guys, one from Zero 7 – Neil Cowley - and Ben Mynott…

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The Cinema Show - Genesis

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The Cinema Show - Genesis

Now this is the real McCoy, from Genesis’s best album (in my humble opinion) – “Selling England By The Pound” – released all those years ago (1973!) and featuring Peter Gabriel of course. They’d already broken new ground with “Foxtrot” and “Trespass” with their lengthy rambles into instrumental riffs allied to absurdist lyrics from Gabriel - have a listen to “Get Em Out By Friday” or “Supper’s Ready” if you want a real taste of that!..

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Daydream In Blue -  I Monster

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Daydream In Blue - I Monster

This is one of those electronica songs I first heard quite by chance on a late-night radio show back in 2001…and was thoroughly annoyed that the DJ failed to give me a name check of either the track or the artist! Ah!!! Now what? How to find it?…

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Finest Hour – Submotion Orchestra

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Finest Hour – Submotion Orchestra

My second submission, after “Red Dress”, by this Leeds based band featuring the dulcet tones of Ruby Wood, and the lush pseudo-orchestration led by the trumpet of Tommy Evans. This is a seven minute build of electronica/jazz which pretty much sums up the musical style you can expect from each of their four albums…

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Chariots – TransGlobal Underground

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Chariots – TransGlobal Underground

Can their album “Psychic Karaoke” really be over twenty years old now? Released in 1996, I heard “Chariots” up first and was absolutely hooked by the depth of sound, the subcontinental/Arabian voice of Natacha Atlas (!) and the changes of rhythm and sounds. The super duper highway indeed!…

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People Make The World Go Round - The Stylistics

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People Make The World Go Round - The Stylistics

In the early 70’s the sound of Philadelphia was all the rage and along with bands like the O’Jays, The Stylistics were at the forefront. They had a sugary sound that didn’t always appeal to me – songs like “Betcha By Golly Wow” for instance - but I absolutely LOVE this song – this full length version’s great!…

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I Don’t Love You Anymore - The Young Rascals

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I Don’t Love You Anymore - The Young Rascals

Late 60’s I was into The Young Rascals (later, just The Rascals) as they released a succession of singles that caught my attention – they weren’t necessarily hits, although “Groovin’” was a monster – but I enjoyed the philosophical lyrics allied to the sophisticated production elements…

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Alone Again Or - Love

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Alone Again Or - Love

Is there anyone out there who doesn’t have a copy of the seminal psychedelic album, “Forever Changes” released first in 1967? Maybe it’s passed you by; if so, then this song should give you a flavour of what to expect with its gentle guitars, harmonies and orchestration…

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Pinzells - Joan Bibiloni

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Pinzells - Joan Bibiloni

Well, I do like a bit of laid-back acoustic guitar and when it’s allied to that oh-so-smooth Balearic background stuff….well, it HAS to make this curation! Don’t be fooled by the spelling of the Christian name – Joan is a guy!…

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British Summertime - Bent

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British Summertime - Bent

Well, with the UK in the midst of its best summer sun since 1976 – heatwave! – what could be better than a chilled song that radiates Englishness? Bent (Simon Mills and Neil Tolliday) are one of my absolute favourite downtempo mixers/samplers from the turn of the millennium…

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The Planet of New Orleans -  Dire Straits

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The Planet of New Orleans - Dire Straits

OK everyone knows about the phenomenon that was Dire Straits back in the 80’s…”Love Over Gold” as a beautifully crafted studio album before THAT double live album “Alchemy” which lifted them into the stratosphere…

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