The Colonel

Think I’ve spent half my time writing RIP posts this year. Colonel Abrams may not be as big a name as some artists who have died in 2016 but he made some of my favourite House records so I wanted to pay my respects. I was especially saddened to read that he died poor, sick, and homeless.

His big hit was “Trapped” in 1985 but my favourite was this one from the year before. I hate to get all sappy, but some of the positive and communal spirit of House music like this wouldn’t go amiss today.

Download: Music Is The Answer – Colonel Abrams (mp3)

Something for the Weekend

The Bee Gees split up for a short time in the late 60s and this was their 1970 reunion single. The video is a moving re-enactment of their journey back together from their miserable, empty lives of big houses, fancy cars, and walking the dog down the King’s Road.

Lucky Dip

Much as I like The Streets’ song, this is my favourite record called “Dry Your Eyes”. Gorgeous Philly Soul from 1967.

Download: Dry Your Eyes – Brenda & The Tabulations (mp3)

Image: Anna Karina in Vivre Sa Vie (1962)

Water Babe

In the comments of my Joanna Lumley post the other week, John Medd challenged me to find a song to go with this photo of Joan Collins. Will this do, John?

Download: Scuba Scuba – The Revillos (mp3)

New Monday

Need some bright and bouncy pop music in your life? Look no further than London trio Kero Kero Bonito who sound like a Pick ‘n Mix of Japanese pop, Deee-Lite, and the kitschy candy of PC Music. Their wonderful debut album Bonito Generation is a real sweet treat that will rot your teeth and brighten your day.

Giving Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving here tomorrow so I’ll be gone the rest of the week. This is my favourite American holiday because it revolves around eating and drinking but you don’t have to buy presents for the kids. It’s like Christmas for adults!

While this year has been terrible on so many levels I am grateful to my wife and kids for filling my heart with love and giving me something to smile about every day.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Download: Wham Bam, Thank You Mam – Small Faces (mp3)

My Twelve Inches

I’ve been listening to a lot of soul and dance music to lift my spirits the past week or so and this one never fails to make me feel better even 35 years after I bought the 12″.

I might not be keeping the versions of the record straight here, but it was first released as “Let’s Start The Dance” in 1978 and then as a remix called “Let’s Start II Dance Again” in 1981. This version from the same year has a confusingly similar title and sounds closer to the original. I think maybe the drums and bass are a bit punchier but I really don’t want to sit down and analyze it too closely, this sucker is made for dancing.

Download: Let’s Start To Dance Again – Hamilton Bohannon (mp3)

The Queen of Funk

I’ve run out of things to say about how shitty this year has been. Just when you think it’s done with the bad news it pulls the rug out from under you again.

I was lucky enough to see the late Sharon Jones play live with The Dap-Kings twice and she was a dynamo who gave everything, ending shows dripping with sweat and usually without shoes. Like all great soul performers she understood the communal and cathartic power of music, exhorting the audience like a preacher spreading the gospel of funk.

Success was a long time coming for her — she was working as a security guard when she made her first recordings at age 40 — and when she finally had her chance in the spotlight she grabbed it with gusto. She clearly relished being on stage and seeing all those years of struggle pay off. It may have taken a while but we should be glad that she got the chance to reign as the Queen of Funk for a few years.

This is from The Dap-King’s 2002 debut album and was the first track I heard by her. It takes some doing to top Janet Jackson’s original but I think this just might do it.

Download: What Have You Done For Me Lately? – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (mp3)

What’s it all about?

The sentimental musings of an ageing expat in words, music, and pictures. Mp3 files are up for a limited time so drink them while they're hot. Contact me: lee at londonlee dot com