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Various Artists

Jon Savage’s 1983-1985: Welcome To Techno City

    Continuing his long-running and highly respected series for Ace, spanning year by year since the germination of his 1966 volume for both Ace and Faber Books, Jon Savage serves us up another of his spectacular insights into popular culture, this time for the years 1983 to 1985.

    Born out of the ashes of post-punk, there were plenty of experimental singles during the early part of this period: Siouxsie’s ‘Swimming Horses’, Shriekback’s ‘Lined Up’, Soft Cell’s ‘Heat’, Echo & The Bunnymen’s ‘Gods Will Be Gods’, and the Smiths’ ‘Girl Afraid’ – a perfect kitchen sink scenario. Pete Shelley and Scritti Politti went the electronic route to great effect, while the Special AKA delivered the perfect riposte to ‘Hard Times’ and having fun on the dole with the under-appreciated ‘Bright Lights’.

    But by the end of 1984, the true action throughout this period was to be found in electronic, black American and club music: whether the metal beat of Section 25’s ‘Looking From A Hilltop’, Trans-X’s daffy hi-NRG Eurobelter ‘Living On Video’, Shalamar’s pure electro ‘Disappearing Act’, or the new music coming out of Sugarhill and Tommy Boy – Grandmaster Flash, Double Dee and Steinski, and the sampled Malcolm X.

    This compilation begins in the mainstream and ends in the underground. It was the classic high 80s, before the full downside of the New Right political project was revealed – although the signs were all there – but the pop fizz cloaked a nostalgia that masked the beginnings of social and subcultural breakdown. The tribes were at war, wearing clothes from pop’s past, a dizzying phenomenon that looted the 50s and 60s in a costume drama of confrontation and dislocation.

    As ever, Jon reports from the thick of the action and provides both front line reportage and academic insight. Play loud and enjoy the trip.


    CD One
    1. All Tomorrow's Parties - Japan
    2. Soweto - Malcolm McLaren With The Mclarenettes
    3. Lined Up - Shriekback
    4. Telephone Operator - Pete Shelley
    5. Gods Will Be Gods - Echo & The Bunnymen
    6. Heat (12-Inch Version) - Soft Cell
    7. (Hey You) The Rock Steady Crew – The Rock Steady Crew
    8. Disappearing Act (12-Inch Version) - Shalamar
    9. Bright Lights - The Special Aka
    10. White Lines (Don't Do It) (12-Inch Version) – Grandmaster & Melle Mel
    11. Techno City (12-Inch Vocal Version) - Cybotron
    12. Swimming Horses - Siouxsie & The Banshees
    13. Heartbeat (12-Inch Version) - The Psychedelic Furs
    14. No Sell Out (12-Inch Version) – Malcolm X (Keith Leblanc)
    15. What Presence?! - Orange Juice
    16. Girl Afraid (12-Inch Version) - The Smiths

    CD Two:
    1. Why? (12-Inch Version) - Bronski Beat
    2. Love Resurrection (12-Inch Version) - Alison Moyet
    3. Looking From A Hilltop (12-Inch Version) – Section 25
    4. Think Fast (12-Inch Version) - Pamela Joy
    5. Hypnotize (Version) (12-Inch Version) - Scritti Politti
    6. Close (To The Edit) (12-Inch Version) - The Art Of Noise
    7. Life's A Scream (12-Inch Version) - A Certain Ratio
    8. Never Understand - The Jesus & Mary Chain
    9. Sunspots - Julian Cope
    10. Johnny Come Home - Fine Young Cannibals
    11. In The Night - Pet Shop Boys
    12. Single Life - Cameo
    13. I Want You (12-Inch Version) - Cabaret Voltaire
    14. Crazy – R.E.M. 

    Various Artists

    Fantastic Voyage: New Sounds For The European Canon 1977-1981

      By the turn of the 80s, the impact of David Bowie’s ground-breaking Berlin recordings – the synths, the alienation, the drily futuristic production – was being felt on music across Europe. What’s more, the records being made were reflecting back and influencing Bowie’s own work – 1979’s “Lodger” and 1980’s “Scary Monsters” owed a debt to strands of German kosmische (Holger Czukay), new electronica (Patrick Cowley, Harald Grosskopf), and the latest works from old friends and rivals like Robert Fripp, Peter Gabriel and Scott Walker, all of whom had been re-energised by the fizz of 1977.

      Compiled by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and the BFI’s Jason Wood, “Fantastic Voyage” is the companion album to their hugely successful “Café Exil” collection, which imagined the soundtrack to David Bowie and Iggy Pop’s trans-European train journeys in the mid-to-late seventies. “Fantastic Voyage” is what happened next.

      Bowie’s influences and Bowie’s own influence were rebounding off each other as the 70s ended and the 80s began, notably in the emergent synthpop and new romantic scenes as well as through the music of enigmatic acts like the Associates and post-punk pioneers such as Cabaret Voltaire.

      Like “Low” and “Heroes”, some of the tracks on “Fantastic Voyage” are spiked with tension (Grauzone’s ‘Eisbär’) while some share those albums’ sense of travel (Simple Minds’ ‘Theme for Great Cities’, Ryuichi Sakamoto’s ‘Riot in Lagos’) and others find common ground with “Lodger’s” dark, subtle humour (Thomas Leer’s ‘Tight as a Drum’, Fripp’s ‘Exposure’).

      This is the thrilling, adventurous sound of European music before the watershed moment when Bowie would abandon art-pop for America and the emerging world of MTV with “Let’s Dance” in 1983. “Fantastic Voyage” soundtracks the few brief years when the echo chamber of Bowie, his inspirations, and his followers created an exciting, borderless music that was ready to challenge Anglo American influences. 


      1. Theme For Great Cities - Simple Minds
      2. Silent Command - Cabaret Voltaire
      3. Riot In Lagos - Ryuichi Sakamoto
      4. Eisbar - Grauzone
      5. White Car In Germany - The Associates
      6. Nightcrawler - Patrick Cowley
      7. On A Trouvé - Isabelle Mayereau
      8. 3,000,000 Synths - Chas Jankel
      9. No Self Control - Peter Gabriel
      10. Nite Flights - The Walker Brothers
      11. Tight As A Drum - Thomas Leer
      12. The Farther Away I Am - Daryl Hall
      13. So Weit, So Gut - Harald Grosskopf
      14. Exposure - Robert Fripp
      15. Patriarcat –
      Areski Belkacem & Brigitte Fontaine
      16. Silicon Chip - Basil Kirchin
      17. Ode To Perfume - Holger Czukay

      Various Artists

      Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present Incident At A Free Festival

        “Incident At a Free Festival” is a tribute to the mid-afternoon slots at Deeply Vale, Bickershaw, Krumlin, Weeley, and Plumpton – early 70s festivals that don’t get the column inches afforded the Isle of Wight or Glastonbury Fayre, but which would have been rites of passage for thousands of kids. Bands lower down the bill would have been charged with waking up the gentle hippies and appealing to both the greasy bikers and the girls in knee-high boots who wanted to wiggle their hips. And the best way to do that was with volume, riffs and percussion.

        Compiled by the venerated Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs of Saint Etienne, this is the heavier side of the early 70s they summarised on the acclaimed “English Weather” collection. There’s an air of menace and illicit thrills among tracks by Andwella, Stack Waddy and Leaf Hound (whose “Growers of Mushroom” album is worth well over £1,000). Bigger names include the rabble-rousing Edgar Broughton Band and kings of the festival freakout, Hawkwind. They are represented by their rare version of ‘Ejection’

        For every mystical Tyrannosaurus Rex performance there was something like Atomic Rooster’s Tomorrow Night or Curved Air’s Back Street Luv to capture the spirit of the day and stir the loins of festival goers; the tracks on “Incident At a Free Festival” were inspired by both Chicago’s percussive wig-outs and the Pink Fairies’ anarchic spirit. The sounds were heavy and frequently funky, with a definite scent of danger. Their message was clear and simple: clap your hands, stamp your feet, hold on to your mind. 


        1. Chasing Shadows - Deep Purple
        2. One Way Glass - Manfred Mann Chapter Three
        3. Hold Onto Your Mind - Andwella
        4. Hot Pants - Alan Parker & Alan Hawkshaw
        5. Do It - Pink Fairies
        6. Tomorrow Night – Atomic Rooster
        7. Taken All The Good Things - Stray
        8. Out Demons Out - Edgar Broughton Band
        9. For Mad Men Only - May Blitz
        10. Back Street Luv - Curved Air
        11. Ejection - Hawkwind
        12. Meat Pies ’Ave Come But Band's Not ’Ere Yet - Stackwaddy
        13. Lovely Lady Rock - James Hogg
        14. Third World - Paladin
        15. Taking Some Time On - Barclay James Harvest
        16. Ricochet - Jonesy
        17. Led Balloon - Steve Gray
        18. Big Boobs Boogie - Slowload
        19. Freelance Fiend - Leaf Hound
        20. Confunktion - Dave Richmond 

        The Seeds

        The Seeds - Deluxe Vinyl Edition

          Legendary US garage band best known for their evergreen classics ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ and ‘Can’t Seem To Make You Mine’ that detonated in the US charts in late 1966 and early 1967. Whilst ‘Pushin’ Too Hard’ was their only top 40 hit, this song has been discovered by every new generation that hear it from punk rockers of the 70s to those who are glued to their mobile phones today.

          Their debut LP “The Seeds” released in 1966 contains both these tracks and is rightly feted as a garage classic. It is an essential album. As our very own Alec Palao stated, “Like the first Ramones long-player, it is one of rock’s great debuts; an album where, in spite of some obvious influences, a signature sign was sharply defined.”

          Ace are delighted to serve up the deluxe edition of “The Seeds” that was lovingly curated by Palao and released by GNP Crescendo some years back. Not only do you get “The Seeds” with 12 pulsating tracks but also a bonus LP of alternate versions and a couple of unheard tracks like ‘The Other Place’ and ‘Out Of The Question’. The extended version of ‘Evil Hoodoo’ is a stone cold treat.

          Both albums are housed in a gatefold sleeve with an 8-page full colour booklet with Palao’s brilliant liner notes and sensational photos and memorabilia.

          There is no ‘Excuse Excuse’ not to pick up or stock this one. 


          Side One
          1. Can't Seem To Make You Mine
          2. No Escape
          3. Lose Your Mind
          4. Evil Hoodoo
          5. Girl I Want You
          6. Pushin' Too Hard
          Side Two
          1. Try To Understand
          2. Nobody Spoil
          3. It's A Hard Life
          4. You Can't Be Trusted
          5. Excuse, Excuse
          6. Fallin' In Love
          Side Three
          1. Out Of The Question (Version 1, Master)
          2. Excuse Excuse
          3. Dreaming Of Your Love
          4. Pushin' Too Hard (Take 1)
          5. The Other Place (Take 2)
          6. It's A Hard Life (Take 3)
          7. Nobody Spoil My Fun (Alternate Overdub, Take 3a)
          Side Four
          1. You Can't Be Trusted (Take 3)
          2. Evil Hoodoo (Unedited Take And Intercut Section) 

          Various Artists

          Keb Darge Presents The Best Of Ace Rockabilly 14 Raw And Rare Rockabilly Tracks Hand-selected By Keb Darge

            Legendary international DJ, Keb Darge, fell under the spell of this music when his Japanese girlfriend forced him to go down to a ‘Rockabilly’ night back in 1989. As soon as the DJ dropped the needle on Johnny Burnette’s ‘Rockabilly Boogie’ Keb was mesmerized. He was soon hunting down the hideously rare top tunes and slipping thousands of pounds into specialist collectors like Boz Boorer’s back pocket, when the legendary guitarist was not recording or touring with Morrissey. Of course, Keb was then taking these records and introducing them to new audiences in his DJ sets worldwide.

            Although it has taken an age to persuade him, Keb has now applied his perfectionist compiling skills to pick 14 killers to grace this fantastic collection. Ranging from the bopping Glen Glenn’s ‘Blue Jeans and A Boy’s Shirt’ to the almost hillbilly Jimmy Johnson’s ‘All Dressed Up’. This is a must-have compilation not only for those who have been oiling their quiffs for decades, but also those wondering what this “rockabilly” is all about. Keb drops you in at the deep end with no easy-going fillers, and you’ll be glad he did.

            Keb has written the sleeve notes and with cover art by the legendary Robin Banks – this album looks as good as it sounds. 

            TRACK LISTING

            Side One
            1. Blue Jeans And A Boy's Shirt - Glen Glenn
            2. The Woman I Love - Gene Terry & His Kool Kats
            3. Sweet Love - Orangie Ray Hubbard
            4. Jello Sal - Benny Ingram
            5. Lonesome Baby Blues - David Ray
            6. Do Me No Wrong - Pat Cupp & The Flying Saucers
            7. Cool Off Baby - Billy Barrix
            Side Two
            1. Let's Go Bopping Tonight –
            Al Ferrier & His Bopping Billies
            2. Jitterbop Baby - Hal Harris
            3. Raw Deal - Junior Thompson With The Meteors
            4. Nuthin' But A Nuthin' –
            Jimmy Stewart & His Nighthawks
            5. I'm Doing All Right - Jerry Hanson
            6. Where There's A Will (There's A Way) –
            Carl Trantham & The Rhythm All Stars
            7. All Dressed Up – Jimmy Johnson 

            Various Artists

            Bobby Gillespie Presents I Still Can't Believe You're Gone

              Following on from the Primal Scream frontman’s brilliantly-received previous release for Ace, ‘Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down’, Bobby Gillespie brings us another slice of the music that soundtracks his life. And in this case, it’s his touring life. Drawing on the experience of ‘the way that the noise and clamour of the road can tire you out, wear you down and frazzle your nerves to shattered fragments of jangled exhaustion’, these are the records Bobby turns to for solace, for comfort, for empathy and for resourcefulness.

              The compilation features an introduction from the man himself, talking us through his personal choices as though he’s sitting cross-legged on the carpet going through records with you in his lounge. Also long-time cohort of the band, Kris Needs has written extensive liner-notes, serving up an intensive track by track insight and analysis.

              Titled after and kicking off with the Willie Nelson track of the same name, ‘I Still Can’t Believe You’re Gone’ leads us through a darker and deeper exploration than its predecessor, featuring Nick Cave’s funereal version of ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix’ and Ry Cooder’s sparse and beautiful reworking of ‘Dark End Of The Street’. And we get there via such greats as Bob Dylan, JJ Cale, Donnie Fritts, Crazy Horse, Lee Hazlewood, Al Green, Thin Lizzy and so many more.

              In Bobby’s own words: ‘These songs are soul savers to soothe frayed and battered nerves and to ease and settle the heart. They work on me like medicine every time. I would like to share this wonderful music that has given me strength, joy and inspiration over the years with you the listener, so that you too might get the same feelings of protection and inspiration that I do whenever I listen to these songs. We're all travellers on some kind of road through this life, and we all need respite from time-to-time - the music on this compilation is soul food of the highest order - I hope you enjoy it.’. 

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Andy says: Read any interview with Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie over the years, and you can't fail to notice what a ridiculously knowledgeable fan of musical history he is. It's there in the multitude of styles his band have always explored, and it's there in his previous compilation for Ace, ‘Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down’. Guess what? This second outing is even better!

              TRACK LISTING

              Vinyl Tracklisting
              Side One
              1. I Still Can't Believe You're Gone – Willie Nelson
              2. Love Sick - Bob Dylan
              3. We Had It All - Donnie Fritts
              4. Magnolia - J.J. Cale
              5. In The Rain - The Dramatics *
              Side Two
              1. By The Time I Get To Phoenix – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
              2. I Don't Want To Talk About It - Crazy Horse
              3. Dark End Of The Street - Ry Cooder
              4. Kind Woman - Percy Sledge
              5. Wait And See - Lee Hazlewood
              Side Three
              1. Strong As Death (Sweet As Love) - Al Green
              2. Shades Of A Blue Orphanage - Thin Lizzy
              3. Heart Like A Wheel - Kate & Anna Mcgarrigle
              4. When My Mind's Gone - Mott The Hoople
              Side Four
              1. I'll Be Long Gone - Boz Scaggs
              2. The Coldest Days Of My Life Pt 1 – The Chi-Lites
              3. Roll Um Easy - Little Feat
              4. Brokedown Palace - Grateful Dead
              5. I Feel Like Going Home - Charlie Rich

              * Exclusive Vinyl Track

              Various Artists

              In The Light Of Time UK Post-Rock And Leftfield Pop 1992 - 1998

                In the early 90s, a number of bands exploring the daring side of guitar pop and rock started to emerge in the UK. Most were new, some included members of 80s groups looking for new directions. They were supported by established independent labels such as Rough Trade and 4AD/Guernica and new ventures like Too Pure or Domino.

                Influenced by the legacy of post-punk, minimalism, 70s art rock and a growing electronic scene, their first releases were enthusiastically received by the media. This included a 1994 article in The Wire where journalist Simon Reynolds used the term “post-rock” to refer to some of them: Bark Psychosis, Disco Inferno, Moonshake, Seefeel, Main, Pram, Insides…

                Even though these bands didn’t sound alike, they seemed to share an ethos of deconstruction and were interested in the possibilities of studio manipulation. Calling their music post-rock meant that it still had a link with established rock music, even as it picked it apart and made something new from its component parts.

                However, 1994 was also the first year when Britpop dominated the UK charts and music press, and the contemporary artists featured on this collection felt their already-small window of exposure shrinking. Still, away from the limelight, they released innovative records that were lauded worldwide and have since acquired cult status.

                The second part of the 90s brought a new crop of groups and “bedroom” labels that carried on this forward-thinking attitude to music, unburdened by genre notions and open-minded.

                “In The Light Of Time” is the first compilation to survey this period and scene of UK music. If they were released today, these tracks would probably be described as post-punk, art rock or leftfield pop. But beyond any tags or labels, they remain as inventive and captivating as when they first came out.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Second Language - Disco Inferno
                2. Naturally Occurring Anchors – Spoonfed Hybrid
                3. City Poison - Moonshake
                4. Every Day Shines (D Mix) - Earwig
                5. In The Light Of Time - Flying Saucer Attack
                6. Starry Night - Laika
                7. Spectra Decay - Main
                8. Darling Effect - Insides
                9. Loose Threads - Pram
                10. A Cheery Wave From Stranded Youngsters - Mogwai
                11. In The Event Of Just Looking - Appliance
                12. (The) Weight - Hood
                13. A Street Scene - Bark Psychosis
                14. I Am The Sub-Librarian - Piano Magic
                15. Play Away - Electric Sound Of Joy
                16. Sun Drawing - Movietone
                17. Through You - Seefeel 

                Various Artists

                Bob Stanley Presents London A To Z 1962-1973

                  If you threw a house party in London in the late twentieth century, before the smart phone rendered it redundant, you could guarantee that the following morning there would be a dog-eared copy of the A to Z behind the sofa, or under the coffee table, probably in a Tesco bag. Everybody had at least one. It was an essential aid in understanding London. It joined the dots and threw up obscure names printed over hitherto unexplored grids of streets: Alperton, Shooters Hill, Honor Oak, Tooting Graveney, Childs Hill, Ladywell. It invited you to create your own personal map of London, discover your own secret routes, your own special places.

                  You could peruse the A to Z with the knowledge of who lived where – Sandy Denny in Wimbledon, before she moved to Muswell Hill which was already legendary as the home of the Kinks. Arterial roads as grisly as Archway Road (Rod Stewart) or Holloway Road (Joe Meek) or could be made magic through their pop connections.

                  Put together by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley, this is the soundtrack of London’s centre (Bert Jansch and John Renbourn’s ‘Soho’, Nick Drake’s ‘Mayfair’) and its hinterlands (Al Stewart’s ‘Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres’, Humble Pie’s ‘Beckton Dumps’, Julie Driscoll’s ‘Vauxhall To Lambeth Bridge’) with a few transport links (Barbara Ruskin’s ‘Euston Station’, Norma Tanega’s ‘Clapham Junction’) thrown in to help you navigate your A to Z. This isn’t London swinging cinematically, but it has the exact feel of the city’s streets and suburbs in the late 60s and early 70s.

                  What might be lurking in these locations, waiting to be uncovered on a cold winter Saturday? Corner caffs with Pepsi signs. Second-hand record shops and rickety street markets. Many are gone, but not all. This compilation is a musical travel guide – squint, and sometimes London can still seem magical. This is its soundtrack… 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Cutty Sark – John Barry
                  2. Portobello Road - Cat Stevens
                  3. Sunny Goodge Street - Marianne Faithfull
                  4. Jeffrey Goes To Leicester Square - Jethro Tull
                  5. Marcel's – Herman’s Hermits
                  6. Goodbye Post Office Tower - Cressida
                  7. Primrose Hill - John & Beverley Martyn
                  8. Mayfair - Nick Drake
                  9. London Bridge - Cilla Black
                  10. Hampstead Way - Linda Lewis
                  11. Soho - Bert Jansch & John Renbourn
                  12. Friday Hill - Bulldog Breed
                  13. London Social Degree - Dana Gillespie
                  14. Euston Station - Barbara Ruskin
                  15. Kew Gardens - Ralph Mctell
                  16. City Road - Dave Evans
                  17. Parliament Hill - Magna Carta
                  18. Edgware Station - Edward Bear
                  19. Beckton Dumps - Humble Pie
                  20. Notting Hill Gate - Quintessence
                  21. Clapham Junction - Norma Tanega
                  22. Swiss Cottage Manoeuvres - Al Stewart
                  23. Richmond - Shelagh Mcdonald
                  24. Vauxhall To Lambeth Bridge – Julie Driscoll, Brian Auger & The Trinity 

                  Jon Appleton & Don Cherry

                  Human Music - 2023 Reissue

                    The discography of trumpeter Don Cherry is one of the most fascinating in music. Although famously associated with the ground-breaking free explorations of Ornette Coleman as his career progressed, Cherry delved into all manner of waters from cosmic mediative wig-outs to mainstream funk. He also pioneered what is now branded as world music, At the other end of the spectrum is this delicious collaboration with Jon Appleton called “Human Music”.

                    Jon Appleton was an early pioneer of electronic music in America. He established his first primitive studio whilst studying at the University of Oregon in the mid-60s. Assisted by a financial grant this was greatly expanded at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire in the late 60s where Appleton began to record his sonic explorations at his bespoke electronic music studio.

                    It seemed only natural that Appleton would come to the attention of the questing ears of Flying Dutchman label supremo Bob Thiele. This led to the album “Appleton Syntonic Menagerie” released on Flying Dutchman in 1969. Recorded at the Dartmouth studio it’s a fascinating album rich in ideas, proto synthesiser sounds and sonic exploration. Listening today, it’s as if Steve Stapleton from Nurse With Wound went back in time to record a secret album.

                    It was probably Bob Thiele’s idea to put Appleton and Cherry together. Thus, Cherry went to Appleton’s electronic music studio at Dartmouth College to record an album of improvisations. Apparently, laid down live the four extended tracks are sparse, spacious and a compelling listen and where jazz meets early electronica. As a jazz musician, Cherry not only played wood, bamboo and metal flutes, kalimbas; earthquake drums, coronet with traditional mouthpiece and bamboo reed but listened to Appleton’s oscillations to ensure that his parts fit into this unlikely musical jigsaw.

                    This album has been out of print on vinyl for decades and as well as remastering “Human Music” we have made sure to serve it up in its original gatefold sleeve that features striking original artwork by Don Cherry’s Swedish wife Moki ‘Moqui’ Cherry. An exhibition of her work was recently displayed at the ICA between May and September 2023 

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Side One
                    1. Boa
                    2. Oba
                    Side Two
                    1. Abo
                    2. Bao 

                    John Carter / Bobby Bradford

                    Self Determination Music - 2023 Reissue

                      The John Carter and Bobby Bradford Quartet/Quintet were critical to the progressive jazz movement around Los Angeles in the late 60s alongside the likes of Horace Tapscott. Both hailed from the Watts area and trumpeter, Bradford played with a woodshedding Ornette Coleman for two years in the early 60s when the legendary free movement leader decided not to record for a while but wanted to hone his trademark sound on the saxophone. Multi-reed player, Carter also worked with Coleman who brought them together to lead their own band.

                      Their first outing on Flying Dutchman was “Flight For Four” as the Carter Bradford Quartet that was released in 1969. This is the second album they recorded where Carter and Bradford were supported by Tom Williamson (bass), Buzz Freeman (drums) and another uncredited bass player on four extended improvisations – ‘The Sunday Afternoon Jazz Blues Society’, ‘The Eye Of The Storm’, ‘Loneliness’ and ‘Encounter’.

                      The album has been out of print on vinyl since 1971 and Ace are delighted to release it with audio taken from hi-res digital transfers from the original masters.

                      TRACK LISTING

                      Side One
                      1. The Sunday Afternoon
                      Jazz Blues Society
                      2. The Eye Of The Storm
                      Side Two
                      1. Loneliness
                      2. Encounter


                      Mothership Connection - 2023 Reissue

                        Back in 1975 Parliament found the perfect groove releasing two seminal albums in the same year. First up was “Chocolate City” that celebrated the love of the band generated by Washington DC and this was followed up by “Mothership Connection”, widely considered to be the perfect example of P-Funk. George Clinton led his Funkadelic/Parliament troops into the galaxy long before Star Wars came along to join in on the fun.

                        Featuring a galactic line-up that included Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Maceo Parker, Fred Welsey, Gary Shiner, Glen Goins and even the Brecker Bothers on horns this album kicks funky butt from the opening blast of ‘P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)’ right to the very last drop of ‘Night Of The Thumpasorus Peoples’.

                        It’s a joyous album and as well as spawning the ‘Star Child’ character on the title track saw the band start to tour with a spaceship as a stage prop paid for by record label Casablanca. “Mothership Connection” went top 20 and platinum stateside. Three singles were taken from the album including an edit of ‘Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off That Sucker)’ that sold a million copies.

                        As time has passed and the legend of Funkadelic, Parliament, George Clinton and the entire P-Funk stable has grown new generations of fans and musicians have bought, enjoyed and sampled “Mothership Connection”. Today it is seen as a classic and essential album.

                        Ace are delighted to have been able to licence this beauty and are proud to serve this classic on 180gm vinyl. Be warned, once you drop the needle you’ll want to wear this sucker out. 

                        TRACK LISTING

                        Side One
                        1. P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)
                        2. Mothership Connection (Star Child)
                        3. Unfunky Ufo
                        Side Two
                        1. Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication
                        2. Handcuffs
                        3. Give Up The Funk
                        (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
                        4. Night Of The Thumpasorus Peoples

                        Various Artists

                        Latin Freestyle: New York / Miami 1983-1992

                          Latin Freestyle was a dizzying, passionate, ultra-modern music. It was the aural equivalent of a can of thirst-quenching Quatro or a Spanish Harlem dance-off, and it became the electronically constructed bridge between disco and house.

                          Freestyle grew out of the electro sound of the early 80s, combined clean staccato rhythms with morse code synth hooks, and topped them off with emotive, usually female, frequently Latina vocals. There was plenty more going on besides: proto-house piano lines, Cuban percussion, high emotion and synth hooks to die for.

                          Put together and annotated by Bob Stanley (who also compiled the acclaimed “The Daisy Age” and “Fell From The Sun”), “Latin Freestyle” is the first compilation to cover the whole gamut of Freestyle from its early 80s breakthrough to its early 90s revival. So many classics… Lisa Lisa made the UK top ten with the 808 joy of ‘I Wonder If I Take You Home’. Stacey Q’s cosmically great ‘Two Of Hearts’ came out in 1986, while 1987 saw the likes of Company B’s ‘Fascinated’ and Exposé’s ‘Point Of No Return’ become huge UK club hits.

                          Today, Freestyle is a scene with a solid collector’s market, and rarities like Janelle’s ‘Don’t Be Shy’ sell for hundreds of dollars. It’s a classic summer soundtrack, finally condensed in one Ace Records compilation – “Latin Freestyle”.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. Point Of No Return - Expose
                          2. Don't Be Shy (vocal/radio Mix) - Janelle
                          3. Lover Girl - Meg
                          4. Two Of Hearts (12'' Version) - Stacey Q
                          5. Together Forever (radio Edit) - Lisette Melendez
                          6. I Wonder If I Take You Home – Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam With Full Force
                          7. When I Hear Music - Debbie Deb
                          8. Let's Go (Radio Version) - Nocera
                          9. Funky Little Beat - Connie
                          10. Show Me - Cover Girls
                          11. Nightime - Pretty Poison
                          12. Fascinated (12'' Version) - Company B
                          13. Dreamin' - Will To Power
                          14. Baby Talk - Alisha
                          15. Take Me In Your Arms - Lil Suzy
                          16. Thief Of Heart - Cynthia 

                          Various Artists

                          Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night Brooklyn Disco 1974-5

                            • Before there was Saturday Night Fever there was underground disco. DJs across America went out and found the music to play; dancers went out and found the clubs. At this point, in the early seventies, the disco was the venue and not a genre of music.

                            • By the time Nik Cohn’s short story Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night was published by New York magazine in June 1976, disco was the biggest genre of music on the charts and was about to get bigger still, becoming an all-enveloping cultural phenomenon. Cohn sold the film rights to Robert Stigwood, and his classic club yarn became Saturday Night Fever.

                            • “Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night” is the soundtrack to Cohn’s story, where disco began; a 1975 score for the underground clubs of Brooklyn and Queens that played R&B, soul and Latin beats to people who lived for the weekend.

                            • Bob Stanley has put this collection together, sourcing what was actually played in Brooklyn discos in 1974 and 1975. Only a few specific records were mentioned in Cohn’s feature, but two of them – Ben E King’s ‘Supernatural Thing Part 1’ and Harold Melvin’s ‘Wake Up Everybody’ - were cosmically great and both are included here, alongside underground favourites like Moment Of Truth’s Four Tops-like ‘Helplessly’ and Gloria Scott’s Barry White-produced modern soul classic ‘Just As Long As We’re Together’. Ivano Fossati’s incredible ‘Night Of The Wolf’ has fans in northern soul, disco and prog circles.

                            • Without Cohn’s original story, it’s quite possible that disco would have remained an underground phenomenon – “Tribal Rites Of The New Saturday Night” paints a scene in full flower. Saturday Night Fever would eventually, if unintentionally, wreck the underground nature of this scene, and clubs like Studio 54 would destroy the democracy of the party, but for two or three years the scene was largely undocumented and magical. This album is the sound of disco before it was captured.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            Side One
                            1. Helplessly - Moment Of Truth
                            2. After You've Had Your Fling - The Intrepids
                            3. Welcome To The Club - Blue Magic
                            4. I Can't Move No Mountains - Margie Joseph
                            5. Supernatural Thing Part 1 - Ben E King
                            Side Two
                            1. Mellow Me - Faith, Hope & Charity
                            2. Georgia's After Hours - Richard "Popcorn" Wylie
                            3. Date With The Rain - Eddie Kendricks
                            4. Just As Long As We're Together - Gloria Scott
                            5. Wendy Is Gone - Ronnie Mcneir
                            6. Got To Get You Back - Sons Of Robin Stone
                            Side Three
                            1. Night Of The Wolf (Tema Del Lupo) - Ivano Fossati
                            2. Good Things Don't Last Forever – Ecstasy, Passion & Pain
                            3. Tell Me What You Want - Jimmy Ruffin
                            4. Keep It Up - Betty Everett
                            5. Free & Easy - Satyr
                            6. Each Morning I Wake Up - Major Harris
                            Side Four
                            1. It's The Same Old Story - Act I
                            2. You Can't Hide Love - Creative Source
                            3. The Whole Damn World Is Going Crazy – John Gary Williams
                            4. If That's The Way You Feel - White Heat
                            5. Wake Up Everybody - Harold Melvin And The Bluenotes 

                            Various Artists

                            28 Little Bangers From Richard Hawley's Jukebox

                              • Ace Records is thrilled to be working with seminal singer-songwriter, toast of this year's Olivier Awards and all-round Sheffield legend Richard Hawley on this, the first volume of a compilation series of some of his favourite singles. This is a selection of 28 7''s that Richard has collected on his travels around the globe, through friends, family, collectors, word of mouth, thrift shop finds, pub jukebox gems and everything in between. Richard refers to the glue that joins these selections together as 'Little Bangers' as they are all mini hand grenades; bright lights that explode and fizzle out, some big names, some rarities, some lost souls, some obscurities, some by artists he actively enjoys knowing almost nothing about other than they want to get him on his feet and dance. Many are garage instrumentals, exposing the guitar-line as lead melody and the art of telling a story without lyrics.

                              • As Richard puts it, 'I’m fascinated by the 7-inch single because of the discipline of it. A 7-inch single can only contain a certain amount of information... So, you have to learn the discipline of cramming all that information and craft into a short space of time. If you imagine this album as a piece of bacon, there’s absolutely no fat on it at all. It’s just juicy meat. There aren’t flabby recordings, they are very nimble.'

                              • We're extra proud that the Hendrix Estate have allowed us to include Curtis Knight & The Squires' ferocious and never previously licensed 'Hornet's Nest' which naturally we proudly kick off with. We feature the five-minutes-plus long version that has never been released before. The pace never slackens, taking in the Shadows, Link Wray, the Troggs, the Champs, Jimmy Gordon and so many more besides. It's joyful, it's relentless, and you can listen to it on repeat for a thousand miles.

                              To give Richard the last word: 'My advice to everybody, is keep on the surfboard, motherfucker. These records have kept me on my surfboard for decades, you know what I’m saying?'

                              STAFF COMMENTS

                              Laura says: Richard Hawley was schooled on rock’n’roll; his dad was a musician in the 60s and 70s and growing up he was always surrounded by musicians. So, it’s no surprise that he’s compiled these 7” gems from that era, collected on his travels. As he says: “They’re called Little Bangers because they’re like miniature musical hand grenades!”

                              TRACK LISTING

                              SIDE ONE
                              1. HORNET'S NEST –
                              Curtis Knight & The Squires Feat. Jimi Hendrix
                              2. NASTY - The Time Keepers
                              3. PATH THROUGH THE FOREST - The Factory
                              4. GET ON THIS PLANE - The Premiers
                              5. SCOTCH ON THE SOCKS - The Shadows
                              6. QUASIMOTO - The Road Runners
                              7. LAZY REBEL - Twangy Rebels
                              SIDE TWO
                              1. SWINGING DRUMS - Ronny Kae
                              2. CUTTIN' OUT - Rockin’ Ronald & The Rebels
                              3. HONKY - The Ho-Dads
                              4. BLACK NIGHT - Cheryl Thompson
                              5. LONG LINE RIDER - Bobby Darin
                              6. POPPIN' POPEYE - Link Wray
                              7. HOT-ROD - King Curtis
                              SIDE THREE
                              1. FEELS LIKE A WOMAN - The Troggs
                              2. CUTTIN' OUT - The Pirates
                              3. WHERE YOU GONNA GO - Art Guy
                              4. NEB'S TUNE - Ahab & The Wailers
                              5. BUZZZZZZ - Jimmy Gordon
                              6. JUNGLE WALK - The Dyna-Sores
                              7. SURFIN' & SWINGIN' - Les Brown Jr
                              SIDE FOUR
                              1. TAHITI - Jimmy & Stan
                              2. BAWANA JINDE - Al Duncan
                              3. DEAD END PART 1 - The Executioners
                              4. REQUIEM FOR LOVE - Bobbie Gentry & Jody Reynolds
                              5. 3/4 MASH - The Champs
                              6. EL GATO - The Chandelles
                              7. IT’S NOTHING TO ME – Sanford Clark

                              Various Artists

                              Bob Stanley / Pete Wiggs Present Winter Of Discontent

                                There was plenty of genuine discontent in Britain at the tail end of the 1970s, and it had little to do with bin strikes or dark rumours about overflowing morgues. In the world of popular music, the most liberating after-effect of the Sex Pistols was that anyone with something to say now felt they could make a 7” single. “Winter Of Discontent” is the sound of truly DIY music, made by people who maybe hadn’t written a song until a day or two before they went into the studio. It’s spontaneous and genuinely free in a way the British music scene has rarely been before or since.

                                “Winter of Discontent” has been compiled by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, the latest in their highly acclaimed series of albums that includes “The Daisy Age”, “Fell From The Sun” and “English Weather” ("really compelling and immersive: it’s a pleasure to lose yourself in it" - Alexis Petridis, the Guardian). The era's bigger DIY names (Scritti Politti, TV Personalities, the Fall) and the lesser-known (Exhibit A, Digital Dinosaurs, Frankie’s Crew) are side by side on “Winter Of Discontent”. Mark Perry’s Sniffin’ Glue command – “Here’s one chord, here’s another, now start a band” – was amplified by the Mekons and the Raincoats, whose music shared a little of punk’s volume, speed and distortion, but all of its obliqueness and irreverence.

                                The discontent was with society as a whole. No subject matter was taboo: oppressive maleness (Scritti Politti); deluded Britishness (TV Personalities); gender stereotypes (Raincoats, Androids of Mu); nihilistic youth (Fatal Microbes); alcoholism (Thin Yoghurts); self-doubt and pacifism (Zounds). The band names (Thin Yoghurts!) and those of individual members (Andrew Lunchbox!) had enough daftness to avoid any accusations of solemnity.

                                “Winter Of Discontent” is the definitive compilation of the UK DIY scene, and a beacon in grim times. 

                                STAFF COMMENTS

                                Darryl says: A soundtrack to a generation of discontent in the late 70s. DIY music that spontaneously smashed through the British music scene in the wake of the punk revolution.
                                Mark Perry’s Sniffin’ Glue command, “Here’s one chord, here’s another, now start a band” was the fuse and these tracks are the light that shone through those dark days.

                                TRACK LISTING

                                SIDE ONE
                                1. WHERE WERE YOU? – The Mekons
                                2. VIOLENCE GROWS – Fatal Microbes
                                3. THE TERRAPLANE FIXATION – Animals & Men
                                4. WORK – Blue Orchids
                                5. SMALL HOURS – Karl’s Empty Body
                                6. SOMEBODY – Frankie’s Crew
                                SIDE TWO
                                1. CONFIDENCE – Scritti Politti
                                2. DRINK PROBLEM – Thin Yoghurts
                                3. LOW FLYING AIRCRAFT – Anne Bean & Paul Burwell
                                4. BROW BEATEN – Performing Ferret Band
                                5. NO FORGETTING – The Manchester Mekon
                                6. FAIRYTALE IN THE SUPERMARKET – The Raincoats
                                SIDE THREE
                                1. CAN’T CHEAT KARMA – Zounds
                                2. BORED HOUSEWIVES – Androids Of Mu
                                3. IN MY AREA (Take 2) – The Fall
                                4. THE SIDEWAYS MAN – The Digital Dinosaurs
                                5. ATTITUDES – The Good Missionaries
                                6. THE WINDOW’S BROKEN – Human Cabbages
                                SIDE FOUR
                                1. KING AND COUNTRY – Television Personalities
                                2. IN THE NIGHT – Exhibit ‘A’
                                3. NUDES - Performing Ferret Band
                                4. DIFFERENT STORY – Tarzan 5
                                5. THE RED PULLOVER – The Gynaecologists
                                6. PRODUCTION LINE – The Door And The Window

                                Various Artists

                                Bob Stanley And Pete Wiggs Present Fell From The Sun

                                  “Fell From The Sun” gathers the best of the 98bpm records that soundtracked the summer of 1990. It has been compiled by Bob Stanley, whose own group Saint Etienne makes an appearance alongside acknowledged classics (Primal Scream’s ‘Higher Than The Sun’) and forgotten beauties (Soul Family Sensation’s ‘I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby’).

                                  1989 had been a long hot summer, but 1990 felt longer and hotter. Since the house music explosion of 1987, Britain had had a whistle in its mouth, and it needed a lie down. February 1990 brought two records that were made to accompany the sunrise and would shape the immediate future: The KLF’s “Chill Out” was a continuous journey, a woozy, reverb-laden mix; and Andrew Weatherall’s drastic remix of a Primal Scream album track – ‘Loaded’ – slowed down the pace on the dancefloor itself, right down to 98 beats per minute.

                                  Within weeks of ‘Loaded’ and “Chill Out” emerging, a whole wave of similarly chilled, floaty, mid-tempo records appeared. The charts were full of chugging Soul II Soul knock-offs, but further out were amazingly atmospheric records such as the Grid’s ‘Floatation’, which married the new-age relaxation method du jour with Jane Birkin-like breathy sighs; BBG’s ‘Snappiness’, which was all sad synth pads and Eric Satie piano; and the Aloof’s ‘Never Get Out Of The Boat’, which re-imagined Apocalypse Now as if it had been shot in Uxbridge.

                                  “Fell From The Sun” gathers the best of the 98bpm records that soundtracked the summer of 1990. It has been compiled by Bob Stanley, whose own group Saint Etienne makes an appearance alongside acknowledged classics (Primal Scream’s ‘Higher Than The Sun’) and forgotten beauties (Soul Family Sensation’s ‘I Don’t Even Know If I Should Call You Baby’).

                                  This was a modernist sound, grabbing bits of the past, the feel of the immediate now, and creating something entirely new. There was a notable 90s-does-60s vibe, a neo-psychedelia that didn’t involve guitars. For a moment, or at least for a summer, it felt like the perfect future had already arrived. “Fell From The Sun” encapsulates that moment.

                                  STAFF COMMENTS

                                  Matt says: Mega comp of comedown downbeat, sunrise indie-dance and woozy morning moods; curated by our good friends and musical heroes Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley who really seem to know how to organize a collection with sincere and heartfelt sentiment. Unmissable!

                                  TRACK LISTING

                                  1. HIGHER THAN THE SUN (HIGHER THAN THE ORB)(Extended Mix) - Primal Scream
                                  2. IT COULD NOT HAPPEN (Essential Trance Hall Mix) - Critical Rhythm Feat Jango Thriller & Vandal
                                  3. CASCADES (Hypnotone Mix) - Sheer Taft
                                  4. AFRIKA (Love And Laughter Remix) - History Feat Q-Tee
                                  5. FLOATATION (Original Version) - The Grid
                                  6. SPEEDWELL (Radio Edit) - Saint Etienne
                                  7. FALLEN (Album Version) - One Dove
                                  8. TEMPLE HEAD (Pacific Mix - Airwaves) – Transglobal Underground
                                  9. JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE (Electro Instrumental Mix) - Massonix
                                  10. U MAKE ME FEEL (Running Water Aka Workhouse Mix) - Elsi Curry
                                  11. I DON’T EVEN KNOW IF I SHOULD CALL YOU BABY (Marshall Jefferson Symphony Mix) – Soul Family Sensation
                                  12. SNAPPINESS (7” Edit) - BBG
                                  13. NEVER GET OUT THE BOAT (The Flying Mix) - The Aloof
                                  14. SPIRITUAL HIGH (The Moodfood Megamix) – Moodswings

                                  Various Artists

                                  Bob Stanley Presents 76 In The Shade

                                    “76 In The Shade” follows in the footsteps of Bob Stanley’s hugely successful comps for Ace, including “English Weather” and “The Tears Of Technology”. It suggests bright yellow sunshine, hot plastic car seats, cats lolloping on the lawn. A few tracks (Smokey Robinson, Cliff Richard, David Ruffin, Carmen McRae) act as necessary splashes of cooling water; most of them sound like it’s just too hot to move. Luckily, you don’t need to.

                                    The months without rain and airless days and nights might not have been something out of the ordinary in the Algarve or the south of France, but it was without precedent in Britain. The Summer of 1976 has remained a benchmark for long, hot summers – there may have been scorchers since, but none have seemed quite as relentless or enervating. The country melted into a collective puddle. “76 In The Shade” probably wasn’t anyone’s real life soundtrack of the year – that could have included Bowie’s “Station To Station” and Abba’s “Greatest Hits”. Instead, Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley has put a compilation together that sonically evokes the summer of 1976 itself, its sweet heat and almost narcotic lethargy.

                                    Getting out of the sun, you might have sat inside with the radio on, and heard the dreamy wooziness of Liverpool Express’s ‘You Are My Love’, 10cc’s ‘I’m Mandy Fly Me’, or the Emotions’ ‘Flowers’. Or maybe you flopped out in front of the telly, where you heard an alternative summer soundtrack – the music libraries that provided the bulk of the testcard’s music gave us Simon Park’s minimal ‘Stoned Out’ and John Cameron’s deeply immersive ‘Liquid Sunshine’; the Californian jazzer Spike Janson provided the wordless vocal harmonies of ‘Walking So Free’.

                                    “76 In The Shade” follows in the footsteps of Bob Stanley’s hugely successful comps for Ace, including “English Weather” and “The Tears Of Technology”. It suggests bright yellow sunshine, hot plastic car seats, cats lolloping on the lawn. A few tracks (Smokey Robinson, Cliff Richard, David Ruffin, Carmen McRae) act as necessary splashes of cooling water; most of them sound like it’s just too hot to move. Luckily, you don’t need to.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. WALKING SO FREE - Spike Janson
                                    2. SUGAR SHUFFLE - Lynsey De Paul
                                    3. MIRACLES (SINGLE VERSION) - Jefferson Starship
                                    4. GET OUT OF TOWN - Smokey Robinson
                                    5. I’M MANDY FLY ME (ALBUM VERSION) - 10CC
                                    6. STONED OUT - Simon Park
                                    7. NOTHING TO REMIND ME - Cliff Richard
                                    8. DISCOVER ME - David Ruffin
                                    9. YOU’RE THE SONG (THAT I CAN’T STOP SINGING) - Hollywood Freeway
                                    10. YOU ARE MY LOVE - Liverpool Express
                                    11. LIQUID SUNSHINE - John Cameron
                                    12. NOT ON THE OUTSIDE - Sylvia
                                    13. STAY WITH ME - Blue Mink
                                    14. WILD MOUNTAIN HONEY - Steve Miller Band
                                    15. FALLIN’ IN LOVE - Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds
                                    16. FLOWERS - The Emotions
                                    17. MONTREAL CITY - Azimuth
                                    18. ROCK’N’ROLL STAR - Barclay James Harvest
                                    19. MISS MY LOVE TODAY - Gilbert O’Sullivan
                                    20. MUSIC - Carmen McRae

                                    It wasn’t really a movement, barely even a moment, but the Daisy Age was an ethos that briefly permeated pop, R&B and hip hop. The name was coined by Long Island trio De La Soul; they claimed D.A.I.S.Y. stood for “da inner sound, y’all”, but then De La Soul said a lot of things. Playfulness and good humour were central to their 1989 debut album, which cast a long, multi-coloured shadow. The 90s, it promised, would be a lot easier going than the 80s.

                                    In Britain, the timing for De La Soul’s “3 Feet High And Rising” couldn’t have been better. The acid house explosion of 1988 would lead to a radical breaking down of musical barriers in 1989. Just 18 months earlier, snobbery had been so rife that Bomb The Bass’ ‘Beat Dis’ was faked as a US import (pressed in the States, then imported back) to get club play; by the summer of ’89, however, something as previously unhip as Chris Rea’s ‘Josephine’ could become a dancefloor hit and indie veterans Primal Scream would be reborn as space-seeking Sun Ra initiates and still taken seriously. Ecstasy was largely responsible, of course, and its associated look – loose clothing, dayglo colours, smiley faces – chimed with the positivity of rising New York rap acts the Jungle Brothers and De La Soul, both at the heart of a growing collective called Native Tongues.

                                    What was so new about De La Soul’s sound? Previously, sample material for hip hop had been almost exclusively taken from 60s and 70s soul and funk, especially from James Brown and his extended family – Bobby Byrd, Maceo Parker, Lyn Collins, the stuff of purists. The freewheeling collage of “3 Feet High And Rising” gleefully raided the non-U catalogues of Billy Joel and Hall & Oates; soul heroes Wilson Pickett and the Mad Lads were now abutting such unlikely material as the Turtles’ ‘You Showed Me’ and French Linguaphone lessons. The Invitations’ sweet, Drifters-like ‘Written On The Wall’ provided the hook for De La Soul’s first single ‘Plug Tunin’’ which, along with follow-up ‘Potholes In My Lawn’, referenced “the daisy age”. With the album including a cover of Bob Dorough’s ‘Three Is The Magic Number’ from Schoolhouse Rock – a song every American kid knew from Sunday morning TV – the essence of Sesame Street was everywhere.

                                    By 1989 hip hop had made major inroads in Britain with rock fans (via Run DMC) and pubescent teens (the Beastie Boys), while NME writers had voted Public Enemy’s “It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back” the best album of 1988. Still, it had an air of exclusivity, with Tim Westwood its mirthless UK gatekeeper. De La Soul were also fans of Public Enemy, the Beastie Boys and Run DMC; they were fans in general, and threw their love of music into the blender, giving more time to melodies and mind-expanding samples while most contemporary rap records still revolved around the biggest sounding beats.

                                    Above all, De La Soul were welcoming. They had grown up with their parents’ eclectic musical taste, a TV culture grab bag, and black radio stations that played Hall & Oates and Steely Dan alongside the Spinners and Brass Construction. They had also attended the same high school as producer and Stetsasonic member Prince Paul who, intimidatingly, was two years above them. He knew their faces but it wasn’t until he heard a demo of ‘Plug Tunin’’ that he realised they were all on the same wavelength; working with their rough sketch, Paul added a sample from Billy Joel’s ‘Stiletto’ into the mix.

                                    In 1990, the third Native Tongues act to release an album was A Tribe Called Quest, and “People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm” was heavily indebted to “3 Feet High”’s airy nature. The Native Tongues’ charismatic aura spread west to the Bay Area’s similarly minded Hieroglyphics crew (Del Tha Funkeé Homosapien, Souls Of Mischief); Canada’s Dream Warriors used the “3 Feet High” colour palette and, borrowing Count Basie and Quincy Jones riffs, scored a brace of major UK hits; Naughty By Nature were mentored by Native Tongues heroine Queen Latifah, while Londoner Monie Love was also adopted by the collective, resulting in her Grammy-nominated ‘It’s A Shame (My Sister)’.

                                    A Tribe Called Quest’s second album, “The Low End Theory”, would pick up the baton, giving a platform for and inspiration to Leaders Of The New School (who included future superstar Busta Rhymes) and the abstract technique of Brand Nubian. Meanwhile, the Jungle Brothers’ second album, “Done By The Forces Of Nature”, was in essence a concept album about Africa, fusing hip hop with jazz, doo wop, soul, Harlem – a new direction for the Native Tongues, away from ‘Multiplication Rock’, bubble writing and the gently psychedelic.

                                    As hip hop rapidly became a bigger commercial concern, rights owners smelt money and – for the rest of the 90s – made sample clearance unfeasibly expensive. Robbed of their pick-and-mix approach, some Daisy Age-era acts moved towards consciousness and a jazz-leaning live feel, which down the line would lead to the rise of Arrested Development, and beyond them the Fugees and the Roots; meanwhile, on the West Coast, the gut-churning violence and misogyny of Dr Dre’s “The Chronic” took rap to a whole new commercial level. Neither direction, sadly, would involve much use of Sesame Street, Turtles samples, or magic numbers.

                                    Britain wasn’t on its own in having a thoroughly miserable 1973: O Lucky Man! and Badlands both found a great year to premiere; Watergate brought America to a new low. But America didn’t still have back-to-backs and outside bogs. Tens of thousands of Britons were still housed in wartime pre-fabs. The bright new colours of the post-war Festival of Britain and Harold Wilson's talk in the 60s of the “white heat of technology” now seemed very distant as strikes, inflation, and food and oil shortages laid Britain low. What had gone wrong? And what did pop music have to say about it?

                                    Many of the year’s biggest acts had set out on their particular journeys in the most idealistic years of the 60s (Yes, Genesis, the Moody Blues) and still held traces of that era’s promise. For acts such as Bowie and Roxy Music who had emerged in the new decade, one way out of the British malaise was to look into the future, embracing modernism and the space age beyond, a world of electric boots and mohair suits. Another was to draw heavily on the revered 50s, retreating to rock’s unsullied roots while remaining ostensibly current – Wizzard, Mott The Hoople and even the Rubettes managed to reshape the 50s to their own ends, much as Springsteen did in the States, although beyond them lay Showaddywaddy, Shakin’ Stevens, and a sickly nosedive into nostalgic yearning.

                                    This left a small rump of acts diligently soundtracking Britain’s present, not with a wagging finger but a fuzzy guitar, a primitive synthesiser, and a pitch-black sense of humour. Quite often these records were cut in home studios – many featured the same basic synth (just the one) that Roxy’s Eno and Hawkwind’s DikMik used; the guitarists still played blues progressions picked up from the Stones; and they sometimes touched on glam – the era’s brightest, newest noise – found inspiration in its disposability and its energy, but didn’t have the luxury of a Chinn and Chapman or a Mickie Most to sprinkle fairy dust on their final mix. And outside the studio door were the strikes, the cuts, economic chaos, teenage wasteland – these musicians created music that, intentionally or not, echoed their surroundings. It wasn’t glam, but it emerged from what Robin Carmody has called “the glamour of defeat, the glory of obliteration”.

                                    The songs on “Three Day Week” amplified the noise of a country still unable to forget the war, even as it watched the progressive post-war consensus disintegrating. We hear shrugs and cynicism, laughter through gritted teeth. Comparing it to the richness of records made just five or six years earlier, you might think musical instruments had been rationed, and that everyone has one eye on the clock, cutting corners to get the recording finished before the next power cut. You picture engineers in donkey jackets, with a brazier by the mixing desk. You hear odd electronic explosions, quacks and squiggles. The pub piano is predominant, with its brown ale, Blitz-spirit, grin-and-bear-it jollity. And under many of these tracks is a barely concealed frustration (sexualised on the Troggs’ ‘I’m On Fire’) and even anger (how else to read ‘Urban Guerrilla’, or the howling and the hand grenade at the end of Stud Leather’s ‘Cut Loose’?). Think of “Three Day Week” as an extended, musical Play For Today.

                                    The Three Day Week itself – which only lasted eight weeks, but was the nadir of a four-year-long depression – had been a result of the Tory government’s limit on pay rises in October 1973 and the miners strike that followed. Back at the start of 1972 the miners had struck for higher pay and won, averting Prime Minister Edward Heath’s threat to introduce a three day week in manufacturing and industry to hold on to energy reserves. By late 1973, though, the miners had slipped from top of the industrial wages league to 18th. Amid strikes by civil servants, medical staff, railway and dock workers, the miners went on strike again. The Three Day Week proper lasted from New Year’s Day to 7 March 1974. TV shut down at 10:30. Power cuts and blackouts in homes across Britain meant the sales of candles and torches soared. Old soldiers tutted. The Army were on standby. And, nine months later, there was a spike in the birth rate.

                                    For the younger generation, however, the Three Day Week is not remembered as a period of woe. Power cuts were fun! Who wouldn’t like the idea of a three day week? More time to play! It was also easy for kids to confuse pop culture and politics when the Prime Minister was Ted Heath and the leader of Britain’s biggest union, the TGWU, was Jack Jones. Even the TUC’s leader Vic Feather sounded like the bassist from a RAK act. There is also the folk memory of the period being a high-water mark for the power of trade unions, who seemingly always struck for higher pay and won, a dreamtime for many on the left. The second miners strike brought down the Tory government – what a time to be alive! Margaret Thatcher was only education secretary at this point, the hated “milk snatcher”, and no one had a crystal ball to see what the Tory reaction might be several years down the line.

                                    The records on this collection were almost all released as 45s, sent to shops in cost-cutting plain white paper bags, and – thanks to the oil shortage caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict – pressed on thinner vinyl than you’d have had ten years earlier. On every level, they felt as if they were being recorded and released under wartime restrictions. Many of these tracks were B-sides, recorded in haste, with no commercial forethought or relevance to the A-side, because, as Peter Shelley recalls, “You’d made the wild assumption that no one would ever play it”.

                                    Why did the music end up sounding this way? There had been a general sense of decline in Britain since the turn of the decade – not only in industry but in film, art, fashion, and in people’s expectations. You could trace its roots further back to 1968, when the collapse of the Ronan Point tower block in East London sounded a death knell for modernist dreams. Or to 1967, a year for which Swinging London has prevailed in popular memory over Cathy Come Home, but which should be remembered for the devaluation of the pound and the capital's nationalistic dock strikes as much as Alexandra Palace’s 14 Hour Technicolour Dream. By 1972, everything new – be it a brick wall or a terylene suit – was a shade of brown or orange, and the smell of sweat and odour-hugging man-made fabrics (not only clothes but carpets and curtains) was dominant. The worsted mills of Bradford and cotton mills of Manchester were fast disappearing, and the mix of wet wool, chimney smoke and boiled cabbage that Shena Mackay recalled being London’s olfactory default in the 60s had been replaced by weeks-old fag smoke, BO, and something plasticky you couldn’t put your finger on.

                                    Few of the songs on “Three Day Week” are politically direct: the Edgar Broughton Band had been Ladbroke Grove rabble rousers at the tail end of the 60s, but their ambitions sound entirely blunted on the monochrome hopelessness of ‘Homes Fit For Heroes’; Phil Cordell’s ‘Londonderry’ is diffuse, but it was an odd place to single out for a song title in 1973; Pheon Bear appears to be losing the will to live even as he shouts himself hoarse on ‘War Against War’. The ambivalence of the Strawbs on ‘Part Of The Union’ – a #2 hit – is entirely in keeping with the pub humour and shrugging cynicism of the era. So there is a little agitation here, but there is plenty of gleeful irreverence. One more drink? What have we got to lose? The government’s on its knees and we might all be out of work tomorrow. Quick, somebody, get on the piano before the lights go out again.

                                    BOB STANLEY.

                                    By mid-1968 there was a growing consensus that something had gone horribly wrong with the American dream. The nation’s youth had loudly made their feelings clear, but now the older, pre-Beatles generations began to look at the country – with urban riots, Vietnam, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy – and wonder what the hell was happening. This album includes rare classics (The Beach Boys’ ‘Fourth Of July’), lost masterpieces (Roy Orbison’s seven-minute ‘Southbound Jericho Parkway’), and forgotten gems by some of the biggest names in the business (Elvis Presley’s ‘Clean Up Your Own Back Yard’).

                                    Reactions to America’s existential crisis ranged in subject matter from divorce (Frank Sinatra’s ‘The Train’) and the break-up of the nuclear family (The Four Seasons’ ‘Saturday’s Father’), to eulogies for fallen heroes (Dion’s ‘Abraham Martin and John’), sympathy for Vietnam vets (Johnny Tillotson’s ‘Welfare Hero’), the church’s institutional racism (Eartha Kitt’s intense ‘Paint Me Black Angels’), and even questioning the ethics of the space programme (Bing Crosby’s terrific ‘What Do We Do With The World’).

                                    Compiled by Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, State Of The Union follows on from their highly acclaimed English Weather and Paris In The Spring compilations. With clear parallels between today's fractured country and the USA fifty years ago, this is a fascinating condensation of what Americans were thinking when they turned on the TV, or the radio, or simply walked down Main Street in 1968.

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN BACK YARD - Elvis Presley
                                    2. BRAND NEW DAY - Della Reese
                                    3. ABRAHAM, MARTIN AND JOHN - Dion
                                    4. THE TRAIN - Frank Sinatra
                                    5. SATURDAY'S FATHER - The 4 Seasons
                                    6. 4TH OF JULY - The Beach Boys
                                    7. WINE IN THE WIND - Anita Kerr & The Anita Kerr Singers
                                    8. WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE WORLD? - Bing Crosby
                                    9. LORD OF THE MANOR - The Everly Brothers
                                    10. HITCHHIKER - The Four Preps
                                    11. PAINT AMERICA LOVE - Lou Christie
                                    12. MR BUSINESSMAN - Ray Stevens
                                    13. PAINT ME BLACK ANGELS - Eartha Kitt
                                    14. SOUTHBOUND JERICHO PARKWAY - Roy Orbison
                                    15. QUESTIONS - Bobby Darin
                                    16. THIS CRAZY WORLD - Paul Anka
                                    17. TAKE A LETTER MARIA - Mel Torme
                                    18. CHERRYSTONES - Eugene McDaniels
                                    19. SOME PEOPLE SLEEP - The Tokens
                                    20. CARDBOARD CALIFORNIA - Buddy Greco
                                    21. DO YOU BELIEVE THIS TOWN - Dean Martin
                                    22. WELFARE HERO - Johnny Tillotson
                                    23. SAVE THE CHILDREN - Teresa Brewer
                                    24. REVOLUTION - The Brothers Four

                                    “Paris In The Spring” is a collection of the new music, put together by Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, that emerged from France between 1968 and the mid-70s, an extraordinary blend of several previously independent strains – French chanson and yé-yé, American jazz and funk, British chamber pop – shot through with the era’s underlying mixture of optimism, uncertainty and darkness. This is the first collection of its kind, released on the 50th anniversary of the Paris uprising.

                                    Serge Gainsbourg – a jazz pianist with a chanson past and a pop present – was in a position to play a key role in soundtracking France in flux over the next five years. His “Histoire de Melody Nelson”, with its heavily atmospheric arrangements by Jean-Claude Vannier, was the acme of this new, unsettling French sound. “Paris In The Spring” includes other equally dazzling Vannier arrangements (for Léonie) and Gainsbourg compositions (for Jane Birkin and Mireille Darc).

                                    Prior to 1968, 60s French pop had been dominated by yé-yé, the country’s unique brand of upbeat pop, a world of primary colours, minijupes and discothèques (a French invention, after all). Its stars either faded fast after May ’68 or adapted to the new era: Jacques Dutronc (‘Le Métaphore’) and France Gall (‘Chanson Pour Que Tu M’aimes un Peu’) discovered a moody side they had previously kept hidden, while Françoise Hardy released the Brazilian-influenced, after-hours classic “La Question”, from which we have picked ‘Viens’.

                                    New bands like Triangle emerged, influenced by Soft Machine and Gong who became regulars on the Paris club scene. French library music from Janko Nilovic and film soundtracks (François De Roubaix, Karl-Heinz Schäfer) reflected the era’s edginess. All are represented on “Paris In The Spring”, making it a continental cousin to Stanley and Wiggs’s hugely popular 2017 Ace compilation “English Weather”

                                    TRACK LISTING

                                    1. LA VICTIME - Karl Heinz Schäfer
                                    2. HÉLICOPTÈRE - Mireille Darc
                                    3. LES AVENTURES EXTRAORDINAIRES D'UN BILLET DE BANQUE - Bernard Lavilliers
                                    4. ROSES AND REVOLVERS - Janko Nilovic
                                    5. L'ELU - Ilous & Decuyper
                                    6. LA METAPHORE - Jacques Dutronc
                                    7. DOMMAGE QUE TU SOIS MORT - Brigitte Fontaine
                                    8. LES GARDE VIOLENT AU SECOURS DU ROI - Jean-Claude Vannier
                                    9. LOOKING FOR YOU - Nino Ferrer
                                    10. CHANSON D'UN JOUR D'HIVER - Cortex
                                    11. VIENS - Françoise Hardy
                                    12. COULEURS - Léonie
                                    13. LESLIE SIMONE - William Sheller
                                    14. LITANIES - Triangle
                                    15. BALEINES - François De Roubaix
                                    16. ENCORE LUI - Jane Birkin
                                    17. EVELYNE - Serge Gainsbourg
                                    18. LE BAL DES LAZES - Michel Polnareff
                                    19. LILETH - Léonie
                                    20. YSTOR - Ys
                                    21. CHANSON POUR QUE TU M'AIMES UN PEU - France Gall
                                    22. LA VICTIME - Karl Heinz Schäfer
                                    23. LA CHANSON D'HÉLÈNE - Romy Schneider & Michel Piccoli

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