Adele – Chasing Pavements (2008)

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In 2008, the nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter Adele Adkins burst onto the scene with her much-discussed debut album 19. This was blue-eyed soul, but adorned with a voice that was destined to penetrate the public’s consciousnesses. The single ‘Chasing Pavements’ was the first blueprint for her inevitable stardom.

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Regina Spektor – Laughing With (2009)

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Evening peeps. Regina Spektor laughs with God while reflecting on faith and the nature of divinity. Oh the blasphemy. The song features on her 2009 album Far. Have a great week.

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Jimmy Cliff – Many Rivers To Cross (1972)

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“Wandering I am lost/As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover…” Jimmy Cliff wrote these immortal lines at the young age of 21, when he was reflecting on the his fading dreams of becoming a successful musical artist in the UK, having left Jamaica at the age of 14. The irony.

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James Blake – Retrograde (2013)

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From one English award-winning songwriter to another… James Blake released ‘Retrograde’ in 2013 as the lead single from his sophomore album Overgrown. The sound was sparse, atmospheric and totally original.

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Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – Stay (2012)

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I don’t feature much pop, but one should make an exception for Rihanna’s piano ballad ‘Stay’. It was the second single off Rihanna’s album Unapologetic. It features guest vocals from Nashville singer-songwriter Mikky Ekko, who also wrote the song. In fact, he wrote it with another breakthrough artist, the English songwriter Justin Parker. Parker had already made waves working with Lana Del Rey on her standout hit ‘Video Games’.

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Nature Boy – Tobago (1992)

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Ooops… premature post (such is the excitement about this track). As I have shown through much scientific testing, 1992 was the annus mirabilis for house music. Away from the techno, ambient and progressive standouts, the likes of Doc Livingstone, Joey Negro and DJ Nature were shaping the sound of the the disco/house crossover half a decade before the French Touch. DJ Nature (AKA Milo Johnson) was a founding member of Bristol’s legendary Wild Bunch soundsystem that generated Massive Attack. In 1989, Milo moved to New York to get closer to the work of Larry Levan, Louie Vega and Tony Humphries. His early productions were under the Natureboy moniker on his own Ruff Disco Records. On ‘Tobago’, he deconstructs disco into something punchier and darker. This pearl features on his compilation Ruff Disco Volume One.

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Van Morrison – Almost Independence Day (1972)

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Van Morrison’s majestic album Saint Dominic’s Preview, closes with ‘Almost Independence Day’. With its echoes of his work on Astral Weeks, I was always going to like this song. I was not alone; David Gilmour and Roger Waters were evidently listening and wishing they were here.

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The Beach Boys – Little Bird (1968)

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The ballad harmonies are there for sure, the chamber strings… tick, but what makes this track that stands out from The Beach Boys’ previous work is its spiritual funk. It also said to the creative genius Brian Wilson that his brother Dennis could create a pearl too.

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Camille Saint-Saëns – Marche Héroïque, Op. 34 (1870)

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It’s my middle daughter’s birthday today. This a piece that she played at her most recent national children’s orchestra concert. ‘Marche Héroïque’ preceded the first of Camille Saint-Saëns’ symphonic poems. He wrote it as a celebratory homage to his friend the composer, Henri Regnault. Regnault was killed in the Franco-Prussian war.

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Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should Have Come Over (1994)

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An extra track for this first week back from the summer hiatus. Jeff Buckley tended to be silent about the subject matter of his songs, but it’s believed that he wrote this one about the breakup with singer Rebecca Moore. They dated for a while before Buckley released his debut album Grace, which features this song. On 28 May 1997, the day before Buckley died, he called Rebecca Moore and left a message on her answering machine.”Think of me and smile. I’m gonna work my ass off, baby. I’ll see you on the other side.”

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The Black Crowes – Remedy (1992)

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The Black Crowes released their sophomore album The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion in 1992. One of its finest moments is the riff-laden rocker ‘Remedy’.  Borrowing a hook from Parliament’s ‘Night Of The Thumpasorus People’, the band reveal their ability to take a classic sound and make it their own. They would revisit this trick on their cover of ‘Hard To Handle’. Have a great weekend.

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The Kinks – Monica (1968)

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The song ‘Monica’ appeared on The Kinks’ 1968 album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. It was written and sung by Ray Davies, who suggestively admits more than affection for Monica, the village prostitute – and all to an apt calypso-style arrangement.

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Crosby, Stills & Nash – Helplessly Hoping (1969)

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In May 1969, Atlantic Records released Crosby, Stills, and Nash’s self-titled debut album. A  month later, they released “Marrakesh Express” as the supergroup’s debut single. Its B-side, was the alliterate ‘Helplessly Hoping’, the achingly beautiful song penned Stephen Stills.

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1Gnition ‎- Secret Sunday Lover (2007)

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In the mid-noughties, disco house saw another revival. This time it was labelled Nu Disco and it did not get much better that Greg Wilson’s remix of 1Gnition’s ‘Secret Sunday Lover’.

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Bodega – Jack In Titanic (2018)

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Hello people; I’m back. This morning, I’ve been listening to the excellent NYC art-rockers Bodega. Their album Endless Scroll is out now. The single ‘Jack In Titanic’ showcases their wit, minimalism and harmony in just 3 mins. Have a great week. I’ll be in touch soon.

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