Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The Chappy’s Top Ten for February

Hard toil in the Kitchen often takes its toll. Whilst I roll out pastry casings, simmer down stocks and bake my beetroot there is nothing more that I enjoy that listening to a carefully selected playlist of classics from my extensive (some would say naff) collection of music!

Here is a handful of my favourites (in no particular order) which will aid my culinary efforts and hopefully contribute to some sumptuous dishes over the coming month:

  1. Tom Sawyer – Rush : A muted drum beat underlying an echoed vocal and a very 80s synthesizer build into what can be described as one of the finest rock songs of the last 30 years. A Thumping bass and driven guitar also make this one of the great air guitar anthems, pipping the efforts made on their previous hit ‘Spirit of Radio’ to the post by a close margin. Anyone who has seen the film ‘I love you, Man’ will know what I mean! (Album: Moving Pictures (1981))

  1. Love comes to Everyone – George Harrison : Perhaps the most unsung of all The Beatles, Harrison was a fantastic writer and guitarist. This song recorded with Stevie Winwood and Eric Clapton is a fine example of his sound before Jeff Lynne (of ELO fame) got hold of the reigns of production. The guitar playing is unmatched and Winwood’s synthesizer solo is a wonderful indication of the sound that would come to typify his debut  album ‘Arc of a Diver’ (Album: George Harrison (1979))

  1. Lowdown – Boz Scaggs : Imagine a seedy LA lounge circa 1976 with more nylon suits and medallions than you could shake a walkman at and you’ve got ‘Lowdown’ (still Scagg’s highest charting single to date). Featuring backing from a seasoned group of session musicians –who would go on to form TOTO – ‘Lowdown’ is a fantastically cheesy slice of blue-eyed soul and a nostalgic listen to a bygone age where moustaches and moccasins ruled the night! (Album: Silk Degrees (1976))

  1. Don’t Turn Around  - ASWAD : When I was at University I went through a big ASWAD phase (as you do!), praising their whole back catalogue on my radio show from their rootsy enponymous debut, the dub heavy ‘New Chapter in Dub’ and the poppy ‘Distant Thunder’. This, their best-selling single, was originally a minor hit for soul queen Tina Turner. However, the lads from West London gave it their own interpretation, infusing the tune with their signature drum machine backing and some serious reggae flavour. An absolute classic which gets as much airplay now as it did in my time on Student Radio. (Album: Distant Thunder (1988))

  1. Poison – Bel Biv Devoe : If ever there were an excuse to put on a guilty pleasure record then it would be a toss up between ‘One Voice’ by Barry Manilow and this 1990 hit single from Bel Biv Devoe’s debut album. Dirty basslines, rapped bridges, New Jack Swing (whatever that is!) – this song has it all! If you are a fan of Michael Jackson’s ‘Dangerous’ album (which indeed I am) then this is the song for you! (Album: Poison (1990))

  1. Leave It – Yes : By 1982 Yes were a shadow of their former self, despite having the undeniable talents of Trevor Horn on their team they had lost both Rick Wakeman and more importantly, their charismatic frontman Jon Anderson (who was busy recording experimental albums with Vangelis!). However, the Latter’s return in 1983 heralded a new era of success for the group. With Horn in the producers chair the band produced an album which divided Yes fans in the way that Genesis’ ‘Duke’ had three years previously. Shedding their prog credentials they mad some memorable if over produced pop including this song. (Album: 90125 (1983))

  1. Genius of Love – Tom Tom Club : An offshoot from Talking Heads, the Tom Tom Club reign supreme in this fantastic song combining hard hitting basslines and an impressive array of percussion… it’s an over-indulgence of rhythm section influenced by the then growing genre of hip-hop. Numerous references to great soul musicians, rappers and philosophers are played over a Caribbean infused tune. This is the perfect song for whiling away the winter blues, transporting you to the sun drenched shores of the Bahamas in a split-second. Why you might as well be reclining in a deck chair, drinking a Pina Colada from a pineapple and eating lobster on the half shell! (Album: Tom Tom Club (1981))

  1. Hurting For You – Todd Rundgren :  Now, like the great Shakespeare it will not do to merely give you a playlist full of escapist, uplifting tunes! There are times when we cook for comfort from our sorrows. This really is one of Rundgren’s finest tracks from perhaps his most accomplished album and was made in the wake of the break-up to his long-term girlfriend Patti D’Arbanville is a dated yet passionate paean to a lost love. Wailing guitars, cheesy synth and melodramatic vocals make this one of the original power ballads and one that definitely needs to be checked out! (Album: Hermit of Mink Hollow (1978))

  1. Driven to Tears – The Police : Whatever happened to Sting?  The police were so good that in my view all further efforts by Mr Sumner pale in comparison. With Stewart Copeland’s awesome drumming, Andy Summer’s echoed guitar hooks and Sting’s idiosyncratic (I had to drop that in somewhere!) vocals, this is one of the best tracks from my favourite Police album…just awesome and extremely more-ish (Zenyatta Mondatta (1980))

  1. Sussudio  “12 Remix – Phil Collins : Anyone who knows me well, knows that I cannot resist a bit of Phil when I put together a playlist. Like cured meat a little goes a long way and nowhere is this more true than on the extended mix of my favourite Collins track ‘Sussudio’! many will scoff and many will gag but this sort of music is my inspiration and gets the creative juices flowing, in fact it inspired me to write this post….as well as letting me make a tit of myself on the dance floor every so often!

I hope that this has give you some food for thought about what to play when you are next on the hotplate! Stay lucky and I’ll catch you on my next post…

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