I am the Black Gold of the Sun – Rotary Connection & Minnie Riperton
This Minnie Riperton classic is a hugely uplifting song, it really puts a huge smile on my face. My wife loves it too – which is unusual as she usually wrinkles her nose at my musical preferences! With the gentle acoustic guitar introduction, it lulls you into a false sense of place and time…then the powerful piano, drums and choir kick in, elevating the song to another level. It is like surfing a wave of sound. Stunning.
Jerry – Boy Azooga
Cardiff’s finest band in my opinion – timeless, catchy tunes, beautiful song structures and dreamy vocals, they appeal to all age groups and tastes. Singer Davey Newington writes very personal but accessible songs. Jerry I only realised recently is about his dog, which shows his wonderful affection for a best friend: “I’m just happy to be the shadow, Walking in your light.” Beautiful.
Then I Will Love You Again – Laetita Sadier
From the opening cinematic riffs, this dramatic song grabs your attention. French chanteuse Laetita Sadier fronted the iconic 90s experimental pop band Stereolab and her voice has a haunting melancholy you don’t hear often. I stood dripping in a torrential downpour at a pop festival with a hardcore fanbase watching her play this song and I thought: “She could sing the phone book in this storm and I would listen to it.”
Beeswing – Christy Moore
Christy Moore said he finds the hardest thing about covering another singer’s work – Beeswing was written by Richard Thompson – is giving it a very personal feel and by golly he does that. This amazing song gives me goosebumps every time, with its bittersweet delivery and sublime, evocative lyrics: “Brown hair zigzagged across her face and a look of half surprise”. The inspiration for the song was the wild, free-spirit English folk singer Anne Briggs who wrote folk classic, The Snow It Melts the Soonest.
All That You Give – The Cinematic Orchestra ft. Fontella Bass
I adore the textured layers and composition The Cinematic Orchestra bring to every piece; it’s a fantastic blend of sultry jazz, rich classical and a film noir feel, with the thrumming double bass. This track is a particular favourite as they asked soul legend Fontella Bass, who passed away not long afterwards, to be guest vocalist. My older son ‘discovered’ the band and it’s one of the few shared musical staples we enjoy listening to in the car, inbetween playlist arguments.