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Murkey's Marvelous Mixtape 2010

GUEST,Murkey 30 Jan 11 - 11:32 AM
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Subject: Murkey's Marvelous Mixtape
From: GUEST,Murkey
Date: 30 Jan 11 - 11:32 AM

Murkey's Marvellous Mixtape 2010

In a particular fit of musical geekery, I've compiled a mixtape of my top 20 tracks that I discovered in 2010, and am quite pleased with it. Most of the tracks are from the last year or two, with a few older tracks that were new to me. Plenty of rootsy stuff, as you'd expect, but a few tangents too. I'm thinking about even making a CD of it, cover and everything (too geeky?), but for now, here's a Spotify play list:

If you get a chance to have a listen that'd be great, let me know what you think. Oh, and if you particularly like something do the artist a favour and buy the CD or download from the artist, Spotify pays £0.001 per pay, so isn't exactly a good business model for musicians!

1. The Carolina Chocolate Drops - Hit 'Em Up Style

This is my favourite song of the year. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are a old timey trio from North Carolina in the States, and this is a cover of Blu Cantrell's 2001 R&B single. I'd heard of the band before, but first heard this on 6Music and have barely stopped listening since. It doesn't get old.

From Genuine Negro Jig (Nonesuch, 2010)

2. Laura Marling - Devil's Spoke

You probably know Laura Marling, what with Top Ten albums and all. This is the first track from her album and gives me butterflies in my tummy. Starts quietly, as John Peel used to say…

From I Speak Because I Can (Virgin, 2010)

3. Netsayi - Weaves and Magazines

Netsayi is London-born Zimbabwean, and this diss track about a former friend who turned her back on her African roots is pretty savage, if incredibly catchy.

From Monkey's Wedding (2009, World Circuit)

4. Chris Wood - Hollow Point

Quite simply one of the most poignant and powerful songs set to record from the brilliant English singer Chris Wood. I won't ruin it by telling you what it's about, but if you only give one song on here your full attention this is the one.

From Handmade Life (R.U.F., 2009)

5. Andy Cutting - Cuckoo's Nest / Old Molly Oxford

I thought any other song would pale in comparison with 'Hollow Point', so here's a gorgeous instrumental from Andy Cutting on melodeon and Ian Carr on guitar. They're Morris dance tunes really but don't let that put you off.

From Andy Cutting (Lane, 2010)

6. Kele - Tenderoni

I never heard much Bloc Party but always thought their singer, Kele Okereke was hot. So, call me vacuous, but when I he came out as gay I thought I'd check out his new solo single! This is a great slice of tough electro.

From The Boxer (Wichita, 2010)

7. Gil Scott Heron - New York is Killing Me

This cut from Gil's new album after several years in prison and a heroin addiction is a electro-tinged modern blues with an addictive clapped rhythm running through it. I love it.

From I'm New Here (XL, 2010)

8. Gillian Welch - In Tall Buildings

Earlier in the year, I set up a Spotify playlist where I swapped songs every week with other people who like folk/roots/world type music. Someone added this heartbreaking song by American singer Gillian Welch, which was written by a songwriter I'm not familiar with called John Hartford. I thought it formed a nice thematic link with the Scott Heron track before it, as they both concern the pressures of modern urban living.

From A Tribute to John Hartford - Live from Mountain Stage (Blue Plate Music, 2001)

9. The Imagined Village - My Son John

The Imagined Village is kind of an English folk super group, with added dollops of 21st century multiculturalism and electronica. This song has been rewritten from the traditional 'original' by its singer, Martin Carthy, and has a great helicopter-like pulse from Simon Richmond of live electronica band the Bays. The lyrics are a moving comment on war, just don't dwell on the cartoonish image of John having 'a leg for every limb' (what, even his arms?).

From Empire and Love (Emmerson, Corncrake and Constantine, 2009)

10. Bellowhead - A-Begging I Will Go

One of my favourite bands, Bellowhead are an eleven piece band playing traditional songs in a madcap, inventive style. This funky number is a highlight of the latest album (recorded round the corner from me in Abbey Road studios).

From Hedonism (Navigator, 2010)

11. Peter Gabriel - The Book of Love

This is a cover of the Magnetic Fields song from Peter Gabriel's Scratch my back covers album (the other half of the project, I'll scratch yours, where the artists he's covered record a Gabriel song, is still in progress). His concert at the old Millennium Dome in March with a full orchestra was epic.

From Scratch my back (EMI, 2010)

12. Jean 'Binta' Breeze is a Jamaican poetess who now lives half the time in Leicester. For this album she teamed up with Italian dubstep producer Marzio Arico to give a modern take on the Jamaican form of dub poetry, and it's bloody brilliant. I went to Leicester to interview Jean for fRoots magazine in November. What started as an interview became a long, booze-fuelled chat, a meal out, me missing the last train back to London and spending the night with her in an illicit reggae club drinking Wray and Nephews.

From Eena Me Corner (Arroyo, 2010)

13. Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal - Chamber Music

Ballake Sissoko is a Malian kora player and Vincent Segal is a French cellist. This collaboration is a thing of intricate beauty.

From Chamber Music (No Format!, 2010)

14. The Very Best - Nsokoto

Keeping the African theme, this hypnotic track is a result of the collaboration between production duo Radioclit and Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya that first developed in my beloved Hackney. I also interviewed Johan and Etienne from Radioclit for fRoots, one of the scoops that I'm most proud of.

From Warm Heart of Africa (Moshi Moshi, 2009)

15. Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band - Poor Little Jesus

Maddy Prior was, and in fact still is, the singer with Steeleye Span, whose 70s records are folk-rock classics. Aside from this seminal stuff she can be a bit of a honker, but I heard this sublime traditional song on Folkwaves radio show (sadly now cancelled) in the run up to Christmas and can't stop singing it.

From Carols and Capers (Park, 1991)

16. Karen James - The Ballad of Weldon Chan

My friend Rex brought me a CD of Classic Canadian Songs all the way from HMV Winnipeg. My favourite track was this true story, recorded in 1961 and written by Arthur W. Hughes.

From Classic Canadian Songs from Smithsonian Folkways (Smithsonian Folkways, 2006)

17. June Tabor and the Oyster Band - Susie Clelland

This is a slight exception as I used to have this album on tape back in the day, so would have heard this song before. But I wanted to include it after seeing June Tabor reunite with the Oyster Band to sing it at the Roots at the Roundhouse show in January. The bouncey arrangement is at odds with the harrowing traditional story of an honour killing, but still works. Try the version by Bella Hardy for a starker arrangement.

From Freedom and Rain (Cooking Vinyl, 1990)

18. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Fortune Teller

I was a little late coming to this album by Led Zep singer Plant and bluegrass star Krauss, but Owen bought it for my birthday after seeing me eye it up in a charity shop. I love this clever little tale (written by Naomi Neville, who I'm not familiar with), and like to dance around the room to it in a slightly embarrassing manner.

From Raising Sand (Rounder, 2007)

19. Anais Mitchell, Justin Vernon, Ani DiFranco and Ben Knox Miller - Way Down in Hadestown

One of my favourite discoveries of 2010 was Hadestown by Anais Mitchell. It's a conceptual 'folk-opera' transposing the Orpheus myth into a fictional post-apocalyptic Depression era USA, featuring Ani DiFranco and Bon Iver amongst others. Of course.

From Hadestown (Righteous Babe, 2010)

20. Tim Robbins - All My Children of the Sun

A brilliantly odd song to finish with. Actor Tim Robbins (who is apparently very famous but I didn't know who he was until he released an album this year!) and a bunch of children bring the drama to this song by nonagenarian folk hero Pete Seeger. In a book in 1993, Seeger called it an 'allegory', and said 'Today the 'eggheads' are warning us about the ozone layer, global warming, overpopulation, etc.'. Well said!

From Where have all the flowers gone?: The Songs of Pete Seeger (Appleseed, 1998)

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