Song: Fallen Angel
Artist: Robbie Robertson, Canada
Album: Robbie Robertson, 1987
Notes: Way ahead of its time, splendid World Music flavors and rhythms from 25 years ago featuring a sterling guest turn from Peter Gabriel on co-vocals and keyboards, and superb drumming by World Music great, Manu Katch�. Written by Robertson about his former colleague in the Band, Levon Helm, who died the year before Robertson released his debut solo album.
Song: Falling Slow
Artist: Slow Show, England
Album: The Midnight Waltz EP, 2011
Notes: Shame that this organic and beautifully-constructed song didn't get more attention when it came out nine months ago. British quintet from Manchester which has already opened for Elbow among others. Strong debut EP.
Song: Right Down The Line
Artist: Gerry Rafferty, Scotland
Album: City to City, 1978
Notes: 'You've been as constant as the Northern Star' - fine lyric in an old rolling gem from the late Rafferty from his signature album which also included 'Baker Street'. Rather mediocre update recently released by Bonnie Raitt.
Song: I’m Blowin’ Away
Artist: Bonnie Raitt, Burbank, CA
Album: Home Plate, 1975
Notes: A+ lost pearl from Bonnie, swirling, melodic ballad, a classic melodic pop structure, tragic lyrics and a sweeping strings arrangement - a great composition by the underrated tunesmith, Eric Kaz (check out American Flyer).
Song: White Dress
Artist: Ben Rector, Nashville
Album: Into The Morning, 2010
Notes: Catch, effervescent pop/rock bubbler from under-appreciated singer-songwriter, originally from Tulsa, OK. Four sterling albums since bowing in 2007, based in Nashville for the past three years.
Song: I Second That Emotion
Artist: Japan, England
Album: Assemblage, 1991
Notes: Rich, textured treatment with ambient synth flavors of Smokey Robinson's timeless soul nugget, dramatically reinterpreted by David Sylvian's New Wave troupe from the early '80s. Sylvian disbanded the British combo in 1982 to focus on what became a prolific and increasingly avant-garde solo career.
Song: Take Me As I Am
Artist: Rumer, England
Album: Seasons of My Soul, 2011
Notes: Rather delightful shades of Dusty Springfield on this easy-swaying mellow winner from a British newcomer first featured in the US on 'Lost & Found' last year. Real name is Sarah Joyce, born in Pakistan. More at www.rumer.co.uk.
Song: The Wind
Artist: Fray, Denver
Album: Scars & Stories, 2012
Notes: Ace cut from their third album which is much better than other critics would have you believe. Band recently described by Rolling Stone magazine as 'terrifyingly serious'.
Song: Open Road
Artist: Matthew Mayfield, Birmingham, AL
Notes: Too good for prime time, what a voice. Atmospheric soundscapes graced by his distinctive gritty, soulful vocal. He has released a succession of worthwhile EPs and a solo album since disbanding his Moses Mayfield combo in 2008.
Song: Turn Me Loose
Artist: Blake Stratton feat. Steve Moakler, Nashville
Album: The Bellevue EP, 2011
Notes: Stratton, originally from Chicago, a talented bass-playing session musician, paired with the underrated Moakler, originally from Pittsburgh, getting it done on a fine track recorded in Music City. More at myspace.com/blakestratton.
Song: Goodbye To Love
Artist: Carpenters, Los Angeles
Album: A Song for You, 1972
Notes: Forget the cheese, a mighty slice of vintage pop from 1972, still worth a spin today. Features one of the most iconic fuzz guitar solos in popular music history, courtesy of session axe man Tony Peluso - who went on to work with Michael Jackson, Seals & Crofts, and the Fixx among dozens of other acts.
Song: Concrete Wall
Artist: Zee Avi, Malaysia
Album: Ghostbird, 2012
Notes: Quirky but winning new music from Malaysia, the repetitive mostly vocal styling of Zee Avi. Also known as KokoKaina, she's a singer-songwriter/guitarist with a big following around south east Asia. Signed in the US to Jack Johnson's Brushfire label.
Song: Far Away Eyes
Artist: Rolling Stones, England
Album: Some Girls, 1978
Notes: They've often flirted with Country music over the years, but they never got closer to the real twang thang than this, an almost satirical stab at the great American music genre. Bakersfield-inspired.
Song: You As You Were
Artist: Shearwater, Austin, TX
Album: Animal Joy, 2011
Notes: A rollicking new tune from Austin indie-rockers from their seventh album. Recently landed at the venerable Sub Pop label in Seattle - group is fronted by Jonathan Meiburg who's also a top ornithologist and named his combo after a species of seabirds.
Song: Dancing Shoes
Artist: Green River Ordinance, Fort Worth, TX
Notes: Banjo, harmonia, mandolin, an old Hammond organ and unintended vocal shades of Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), a terrific number from the Texan troupe. Launched their own charity website called www.thehopegros.com on which you can buy individual tracks with all proceeds going to a charity of your choice.
Song: Live It With Love
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson, Staten Island, NY
Album: Human Again, 2012
Notes: A lilting pearl, and a bonus track on her latest offering, the outstanding 'Human Again' issued on her own Cabin 24 label. Do not let this album get lost. Ingrid is currently pitching a sitcom pilot to tv networks in Los Angeles about her experiences in trying to make it in the music business.
Song: The Greatest Love
Artist: Aaron Neville, New Orleans
Album: Make Me Strong, 1970
Notes: Written and produced by fellow New Orleans music legend, Allen Toussaint, from some wonderful sessions they recorded together in the 1960s. The trademark vocal soul of Aaron who scored his first hit in 1960.
Song: It’s Settled Now
Artist: Greg Laswell, San Diego
Album: Landline, 2012
Notes: Another balladic winner from L&F preferred vendor Laswell, from his super new album due in April. It's yet a beautifully nuanced set by the one of the best tunesmiths in the business.
Song: Summertime Sadness
Artist: Lana Del Rey, New York
Album: Born To Die, 2011
Notes: Love her or not, this is a stylish album cut which should be a single. Real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, she actually released her first work under the name Lizzy Grant back in 2008, an EP with the cheerful title, 'Kill Kill'.
Song: You Will Find Me
Artist: Andrew Ripp, Palatine, IL
Album: She Remains The Same, 2010
Notes: A first-class lost nugget by a still-rising tunesmith. Ripp has also performed for the troops in the Middle East - organized by the Armed Forces Entertainment division of the Department of Defense which has now been operating for 60 years and which hosts some 1,200 show a year for American military personnel posted around the world.
Song: We Are The One
Artist: Ross Copperman, Nashville
Album: Digital single, 2011
Notes: A new pop/rock anthem from a singer-songwriter who's incapable of writing a song without a hook-filled melodic structure. NBC should use this song for its upcoming coverage of the Olympic Games in London in the summer (it will pour with rain).
Song: Young Blood
Artist: Birdy, England
Album: Birdy, 2011
Notes: Hard to believe that she's just 15 years old - British newcomer and a star in the making, first heard on these shores right here on L&F. Cover version of a song originally recorded by the New Zealand band, Naked and Famous.
Song: Sense of Purpose
Artist: Pretenders, Akron, OH
Album: Packed!, 1990
Notes: The original electric studio treatment of a Hynde nugget subsequently better known in an unplugged live version. Chrissie still spends most of her time in her adopted country of England living and working in London but still also maintains an apartment in her home town of Akron, Ohio.
Artist: Alexander O'Neal, Natchez, MS
Album: Hearsay, 1987
Notes: No rules on 'Lost & Found', an absolute corker, R&B belter, the clipped horn refrains are sensational on this blistering, tight, crisp rhythm track by producers and writers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, topped off by a knockout vocal by the big voice of O'Neal.
Artist: Rufus Wainwright, New York
Album: Out of the Game, 2012
Notes: Sterling outing from critics darling's upcoming album due in April. The son of legendary Loudon Wainright III and one of Elton John's favorite singer-songwriters.
Artist: Glen Campbell, Delight, AR
Album: Ghost on the Canvas, 2011
Notes: Probably his last recording, and certainly one of his all-time best. Top-drawer ballad from last year's opus finale by one of the greats. Ace climactic guitar licks by Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer, Rick Nielsen and Marty Rifkin.
Song: Black Swan Song
Artist: Athlete, England
Album: Black Swan, 2009
Notes: Title track from overlooked British band's fourth album (which was named after the famous book by Lebanese author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb) - a mighty ballad about the comfort of family and friends. More at www.athlete.mu.
Song: Maybe We’re In Love
Artist: Nathan Mathes, Wisconsin
Album: Roselawn, 2011
Notes: Delightful, the simplest of songs written by Nathan to his wife, Jane. He's an indie folkster who's been performing for nearly 20 years around Wisconsin, notched up a few tv placements for his songs, but largely flying under the radar. More at www.nathanmathes.com.
Artist: Rachel Platten, New York
Album: Be Here, 2011
Notes: Deliciously bubbly number about the carefree days of summer at the beach by promising newcomer. Don't be fooled by her stunning looks, currently on tour opening for Matt Nathanson.
Artist: Delta Spirit, San Diego
Album: Digital single, 2012
Notes: Lovely, harmony-laden chorus-nod to Brian Wilson & the Beach Boys. Band's been around for seven years signed to the excellent Rounder Records (which has a fabulous roster). Group likes to use all sorts of weird instruments including trash can lids.
Artist: Charles Aznavour, France
Notes: Bitter-sweet lost diamond ballad from 1975. Too sad for words, reflections on a life of pleasure and self-gratification but ultimately one of destructive selfishness and regret. French crooning icon at his very best.
Artist: Erin Ivey, Austin, TX
Album: Broken Gold, 2011
Notes: Sung in both Francais et Anglais by Austin's urban-folk darling, a lovely easy-swaying groove using chocolate as a metaphor for love, with some delicious percussion. Erin tours like crazy every year, highly recommend.
Song: A Cycle
Artist: Moses Mayfield, Birmingham, AL
Album: The Inside, 2007
Notes: Why wasn't this a hit? The Birmingham-based combo only cut two albums before disbanding in 2008 when Mayfield went solo. A sorely overlooked, straight-ahead Modern Rock corker.
Song: Loved You Tonight
Artist: John West, Los Angeles
Album: Lovely EP, 2011
Notes: Blue-eyed soul singer West with a soulful shuffler, a throwaway bonus cut on a 3-track EP from last year. Originally from Louisiana but now based in the City of Angels where he was a street performer for a while in Santa Monica.
Artist: Smiths, England
Album: Hatful of Hollow, 1984
Notes: Astonishingly, the Smiths' signature hit, 'How Soon Is Now' was actually the B-side of this single from 1984. When the Smiths sang 'William' on BBC- TV's venerable 'Top of the Pops' show in the UK, he famously ripped off his shirt to reveal his torso emblazoned with the words "Marry Me" on his chest.
Artist: Bible, England
Notes: Neatly rolling pop-rock lost nugget from English band which was around for five years in latter half of the '80s, founded and fronted by singer-songwriter, Boo Hewerdine who found more success as a solo artist.
Song: Count On Me
Artist: Bruno Mars, Hawaii
Album: Doo-Wops & Hooligans, 2010
Notes: A standout, low-key track from his freshman album, curiously not released as a single in the US (but a big hit in Australia and New Zealand). Neatly showcases what a smart songwriter young Bruno is in addition to all the glitz found in his more upbeat pop fare.
Song: Breakdown More
Artist: Eric Hutchinson, Takoma Park, MD
Album: Moving Up, Moving Down, 2012
Notes: Well-crafted, uncomplicated pop-rock by Hutchinson and another sterling cut from his new CD available in April. He's opened for the likes of One Republic, Jason Mraz and Rachel Yamagata.
Song: Lay Your Cards Out
Artist: Polica, Minneapolis
Album: Give You The Ghost, 2011
Notes: Fascinating cut from the group's recent album, featuring a nice guest turn by Bon Iver guitarist, Mike Noyce. One of several tasty teats on their left-field soul, alternative pop-fused debut.