Song: You Used To
Artist: Distant Cousins, England
Album: Warm Hatred, 1992
Notes: Extremely obscure gem from a long-deleted but excellent album, a slowly building corker by group from the ever-fertile northern English city of Manchester (they once opened for the Stone Roses). Doreen Edwards on the blissful lead vocal.
Artist: Steve Moakler, Pittsburgh, PA
Album: Watching Time Run, 2011
Notes: Why isn?t this guy better known? Easy-flowing singer-songwriting quality from a melodic tunesmith who consistently crafts fine pop-rock delights. Free download of another track currently available at www.stevemoakler.com.
Song: Reason With Me
Artist: Sinead O'Connor, Ireland
Notes: A top new song from the fresh new CD by the incomparable Sinead written about the toil and trouble of drug addiction. No matter how troubled her poor soul seems to be (recently had a five-minute marriage and a severe bout of depression,), she just can't help but make stunning emotive music.
Song: Sunday Girl
Artist: Brandon & Leah, Malibu, CA
Album: Life Happens, 2012
Notes: Breezy, beach-kissed sound of a new duo, singer-songwriters Brandon Jenner and Leah Felder. Self-penned and self produced. a bright, upbeat fresh pop sound all round with honeyed vocals by Leah.
Artist: Robbie Robertson, Canada
Album: Robbie Robertson, 1987
Notes: Highly original part spoken-word lost gem from former leader of the Band. Written about spending steamy nights back in Arkansas (the original spoken word vocal taped by producer Daniel Lanois with Roberston unaware the tape was running).
Song: Blood Brothers
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson, Staten Island, NY
Album: Human Again, 2012
Notes: Another standout number from hat is already one of the best albums of the year. Ingrid is currently working on film soundtracks including 'Misfits' starring Guy Pearce.
Song: Constant Heat
Artist: Ben Semmens, Wales
Album: Western Lights, 2009
Notes: A top-drawer lost ballad from a relatively unknown Welsh tunesmith. Discovered on a cool next generation music analytics web project called Soundout, an excellent user-generated review system for new music - well worth checking out, sign up for free as a reviewer: www.soundout.com
Song: Back To Basics
Artist: Lana Del Rey, New York
Album: Not available
Notes: Some love her, others not so much, but a rare, unreleased track from the "gansta Nancy Sinatra", real name Elizabeth Woolridge Grant.
Song: Everything I Need
Artist: Josh Tatum, Fort Worth, TX
Album: No available, 2012
Notes: Fresh number not yet available by a promising tunesmith who has performed in hundreds of venues from empty roadhouses around the Lone Star state, to sold-out shows at the House of Blues.
Song: In Rodanthe
Artist: Emmylou Harris, Birmingham, AL
Notes: A+ Americana gem recorded by Emmylou for the soundtrack to the 2008 Richard Gere/Diane Lane-starring film, 'Nights In Rodanthe', set in the small village of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island in North Carolina. Emmylou will turn 65 next month, became a grandmother a couple of years ago.
Song: Love Love Love
Artist: Of Monsters & Men, Iceland
Album: Into The Woods EP, 2011
Notes: Icelandic combo who recently began making some noise with another track, 'Little Talks'. Intimate honeyed vocal style of lead singer Nanna Hilmarsdettir. Hotly-rising folk/pop six-piece.
Song: Love Love Love
Artist: Avalanche City, New Zealand
Notes: Already a number 1 single in their home country of New Zealand, a simple, pleasing ditty from promising combo fronted by singer-songwriter Dave Baxter.
Song: They Dance Alone
Artist: Sting, England
Album: Nothing Like The Sun, 1987
Notes: In full mellifluous, thoughtful mode, one of the best protest songs ever recorded. Delicate ballad written by Sting for the widows of the thousands of men who went missing under the brutal rule of Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, in the 1970s and '80s in Chile.
Artist: Cat Malojian, N. Ireland
Album: Cat Malojian, 2008
Notes: Extremely obscure and too good for prime-time, a superb pearl with old-Country banjo-led stylings. Duo from Northern Ireland, now defunct - one half of the collaboration was the seriously underrated tunesmith called Stephen Scullion has has recently gone solo. One of Gary Lightbody (Snow Patrol)'s faves.
Artist: Al Green, Forrest City, AR
Album: Belle, 1977
Notes: A lost soul sapphire from the R&B legend. If you want to see Al perform live, head down to Memphis any Sunday - he's the pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church.
Artist: Amadou & Mariam, Mali
Album: Welcome To Mali, 2008
Notes: Catchy, curious number by Mariam Doumbia and Amadou Bagayoko, a blind married couple who first met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind . Been performing together for three decades, moved to Paris 15 years ago and since then have become one of the most creative and popular acts on the World Music circuit.
Song: The Story of My Life
Artist: Ali Slaight, Canada
Album: Trace The Stars, 2008
Notes: Ali recorded this strong, no-nonsense pop-rock bubbler when was just 17 - big hit up in her native Canada. She counts Sia, Zero 7 and Portishead among her influences. More at myspace/com/alislaight.
Song: Take It Out On Me
Artist: Chairlift, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Something, 2012
Notes: Techno, ambient, '80s synth-pop retro duo of Caroline Polacheck (who has terrific soprano pipes) and Patrick Wimberly based out of Brooklyn. From highly creative third album.
Song: Looking For The Summer
Artist: Chris Rea, England
Album: Auberge, 1990
Notes: Fabulously breezy shuffling lost gem by the much under-appreciated gravel voice of Chris Rea who has sold more than 30 million albums around the world over a 30-plus year career.
Artist: Carole King & James Taylor, New York/Boston
Album: Live at The Troubadour, 2010
Notes: Their harmonizing on that bridge is too good, the best of the best on a paired update of King's composition, originally a hit for the all-girl group, the Shirelles back in 1961.
Artist: Fray, Denver
Album: Scars & Stories
Notes: Another sweet, literate roller from the latest offering by the band celebrating 10 years together this year - a decade since former high school friends Isaac Slade and Joe King started writing songs together and decided to start a group.
Artist: Smashing Pumpkins, Chicago
Notes: Will Billy Corgan ever write and record a better song? It was the second single from band's 1986 album opus, and was nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammys.
Song: Good Things
Artist: Kathleen Edwards, Canada
Album: Back To Me, 2005
Notes: A sensational organic lost pearl from her sophomore set. Kathleen spent much of her childhood abroad as the daughter of a diplomat, spending time in both Korea and Switzerland.
Song: Kill It
Artist: Cinema, Atlanta
Notes: A rich full sound, a Modern Rock chugger from the pairing of vocalist Leighton Antelman and producer, Matt Malpass.
Song: Step Inside Love
Artist: Cilla Black, England
Notes: Featuring John Lennon on bongos, Paul McCartney on acoustic guitar and Ringo on claves, a guilty pleasure from 1967 by the Beatles' Liverpudlian friend, Cilla Black. Written and produced by Macca as the opening theme music for her BBC television variety show called 'Cilla'.
Song: I Might Drop By
Artist: Greg Laswell, San Diego
Album: Landline, 2012
Notes: Another gem on one of the best new singer-songwriter albums which should be out in a few weeks. A free download (different cut) currently available at Greg's website: www.greglaswell.com.
Artist: Stone Roses, England
Album: The Stone Roses, 1989
Notes: Lost nugget on the Manchester band's seminal debut album which was hailed as the greatest British album of all time by the influential New Musical Express magazine in a poll in 2006 - which is simply nuts. Band has recently reunited for a world tour.
Song: All That I Wanted
Artist: Shelly Fraley, Nashville
Album: Hush, 2012
Notes: Fast becoming a L&F preferred vendor, a promising newcomer among the non-country Nashville musical community. Currently setting out on a two-month tour: www.shellyfraley.com.
Song: Childhood Days
Artist: Barry Gibb, England
Notes: Extremely rare A+ solo outing from the Bee Gees icon from a long-deleted film soundtrack. At any given time somewhere around the world, a song written by Barry Gibb is playing on a radio station, the second must successful songwriter of the rock era behind McCartney.
Artist: Mariah McManus, Nashville
Album: Nice To Meet You, 2011
Notes: Too sad for words, written and performed by the songstress when she was just 19, documenting the bitter end of a daydreamy love. Rough but rewarding terrain mined on her maiden album.
Song: All I Do Is Dream of You
Artist: Skyler Stonestreet, Santa Barbara, CA
Notes: Perky and enchanting, a contemporary pop update by quirky, fashionable Skyler Stonestreet of the 1934 standard written by Herb Brown and Arthur Freed.
Artist: Josh Ritter, Moscow, ID
Notes: An other-era ditty from his new EP which was inspired by the simplistic songwriting stylings of the Everly Brothers, Rick Nelson and Buddy Holly. Ritter is also an author, and named by Paste magazine as one of the 100 Greatest Living Songwriters in 2006.
Artist: Tom Waits, Pomona, CA
Album: Closing Time, 1973
Notes: As always, Waits manages to create a mini-movie inside his music, a superb lost pearl from nearly 40 years ago by the best of the best.
Artist: Camryn Wessner, Florida
Album: Temporary EP, 2011
Notes: Standout track from a six-song offering from a new singer-songwriter who's making a bit of a buzz around the South-East, already opened for the likes of Sister Hazel. Her well-received maiden effort was produced by Stan Lynch who sat at the desk for Tom Petty, Don Henley and countless others.
Song: These Days
Artist: Glen Campbell, Delight, AR
Album: Meet Glen Campbell, 2008
Notes: From a superb album of covers which was a prelude to last year's 'Ghost On The Canvas' swansong collection, Glen on top form updating a ballad gem written by the great Jimmy Webb.
Song: Goodnight Sweet Girl
Artist: Erik Scott Smith, Los Angeles
Notes: Vintage stylings recalling early Beatles and Everly Brothers, a sweet vocal turn by the young singer-songwriter and actor. On one of 2 CDs he released last summer.
Song: Another Man
Artist: Barbara Mason, Philadelphia
Album: Another Man, 1984
Notes: Controversial when it first came out, a torrid tale about a love triangle with an unpredictable twist, a bass-drum pumping R&B belter from the soul singer who had a hit in 1965 with 'Yes I'm Ready'.
Song: Here Comes My Girl
Artist: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Gainseville, FL
Album: Damn The Torpedoes, 1979
Notes: Classic rock outing from Petty and backing band, but only peaked at #59 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its parent album held off the top spot for seven weeks by 'Dark Side of the Moon'.
Song: To Protect
Artist: Mackintosh Braun, Portland, OR
Album: Where We Are, 2010
Notes: Why wasn't radio all over this track, a splendid electronica corker by synth pop-rock duo comprising Ian Mackintosh and Ben Braun. Stunning freshman album.