Artist: Clubfeet, Australia/South Africa
Album: Gold On Gold (2010)
Notes: A top-drawer infectious dance pop/rock track from the five-piece Australian/South African combo which has been featured on "L&F" before. Led by Sebastian Cohen from Cape Town, but based in Melbourne, they've released a couple of albums - this rolling cracker is on their debut album, but their 2013 sophomore set "Heirs & Graces" is also well worth checking out. More details at helloclubfeet.com.
Artist: Peter Gabriel, England
Album: Scratch My Back (2010)
Notes: Proving that any great song can be reversioned in any tempo or arrangement, this is a superb reimagining of David Bowie and Brian Eno's 1977 classic. The album of covers also includes equally smart re-interpretations of songs by the likes of Paul Simon, Elbow, Radiohead and Randy Newman. There's been no new solo work since 2011's "New Blood", but Gabriel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year as well as making a guest appearance in the BBC-TV comedy series "The Life Of Rock With Brian Pern", a character thinly based on Gabriel himself.
Song: Bringing Back Paradise
Artist: Noonie Bao, Sweden
Notes: The catchy vocal stylings of a 20-something Swedish songstress, who quit school at 16 and left Stockholm, initially moving to a mountain village in Switzerland before heading to Paris, France to work on her songs in a recording studio. On her return to Stockholm, she signed with EMI, and has since released one album and a sprinkle of one-off singles released to date. Her second long-player is being polished off as we speak and hopefully this song makes the cut.
Song: Comes And Goes In Waves
Artist: Greg Laswell, San Diego, CA
Notes: If you like your music served up with literate lyrics and stunning melodies to match, this "L&F" favorite never lets you down. About his new collection, he says "The idea for this album stemmed from playing live in various formations over the years, wanting to do something new for the audience, fans asking for alternate versions of songs after hearing them live and/or because the songs themselves changed meaning". More at www.greglaswell.com.
Song: New Sensations
Artist: Lou Reed, Brooklyn, NY
Album: New Sensations (1984)
Notes: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Velvet Underground alumnus who rarely wrote and recorded accessible material like this number, that shuffles along so neatly, but he was of course the most mercurial, pigeon-hole defying artist imaginable. This little heard title cut from his excellent 1984 LP is probably the only one that mentions the word "Tuinals", which is a barbituate. Highly avant-garde and experimental throughout his diverse career which spanned nearly 50 years before he passed away last year at the age of 71.
Song: Where Can I Go'
Artist: Laura Marling, England
Album: Once I Was An Eagle (2013)
Notes: One of the leading lights of the nu-folk movement, this 24-year-old singer/songwriter, one-time girlfriend of Marcus Mumford, began performing as a musician in London at just 16 after dropping out of school. She's released four albums to date since her 2008 debut - three of which were nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. She's won a BRIT award for Best Female Solo Artist, and garnered a further two nominations. She's been working on a fifth album for quite some time, but there's no sign of it yet. More at lauramarling.com.
Song: Familiar Ghost
Artist: Natalie Taylor, Mechanicsburg, PA
Notes: Born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Alabama and now based in Nashville, this unheralded singer-songwriter has produced yet another exquisite gem. Regrettably there's very little material by her currently available to download, though there are a fair sprinkling of songs to stream on her website. Her influences include Jon Howard, John Mayer and Sara Bareilles. More at natalietaylormusic.com, where she declares "I do musical things, am an esthetician, and could do R&B riffs in harmony for days. Oh and Roll Tide ;)"
Song: From The Hip
Artist: Lloyd Cole & the Commotions, England/Scotland
Album: Mainstream (1987)
Notes: From the last album he recorded with his erstwhile backing band, this is a mellifluous gem from the 6.5 golf handicap fanatic. Originally from the lovely spa town of Buxton in Derbyshire, England, he now lives in Massachusetts and released his tenth solo collection last year. Titled "Standards", which despite its title comprises completely self-penned new songs, bar a cover of John Hartford's "California Earthquake". It featured Matthew Sweet and former Commotion Blair Cowan among its guests musicians. He runs an excellent website, simply lloydcole.com.
Song: If You Wait
Artist: London Grammar, England
Album: If You Wait (2013)
Notes: The youthful but brooding, ethereal vocal sound of the telegenic Hannah Reid, showing remarkable poise for her age, fronting a highly-regarded trio from the UK. They assembled at Nottingham University a couple of years ago, with just one long player released to date. Already big news in their home country - this album is platinum-selling back there, the group recently made its major US television bow on the "Late Show With David Letterman" and enjoyed a sellout two-week tour of North America. More at londongrammar.com, where you can enjoy a free download of "Hey Now".
Song: Last Call
Artist: Lee Ann Womack, Jacksonville, TX
Album: Call Me Crazy (2008)
Notes: Superior country music, strong lyrics, great melody, a terrific break-up song from a woman who's simply had enough. Texas born and bred a huge country star who still works her craft in an old-school stylee, this was the lead-off single - rarely heard outside country radio - from her last album - believe it or not from six years ago. Named #58 on Rolling Stone magazine's best songs of that year. it was co-written by top Nashville composer Shane McAnally, the man behind hits for the likes of Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney as well as the wonderful Kacey Musgraves.
Song: Where Does The Lovin' Go
Artist: David Gates, Tulsa, OK
Album: Falling In Love Again (1979)
Notes: John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne, Bon Iver and all the latter day male tunesmiths, many of whom feature on "L&F", all pale by comparison to the unfashionable old schoolmaster that is the former lead singer of Bread. Why? Because his instinctive sense of simple melodic structure and the purity of his crystal-clear vocal are simply a cut above the rest. He defines harmony, melody, the art of creating timeless, beautiful love music. This song is just one of literally dozens of under-cherished lost classics from the pen and voice of the singer/songwriter who released his first single 57 years ago. He has no website, no twitter, no instagram, no whatsapp, no facebook, just a peerless catalog of work, and disgracefully, he has yet to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Artist: Gary Go, England
Album: Gary Go (2009)
Notes: Should have been a monster hit - a perfect pop/rock outing, screaming for airplay, but it sank like a biotech stock. Born Gary Baker in London, he's a multi-media maven, very much a tech whiz, top songwriter and also a visual artist who makes interesting short films - the only negative on his resume is that Lady Gaga named him as her "favorite new artist this year" in 2009. More at garygo.tv.
Song: So Many Years
Artist: Duniven, Los Angeles, CA
Album: Answers [EP] (21013)
Notes: Not a group, but a solo singer by the name of Patrick Duniven. He's a rootsy, poetic tunesmith lying somewhere between Dylan and Petty who are among his noted influences. LA-based, he secured a bit of a cult-following on the local folk club circuit but flying well under the radar. He has a total of 364 likes on facebook - not nearly enough, so you might like to help bump up the number - just add dunivenmusic. While you're at it, join in "L&F"'s facebook community - drop us a line, send us a lost song suggestion. You never know - it might end up being played on the show. Mr. Duniven cites among his influences the great late Peter Sellers and the great not-yet-late Ricky Gervais.
Song: Heartbreak Of Love
Artist: Dionne Warwick & June Pointer, East Orange, NJ/Oakland, CA
Album: Reservations For Two (1987)
Notes: Very few R&B singers can leave Dionne Warwick in the dust - but June Pointer does just that right here on this dated but glorious old soul shuffler. The youngest of the Pointer Sisters, poor June struggled with cocaine addiction, had a stroke in early 2006, was then diagnosed with cancer and passed away in April of that year, gone too soon at just 52. Despite the rather cheesy Fender Rhodes keyboard runs, which were so prevalent in late '80s music, this glorious lost treasure was written by Burt Bacharach with his then wife Carole Bayer Sager and Diane Warren.
Artist: Prefab Sprout, England
Album: Crimson Red (2013)
Notes: The welcome return of the musical imagination of the talented Paddy McAloon-led band from last year's comeback album, though maddeningly still not available in the US. A total of ten outstanding albums going back thirty years now, none of which made the grade over here which is also rather frustrating. If you want to capture a moment of McAloon magic, check out www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhZA8GuZ1SI.
Song: More Than Life
Artist: Whitley, Australia
Album: The Submarine (2007)
Notes: A restrained acoustic nugget by one Lawrence Greenwood, a singer/songwriter who hails from Melbourne, Australia. He describes his music as "gloomy ambient folk pop" which seems like a fair assessment. A terrific third offering, "Even The Stars Are A Mess" was released in his home country last year - his first release after a five-year hiatus, during which he spent some time living in London and three months living with the Shipibo people on the Amazon in Peru.
Song: It's Alright, It's OK
Artist: Primal Scream, Scotland
Album: From More Light (2013)
Notes: Never quite hitting the dizzying heights of their 1991 "Screamdelica" opus, this shuffling soulful rocker from last year's comeback album, which featured among its guest musicians Robert Plant, sees the veteran Scots rockers back on top form. Bobby Gillespie, who was also the drummer of the Jesus & Mary Chain, put together his band more than 30 years ago, offering uncompromising, genre-bending alternative music and becoming an influential band on the other side of the pond.
Song: Who You Love
Artist: John Mayer featuring Katy Perry, Bridgeport, CT/Los Angeles, CA
Album: Paradise Valley (2013)
Notes: Despite its A-list credentials, this sweet folk-pop delight never cracked the Top 40 but remains the standout moment from the singer's last album. Written with Ms. Perry, it certainly marked a pleasing and unexpected musical departure from her. Their relationship reportedly ended in February 2014 after 18 months together. Despite his well-documented roll call of celebrity relationships, highly embarrassing public proclamations and general train wrecks, Mayer still manages to write and record the most remarkably sensitive and authentically grown up songs - his catalog just knee deep in hits and lost rubies. More at johnmayer.com.
Song: For You
Artist: Outfield, England
Album: Diamond Days (1990)
Notes: Nearly a quarter of a century old but sounding as good as ever. A cracking riff, a fab pop-rock vocal, melody and lyrics in perfect harmony and a really solid American pop-rock sound, but surprisingly they are a British band - the tight trio of Tony Lewis, John Spinks and Alan Jackman. Astonishingly they never had a hit in their home country, but had eight here in the USofA. Still going strong today, celebrating 30 years together, flogging their most recent fare direct from their website - theoutfield.com.
Song: What Have I Done
Artist: LeAnn Rimes, Jackson, MS
Album: Spitfire (2013)
Notes: Sweet high-country Appalachia Americana, a lost pearl tucked away on the singer's last album, which featured Rob Thomas and Jeff Beck among its guests on the track "Gasoline And Matches". Despite her overly publicized personal life, health problems and legal wranglings, Rimes remains quite clearly one of the best vocalists in country/pop over the past two deacdes - and just nails it every time she enters a studio. 15 long-players since she bowed in 1991 and barely a duff one among them. More at leannrimesworld.com.
Song: Alone Isn't Lonely
Artist: Miriam Bryant, Sweden
Album: Push Play [EP] (2013)
Notes: Every one of the five tracks collection on this EP are top drawer. Raised in Gothenburg, Sweden by her British father and French mother, this 23-year-old singer was signed by EMI in Germany, with one album "Raised In Rain" to date. One to watch for. More on her at miriambryantmusic.com.
Song: Trace Me Back
Artist: Trent Dabbs & Amy Stroup, Jackson, MS/Nashville, TN
Notes: An extra track not commercially available, recorded for but not included on his latest collection. Dabbs hails from Jackson Mississippi, but has long been a leading light in the non-country roster in Nashville - his tuneful repertoire in regular demand for drama series on television like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" - so much quality depth in his eight album-strong catalog, much of it regularly mined on "L&F". He and Stroup have a side project, Sugar + The Hi-Lows, who recently toured with Ingrid Michaelson. More at trentdabbs.com.
Song: A Girl Called Johnny
Artist: Waterboys, Scotland
Album: A Girl Called Johnny (1983)
Notes: Rolling piano and sax sounds on a lost corker from a Scottish band out of Edinburgh and active since 1983. Formed and firmly led by lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Mike Scott, they're still getting it done today, playing festivals in Northern Ireland, Japan and Norway this summer - as well as the Isle of Wight. More at mikescottwaterboys.com.
Song: Cherokee Louise
Artist: Joni Mitchell, Canada
Album: Night Ride Home (1991)
Notes: A vocal performance to melt stone, a string arrangement of the highest order and a superior song written about the sexual abuse of a Cree Indian girl named Mary. Simply too erudite, too thoughtful, too creative, too sensitive - just too good from a peerless artiste at the top of her peerless game. In this day and age, given how the A&R divisions at the major labels are mostly populated by tone-deaf cloth-eared morons, would this even get released?
Artist: Bud Flanagan, England
Notes: The much revered theme song to the classic British TV sitcom "Dad's Army", broadcast on the BBC from 1968 to 1977 (and still being repeated) with an occasional transmission on PBS. Recorded by music hall veteran and wartime entertainer Bud Flanagan, who died within months of its recording. Head to a YouTube near you to sample some of the most British of British comedy, and check out a couple of episodes of the endearing, and enduring, "Dad's Army". It's just been announced that a feature-length movie is in the works, starring Toby Jones (who was so brilliant as Truman Capote in "Infamous") and the incomparable Bill Nighy.
Song: Line Of Fire
Artist: Junip, Sweden
Album: Junip (2013)
Notes: A superbly constructed, full-on indie pop-rock with a flamenco syncopation from singer-songwriter Jose Gonzalez, who despite his Spanish-sounding name, fronts this trio from Gothenburg, Sweden. Their sophomore set, self-titled, dropped in March and its multi-culturally informed collection - indeed Jose describes the group's music as "somewhere between a German jazz band and an African pop band" - although neither influence is evident on this delicious cut however. More at junip.net.
Song: How Long Will I Love You
Artist: Ellie Goulding, England
Album: Halcyon Days (2013)
Notes: A bit of a bonus, some actual dialogue from the 2013 British romantic comedy "About Time" at the end of this lost diamond - indeed the song was featured on its soundtrack. Released as the Children In Need charity single, it was a huge hit across Europe and a Number 1 smash in South Korea. It's an authentic emotional reimagining of an old 1990 chestnut by the Waterboys. An atypical outing for the singer who has gone on to forge a highly successful synthpop/dance career, after wisely dropping out of university to get a head start on her music career.
Song: Opus No. 1
Artist: Tim Carleton & Darrick Deel, California
Notes: If this sounds annoyingly familiar, or just simply annoying, it's because it's actually the "hold music" used by thousands of companies across America while they pretend they're busy helping other customers. Composed and recorded two decades ago when Carleton was just 15 years old, it became the default tune on Cisco IP phones and is still in wide use today, and he didn't make a dime in royalties from it. God bless corporate America. More at elliegoulding.com.
Artist: Kane Gang, England
Album: Miracle (1987)
Notes: This got a tiny bit of airplay back in the '80s but clearly not enough, the synth-blues rock sound of an English band with an ode to the now much blighted Detroit. The band were around for a single decade, led by a talented pair of vocalists, Martin Brammer and Paul Woods. The only other chart placing they had was with a cover of "Don't Look Further". (see below). Brammer went on to have success as a songwriter, particularly with the sublime "Lifted" by the Lighthouse Family.
Song: Don't Look Any Further
Artist: Dennis Edwards, Birmingham, AL
Notes: What a groove from the fabulous vocal talent of former Temptations lead singer, Dennis Edwards, on a now vintage classic which also features singer-songwriter Siedah Garrett, who of course co-inked "Man In The Mirror" for Michael Jackson. He was with the Temps on and off from 1976 to 1989 - this track was recorded during a brief solo stint from 1984 to 1987. He now fronts The Tempations Revue featuring Dennis Edwards. The "real" Temptations is now led by Ron Tyson, who joined the band seven years after Edwards joined it.
Song: Second Chance
Artist: Robert Vincent, England
Album: Life In Easy Steps (2013)
Notes: Too sad for words, an unforgiving clear message, an embittered broken man at the end of his tether torn asunder by the lies, the infidelity and scheming of his lover - assuring her in no uncertain terms that that there will be no second chances - indeed as you might expect that's the title of this sensational, but bitter ballad by a new "L&F" preferred vendor. Despite its obvious Americana inflections, the folk-rocker is actually a tunesmith/guitarist from the lauded English city of Liverpool - weaned on the music of fellow Liverpudlians the Beatles and Johnny Cash. He left school at the age of 16 to follow his muse, became a father at the age of 17 and is now doing the solo thing after passing through a couple of bands. More at robertvincentmusic.com.
Song: Welcome Home
Notes: This engaging folk-pop shuffler somehow snuck into the "L&F" vault, but who Staggs is or are remains a mystery. If any "L&F" listeners know anything about him, her or them, please drop us a line.
Song: Do Anything You Wanna Do
Artist: Eddie & the Hot Rods, England
Album: Life On The Line (1977)
Notes: Unpretentious and unabashed, a lost corker from one of the leaders of the British pub-rock movement. Led by Barrie Masters (Eddie was in fact a dummy that the band used to have onstage with them during their early gigs), they were based in Canvey Island, also home to Dr. Feelgood, a ghastly place east of the capital. They formed in the earliest days of punk - indeed the Sex Pistols played their first London gig as their opening act. They also toured the US as an opening act themselves for the Ramones - so a fine pedigree, and that was by far their finest moment. They're still going strong and will be touring the US this October. More at eddieandthehotrods.com.
Song: Hollow Talk
Artist: Choir of Young Believers, Denmark
Notes: A slowly building cinematic anthem from an avant-pop music assembled by Danish singer, composer multi-instrumentalist Jannis Noya Makrigiannis now used as the theme to the Swedish/Danish crime TV drama series, "The Bridge". Move heaven and earth to watch these two 10-part series - television doesn't get any better. (Unfortunately the US version on FX is vastly inferior.)
Song: Don't You Want Me
Artist: Young Summer, Washington, DC
Album: Taken (single), 2014
Notes: A simple piano backing underplaying a terrific vocal in a ballad version of the Human League classic recently featured on an episode of "Grey's Anatomy". The DC-based songstress Bobbie Allen is fast becoming an "L&F" favorite. Suffering through a rather transient childhood, Bobbie describes music as "a safe harbor or the 'home' I've never had". More on her at facebook.com/youngsummermusic.
Song: Don't You Want Me
Artist: Human League, England
Album: Dare, 1981
Notes: The British new-wave synth-pop band's signature tune - a smash around the world back in 1981/2. It even re-charted in the UK earlier this year after being taken up by fans of Aberdeen Football Club. The group's leader Phil Oakey and his two rather vocally anonymous backing singers Joanne Catherall and Susan Ann Sulley (Victoria Beckham cites Sulley as her inspiration to get involved in pop music - so now we know who to blame) still tour.