WARMER MIXTAPES #1327 | by Carl Finlay
1. Andy Irvine/Paul Brady | Arthur McBride And The Sergeant (Traditional Irish Folk Song 'Arthur McBride''s Cover)
This is one of my all time favourite Irish Folk songs. It's such a beautiful melody and Paul Brady's delivery is sublime. He puts trills on certain words and it just knocks me out; he sings like a meadowlark. The lyrics are great as well - they tell the story of two brothers' defiant and violent resistance to being being enlisted into the British Army. It's got the word Shillelagh in it which is always a good thing. I'd recommend Paul Brady's live album called The Liberty Tapes, it has the definitive performance of this song as well as loads of other brilliant songs.
2. Cian Finn | Go Now My Love (Live At Citóg)
Cian is one of my best friends and it's not just nepotism that would make me say he is a supremely talented guy. He is mainly known as a Reggae artist, initially as the singer in a band called Intinn, and since their break up he has been touring the World as a Reggae artist and has an album which will be released soon, produced by UK Dub engineer Prince Fatty. I've actually chosen one of his non-Reggae songs, it's actually more of a Traditional Irish Folk song, in the Sean-Nós style, so it should flow nicely on from the Paul Brady song. I think it's such a beautiful expression of heartbreak and perfectly exemplifies Cian's dexterity and power, not just as a singer but as a song-writer. It hasn't been released yet, so the only way to hear it is to go on YouTube and find the beautiful live performance of it.
3. Van Morrison | Slim Slow Slider
This is a song taken from Van Morrison's album Astral Weeks. It's categorically my favourite album of all time. I heard it first when I was fifteen and it still hasn't got old. I can still listen to it now and find something new in it. I love the spontaneous and live quality to the recordings, the sound of the musicians vibing off each other is magical. I could have picked any song from the album, I love them all equally. But I thought Slim Slow Slider flowed nicely on from the Cian Finn song. I love how this song has a Blues structure, but it's not something you might notice immediately. The double bass and saxophone interplay is spine-tingling, and Van Morrison's vocal has a boundless Mysticism to it. By the time it gets to the line I know you're dying baby, and I know you know it too I'm utterly devastated.
4. John Martyn | Don't Want To Know
John Martyn is a special artist and somebody I greatly admire. I love how he sings and how it's all about projecting his emotion. There are times when he sings and he is totally slurring his words and yet it's the most emotional thing you can imagine. His album Solid Air is a masterpiece and Don't Want To Know is one of my very favourites.
5. James Blake | The Wilhelm Scream (James Litherland's 'Where To Turn' Cover)
James Blake's first album was a real game-changer I think. It really blew me away anyway. The mixture of styles is really fresh, you can hear Soul, Electronica, Dub amongst other things all wrapped up together. The production is first class too. He seemed to be way ahead of the game when this album came out. The Wilhelm Scream is my favourite song on the album. I like how there is pretty much only one sentence in the whole song, the lyrics become like a mantra. The mixing and production is so well structured and paced, the various textures and sounds are incredible. Takes my breath away every time.
6. Bob Dylan | Jokerman
I don't think any artist has made anywhere near as much of an impact on me as Bob Dylan. I am a massive fan, a life long collector of his Music in fact. I've pretty much got everything the man has ever done, all the official albums as well as thousands of bootleg studio outtakes and fan recordings of his concerts. So, as you can imagine, it's impossible for me to pick a favourite Bob Dylan song. For this mixtape I've decided to choose Jokerman. It's a song from his much maligned 80's catalogue. It's a song you can inhabit, walk around in and wrap around you. It's lyrically complex but it never feels that way, because Bob sings you through it with so much warmth and gusto. You could spend a lifetime trying to figure out what it's about or you could get wilfully lost in the variety of imagery within its five minutes. The other thing I like about it is the Music, which is provided by the legendary Reggae rhythm duo of Sly And Robbie. The rhythm is sparse and skeletal, a similar aesthetic to the early Dancehall sound that was emerging in Jamaica in the 1980's. I think Robbie's bass in particular is one of the key ingredients of this song. Its relentless riff bubbles away underneath with equal measures of warmth and foreboding.
7. Barrington Levy | Here I Come
As well as being a huge Bob Dylan collector I'm also an avid fan of Jamaican Music. I love all styles and I've a pretty large collection of Reggae vinyls. I've decided not to go with something too obscure, but with an absolute classic of the genre. Barrington Levy's Here I Come was one of the first Reggae songs I heard that set me off on what's become a near addiction to discover more and more Reggae. It's an early Dancehall tune and it's just unbridled joy and swagger. It's one of those songs you'll never forget once you've heard it. Barrington's scatting is just brilliant and makes me giddy every time.
8. Manu Chao | Clandestino
Manu Chao is an icon around the World and particularly in South America. I spent some time in Mexico and it was hard not to hear his Music almost everywhere you went, from bars and clubs to buskers performing covers on the street. His Music will always remind me of that brilliant time in my life. Clandestino is a great example of why he is so beloved, it's a radical song in solidarity with the dispossessed of the World, the refugees, the immigrants and down-trodden. There is something of the spirit of Bob Marley in Manu Chao's Music. There is a beautiful blending of Reggae, Latin, Folk and Pop in his Music that I greatly admire. I love the humorous quirky Radio-jingle samples, not to mention his multi-lingual lyrics.
9. The Heptones | Pretty Looks Isn't All
There is a particular type of Reggae song that I love, and that's the Soul-tinged Rocksteady Love song. The legendary Jamaican recording studio called Studio One were great purveyors of this style, and one of the leading harmony groups on their roster were The Heptones. They recorded a massive number of songs at Studio One and I can't think of one bad one. Pretty Looks Isn't All is a beautiful song. It's got a stately bassline, a sumptuous hornline and the gorgeous harmonies of The Heptones. The harmonies are clearly inspired by early Soul/Doo-Wop Music and the combination of that influence over the Rocksteady Music fills my ears with joy.
10. The Stone Roses | Waterfall
The Stone Roses were a band that had a massive impact on me as a teenager. Their first album is a phenomenal debut that glimmers with back-to-back classics. The whole package with The Stone Roses was great, Ian Brown to my 15 year old eyes was incredibly charismatic, I loved John Squire's Pollock-esque artwork which he painted on the instruments and album and single covers. It's probably classified as a Rock song, but it's more groove based than your average Rock song. I can't praise Mani and Reni enough, they are one of the best bass/drum combos ever in my opinion and the songs are catchy and Poppy. They define an era in my life as well as British Rock Music at large. Waterfall is a glorious song built around an immediately catchy guitar riff, the lyrics are tumbling like the Waterfall of the title and the groove just builds and builds. I love Music that uplifts the Soul and sounds like Sunshine. This is one of those.