Our London friend Cedric is devoted to art, music and journalism. Amongst other things on the music front, he’s been running a party ‘Soul Time’ at Brilliant Corners for almost 5 years and contributing heavily to our fave Kennedy magazine. He believes in the ability of music to connect people. So, he chose 5 records that he’s played countless times alone, in bars, clubs, spaces and shared with people from the regions they were produced in: “However obscure a Fairuz record sounds in London, try playing it in Beirut where she’s an icon and watch cultural, political and social boundaries break down.”
Larry T. and The Family – I’m Moving On (LET Music, 1980)
I bought this for the title track “I’m Moving On” many years ago, soon realising just how incredible the rest of the LP is! Recorded in 1980, it could easily have been produced 10 years earlier – it’s totally oblivious to the machine sounds of disco, boogie and a lot of the other music that emerged at the time. The band or “family” drive it with a free, percussive sound that’s accompanied by beautiful song writing and delivered by an honest voice. To me, this record evokes optimism and a journey that we’re all on.
Macky Feary Band – Macky Feary Band (Rainbow, 1978)
This LP has quite literally taken me to the other side of the world, to Hawaii. I first heard “A Million Stars” on the 2009 mix Hawaiian Breaks by DJ Muro, soon after I got in touch with Roger Bong of Aloha Got Soul who was one of the only traces online at the time. He kindly sent me a copy of the LP and eventually we started a party together: Soul Time, it’s now been running for almost 5 years in London and Honolulu, more recently in Chicago, New York and Tokyo. Back to the music, it speaks from the heart – Mackey has such a distinct, tender voice, you feel his struggles – they’re real and we’ve experienced them, although possibly never heard anyone sing them this way.
Steve Hiett – Down On The Road By The Beach (CBS, 1983)
Judge a record by its cover! I discovered this glancing at the stunning photograph on the cover, shot by Steve for Elle Magazine in 1978. During this period of his career as a photographer, he’d travel from London to Miami and take models to broken neighbourhoods and rough areas for shoots. In his own way he added something to fashion photography: more than the edgy road setting, the fact that she’s obscured by a shadow caught my attention. The LP itself is a summer love song, a refined surf record played simply by guitar. This is the real thing, it stands out from the recent trend of ambient and guitar music – it has depth and variety, the record plays start to finish.
Fairouz – Maarifti Feek (Relax-In, 1986)
Lebanon’s great pop icon, Fairouz changed her sound in the late 70’s when her husband and producer, Assi Rahbani fell ill and her son Ziad Rahbani, 22 years old at the time came in to assist. He developed traditional Lebanese music into something new, a sound that adopted elements of jazz and bossa whilst experimenting with new equipment and contemporary sounds. Released in 1986 but written and produced over many years, it tells the story of a beautiful city torn apart by a devastating civil war. There’s an interesting range of style throughout the album: funk interludes, then more traditional arabic, bossa and jazz inspired songs. Like many of the other records I’ve chosen it speaks with sincerity, giving meaning and hope at a time of confusion.
Enzo Carella – Sfinge (RCA, 1981)
I was torn between selecting this and Enzo’s earlier record Barbara E Altri Carella, but I’ve had Sfinge longer, so more memories playing it. At first I skipped through vigorously using it as a DJ record – then realised how much mood Enzo brings to the entire LP. Admittedly another summer record and love story, this time with swagger. I’ve connected with many Italians who were surprised they didn’t know Enzo but can hear the influence he’s had on newer indie bands and contemporary Italian pop. Oh and check how he dresses, hero!
Pics Nick Hadfield