Friday, 8 October 2021

The Shoebox Files #5: The Zombies

 

This is about The Zombies’ ‘Leave Me Be’, and about how memories won’t leave us be. The song itself appears towards the end of the fifth mix in the The Shoebox Selections series, bookended by The Sea and Cake’s ‘The Ravine’ and Jimmy Holiday’s ‘Would You Like to Love Me’, which is about as good as it can get. It is a quite impossibly beautiful sequence, and if anyone ever asks what I achieved in life or what good I did in the darkest days of 2021, then it would be more than reasonable to point to this holy trinity of softness, yearning and melodic bliss.

Monday, 27 September 2021

The Shoebox Files #4: Carleen Anderson

 

Carleen Anderson’s soul soothing ‘Peace in the Valley’ opens the eighth mix in the Shoebox Selections series. Do you, by any chance, believe in fate, in the sense that you hear something at precisely the right time? For this was a song (well, let’s call it a prayer!) which I had completely forgotten about until sorting through some old CDs, but it was so very much meant for me at that moment. There’s something in Carleen’s composition, and the way she sings it, that really connects deep inside, and I am not ashamed to say that it got me through a (to put it mildly) difficult time. Even now I cannot listen to this song all the way through without clenching my teeth and fists, digging my nails into my palms, while looking up to the heavens and, through tears, asking: “Why?”.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

The Shoebox Files #3: Kenny Carter

 


Remarkably, Showdown, the Kent CD of Kenny Carter’s complete recordings for RCA in 1966, is the label’s finest moment, which is an incredible achievement after almost 40 years in business. During that time Ady Croasdell and his colleagues have made so much wonderful music available, and have consistently released records in such an aesthetically pleasing way, but it seems like they were simply preparing us for this Kenny Carter collection.

Friday, 4 June 2021

The Shoebox Files #2: Wah! Heat

 

Perhaps a little unexpectedly Wah! Heat’s ‘Better Scream’ is one of the songs that has had the most emotional impact on me while selecting lost treasures for The Shoebox Selections series of mixes. Originally the band’s debut 45, it now opens The Handy Wah! Whole, a 2CD collection issued on Castle in 2000, and it still sounds wonderful, from the opening chiming guitars, as captivating as those on Love’s 1st LP, waiting for the bass to come in with all the majesty of Joy Division’s menace and melody, and then Wylie singing over the bank of guitars, crooning here. It is really a one-off in the Wah! canon, and a rare example of anyone getting balances so right between darkness and light.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

The Shoebox Files #1: Bobby Cole

 

The Shoebox Selections is a series of mixes available at www.mixcloud.com/yrheartout/, each around the length of one side of a C90 cassette. That was the idea really: to try and capture the feeling of when you would fill up a blank tape with a selection of your favourite things, tracks that you thought a friend or loved one needed to hear.