(4 / 5)
Things that make you go, “Agggghhh!”. Two social media event notifications for a Christmas market and a Christmas fayre – received in June!!!
Things that make you go “Ahhhhh…that’s cool!” Apart from looking in a mirror (sorry!), the second volume of the ATA record label (All Things Analogue) compilation of tracks from their archive.
“Early Works Vol. 2” is a delight – 11 tracks of funk, soul, jazz, Latin and more, which label boss Neil Innes dug out of the vaults during the pandemic lockdown, which showcases the eclectic roster ATA pride themselves on. All tracks here recorded, mixed and produced by Neil. (Volume 1 came out in 2020.)
ATA records was set up by Leeds based musicians Pete Williams and Neil Innes in 2014. They are based out of Neil Innes’s ATA studios, a disused garage on the outskirts of town, “ATA studios is an aladdin’s cave of vintage 1960s recording equipment. Recording exclusively to 2” tape and adopting mid-century recording techniques has resulted in their distinctive sound.”
Three from The Disarrays, two from The Magnificent Tape Band and a nice selection of bands and artists probably new to most, but very nice to make their acquaintance here. Opening with The Harmony Society’s “Bus Stop Boogie”, described as “Julie Driscoll crossed with Sesame Street”. Not by me!
The standout cut for me is Joe Tatton Trio, “Bang Bang Boogaloo”. Ramsey Lewis nods on this fab and addictive instrumental. Joe – New Mastersounds organist – is well at it on piano, and his latest album “Big Fish” has more of the same very classy offerings from him. I am a tad obsessed with this groove-drenched track, to be honest…..
The best name on the selection is Ivan Von Engelbergers Asteroid. Like to hear that read out over an airport Tannoy! “Lunartics”. A brooding track from the Leeds outfit that sounds like its from a cult black and white 60s TV show soundtrack.
Earl Dawkins & the Lewis Express next: “Secret Universe”. Guitar-driven late 60s/early 70s era sounding jazz cut straight from the discotheque dance floor in some smoky dive in London, New York, Milan, Paris, Berlin or Biggleswade. (What’s wrong with Biggleswade?)
First of a double offering from The Magnificent Tape Band. Gentle instrumental “Heading Towards Catastrophe” which features harp, and I don’t mean blues harmonica. Their other track here is another vocal-less offering, “When I Saw Your Face”. Very choral and a bit too laid back for me.
First of a triple selection from The Disarrays, “Help Me”, uber-cool Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings vibes, fine sassy femme funk/retro r&b. The band’s second track here, “Anaesthise Me” has the late Betty Davis “nasty” and rambunctious vibes, and we get a radio edit of the track as the albums closer.
Ready-made for a gritty street movie sound track, Mandatory Eight” offer up instrumental “The Hardest Day”.
Slinky Middle Eastern flavoured funk and horn-soaked jazz vibes with “In Pursuit Of Shai Hulud” from The Sorcerers. Very nice job. Must look into this outfit’s back catalogue. Perfect summer festivals/barbecue tune. If you don’t jiggle your booty to this, you are deaf or dead. Still no excuse!
By Christopher Weston
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’