Phil Gyford


Thursday 7 August 2003

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I’ve nearly finished Greil Marcus’s Mystery Train and his eloquent enthusiasm has had me hunting for music I’d never usually listen to, all of which sounds unusually good in the UK’s current heatwave. So, in case you feel like doing the same…

For Phil’s selective Mystery Train experience you can sidestep Randy Newman (I don’t quite get him), decide for yourself about The Band (‘The Weight’ and ‘Up on Cripple Creek’ do it for me, but I’m not sure about the rest), grab a dirty pile of Robert Johnson, spin some early Elvis and add, in no particular order:

  • Sly and the Family Stone: ‘Family Affair’ and ‘Everybody is a Star’
  • Curtis Mayfield: ‘Freddie’s Dead’
  • The Staple Singers: ‘I’ll Take You There’ and ‘Respect Yourself’
  • Temptations: ‘Papa was a Rolling Stone’
  • War: ‘The World is a Ghetto’ and ‘Slippin’ into Darkness’
  • The O’Jays: ‘Back Stabbers’
  • Marvin Gaye: ‘Inner City Blues’
  • Johnny Nash: ‘I Can See Clearly Now’
  • Stevie Wonder: ‘Superstition’
  • Lloyd Price: ‘Stagger Lee’
  • Skip James: ‘Devil Got My Woman’
  • Richard ‘Rabbit’ Brown: ‘James Alley Blues’

Don’t forget to turn it up.

(I’m intrigued by Marcus’s descriptions of Harmonica Frank but have yet to track any down…)

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