I have an embarrassingly large CD and record collection – spread across two flats (not both mine, in case you were wondering) and occupying everything from shelves to suitcases. Courtesy of YouTube, I thought I’d share some of the choice items – particularly some of the less well known ones.  Think of it as a slowly evolving, digital mixtape...

There’ll be a new song most days (at least that’s the plan) so keep checking back and please post your comments and suggestions as well.

David Peaston was Fontella Bass’s baby brother.  On his debut album for Geffen (Introducing...) he covered this song, originally recorded by Eddie Kendricks.  He easily transcends the glossy 80s production as he moves from smooth balladry to fade out on a minor scatfest.  The same album features a version of God Bless The Child that bought the Showtime at the Apollo audience to its feet.

Around about the time the album came out, I saw him in Hammersmith supporting Gladys Knight.  He was superb – the audience, most unaware of who he was and anxious to get to the familiar headliner, talked through his whole performance.  Gladys bought him back for an encore and made sure he received his due.  Respect.


Dick Haymes was once as big as Sinatra. He was huge on Decca in the 40s but by the mid-50s he was washed up. His disastrous marriage to Rita Hayworth over, mired in drink and debt he recorded the best music of his career at Capitol on 2 albums with arranger Ian Bernard, Moondreams and Rain Or Shine. Everything on these albums is superb but here is the saddest version of this song you’ll ever hear. All he needs is one chorus. Haymes made some fine recordings well into the 70s but nothing ever equalled this.


Queen Esther Marrow has sung with Duke Ellington and Bob Dylan, starred on Broadway and, since 1992, lead The Harlem Gospel Singers. In her 70s, her voice remains virtually undimmed. Here she is effortlessly gospelising Laura Nyro on her 1972 album Sister Woman.


Here’s one of the great blues shouters topping and tailing some great blowing by a band led by Buck Clayton. Jimmy held nothing back...