Mark Ronson – Uptown Special (The ’59) #347

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Mark Ronson – Uptown Special (2015)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Today we’ve reached year 57 – 2015.

Dedicated to the late Amy Winehouse and released in January 2015, Uptown Special was the fourth and final studio album from record producer and DJ, Mark Ronson.

It became Ronson’s first number one on the UK Albums Chart (with his previous two albums charting at number two), and reached number two on the Australian ARIA Albums Chart and number five on the US Billboard 200.

The lead single – “Uptown Funk” – had its beginning out of a jam in Bruno’s studio in LA with Mars drumming, Jeff Bhasker on synths and Ronson on bass. After they got the basic groove, Philip Lawrence joined and they wrote the lyrics to the first verse. They finished the song in Toronto, six months later. It rose to No.1 on the UK Singles Chart, marking Ronson’s first number one song as an artist and producer; as well as peaking at No.1 on the Irish Singles Chart and the Billboard 100.

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Afrikan Boy – the ABCD (The 59) #345

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Afrikan Boy – The ABCD (2014)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 56 – 2014

It’s taken an age but Olushola Ajose, A.K.A Afrikan Boy, has now arrived on our doorsteps with a sharp, edgy, brilliant and witty album that’s crept into our lives like all great pieces of audio usually do if we’re patient enough to hang around and wait.

Afrikan Boy first came to our attention nearly a decade ago with his catchy, clever song about stealing goods and getting caught stealing goods from those great British bastions of shopping stores, Asda and Lidl.

What we have on this album is a more mature Afrikan Boy. He’s nine years older, a 25 year old and not the teenager he was when we first met him but that hasn’t taken away the humour and, indeed, the sharpness of his lyrics that make this man unique and in a position to be adored by the nation outside his front door in south east London.

[Louder than War Music review – September 2014]

Underworld – A hundred days off (The ’59) #268

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Underworld – A hundred days off (2002)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Today we’ve reached year 44 – 2002.

A Hundred Days Off was Underworld’s sixth, released in September 2002.

It produced two UK Singles Chart entries: “Two Months Off”, which reached no. 12 and “Dinosaur Adventure 3D”, which reached no. 34.

Although this was the first album since Darren Emerson’s departure from the group in 2001, the album is not a huge stylistic makeover as the main focus of the band is still trance, techno and house, although without the beats that defined 1999’s ‘Beaucoup Fish’.

Generally positive reviews from music critics followed its release. NME gave it 8/10 describing it as…

Their best album since their Dubnobasswithmyheadman debut, Karl and Rick have pulled off a comeback in fine style and laid some demons to rest. Underworld prove that you’re only as old as the technology you use”.

Stateside, Rolling Stone gave the album 3 out of 5 stars saying that…

The beauty of A Hundred Days Off is that it pumps and churns so suggestively; it somehow evokes the blues of the otherwise successful modern man, who goes out every night and dances alone in his head.

‘A Hundred Days Off’ rose to No.16 on the UK Albums Charts and No. 122 on the US Billboard 200.

Massive Attack – Mezzanine (The ’59) #247

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Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998)

Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, has now turned 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 40 – 1998.

Mezzanine was Massive Attack’s third studio, released on 20 April 1998 by Circa and Virgin Records. It was the first album produced by Neil Davidge.

For legal reasons. the album was first made available as a legal download from the band’s website prior to its hard copy release.

Mezzanine topped the charts in the UK, Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand, becoming the group’s most commercially successful album to date. It spawned four singles: “Risingson”, “Teardrop”, “Angel”, and “Inertia Creeps”

Red Snapper – Making Bones (Epic #256)

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Red Snapper – Making Bones (1998)

Red Snapper was founded in London in 1993 by Ali Friend (double bass), Richard Thair (drums), and David Ayers (guitar). The three core members are also joined by various guest musicians and vocalists on different records. Since the 2007 reunion Tom Challenger (saxophone) has also been a member of the band. Music journalist Jason Ankeny of Allmusic characterises their sound…

the British acid jazz trio [are] notable for their pioneering synthesis of acoustic instruments and electronic textures

Making Bones was their second studio album released in 1998. For this one they were joined by jungle MC Det, Byron Wallen the jazz trumpeter and singer Alison David.

Here’s ‘The sleepless’

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Plan B – Who needs actions when you got words (Epic 2017 #229)

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Plan B – Who needs actions when you got words (2006)

OK you lucky lot. Today you’re getting eight episodes of ‘Epic’ all on the same day; essentially because I’m away for a week with no possibility of updating blogs etc.

The penultimate offering (that for Thursday 17 August) is ‘Who Needs Actions When You Got Words’, the debut studio album released by British rapper and songwriter Plan B from June 2006. The album was recorded with producers such as Fraser T Smith, Paul Epworth, The Earlies and The Nextmen. The title of the album derives from a line in the Meat Puppets song “Plateau”, famously covered by Nirvana on their album MTV Unplugged in New York.