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    Adelphoi's Roots Playlists on LBB


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts returns, taking us on another eclectic journey of old, new, overlooked and lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa.

    This playlist has been curated to showcase songs that are equally alluring as challenging, that have slipped under the radar of mass appeal, but still have had an indirect impact on modern music. It’s a melting pot of hip hop, jazz, cumbia, rock, psychedelic, funk, house, folk, bossa and highlife stretching the corners of the globe from Algeria to Colombia. 

    Opening the playlist and finding the balance by not going too obscure is Brenton Woods’ 1967 ‘The Oogum Boogum Song’ which despite charting 34 in the US and top 9 in the Canadian RnB charts, and recently being featuring in the soundtrack of the film ‘Devil's Due’, still remains relatively on the periphery, globally.

    From Motown-influenced Northern Soul from Philly Queen Dee Dee Sharp comes one of her finest; 'I Really Love You’ is brimming with a smooth, shimmering soulful sound. She didn't get the same kind of recognition that her Motown and Stax contemporaries did, with this single only reaching 78 in the US singles chart.

    Going deeper into obscurity is 'Nantucket Island' lifted from Willie Wright's 1977 'Telling The Truth’ LP. An obscure soul singer with a listenable assimilation of soul, pop, rock, and folk. His refusal to cleave to one particular genre may have perhaps hindered Wright's commercial prospects throughout his career.

    Moving forward into 2019 is an artist to watch out for, Bakar. Bakar’s soulful and vintage-sounding ‘Hell N Back’ has a sense of modernity with his vocal delivery. 

    Gliding into the next piece is a track from South London artist Ego Ella May who recently released her debut LP, ‘So Far’, on Tru Thoughts. It blends neo-soul, contemporary jazz compositions with sultry soul vocals, intertwined with Hip Hop beats and electronic production.

    Highlighting the track ‘Kombisse’ by Bozambo which features on ‘The Original Sound of Burkina Faso’ compilation on Mr Bongo. The collection features songs that pay tribute to a truly golden age of music; touching on folk, funk, blues, Highlife, disco, psyche, Latin, rock and soul. Burkina Faso may be one of the least well-known parts of West Africa but it has a deep history and musical pedigree. A few years before President Thomas Sankara changed his country’s name from Upper Volta to its current one, a new sound emerged to soundtrack a cultural revolution. 

    Karim Ziad is an Algerian jazz drummer, percussionist, who also sings, plays guitar and gimbri (a three-stringed plucked lute originating in West Africa, but now traditional in Moroccan and Algerian music). The chanting on his track Sandiya sets things up nicely for a track ‘Alethia’ by newcomer O’Flynn who has just released his self-titled debut LP on Ninja Tune. 

    These are just some of the highlights in a musical journey that spans across continents, generations and genres…


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts returns, taking us on another eclectic journey of old, new, overlooked and lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa

    There’s so much to talk about with this playlist - it has been designed to be equally alluring as challenging, showcasing alternative music that has slipped under the radar of mass appeal, but still has an indirect impact on modern music. A melting pot of hip hop, jazz, cumbia, rock, psychedelic, funk, house, folk and highlife stretching the corners of the globe from Japan to Columbia.

    We open with a track lifted from the recent fifth album by the nine-piece instrumental collective from Amsterdam, Jungle by Night! They fuse krautrock, dance, jazz and afrobeat together, resulting in something which is the perfect way to start the Roots playlist. They are a danceable and energetic act - definitely worth trying to see them live. 

    An artist worth keeping an eye on is Cameroonian singer Blick Bassy. His track Kiki was used to launch the iPhone 6 in 2015, and he returns with a new album, 1958. This album has been dedicated to the memory of Ruben Um Nyobé, the anti-colonialist leader of the Popular Union of Cameroon (UPC), who was shot dead by French troops on 13th September 1958.  The featured track Woñi, focuses on Bassy’s soulful, sonorous voice; a voice that is gently elevated by subtle guitar riffs, a reflective melancholy trombone and a cheeky trumpet. 

    Bibio is back with his blend of electronic, folk, hip-hop, and rock music with an adventurous outlook and atmospheric production values - I’ve selected the track Old Graffiti from his brand new album Ribbons. 

    Yasuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi, from Japan released in 1982 sounds like up upfront track blending jazz and electronics, but was very rare until 2017 Nippon Columbia/Jet Set released this first ever pressing outside of Japan. 

    How was Jack Jacobs’ I Believe It’s Alright not a hit in 1971?! Melodies International have just re-issued it - a truly uplifting song!

    I Love You - East of Underground. With only a handful of original copies known to exist, East Of Underground was reissued for the first time ever by Wax Poetics Records in 2007. The song I Love You was still relatively unknown until 21 Savage sampled it on his latest A Lot. This track highlights how the culture of sourcing and unearthing rarities can have a huge impact on modern commercial music. 

    Justin Hinds & The Dominoes, Tommy McCook & His Skatalites ‎– Over The River. The producer of this record, Duke Reid, was one of the founding fathers of the Jamaican music business, perhaps second in importance only to his chief rival, Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, both as a record producer and entrepreneur. Much like Dodd, Reid started his career in music as a DJ, then a sound system owner, then a label head (most notably of Trojan and Treasure Isle), a highly accomplished producer who masterminded some of the greatest Jamaican music of the '60s. 

    Fans of Jimi Hendrix should go straight to Living in the Ghetto, by Purple Image. How has this track escaped the public consciousness?

    With a rip-roaring harmonica in the first half of the track, Fear Itself by Crawling King Snake is a blues song that has been recorded by numerous blues and other artists - it is believed to have originated as a Delta blues in the 1920s. 

    Probably the farthest out any children's record ever got, Stark Reality Discovers Hoagy Carmichael's Music Shop descended on unwitting preteens in 1970, thanks to Boston's public television station WGBH and one of its producers, Hoagy Bix Carmichael. An unlikely DJ favourite, Stark Reality finally made it from dust to digital in 2002 with a track on the Stones Throw compilation Jukebox 45's. A full album reissue followed one year later, titled Now, and the deluxe treatment (Acting, Thinking, Feeling: The Complete Works 1968-1978) appeared on Now-Again ten years later. 

    Up-and-coming artist India Jordan’s track DNT STP MY LV is on here - she plays a gig this week Thursday May 2nd at Rye Wax in Peckham, definitely worth checking out if you’re in London. 

    We close on Yos Olarang, a Cambodian garage rock musician, and a leading figure in that country's rock scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s. He is presumed to have been killed during the Cambodian genocide that took place under the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979. Aularong was regarded as an original artist, incorporating elements of soul, funk, and rock into his songs.

    These are just some of the highlights in what I hope is an enjoyable musical journey.


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts returns, taking us on another eclectic journey of old, new, overlooked and lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa

    Roots Volume XII should create a sense of discovery and surprise. A real concoction and melting pot of music from many eras and genres from Zamrock, rock, dream pop, hip-hop, boogaloo, soul, jazz, bossa, psychedelia, afrobeat, reggae - so hopefully there is something for everyone. 

    There are so many stories behind each track that they almost all deserve something more in-depth, but in this digital age of low attention spans I’ve honed in on half a dozen or so. 

    Some of the playlist goes back to the '50s, is inspired by the '30s then there’s a dose of recent upfront sounds spanning across the continents and joining the dots between Japan, Zambia, Togo, Israel, Brazil, US, UK, France and more...

    We start off with a belter from the '50s. Sandy Nelson - ‘Big Noise From Winnetka’ was originally a B-side on the single ‘The Drum Party’. The track is a cover originally written by Bob Haggart and Ray Bauduc in 1938 - it’s also worth checking that out for sure! The drums in both pieces are ripe for sampling - in fact Jurassic 5 have done this to great effect on the track ‘Swing Set’.

    Continuing an uptempo tip we go into the funky and danceable '70s-inspired ‘Anniversaries’ by Vaudou Game which oozes the funk of James Brown. 

    Chiemi Eri - unknown to the rest of the world but a popular singer and actress in Japan - acted in more than 50 films, as well as many theatre plays. She definitely made huge impact in the cultural aesthetic of post-war Japan. Her track ‘Okosa-Bushi’ is a concoction of traditional Japanese Min'yō music, swing and mambo.  

    As the journey continues we arrive in Zambia in the '70s. ‘History of Man’, reissued on label Now Again, is a Zamrock lo-fi, fuzzed-out Stooges and Velvet Underground-inspired rock track. This dovetails in nicely into ‘Grand Funk Railroad’ - a hard rock band heavily influenced by Motown and R&B which is what gives their music such an infectious groove. The track ‘Got This On The Move’ should be considered alongside the best of Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath's music. 

    Staying with hard-edged drums we arrive in 2018 with Dana Murray and his piece ‘The System’. I don’t know how, but this track still has under 1000 views on Spotify! Nonetheless the track challenges institutionalised racism and sexism. 

    With jazz flourishing in 2019, it only makes sense to highlight Theon Cross an extraordinary and highly talented tuba player. The energy in the track ‘Activate’ is pure fire! 

    Taking things down a level is a piece by up-and-coming hip-hop artist Deem Spencer - this guy is one to watch over the next few years.

    Sir Was ‘In The Midst’ follows with an atmospheric genre fusion of indie rock and hip-hop vocals, that has somehow slipped off the radar. 

    The atmospheric tones continue with a 2019 release from French singer Munya. A classically trained pianist and student of Jazz, she delivers a delightful psychedelic dream-pop song entitled ‘Benjamin’.

    I’ve included a previously unreleased demo recording of Prince’s ‘17 Days’. It was recorded in one take with just a microphone and piano. The track was eventually re-recorded and ended up as a funk tune, but it's nice to hear the original idea in a stripped-back form. 

    Key And Cleary ‎– ‘I’m A Man’ - another rare piece that has just been reissued on the label Now Again (I promise I haven’t received any brown envelope). It’s a lo-fi unique soulful piece with a drum machine and bluesy guitar. The track is lifted off the ‘Love Is The Way’ compilation which features rare 7" singles and previously unreleased tracks. This album features recordings spanning from 1970 until the mid 1980s.

    There are so many more to mention, but I will let the music do the talking in this seemingly endless journey of timeless music that has gone under the radar of the many!


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts returns, taking us on another eclectic journey of old, new, overlooked and lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa

    Roots aims to shine a spotlight on music from around the globe that may not have had the exposure it deserves.

    This eleventh list joins the dots between punk, reggae, funk, soul, hip hop, jazz, bossa and Turkish disco. Highlights include a ferocious punk track from one of the first punk groups to emerge, The Pop Group, which sound like the antithesis to pop!

    Continuing the punk vibe, there is a piece recorded in 1977 from an Italian band, Chrisma. An obscure band but one that was still worthy of Hans Zimmer’s keys on their third album. 

    This all sits side by side of fresh music from Anderson .Paak, Harvey Sutherland and friend of Adelphoi, Rosie Lowe.

    Hope you enjoy the journey!


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts returns for the tenth in the Roots playlist series, taking us on another eclectic journey of old, new, overlooked and lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa

    Roots X aims to shine a spotlight on music from around the globe that may not have had the exposure it deserves.

    For our tenth in the series, this is a special extended playlist... There are so many highlights in this one - where do I start? 

    We kick off with Muyei Power - unknown outside of Sierra Leone, but one of the country's biggest bands. 

    I’ve tried not to go too obscure, so I've thrown in some LL Cool J; the piece from 1990 is one of his lesser-known tracks, but still highly influential and you can clearly hear its influence on N.E.R.D’s music. I've also included Pomo’s recent tasteful remix of Daryl Hall & John Oates ‘I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do), which seems to have gone under the radar. It stays true to the original but brings that fresh Kaytranda-esque swing to the groove. Link Wray may not be a household name in the Rock ’n’ Roll scene, but his influence must not be under-estimated! In a nutshell, he was one of the first to use the power chord in rock n roll. Pete Townshend said "He is the king; if it hadn’t been for Link Wray and 'Rumble’, I would have never picked up a guitar.". 

    Another highlight for me is The Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose's 'Too Late To Turn Back Now', a very under-exposed soul track until now, as it features in such a beautifuly crafted moment in the BlackkKlansman film. 

    The playlist aims to build a bridge across Rhumba, Hip Hop, Trap, Jazz, Footwork, Post Punk, Soul, African Disco, Highlife, Rock n Roll, Reggae, Gospel and make the world feel like a smaller place. Enjoy. 


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts returns, taking us on another eclectic journey of old, new, overlooked and lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa

    Taking inspiration from this summer's heatwave, I have curated the Roots playlist with an upbeat tone to be enjoyed in the sunshine with friends and family. This playlist goes to the outer limits of Spotify's ever-growing database of 10 million tracks; part of the goal with the Roots playlist series is to showcase music that got away or was never released until recently. Black Beauty, the never-before-released masterpiece by Arthur Lee's legendary band LOVE, was the follow up album to the timeless Changes. The track Midnight Sun, originally recorded in 1973, sounds like something Hendrix could have written.

    Another track worth checking is Marco Bosco - Madeira II (Mãe Terra). Up until recently, it was only available on vinyl with copies going for over £100! Now thanks to labels like Music From Memory it's available on Spotify for all to enjoy!

    The playlist covers music from the last 50-60 years, and - without it sounding too disjointed and chaotic - is a seamless fusion of funk, boogie, house, hip hop, jazz, rock, reggae, samba, footwork, drum and bass and much more…


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts takes us on an eclectic journey of old, new, overlooked and perhaps lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa

    Some of the music on this playlist is indicative of the labels whose output consists of re-issuing forgotten, often undiscovered or should-have-been classics. Labels such as Light In The Attic, Numero Uno and Luv N’ Haight, Analog Africa, Music From Memory to name a few are just some of the labels dedicated to re-issuing quality overlooked material.

    There are many reasons why a lot of music has been overlooked. The award-winning film 'Searching for Sugar Man' certainly illustrates how an artist can be overlooked, even when the talent is up there with such greats as Bob Dylan. 

    The playlist captures a snapshot of the vibes and music on the fringes, from clubs and bars in London, such as Total Refreshment Centre, Canavan Club, Spiritland and Brilliant Corners. 

    As this playlist is not only retrospective there is a sprinkling of new tracks, such as Abstract Orchestra's cover of the late J Dilla’s 'Two Can Win', and Shabazz Palaces, 'Shine A Light'.

    As leftfield as the playlist is, with the coverage of diversity from countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, Nigeria, Madagascar, Thailand and beyond…hopefully there is something for everyone. 

    There does seem to be a limit with Spotify’s algorithms using the "Recommended Songs" feature, but with the diversity of the selection it should give the listener a chance to explore a journey of an almost seemingly endless ream of songs beyond this playlist.


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts takes us on an eclectic journey of old and new, overlooked and perhaps lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa

    When making a playlist, it’s always tempting to go more obscure as there is so much great music that never gets a proper airing. The size of Spotify’s library certainly forces the issue to a degree. 

    This playlist does feature artists that are well known, such as The Clash, but here we showcase an unexpected Hip Hop track they collaborated on with Futura 2000 in 1982.

    Another surprise is Karen Dalton’s Same Old Man, AKA "folk music's answer to Billie Holiday," which has a bluesy undertone to the track, produced by Harvey Brooks who played bass on Bob Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.

    Part of the aim of these playlists is to also highlight black music’s contribution to the medium, and a great example is Cola Bottle Baby sampled by Daft Punk on Harder, Faster, Stronger. 

    A new tune not to miss a Trap-n-B style track from Kintaro, former keyboardist of The Internet and brother of Thundercat.

    Enjoy the journey!


    Adelphoi Music's Jonathan Watts takes us on an eclectic journey of old and new, overlooked and perhaps lesser known tracks that have musical roots in Africa. From the cosmic sounds of Sun Ra to a lesser known Prince track The Ballad of Dorothy Parker, there's sure to be something here to tickle your fancy.


    Adelphoi Music's very own Jonathan Watts is back with his famous Roots series and how time has flown - we've reached #5! This edition is a journey from the unfamiliar, forgotten, or recently discovered, to the most upfront sounds of now, all with the common theme of being rooted in Africa.

    The playlist is curated so that it can be listened to from beginning to end, with genres spanning across Funk & Soul, Boogie, Afro-Beat, Jazz, Electro, and Footwork.

    Jonathan Watts comments: "While Roots Vol 5 is not as obscure as its predecessors - as it features artists many will be familiar with such as James Brown and DJ Shadow. But in this instance, we delve deeper into James Brown’s catalogue picking out an overlooked gem and showcasing an upfront Footwork remix of a well known DJ Shadow track.

    "Some other interesting highlights come from Saada Bonaire, a female duo, straight off the catwalk in 1982 who were pulled in to record in Kraftwerk's studio in Cologne. Their recordings have being laying dormant for over 30 years until now! The track “You Could Be More As You Are", lifted from their self-titled LP is an interesting blend of Electronica, Funk and Turkish folk! Stay tuned! And towards the end of the journey is a masterpiece from Jean-Luc Ponty, originally recorded in 1983.

    "So sit back relax and let the music do the talking."


    Our Roots series continues, showcasing an eclectic range of music from across the globe, the ongoing theme being rooted in Africa. The playlist spans many different eras and generations. Old, new, unfamiliar or forgotten gems from Brazil, Thailand, India, USA and even Japan.


    Whilst this selection of tunes boasts an all star line up of Kendrick Lamar, Kaytranada, Parliament, Tribe Called Quest, Chet Baker, Ryuichi Sakamoto , Nils Frahm & Elmer Bernstein, it explores an eclectic journey of old & new, overlooked and perhaps lesser known tracks.

    Some of them may challenge the perception of music rooted in African musical culture such as Nils Frahm ‘Hammers’ which has no percussive elements but the song suggests rhythm throughout. With Jazz improv being a key influence in the artist's music.

    Enjoy the journey!


    Prep your Christmas party playlist with the help of Adelphoi music supervisor Jonathan Watts - he is back with the sequel to his Roots Volume I.

    "Continuing where we left off last time... here is a left-field selection of music rooted in Africa, old and new and stretching Spotify's library with many lesser known tunes. The selection of music aims to join the dots across Samba, Soul, Funk, Hip Hop, Drum n Bass, Footwork, Indie Rock, Techno and Ambient, capturing music from 1950 by Muddy Waters, all the way to DJ Paypal in 2015."


    For your ears this Friday, Jonathan Watts, music supervisor at Adelphoi Music, has dished up a multi-genre spanning selection of tunes, all with one thing in common. They're all firmly nailed in the roots of blues and rhythm. Enjoy!

    "Roots Volume 1 is an eclectic left-field mix of music rooted in blues and rhythms, both old and new. The playlist spans Jazz, Funk, Hip Hop, Reggae, Beats, Footwork & Folk exposing a few hidden gems and hopefully alighting your ears with aural pleasure." Jonathan Watts