We’ll take a few music tips from Richard Swift any day: He’s a serious crate digger and a mysterious studio wizard, a guy who hangs at the Wilco loft and time travels through ’50s-reverb guitar rock, ’60s R&B gold sounds and shaggy ’70s singer/songwriter fare. (He’s probably working on ’80s new wave as we type.) His latest album, The Atlantic Ocean (on Secretly Canadian; download “Lady Luck”), is stylistically deep and forever blue, with guest appearances by Ryan Adams, Sean Lennon and Wilco’s Pat Sansone.
SANDY BULL “Memphis, TN” (1964)
Found this a few years ago. It’s slowly become one of my favorite recordings. There’s a great version of it on Still Valentine’s Day 1969: Live At The Matrix, San Francisco as well.
ERKIN KORAY “Cemalim” (1974)
Koray is a Turkish rock star. This is from his 1974 release, Elektronik Turkuler. Almost eight minutes long, and it never gets boring. This is the shit, kids.
CHRISSY ZEBBY TEMBO & NGOZI FAMILY “Coffin Maker” (1974)
OK, Chrissy & Co. are from Zambia. They recorded My Ancestors around ’73. It’s all fuzzy and shit. Enough said, right?
SUN RA “We Travel The Spaceways” (1978)
There are a few different versions of this song, but my favorite has to be from Disco 3000.
WILLIE NELSON “Shotgun Willie” (1973)
Willie proves he can be a groovy mofo.
DUB NARCOTIC SOUND SYSTEM “Super Dub Narcotic” (1996)
Somehow, I didn’t get into DNSS until a year ago. I like a lot of stuff on K Records, but this is one of my favorites. You can find this track on Boot Party.
METAL BOYS “He’s Shaken Up” (2004)
Go and buy everything you can from Metal Boys, Metal Urbain and Doctor Mix And The Remix. Late-’70s electronic-French-punk rock.
JOE MEEK & THE BLUE MEN “I Hear A New World” (1960)
This is from I Hear A New World: An Outer Space Music Fantasy. It’s an album made in 1960 about the moon. Complete with chipmunk background vocals and all.
THE SHARADES “Dumb Head “(1964)
Produced by the abovementioned Joe Meek. Really ahead of its time—and appropriately silly.
LOU REED “Families” (1979)
From one of my favorite records of all time, The Bells. Truly a strange, strange album, but I can’t stop listening to it. Also check out the first track, “Stupid Man,” where Reed rhymes “stupid man” with “Saskatchewan.”