Once a month we hand over the blog over to our playlister-in-chief Ollie to tell you all about his picks for our playlist, Boat Floaters. Read on to listen, find out more, and enjoy.
To help you combat November's two-pronged attack of rising COVID-19 levels and falling afternoon sunshine, here's a bumper 151-minute Meet Bernard selection.
The 35-track playlist begins with MFSB's wonderful 1980 slow-build funk classic Mysteries of the World.
Next up, and 40 years later – ie in 2020 – hip-hop supergroup Quakers II, with the help of Zambia-born rapper nonpareil Sampa the Great, have released Approach With Caution, one of a number of standout tunes on their new album, The Next Wave, available from mid-November.
And in a similar dubby vibe Liam Bailey, one of a number of Nottingham-based musicians hitting the high notes, serves up Champion, a song that playfully shimmies across genres, from soul, R&B, reggae and dub.
Fourth in line comes from Denmark, via my favourite new find Astrid Engberg. Yes, she sings "daylight" a lot in the delightful, optimistic track of the same name, but given that the clocks have jumped back I would argue that we need all the daylight we can get.
Other monthly highlights include Ain't Got the Love (Of One Girl On My Mind), The Ambassadors' 1969 soul sensation, of which Gilles Peterson reminded me the other Saturday. And I totally love Suzanne Kraft's superbly-crafted Femme Cosmic, which features on Hot Chip's new Late Night Tales compilation.
There is, quite unusually, plenty of guitar action this month, too, in part to inspire Meet Bernard co-owner Ryan to practice plucking his strings. I'm not sure he – or indeed many people – could master Kiko Dinucci's frantic-but-memorable Olodé.
The other acoustic gems were unearthed by socialising – remember socialising? Huddled around a firepit in Brockley with good friends the other Friday I heard Nick Mulvey's stunningly moving Cucurucu. And, over a beer in the park, another south-east London pal introduced me to Borough Lovers, who conclude November's extended selection. It was only after I'd gleefully consumed the magical album – perfect for a Sunday morning, as he said – that my amigo revealed he is the lead singer and songwriter.
Here's hoping you have plenty of pleasant surprises this month – because, oh boy, we need them. With luck this playlist will provide some of them, too. Let me know.
Yours in music,
Ollie (Boat Floaters)