Saint Etienne are a pioneering English indie dance/indie pop band from London, formed in 1990.
They have just released a limited edition 2,000 run photographic monograph of over 150 images of the band with full annotation, complete discography and commentary by members Sarah, Pete and Bob. Elusive friend and musician Lawrence (Felt, Denim, Go-Kart Mozart) has contributed an eloquent foreword, and conversations with each member uncover individual memories that make up the group’s history. It contains both celebrated and previously unpublished photos of the group by some of the world’s best known music and fashion photographers, as well as many previously unseen images from the group’s personal archives taken by close friend and film-maker Paul Kelly. The book is called ‘Saint Etienne’ and is available to purchase now from First Third Books.
To commemorate the release of this book, Saint Etienne member Bob Stanley has put together an exclusive playlist for Fred Perry Subculture, in which he includes his favourite Motown tunes. Perfect for summer listening!
Stevie Wonder - Love A Go Go
I love the heavy presence of mumbling backing singers to (presumably) cover the fact that Stevie's voice was breaking. Odd lyric about one night stands buoyed by the brass section fresh off of Dancing In The Street.
The Originals - Suspicion
Minor chords and an irresistible beat, pure northern soul, hidden in the shadows of Motown and only available as a bootleg for years.
Marvin Gaye - Lonely Lover
One of many songs marvellous Marvin Gaye I could have chosen (When I Feel The Need, Trouble Man, When I Had Your Love). Always at his best when there's a strong suggestion of darkness.
The Marvelettes - Don't Make Hurting Me A Habit
Fragile vocal underpinned by gentility from drummer Uriel Jones and lifted up by summer-friendly woodwinds.
Chris Clark - I Just Wanna Be Loving You
A wrenching urge to be somewhere else, with someone else, is driving Chris to distraction.
Barbara McNair - Baby A Go Go (Countin' On You Babe)
Could this be Barbara McNair's answer to Stevie Wonder's Love A Go Go? It's a classic "wrong side of town" girl group lyric, and Barbara tears chunks out of it. How did this go unreleased in the 60s?
Kim Weston - A Little More Love
Very sweet lyric, Kim asking for just a touch more affection over what sounds closer to a west coast Gold Star production than typical Detroit Motown.
Martha & the Vandellas - In My Lonely Room
What are the instruments on that intro? Vibes and banjo? Who cares once the drums come in! Such an impassioned vocal.
The Four Tops - Still Water
Hard to believe this was a UK Top 10 hit, as it's all atmosphere, a precursor to What's Going On in some ways.
Diana Ross - Remember Me
Has the kind of grandstanding lyric that Miss Ross loved to sink her teeth into, but with unusual restraint on a really beautiful Ashford & Simpson song.