Rustin Man Picks Out Some Summer Sounds

From Northern Soul greats to South American curios...

Rustin Man has immersed his life in music.

Real name Paul Webb, the English artist was a key aspect of Talk Talk's transition from superior synth pop hitmakers to post-rock innovators, before embarking on a path of his own.

Using the name Rustin Man, his cult catalogue has developed a sharply honed identity, one with a real cult following.

New album 'Clockdust' is out now, and Rustin Man was slated to play a number of live shows in November.

Alas, the pandemic has put paid to those ambitions for the time being, but the English artist has compiled a neat playlist for Clash, featuring some summer tunes.

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Jet Harris- The Main Theme For ‘The Man With The Golden Arm’

Jet Harris was the bass player with the shadows in the late 50’s. He left the band to pursue a solo career, and in 1962 recorded this wonderfully arranged instrumental. I love the attitude of the bass playing, and the way his sound manages to cut through the thick horn arrangement.

Jet Harris also recorded my favorite version of the song ‘Chills & Fever” around this time.

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Josephine Foster ‘Trees Lay By’

There is just something about this woman’s voice that I really connect with. I love the way she sounds naturally otherworldly, as if she’s singing from another place and time. I had the same kind of feeling when I first heard Beth Gibbons.

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Sigur Ros – 'Sven-G-Englar'

I’ve been told often that later ‘Talk Talk’ was influential to bands involved with Post-Rock music. I’ve never really known what this term means, but read somewhere that Sigur Ros was part of that movement.

I adore the atmosphere of this track and it still sounds as potent to me as it did when it was first released. I’ve never been to Iceland, where this band comes from. In my mind it’s this mystical, exotic place that sits on top of the world and is very hard to reach. This tune is my soundtrack to how I imagine it would be if I were ever lucky enough to visit.

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The Mills Brothers – 'Jungle Fever'

This vocal quartet was remarkably successful through the 30’s and 40’s, recording over 2000 songs. The harmonizing was always warm sounding and interesting. I was listening to their vocal arrangements when working out the backing vocals for 'Drift Code' and 'Clockdust'.

On this track they show off their talent by not only singing the song, but also vocally imitating the horn parts at the same time. Incredible.

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The Flirtations – 'Nothing But A Heartache'

It took me a long time to get into Northern soul, but after years of our family going camping in the summer with Steve Cradock’s family, I have got to understand the genius of the music.

Apart from Steve being an incredible musician/producer, he has often gone out as a DJ playing Northern Soul. A few years back he gave me a great CD of the genre, he had compiled. I just need him to teach me the dancing bit now.

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Tom Waits – 'Martha'

There’re very few songs that bring me to tears, but this nostalgic look back at a love that could have been, but never was, gets me every time. It’s incredible that Tom Waits was only 23 when he wrote this tune. It’s the kind of song I’d imagine could only be written by some one twice his age.

I love the more abstract albums like ‘Bone Machine’ and ‘Black Rider’ ‘Waits’ went on to record, but I’m equally happy he sung and recorded this particular song, in a straight classic way, before he moved into those other experimental, musical areas. It’s songwriting perfection.

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The Electric Prunes – 'I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)'

When we started Talk Talk, Lee Harris and myself stayed at Mark Hollis’s flat for a brief period, as we both had nowhere to stay in London. After rehearsals’ we spent a lot of downtime listening to records.

The original ‘Nuggets’ album, a compilation of American Psychedelic music between 1965-1968 was a big favorite. This song is on that record and when recording electric guitar on my solo albums, I would often play this Electric Prunes track to get me in the mood. All the guitar sounds that are dialed up on this record are fantastic.

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Lito Barrientos – 'Cumbia En Do Menor'

So much joyous music has come out of South American, and this song is no exception. For me this track is the happiest of the happiest. When I want to pick the party up, this is always the record I reach for.

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Jonny ‘Guitar’ Watson – 'Space Guitar'

This record was recorded back in 1954, although with its extraordinary use of reverb on the guitar track, you would think it was recorded a lot later. Surprisingly this single did not chart at the time, but Jonny ‘Guitar’ Watson later found success as a funk artist in the 70’s.

On my new album ‘Clockdust’, I got back into the use of Reverbs. Hearing ‘Space Guitar’ for the first time a few years ago is partly the reason why.

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Raymond Scott – 'The Penguin'

Those familiar with the Rustin Man records would have noticed I’m not shy to colour songs in with a horn section when needed. This wonderfully quirky instrumental from Raymond Scott has some nice unexpected twists and turns from start to finish.

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'Clockdust' is out now.

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