Martini Music – a party-time playlist

Amy Winehouse drug-free? Hollywood Gossip

A drug free Amy Winehouse - Hollywood Gossip

Update 23 October (over the dateline)

A drug-free Amy Winehouse? I’d love to see that.

But here in Aotearoa we have a saying that is captured on billboards advertising Tui beer:

A drug-free Amy Winehouse: “Yeah right!”

So it’s not surprising she went crazy at the Q Music awards yesterday. [26 Oct update]

Still, her dad Mitch says she hasn’t taken drugs for a year. Do you believe him?

Hollywood Gossip thinks otherwise, though it seems her boob job went well.

I”ve been meaning for sometime to write a note about Martini Music. In particular I wanted to mention Amy Winehouse.

Yes, I know she’s a walking disaster zone, but her musical talent is all too obvious. I really hope she doesn’t kill herself with whatever grizzly cocktail of drugs and fucked-upedness floats her boat. There’s a lot more Martini music here too, just skip the updates if you’re not an Amy fan.

Update 10 October 2009:

I have no idea if Amy’s had a boob-job and frankly I don’t care. I think it’s great that she turned up on Strictly Come Dancing to support her 13-year-old God-daughter. Maybe, just maybe, Amy’s making a recovery. She was reportedly straight back into rehab after the performance, but her 3rd album is due to drop sometime next year.

Personally I don’t think these recent photos show anything except that Amy’s looking better than she has in a long time, but then again, I’m not sure I’d know the difference between a 32B and a 32D anyway. If you look at earlier photos, she’s not that different.

Photo: Gossip Center

Photo: Gossip Center

Update July 24 2009:

Yes Amy’s been back in court again. This time cleared of assaulting a fan. It’s time she was back in the studio to finish her next set of songs.

I have a friend in the music industry. He tells me that Amy’s Carribean sojourn and her recording with West Indian artists has not gone well. According to my source, the record company said that Amy’s demo tapes stink and they’ve told her to go and start again. It seems like the next Amy record won’t be out for Christmas. Bugger!

Update July 17 2009:

OK, so now I get it. Amy’s in the news today. Her divorce from hubby Blake Fielder-Civil was granted in London (16 July GMT) and so she’s back on the radar. Personally I hope Amy’s most recent foray into the studio coughs up a good album. For hardcore fans it’s been too long  since her last hit.  Meanwhile, her mum and dad are worried that Amy’s booze addiction is killing her. Seriously, slow down girl…

Apparently the ground for divorce-which Fielder-Civil initiated-was adultery on Amy’s part. Let’s hope her new sex-fix is a bit more stable, charming, intelligent and caring than her ex-husband. While you’re here, check out the Martini playlist.

We bought “Back to Black” late last year after hearing “Rehab” on the radio from time to time. At that point my anti-Amy prejudice was sky-high. After all, I reasoned, she was a dipshit meth-head who could not stay out of trouble, or the trash mags.  She’s all of that, but she’s also fabulous.

Mea culpa

Amy, Amy, Amy...where's your moral parallel?

I love Amy Winehouse.  B2B and the earlier “Frank” are two of the most soulful, jazzy hip records you could ever hope to own. She is a great writer, has a fantastic voice and does some of the most interesting arrangements of standards and classics, as well as her own stuff. Amy is a dysfunctional legend.

But then, we have to mention Sharon Jones….Sharon Who? Not quite as dysfunctional as Amy W and a bit older, therefore wiser.

Uber-cool in a tight gold dress!

Sharon’s a key artist on the Daptone label and, if you haven’t yet heard “100 Days, 100 Nights” or “Naturally”, do yourself a favour. And quickly.

Meanwhile, what Martini party would be complete without a little Cuban rhythm? I’ve got just the ticket…Buena Vista Social Club meets Coldplay.

We’ll get back to Sharon Jones in a minute, but first let me assure you that Coldplay, U2, Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Sting, Jack Johnson, Franz Ferdinand, Maroon 5, Dido and Faithless are greatly improved by a masterful collaboration with Ibrahim Ferrer and Omara Portuondo in Rythms del Mundo.

The Cuban maestros have given some cool rock tunes the Buena Vista once-over and the result is a sublime mix that should get any cocktail soire off to a booming and wiggly start.  You can also bop and shimmy to the 16 tracks on this CD with a clear conscience – at least until the effects of three Vespers kicks in.

The recordings are part of Artists’ Project Earth a musical/charity project with a focus on climate change and disaster relief.  So get out there and have fun while doing something useful to help the planet.

daktaris-largeSo, Sharon Jones…before we do, let’s mention The Daktaris who are Sharon’s label-mates.The Daktaris are a house band at Daptone and their “Soul Explosion” is very funky indeed. In fact, if you can believe their own hype, Soul Explosion is one of the Toughest Afro-Funk Albums Ever Recorded. You can taste a couple of tracks via this link.

On our way to Sharon let’s take a local detour

I had my eye on a CD in my local record store because I couldn’t resist the cover “Music for cocktail lovers”, and itlong_cocktails_album_cover_480_normal2 features a shot of a classic Martini glass with a hint of olive.

I dropped into Eastridge on Saturday and finally got ’round to having a test listen. Turns out that the producer is Nathan Haines. A familiar name in the New Zealand jazz scene. Once again a great blend of classics with a twist.

On this CD Nathan “and friends” cover Nina Simone, Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, St Germain, Zero 7 and others. This is the one to go onto the turntable (do you put CDs on a turntable) first up, but I’d do it on shuffle with the Daktaris and the rest. Then I’d go for the big guns, Ms Sharon Jones.

Hang on, not yet. I almost forgot Paul Weller. I was a huge fan of The Jam in my punk days and I still am. I think “A town like Malice” is fantastic and “Pretty Green”, well who doesn’t need it from time to time.

Weller’s solo career has blossomed and he’s actually pretty good. At first I was skeptical that he’d be MoR and boring as dried bat shit, but in fact, he can still rock it on with a good bluesy and funky beat. His new-ish CD “22 Dreams” has the track Have you made up your mind

You know what it’s like at parties. The fight over the turntable and what music to play. So if you gather up the recommendations so far you should please just about everyone.

Then, the finale, or, if you like, the main course. Ms Sharon Jones.


Sharon Jones can sing and the Dap-Kings can play. This will get your party started big time. Check her out.

There’s an eclectic selection here, something for everyone. Cocktails are cool, so the music has to match.

I like this description from Nathan Haines “Music for Cocktail Lovers”


People enjoying the energy and vibrancy that comes from anticipating a great night ahead.

Start them with a Vesper***, well-chilled and made with quality ingredients. Kick the music up and party like it’s 1999.

Oh yeah, Prince should be on the playlist too.

Also some of the following:

Amp Fiddler, in particular a very cool cover of the Hendrix classic “Hey Joe”

Sharleen Spiteri, who is/was the lead singer in Texas (an all-time favourite of ours) and who released a great solo album “Melody” in 2008.

And finally, another great set of remixed covers again featuring Coldplay. Mark Ronson’s “Version”. This CD has Robbie Williams, Lily Allen, Amy W, The Jam and the Kaiser Chiefs all in remix modemark-ronson

***The Vesper

According to the Wikipedia entry, the Vesper is a martini  invented and named by fictional secret agent James Bond in the 1953 novel Casino Royale.

“A dry martini,” [Bond] said. “One. In a deep champagne goblet.”

“Oui, monsieur.”

“Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?”

“Certainly, monsieur.” The barman seemed pleased with the idea.

“Gosh, that’s certainly a drink,” said Leiter.

Bond laughed. “When I’m…er…concentrating,” he explained, “I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink’s my own invention. I’m going to patent it when I can think of a good name.”

Ian Fleming, Casino Royale

9 Responses to Martini Music – a party-time playlist

  1. Medusa says:

    Very funky way to start the day, never heard of some of these players although already a Winehouse fan. Must say, I like Sharon Jones and Buena Vista Social Club, very groovy.

    Thanks for the music lesson…party hard!

  2. Neska says:

    Thanks Mr M, your recommendations are duly noted for this lovely lady starved of soothing adult toones. On the radio today I heard TCE Sly and took me back to happy dancing with wild abandon at the Tivoli, when I still could do so without snapping a femur. Happy times 🙂 By chance I also saw a photo of Paul Weller yesterday who seems to have collided with a hairdresser who should know better. Paul was lamenting that he wished he was Mick Jagger who was “still skinny, could still sing, and still sleeps with lots of women”. Poor Paul.

  3. Andrew says:

    Wow, very very cool selection. Ive always enjoyed Amp Fiddler’s work, especially slower cuts Iike ‘I Believe In You’. Once I’m done writing this I will definately be checking out Sharon Jones and the Daptone label.


  4. rob says:

    hey mr martini…

    Great suggestions…just like to chuck a couple atcha…

    If you’re tasting Cuban music for the first time don’t miss the album “Introducing Ruben Gonzalez”.
    He died in 2003.

    or the album “Cachaito” by bass player Orlando ‘Cachaito’ Lopez with Pee Wee Ellis and Hugh Masekela on horns.

    Cachaito passed away on Feb 9 this year. He was 76.

    Fantastic music for any time of day or night…has a palpable soul that stays with you long after the disc has finished.

    And if you like Sharon Jones try the ‘Bamboos feat Kylie Audlist’…or the Etta James tracks “Ball & Chain” or “Let’s Burn down the cornfield” with Lowell George on slide guitar.

    but no matter which way your tastes run…if you want to check whether you’re alive or not, you’ve got to get some MACEO PARKER…9 piece funk…Maceo was with James Brown for years and he’s got the bassplayer from Parliament – he’s played with JB, Parliament, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Dave Mathews Band, Living Colour, 10,000 Maniacs and Prince…try “Roots and Grooves” or “Dial M for Maceo” as an intro…James Brown used to yell, “blow Maceo, blow”…

    and when Maceo blows…your ass is gonna be shakin’.

  5. Nice rob, thanks. I always appreciate your picks. You are Mr Music
    peace out bro

  6. […] back to Rob, he sent a comment to my first Martini Music post: hey mr […]

  7. deadale says:

    On amy- i would like to say, is that the look and attitude of a person who hasn’t taken drugs FOR A YEAR?
    i dont think so..

    anyways, you’ve great pick of music.. especially that remixed version featuring voice of robbie william..
    classic classic collections..

    man, you’ve got taste..

  8. rob says:

    Got another couple of smackin’ good Kiwi bands for ya…

    afore you go out…whack on Batucada Sound Machine “Rhythm and Rhyme” – brazilian smile-inducing toe-tappin’ stuff…and when you get home from your night out, chuck on the new offering from Fat Freddy’s Drop “Dr Boondigga and the Big BW”…chilled nz dub to soothe away your day.


  9. Medusa says:

    Well unfortunately Amy won’t be having a really happy Christmas…again – “The singer Amy Winehouse has been charged with assault after allegedly attacking a theatre manager at a pantomime.”

    Can’t take her anywhere really, love her stuff but shame she just can’t keep her act together!

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