Bob Stanley Presents 76 In The Shade (Ace Records)

Apparently the Summer of 76 was pretty fuckin’ hot in Ol’ Blightey. So hot, in fact, that St. Etienne’s perennial comp maker Bob Stanley (of English Weather comp fame) just HAD TO put together a hazy, humid, glistening, sunshiney soundtrack to rep it. Not that these are the songs your average UK teen would have been listening to at the time, as those would have been the pre-punk glitter of Elton/Abba/Bowie, but then again Stanley’s comps have never been about reality, which is what makes them great. Mr. Etienne’s vision has always been to create what should have been the soundtracks to certain UK eras, and his imagined realms are always better than the real ones. For the scorching summer of 76 Stanley evokes laconic, stoned urban summer tracks that truly evoke what it feels like to be sweaty, happy, and immobile on deep summer nights, to the point where if you close your eyes on the greyest winter day you can transport yourself there. We’ve got some big names in here (J. Starship, Smokey Robinson, Steve Miller Band) represented by obscure deep cuts that illustrate even the most well known artists can be seamlessly compartmentalized into niche comps about hazy summers. The real meat here is the obscure stuff: Liverpool Express’s sublime “You Are My Love”, Emotion’s vial of narcotic goodness “Flowers”, Simon Park’s lofi “Stoned Out”, John Cameron’s blissed-up “Liquid Sunshine”. Yet another exquisite compilation from Stanley, 76 In The Shade is THE essential soundtrack for being stoned and dethroned on a 99 degree day.