The Summer of 1976 was hot… take it from me, I was there! I still have vivid memories of holidaying with my young family in the now gentrified Welsh resort of Abersoch and watching the surrounding hillsides burning day after day… cor… what a scorcher! The heat was relentless and this was long before global warning was ever an issue.

To celebrate (is that the right word?) the heat wave of ’76, Ace Records have just issued a lovely 20 track compilation of summery, laid back music that was there or there abouts in that long hot summer!

Complied and annotated by St Etienne band member and good guy musicologist Bob Stanley, ’76 In The Shade’ offers plenty of top notch 70’s soul… David Ruffin’s ‘Discover Me’, Smokey Robinson’s ‘Get Out Of Town’ and the Emotions’ still gorgeous ‘Flowers’ amongst them. There’s also a generous offering of blue eyed soul (stuff like Hollywood Freeway’s Fifth Dimension sound-alike  ‘You’re The Song’) and plenty of quality pop like Liverpool Express’ ‘You Are My Love’; tunes too from (amongst others) Cliff Richard, Gilbert O’Sullivan, 10 CC and Barclay James Harvest. Who’d have ever thought there’d be a compilation  album where Sir Cliff sat cheek by jowl with New Jersey soulstress and label owner Sylvia? Compiler, Bob Stanley explains it all in his extensive notes and, never mind genres, there’s (as Mr Gordy said) good and bad music… and there’s lots of great tunes herein…. try Hamilton, Joe Frank and Reynolds’ ‘Fallin’ In Love’ or Spike Jackson’s Brian Wilson pastiche ‘Walking So Free’ for starters! Hot stuff indeed!