Various Artists


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The months without rain and airless days and nights might not have been something out of the ordinary in the Algarve or the south of France, but it was without precedent in Britain. The Summer of 1976 has remained a benchmark for long, hot summers – there may have been scorchers since, but none have seemed quite as relentless or enervating. The country melted into a collective puddle. “76 In The Shade” probably wasn’t anyone’s real life soundtrack of the year – that could have included Bowie’s “Station To Station” and Abba’s “Greatest Hits”. Instead, Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley has put a compilation together that sonically evokes the summer of 1976 itself, its sweet heat and almost narcotic lethargy.

Getting out of the sun, you might have sat inside with the radio on, and heard the dreamy wooziness of Liverpool Express’s ‘You Are My Love’, 10cc’s ‘I’m Mandy Fly Me’, or the Emotions’ ‘Flowers’. Or maybe you flopped out in front of the telly, where you heard an alternative summer soundtrack – the music libraries that provided the bulk of the testcard’s music gave us Simon Park’s minimal ‘Stoned Out’ and John Cameron’s deeply immersive ‘Liquid Sunshine’; the Californian jazzer Spike Janson provided the wordless vocal harmonies of ‘Walking So Free’.

“76 In The Shade” follows in the footsteps of Bob Stanley’s hugely successful comps for Ace, including “English Weather” and “The Tears Of Technology”. It suggests bright yellow sunshine, hot plastic car seats, cats lolloping on the lawn. A few tracks (Smokey Robinson, Cliff Richard, David Ruffin, Carmen McRae) act as necessary splashes of cooling water; most of them sound like it’s just too hot to move. Luckily, you don’t need to.

Available on CD and a 2LP 180g pressing, with deluxe heavy-duty gatefold sleeve, that features a bonus track!
        1. WALKING SO FREE - Spike Janson

        2. SUGAR SHUFFLE - Lynsey De Paul

        3. MIRACLES (SINGLE VERSION) - Jefferson Starship

        4. GET OUT OF TOWN - Smokey Robinson


        6. STONED OUT - Simon Park

        7. NOTHING TO REMIND ME - Cliff Richard

        8. DISCOVER ME - David Ruffin

        9. YOU’RE THE SONG (THAT I CAN’T STOP SINGING) - Hollywood Freeway

        10. YOU ARE MY LOVE - Liverpool Express

        11. LIQUID SUNSHINE - John Cameron

        12. NOT ON THE OUTSIDE - Sylvia

        13. STAY WITH ME - Blue Mink

        14. WILD MOUNTAIN HONEY - Steve Miller Band

        15. FALLIN’ IN LOVE - Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds

        16. FLOWERS - The Emotions

        17. MONTREAL CITY - Azimuth

        18. ROCK’N’ROLL STAR - Barclay James Harvest

        19. MISS MY LOVE TODAY - Gilbert O’Sullivan

        20. MUSIC - Carmen McRae