I guess I do this most weeks – occupational hazard or whatever – but this week in particular I’ve been revisiting old favourites, thinking about albums I liked a lot 5 and 10 years ago, and 20 years ago…and in some cases just 2-3 years ago…
I’ll also give an early mention of Goose Snow Cone by Aimme Mann, beautiful. Her brand new album, Mental Illness, already feels very special and she’s a class act. Her music always feels so special and just right. She’s one of my all-time favourites; I was going to do a Five Songs For Friday featuring Aimme Mann songs only. Well, maybe another time…
1. Terence Trent D’Arby, If You All Get To Heaven
As the opening song on that killer debut album this was the one that woke me up in the school holidays when I was a kid, mum blasting the stereo loud enough to hear over the vacuum cleaner. Me trying to sleep in. That little crackle at the start, and then that gospel-like lyric/vocal. I wrote about this album earlier in the week, thinking about it all – including the weird time I tried to interview Sananda Maitreya, which is the name TTD goes under now…it was surreal. I still get a little prickle across the arm-hairs when I hear this tune, I still think the whole album is amazing.
2. Jeff Beck Group, I’ve Been Drinking
I really love that Jeff Beck Group stuff with Rod Stewart – it was my way back in to appreciating Rod – and I wrote some lines about his ‘early’ or ‘glory’ years here. But it might have been this song in particular that fixed things for me. I love Beck’s solo, I love the press-roll on the drums to finish the song, and Rod’s vocal of course is stellar. So many good things here…
3. The Band, Up On Cripple Creek
I added Levon to my Drummers You Just Can’t Beat files so that had me thinking about this song, that groove, the way the drums and the clavinet interact – or almost don’t; Levon is head down as he lays out the line. Just so good.
4. Paul McCartney, My Brave Face
I’m really loving the new deluxe edition reissue of Flowers In The Dirt – more than I thought I might. And what caught me, straight away, was the bass playing on this song. Great song of course, and obviously we all know Macca’s the killer melodic bass player, but I’d never really spotted this part – not in this way. It hit me big time this week. And the whole album, and it’s Elvis Costello-crafted/assisted leftovers, just terrific to take in now. It was a big album at the time and important; finally Paul had a band and a record he believed in. That’s how I see it. For the first time since the end of Wings. So it was after this album that he took to touring the world….giving us all the Professional Beatle and the ‘Big Show’. And what a show – I saw it in 1993. So, so good. The Tripping The Live Fantastic triple-album, the live record in support of Flowers, was always a sentimental favourite too.
5. Tom Waits, Somewhere
I couldn’t believe that voice – this is the very first thing I ever heard by Tom Waits. And it’s stayed with me to this day, making Blue Valentine the sentimental favourite; I collected up all the other Waits albums but if I could only have one, to this day, it would be this. So I revisited it this week in the context of a handful of albums I wish I could hear again for the first time; you know that revelation-feeling. I got it with John Coltrane and Elvis Costello and a few others; the vital introductions. But apart from maybe hearing Frank Zappa’s record Joe’s Garage this was probably the biggest blow-your-mind experience on first hearing. In both cases – Blue Valentine and Joe’s Garage – it was the same friend that introduced me to them. Needle in the groove, a little crackle. A lot of magic. Thanks Ben!