Category Archives: Desert Island Disc

Neil Young – Old Man (1972)

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Neil Young may have made a name for himself first as a member of Buffalo Springfield, but it’s Young as a solo artist that achieved the success and accolades. 35 albums in 45 years. Songwriter extraordinaire, but did it ever get better than his 1972 album Harvest? The wistful ‘Old Man’ provides my first stop on any journey through his back catalogue. Have a great weekend.
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9 of the best – sounds of 1997

A compilation for the weekend. My favourite 9 sounds of 1997, bookended by Radiohead. There are no surprises there; I have showed some restraint by not featuring more of their work.

Radiohead – Airbag

Supergrass – Late In The Day

Yo La Tengo – Stockholm Syndrome

The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony

Embrace – All You Good Good People

Pavement – Stereo

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space

Björk – Unravel

Radiohead – Let Down

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Honourable mentions also go to: Radiohead for ‘No Surprises’; Radiohead for ‘Paranoid Android‘; Radiohead for ‘Lift‘; Supergrass ‘Richard III‘; Spiritualized ‘Broken Heart’; Yo La Tengo for ‘Autumn Sweater’, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Into My Arms‘; Daft Punk for ‘Around The World’; NuYorican Soul (featuring Jocelyn Brown) for ‘It’s Alright, I Feel It!’ and The Notorious B.I.G. for ‘Mo Money Mo Problems‘.

I realise now that four albums – classic albums – were crowding out others from my ears in 1997.

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Led Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)

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This song needs no introduction. Have a great week.

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Sébastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (2004)

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sebastien-tellier

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9 of the best – sounds of 2004

It’s a bank holiday weekend in Blighty. Let’s play some music. I write herewith my favourite songs of 2004 and in no particular order:

Kings Of Leon – The Bucket

The Thrills – Whatever Happened To Corey Haim?

Kasabian – Club Foot

Danger Mouse & Jay-Z – Public Service Announcement

The Walkmen – The Rat

Modest Mouse – Float On

Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

Wilco – Muzzle of Bees

Sébastien Tellier – La Ritournelle

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Honourable mentions also go to: Beastie Boys for ‘Ch-Check It Out‘; MF Doom for ‘Accordion‘; Outkast for ‘Roses‘; Adem for ‘Everything You Need‘; Will Johnson for ‘Just To Know What You’ve Been Dreaming‘; The Killers for ‘Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll‘; David Byrne for ‘Glass, Concrete & Stone‘; and Jens Lekman for ‘Psychogirl‘.

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Radiohead – Let Down (1997)

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Radiohead too

This time last week, I was amazed at having not posted a particular song – and so here I go again. Last month, at a gig in Madison Square Garden, NYC, Radiohead played ‘Let Down’ for the first time in a decade. Is it the best track off the best album ever produced? Arguably, yes. What cannot be disputed is that for one glorious moment, they were everybody’s benchmark.

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Marvin Gaye – “T” Plays It Cool (1972)

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Marvin Gaye 1972

Check out the groove – it’s a Friday! The hustle, the cool, the break. ‘”T” Plays It Cool’ featured on Marvin Gaye’s album Trouble Man. For once, it’s not his vocals that transcend. Multi-instrumentalist Gaye plays the drums and creates possibly one of the most sublime breaks ever pressed to vinyl. The bubbling synthesizer is a nice modernist touch too. This was 1972. Have a great weekend.

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Radiohead – Airbag (1997)

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Radiohead 1997

OK Computer redefined rock music. Previous Radiohead album The Bends had been a quantum leap for their own sound, but two years later, nothing had prepared the listening hordes for what followed next. The opening track ‘Airbag’ jumped on stage like an “an interstellar burst” and Thom Yorke was “back to save the universe” with jingle bells, layers of trip hop and Phil Selway’s drum loops. Have a great week.

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David Bowie – Soul Love (1972)

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Ziggy Stardust

I carry on into the weekend to hear the real deal. ‘The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars’ is one of those rare albums that doesn’t really have a weak moment. ‘Five Years’ is the perfect opener; and then this happens: “Stone love – she kneels before the grave/A brave son”. ‘Soul Love’ enthrals – the handclaps, Bowie’s rhythmic vocals, the sax and Mick Ronson’s singing guitar.

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David Bowie – Life On Mars? (1971)

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David Jones

R.I.P. You will be greatly missed.

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Elis Regina – Águas de Março (1972)

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Elis Regina

A stick, a stone, it’s the end of the road”… the England football team fall again. The opening line of ‘Aguas de Março’ is embedded in Brazilian popular music. It helps that the song was composed and first released by bossa nova legend Antonio Carlos Jobim, then covered by Elis Regina for the album Elis in 1972, and ultimately by both Elis and Tom Jobim in 1974. I chose Regina’s solo version because I think she brings out the purity of the song. A sublime end to a week touched by disappointment. Have a great weekend.

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The Beach Boys – God Only Knows (1966)

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The Beach Boys

I began and end the week with songs so ingrained in my make-up, that it is hard to put into words how they may have shaped ‘my music’. I might just have to take this sublime number with me to my proverbial desert. Off the equally brilliant Pet Sounds, the track features layering of vocals, instruments, strings, organs, harpsichords, flutes and what sounds like sleigh bells and some clippety clops. And god only knows what gave those straight-laced boys the audacity to start off a song: “I may not always love you”. Divine intervention.  The Beatles’ were listening here, there and everywhere. Have a great weekend.

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The Walkmen – The Rat (2004)

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The Walkmen

In 2001, The Strokes had made rock’n’roll believable again. Their song ‘Last Nite’ (and what followed) was a clarion call and its echoes can still be heard today. Three years later, The Walkmen would respond with their own derivative of the New York revival. Frontman Hamilton Leithauser spits out “You’ve got a nerve to be asking a favour/You’ve got a nerve to be calling my number”… anger, isolation, sadness, a snappy title, New York. With its abundance of punk anthem credentials, ‘The Rat’ was understandably released as a single. It also features on their long player Bows + Arrows.

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The Band – The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (1969)

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‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ was written by Robbie Robertson, but sung by Levon Helm from behind the drums. First recorded by The Band in 1969 and released on their second and eponymous long player, Helm’s rendition of ‘Dixie’ taps into a real sense of loss: “… it’s a time I remember oh so well.” Helm grew up on a cotton farm in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas, on west bank of the Mississippi. He passed away in April 2012.

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The Rolling Stones – Jigsaw Puzzle (1968)

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I’m back in earnest and with a revelation too. It has taken a few years to settle in, but this is the Stones track for me. Off their 1968 long player Beggars Banquet, ‘Jigsaw Puzzle’ fends off other faves ‘Let It Loose’ and ‘She’s A Rainbow’ to win by a nose. The rest of the album, ain’t too shoddy either… ‘Sympathy For The Devil’, ‘Street Fighting Man’, ‘Stray Cat Blues’. Breathtaking talent. Have a great weekend.

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