Thursday, 6 January 2011

Compilation II

A little while ago, I listed my favourite songs as they were at that time. With the very sad news of the death of Gerry Rafferty, I remembered how much I loved some of his music, noted that all I had of his music was on cassette, that I no longer owned a cassette player, and so downloaded some of his stuff from the Interweb. Listening to them in the car earlier gave me time to think of my 'musical roots', a train of thought I have taken much pleasure in for the rest of the day. 

I need not remind you that I am all 'give give give' so am going to list the influences on my musical tastes: music that has shaped me very probably. Perhaps reiterating the present would be helpful. I love heavy rock music. Hold that in your thinkings, as you toddle with me through my grimy musical past.

1. Oxygene & Equinoxe - Jean Michel Jarre: These two albums of synthesiser music (it is better than I have just made it sound) belonged to Mum and Dad, and were the first albums that I remember loving listening to and choosing to put on the record player (when I was allowed). I still love to listen to them now, and it is probably fair to say, that they were the best he made. 

2. Shamrock Diaries - Chris Rea: This was the first album that I ever owned in my own right, courtesy of my dear old Nan one Christmas. It introduced me to light rock music, and again, is a firm favourite when driving or entertaining. I have fallen in love with 'One Golden Rule' all over again in recent years - beautiful track.

3. Love Over Gold - Dire Straits:  This was my Dad's tape that I nicked, fast on the heels of Chris Rea and a burgeoning love of listening to the electric guitar. The track 'Telegraph Road' is a fourteen minute epic, a wonderful instrumental second section, and a a constant presence in my lifetime favourites. There is not a bad track on the whole album, I believe!

4. Baker Street (Song)- Gerry Rafferty: I refer to the song, of course, as distinct from the album. It took me years to identify this song for myself and acquire a copy (together with the next entry). I believe this to be an iconic track, and so evocative of another time and place. Only since Rafferty has died have I learned about the meaning of the song and his own problems with alcohol. 

5. Forever Autumn (Song) - Justin Hayward and the Moody Blues: This is one gloomy song, but it haunted me for years. All I could remember were the first five or ten notes, no more. I discovered its name in 1992, promptly forgot it and re-discovered it when the Greatest Hits album was advertised and I heard it again. I think this takes me back to memories I was too young to label or remember properly. 

6. Alchemy Live - Dire Straits: When I decide I love an artists' music, I buy all the albums. This was one of the first records I went our and bought on my own with my own money, and it is stunning. It holds (in my opinion) the best versions, by far, of 'Sultans of Swing' and 'Telegraph Road', and the two tracks together take nearly half an hour. It is a live album, but a rare case of being better than the studio versions (I think). 

7. The Glory of Bach - Bach: Now unavailable, this was a cassette compilation of the best pieces. It has a couple of movements from the Brandenburg Concertos as I remember, the Air from Suite 3 in D, and the best version of Toccata and Fugue in D Minor that I have ever heard - played by Karl Richter [a version is on the link]. This little tape is the reason I am passionate about classical music, almost certainly what informed my choral tastes and has set Bach as a much cherished favourite composer. 

8. Let's Dance (Song) - Chris Rea: The process that was started by Mark Knopfler et al was accelerated by this track. By this point, I knew that my passion was for rock music, and perhaps a reason why I have always loathed more popular genres. Pop, disco, and all the modern variables on these themes - all passed me by.

9. Local Hero & Cal - Mark Knopfler: The soundtracks to these films are just beautiful, and yet more reasons why, apart from Metallica, the prospect of seeing Mr Knopfler live brings me out in a wanderlust. 

10. Pump - Aerosmith: This tape sat in my bedroom for two years before I ever listened to it, because I didn't think it would up my street. When I heard it, the days of my heavy rock loving commenced. This album represented the moment of conversion. 

Extra Entries for Loyal Readers:

11. A Kind of Magic - Queen: This was cheap in a garage discount bin, so I bought it, in 1987. The Queen era began in earnest, as did the spree of buying up all twenty-odd entries on their back catalogue. This album was broadly the soundtrack to the now cultic film Highlander, still a favourite, and still a reason why a man loves to watch Clancy Brown in films. 

12. Live Killers - Brighton Rock - Queen: The link is only available in two parts as it is nearly fourteen beautiful minutes of guitar solo and timpani solo. If a teenager ever thought they loved rock, this track sealed it!

12. Eat 'Em and Smile - David Lee Roth: The man is bonkers, but this baby album was always a joy. Not so heavy, but it was still a cause for recognising the 'lectric geetar as a work of God when held by the right hands. 

13. Van Halen - Van Halen: The same as above, with the added joy of Eruption. Listen to it, you might not dislike it! Sweeeet. Probably the best guitar solo bar none!

There, that is my musical pre-history. I hope you have fun trawling through it, if you choose to, though if you don't, it has given me a good day of happy remembrance. I'd love to hear your thoughts - I am open to new directions!

(Links to the music added, click on the links and a small window should open for you! D)

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