Posts Tagged music

Jun 4 2013

Something You Have Seen

I have gone through so many variations of things I could write about for this heading. At the end of the day we are largely a visual animal so ‘something you have seen’ could be just about anything. I guess what I have gone for is ‘something you have experienced’ but I think it still counts.

In 1994 I saw Barenaked Ladies live at the Irish Centre in Leeds. They were still a relatively unknown band – this was billed as their ‘Little Tiny Tour’ with only 5 dates in the UK. I went with my mum, stepdad, girlfriend (now Mrs Worm) and my best friend NoRM.

The Irish Centre is not a big venue – capacity of a massive 800 – but the atmosphere was amazing. The fact that I was seeing one of my favourite bands, with my favourite girl (and my favourite guy) may have given me a rose-tinted view, but it really was a magical night.

The support act was an unknown band called ‘The Libertines’ (not the one you’ve heard of) who did a nice mix of country/pop – we bought the CD and I still listen to it. They also played a cover of ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’ which we knew intimately from the version that the Doug Anthony All Stars used to do. A genuinely good support act.

Then BNL hit the stage, and just blew everyone away. Tight musically, funny, improvising, acerbic and grounded, they totally owned the crowd from the moment they walked on stage. This was before the second album (Maybe You Should Drive) had come out, so we got to hear some new songs before they were available, and loved them (‘ayyyyy like Fonzie said coz he was very cool’), and to cap it all we hung around afterwards and got to meet the band, who were all very cool indeed.

I’ve seen them many times since, but that first time will always be special for me. And I really do have the t-shirt.

another one from the memory banks

May 25 2013

Music love

What are your top 5 favourite albums and why?

I’m definitely going to struggle with this one, because I would struggle to pin down my 5 favourite Springsteen albums, far less 5 overall. But I will do my best, and as Mrs Worm dictated, only one of them is allowed to be Springsteen.

Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band – Live 75-85
album cover
I got this album when I was at University, and it really opened my eyes to the rich back catalogue that Springsteen has. At the time, like many people, I really saw Springsteen mainly through the window of ‘Born In The USA’ and while that is a fine album, it is only a thin view of a complex artist. ‘Born In The USA’ was Springsteen’s seventh studio album (he has now released seventeen) and the albums that went before cover a wide range of music styles and mood. Live 75-85 is a bit of a trip through those first seven albums, over 5 vinyl discs (when I first bought it – now on 3 CDs) and I played it over and over and over. It includes Bruce’s monologues between some songs, and his introduction to The River can move me to tears. It is a grand, sweeping epic of an album and it is a good attempt at capturing a Springsteen live experience.

Barenaked Ladies – Gordon
album cover
Introduced to me while I was at University by NoRM, this is BNLs first album, and probably their finest. It is musically adventurous, humorous, touching, meaningful, and fun. As with all the albums on this list, I have listened to it over and over. The songs hold together, and create a mood which carries you along through the album – it’s a journey. Every BNL album has at least one killer song – and in this case it’s Brian Wilson – simply brilliant.

Deacon Blue – Raintown
album cover
I hadn’t really listened to much Deacon Blue before I met Mrs Worm, but she is a huge fan so inevitably I ended up listening to them – and fell in love. Probably not that surprising given that Ricky Ross is a huge Springsteen fan, and they often cover Springsteen songs in their live gigs (I saw them play ‘Light of Day’ a few years ago, and was dancing my wee boots off). Raintown is their debut album – and what a cracker. Moody, joyous, beautifully crafted, I have strong memories of lying in bed in our flat in Aberdeen with this playing on our little portable CD player – over and over and over. To be honest every song on this album is a cracker, but ‘Town To Be Blamed‘ just blows me away – and I was too excited for words when I saw them do it live.

The Cult – Electric
album cover
When I was at school, this was one of those albums that everyone had – everyone that I knew anyway. This was one of the albums that made we want to learn the guitar, and contains such raw power and energy that it just excites me every time I listen to it. It was a change of style for The Cult, who hired Rick Rubin to produce it after they were disappointed with the original cut. It worked. Love Removal Machine has been insulted by my full-throated bellowing more times than I care to mention.

Tom Waits – Asylum Years
album cover
I love Tom Waits, a truly original artist, idiosyncratic, flawed, always exciting, always changing. I’m probably biased because my dad was a big fan and it was him who turned me on to Tom Waits. This album is something of a ‘Greatest Hits’ covering his years at Asylum Records. I ‘borrowed’ my dad’s tape of this when I went to university, and it was on almost constantly. From ‘Diamonds On My Windshield’ through to ‘Ruby’s Arms’ , every single track is perfect. Tom Traubert’s Blues is probably my favourite, but it’s a close call, because they are all amazing. In particular, his version of ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story is beautiful.

So there you go. Would love to hear your comments.