Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman

I think this is the best song ever written. I didn't know the original. I heard a version by Naked Prey as a teenager, and then one by Urge Overkill. I didn't hear this until my mid-20's, It uses fixing telegraph wires as a metaphor for life. The guitar solo is a telegram tap. I went to see Glen Campbell 20 years back because of this song. They played it all wrong. The guitarist made the solo into a real solo. Jimmy Webb wrote it. Glen Campbell is a kind of idiot savant. 


Miles Davis – So What


I never liked actual jazz. I got into free jazz and free improvisation via Sonic Youth before I liked actual jazz. Then in the mid-90s Simon Munnery used this as walk in music to an Edinburgh show we were in and after a month of listens it all clicked.  Now I think this is the pinnacle of human achievement. I love the way the others blow around trying to find something to say and Davis trumps them all with a single brilliantly timed toot! There's lots you can learn from this. Thank-you Simon.

Bob Dylan – She's Your Lover Now  

I never liked Bob Dylan. I thought he had an annoying voice and my university friend Mike Cosgrave, a musician and metalurgist, said Dylan's principle lyrical concern seemed to be the attribution of metallic properties to non-metallic objects. Then, when I wasn't living anywhere in 1999, I stayed on the comedian Simon Munnery's floor and he used to deprive me of sleep by playing this track over and over again until I realised it was genius. Now I love Simon Munnery.


Sunny Rollins – Freedom Suite


I accidentally heard this on the radio under the covers when I was 14 or so and thought it was amazing so I went and bought the album. I thought, "So this is jazz? I love it." So I got some more jazz out of the library, Grover Washington and fusion shit filed in the same bin. And I hated it. And I didn't listen to jazz again for ten years. 


The Fall – I'm Into C.B

John Peel was playing this a lot in 1982, when I was a kid. I hated it. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to make this record, or listen to it. Weeks passed. I loved it. I couldn't understand why anyone would listen to anything else. The Fall remain my favorite manifestation of human endeavor.

The Brilliant Corners – Rambling Rose  

From 85 about 89 there was a great jangly post-punk C86 shambly scene - Tallulah Gosh, Razorcuts, Wolfhounds etc - and this is my favorite records from the only scene I was ever really a part of, young enough and thin enough to carry off the threads, down the front at Burberries in Birmingham Broad St and The Jericho, Oxford. 

Arvo Part – Cantus In Memoriam Benjamin Britten  

A classical music buff that shared a Brixton flat with my then writing partner Richard Herring in the early 90s kept playing Part. This floored me. I think it's the most beautiful piece of music ever written. I expect those of you who know about classical music think that's a cliche. Who cares.

John Martyn – Spencer The Rover  

When I was 16 I went to a hippy festival in Cornwall to see The Fall. Some old guy came on solo and I didn't know who he was. It was John Martyn, in 1986, ten years past his best, having an uncharacteristically lucid moment, playing solo with echoplex effects 70's stye. I saw him a few times later but I realised I was lucky to catch him once before his painful decline. For me this is his finest moment, a slurred folkloric mantra.

Trees – Sally Free and Easy  

I don't know why I bought Trees' forgotten 1970 folk rock classic On The Shore sometime in my 20s on vinyl, when it was lost. But this track blew my mind, like Kind Of Blue Miles Davis doing early Fairport. Whenever I could I raved about it. SOmeone noticed. When it got a delux cd reissue I got to write the sleevenotes. 


The Maytones – Money Worries


I heard a reggae song on Peel when I was 12 or so that stayed with me forever, but I missed the name of the band. When I got online in the 90s I still couldn't find it. I once mentioned this in an experience. Someone contacted me to tell me what it was. 25 years later it sounded even better than I remembered, especially the extended dubby 12". 


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