Wednesday, 21 December 2016

My Desert Island Discs

On Sunday, it was a treat to listen to Bruce Springsteen on an extended Desert Island Discs (You missed it?! Find it <here>). His choices absolutely summed up the man: nothing obscure, pretentious or showy. With one eye on the holidays, trying to forget I still had school on Monday morning, I set about writing my own eight tracks to take to a desert island.  

After much deliberation, these are my picks:
  1. The Day We Caught The Train - Ocean Colour Scene
    • The day I started to discover my own musical taste after flirting with the Top 40 and odd songs I thought I liked (my first single that I owned was none other than Chesney Hawkes). This was the start of my love of all things BritPop and a 20 year plus love of Ocean Colour Scene. Still a great tune to sing along to with your mates after a few beers. Well worth going to see live still too.
  2. Last Stop: This Town - Eels
    • I owned Beautiful Freak, but it was this track that begun my 20 year plus obsession with all things Eels. We had "I Like The Way This Is Going" as our first dance. It backed up my theory that E has written a song for every possible eventuality in life. Rarely does an artist transform the band / setlist / theme of each tour as much as E. His autobiography is worth a read.
  3. Like A Rolling Stone - Bob Dylan
    • One of my picks that Bruce had on his list, "the first time I really heard him with this song, it just instantly started to change my life". I bought as many Dylan albums as I could when I was in my second hand CD buying stage; every time I found a new one in Golden Discs there was great excitement.
  4. Madame George - Van Morrison
    • Another of Bruce's choices. Astral Weeks is one of the best albums out there, and I agree with the spiritual nature that is identified on Desert Island Discs, "It made me trust in beauty, it gave me a sense of the divine. The divine just seems to run through the veins of that entire album."
  5. Thunder Road - Bruce Springsteen
    • If you don't 'get' Thunder Road, I'd highly recommend reading Nick Hornby's joyful chapter in 31 songs. There is no other song that I have come close to listening to as much as this one. We also walked down the aisle to this after getting married. 
  6. A New England - Billy Bragg
    • The 'Bard of Barking' has written some of the best British political songs of the last twenty years, as well as some of the best love songs. This was one of the first songs of Billy's that I got to know. His gigs are part political rally, part music, but often all the better for that.   
  7. End of the World News - Tom McRae
    • "The son of two vicars.." as most write ups begin. I have made some great friends from going to Tom's gigs, beginning in the old days of 'the forum'. Tom deserves far more recognition that he gets, I'm sure you can buy his back catalogue cheaply - do it. This song was from the early days when we headed off to obscure venues around the country, drank lots of beer and JD and sang along. Actually I still try and do that as often as I can!
  8. Ennio Morricone - Gabriel's Oboe
    • Morricone's western scores are some of the best pieces of music ever composed. The theme to Once Upon A Time in the West is perhaps the greatest film music ever (Coincidentally, there Springsteen cover <here>). This choice is also wedding related... I had suggested Emily listen to some Morricone tracks for her arrival music, she dismissed it, but then came back a few weeks later with Gabriel's Oboe - a truly stunning piece of music, absolutely fitting for the moment.
As part of the Desert Island Discs format, you can take a book and a luxury item. My book has to be The Grapes of Wrath... Steinbeck is my favourite author, who somehow seems to see inside the human soul and condition in a way few other authors can. My item would probably be a guitar, so I can 'learn how to make it talk' to keep me busy.

What would your Desert Island Discs be and why?

I realised when I had finished that there were so many tracks missing. These are some that have also been pivotal in my life: Ben Folds Five - Best Imitation of Myself, Pulp - A Little Soul, Counting Crows - Mr Jones, Country Feedback - R.E.M., Neil Diamond - America, Amy McDonald - This Is The Life, The Avett Brothers - Murder in the City, Gaslight Anthem - '59 Sound, Joe Purdy - I Love the Rain Most, Dire Straits - Brothers in Arms, Crowded House - Private Universe, Taylor Swift - Teardrops on my Guitar, David Ford - State of the Union...