I was nominated by my friend and travelling companion, Lesley ‘Legs’ Pearson, to list the ten music tracks that have inspired me the most in my life. The idea was that these would not necessarily be my ten favourite tracks or ones that I listen to every day, just the ones that have had the greatest effect on me.
The plan was that everyone on Facebook would have a read of this and add their comments. Additionally I had to nominate five other people to do the same thing and keep the ball rolling. As far as I am aware, hardly anybody looked at my musical heart pouring out and only my friend and fellow Leeds United supporter, Joy Shaw, took the trouble to compile her own list.
So I’d like to say thank you to those people who had a quick butcher’s, a big thank you to Lesley for prompting me to do this and a massive thank you to Joy for revealing her inner musical passions.
Facebook, in my opinion, is a waste of time despite the fact that I’m addicted to it. I spent over an hour typing out details of my ten inspirational songs and the tales behind them. My efforts appeared on my Facebook page for the whole world to see and within a few hours they had disappeared beneath a load of pictures of people’s cats in compromising situations, requests to share my dislike for terminal illnesses and cartoon drawings of 1930s ladies putting the hoover on whilst holding a glass of wine in their hand. I enjoyed writing about my musical roots but I was disappointed that so few people paid any attention to what I produced.
I like to think that my own bloggeriness website thang is a bit more permanent than Facebook and for this reason I put a lot more effort into the drivel I post on here. Drivel is so much better than crap. It may well appear as something on the borderline between frivolous nonsense and complete bollocks but I can assure you that every word of it is torn from my heart and is an accurate representation of the real life me. So with this in mind I am going to rescue my account of my great musical influences from the barren wasteland of Facebook and preserve them for ever in the literary paradise of Terry’s Terrific Travel Tales, or Tx4 as the critics in the popular press call it.
So here goes, my ten tracks are …
1. Buddy Holly & the Crickets – That’ll Be The Day: My introduction to 1950s rock ‘n’ roll. I’d heard the song before but when I bought the soundtrack to the film of the same name when I was in my early teens it rammed it home to me what a brilliant track it was and sent me off searching for more stuff from the same era. I later discovered that it was No 1 in the music charts in the week of my birth … That’ll be the day, I was born!
2. The Dubliners – Seven Drunken Nights: Although we didn’t have a record player to play it on (we sold all our electrical devices to raise money to buy potatoes and Guinness) I seem to remember hearing this loads and loads in our house when I was a kid. It made me aware that I was half Irish and started my love affair with Irish music that has now reached such a pitch that I feel more like I am nine tenths Irish. I saw the Dubliners in their original line up live a couple of times in the early 1980s. They were so pissed on stage that I knew the words to their songs better than they did. Now I’m pissed and they’re all dead … how time moves on!
3. The Kinks – Well Respected Man: I loved the Beatles and the Stones and the Who and all that 1960s stuff but it was always in the back of my mind that what they were singing about was a bit too American for kids who had never been away from Britain. On Seacroft estate in East Leeds we didn’t know where Sheffield was, let alone Paris and the Amsterdam Hilton. The Kinks were the first band whose lyrics I could understand and see as a reflection of bits of my own life. From this song I love the words, “And he plays the stocks and shares. And he goes to the regatta. He adores the girl next door. And he’s dying to get at her.” Saw them live in Bradford in 1980 and I squirm with pleasure every time I hear them sing ‘Terry meets Julie, Waterloo Station, every Friday night’ … as does Julie … outrageously good … as was Julie!
4. David Bowie – Star Man: I’d already dabbled in Glam Rock with yer Slade and yer T Rex but David Bowie for me was more rock than glam and he opened the door to my love for the music of the Velvet Underground who had come before and punk rock that came afterwards. I first heard this song in Woolworth’s in the fashionable Seacroft district of Leeds in the summer of 1972. I asked the girl behind the record counter who it was, I immediately bought it and I still have the seven inch single today. He’s gone on to make dozens of albums of different styles but always of very good quality and without selling out or watering down his ideas. The cherry on the David Bowie cake for me though is the fact that he turned down the offer of a knighthood from the Queen. He remains to be a star man in my eyes. I went to see him at Glasgow Apollo in 1978. I wish now that I’d put a bit more effort in and seen him again since. I’d love it even more if he were to come and see me. The kettle will always be on for you David mate.
5. The Saints – This Perfect Day: When I went off to join the merchant navy in 1976 everybody in England was listening to the Eagles or Leo Sayer or the Rubettes. When I came home from my first ship in 1977 Punk Rock had arrived. I wasn’t sure about it at first but my first Friday night at home I was in the General Wade pub just outside the Merrion Centre in Leeds and someone put this record on the juke box. I instantly loved it and put it on again five or six more times. I bought loads of punk music during the course of the next couple of years but not even the Sex Pistols could match the raw energy and power of the Saints. Oh perfect day. What more to say? Don't need no one to tell me what I don't already know.
6. Doctor Ross – Chicago Breakdown: The first Blues album I ever bought. This is the proper acoustic blues of the 1940s. I just don’t go for that mamby pamby electric blues stuff that has taken over since then. For me blues music has to be performed with acoustic instruments, on the veranda of a shack in a swamp, late on a feverously hot night in the southern states of America. If they’ve got enough money to buy an electric guitar and an amplifier then they can’t really have the blues and they can’t perform their music with the passion of legends like Doctor Ross or Robert Johnson or Charlie Patton.
7. Stakker Humanoid – Humanoid: When punk and new wave music drifted into a state of mainstream tedium in the mid-1980s I was hopelessly lost. Then in the late 1980s Acid House poked its head up for a while and I was delighted that there was at last something new and original and exciting. All the other new music around at the time (and ever since, in my opinion) has either been utter crap or not bad but it sounds like something else from the past.
8. Kirsty MacColl – My Affair: I love all of lovely Kirsty’s music but her Cuban based stuff set me off on a journey into the unknown world of World Music where I am still, to this day, happily lost. The music that we hear on the television and radio in Britain today only scratches the surface of the music that is made around the world. There is so much stuff out there that there has got to be something to suit everybody no matter what their current musical tastes are. I’ve more or less abandoned the popular music scene of the Western World and I am happy and for that I will be eternally grateful to Kirsty MacColl. I just wish she was here today to enjoy it with me. There are very few musicians in the world that I think are nice enough people for me to get on with but Kirsty was an absolutely lovely person and I’m sure we would have got on. I’ve got a framed picture of her on my wall and I talk to her every day when I walk past it. Es un escandolo!
Who I see is up to me!
9. Manolis Theodorakis & Kiriakos Theodorakis - Ehasa Tin Agapi Mou: Dance music from Crete to make you dance your socks off. A lady at a market stall in Chania, who spoke no English, came up to me and forced a CD of modern versions of traditional Cretan music on me. I said ‘no’ but she persisted … as if she mysteriously knew what was going on inside of me. So I bought it and it turned out to be the best €5 I have ever spent. It’s amazing music and this is the best track on the CD. When I listen to this track I always have to repeat it two or three times. This inspired me to always buy a few cheap CDs from local market stalls when I am away on my overseas trips and I have found that there is nearly always at least one gem on every purchase. It’s as if the lady in Chania was Kirsty MacColl’s Cretan sister.
10. Dakha Brakha - Sho Z-pod Duba: I saw this band almost by accident at this year’s WOMAD Festival. On paper in the official programme they sounded a bit naff but there was no one else performing at the same time who appealed to me so I gave them a whirl. They are without a doubt the best, most exciting, atmospheric and refreshingly new band I have ever seen performing live in all my living days. They are from Ukraine and their music is like a cross between Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cocteau Twins and the dawn chorus. Look up this track on You Tube … it’s brilliant!
So there you go. That’s me and my musical world. I’d love it if you would share your influences with me, no matter who you are and even if I don’t know who you are. Go on Mrs Dodson and Mr Ridge … give it a whirl! Please!