Tuesday, 12 April 2016

What I play at home and in the car.

Someone recently asked me what I listened to when I’m playing music at home or in the car. Depending on my mood, I’ve been known to play a whole load of different styles and genres of music.

So I thought I’d give you some idea what other music I listen to.
Truth be told, I like most genres of music and can usually find something that I find satisfying to listen to.

It must be said that I am a massive Stevie Wonder fan so you’ll often find one of his albums on a usb stick to play in the car when I’m out. ‘Songs In The Key Of Life’ being my favourite. At the same time, you could find albums as diverse as James Taylor’s ‘Gorilla’, an album that rates as one of my favourites, to Queen’s ‘Sheer Heart Attack’ .

Donald Fagan’s ‘Nightfly’ album is another that gets played a lot as does John Holt’s ‘1000 Volts of Holt’. Back in 2009, Will Downing’s ‘Classique’ was my favourite album of the year and that can be heard as well.

There’s a part of me that likes Smooth Jazz and many a time I’ve spent an evening listening to an internet station I discovered years ago called KJZY. I do like to chill and the mix of tunes they play works for me. Bearing that in mind I’ll admit to liking Kenny G, Dave Koz, Kirk Whalum and many others of that ilk.

I’m a great oldies fan as well. So in my collection, you’ll find most of the Beatles albums, ‘Revolver’ probably being my favourite. A few years ago I went on an ebay hunt and bought a Barbara Lewis album called ‘It’s Magic’. It’s the third time I’ve bought the album over a 30 year period. I remember buying in 1989 and giving £15.00 for it. Somewhere along the way it went missing and in 2008 I bought it again for £31.00. It’s just a lovely album and this time I’m not letting it go anywhere!

Just before he died, I persuaded a group of people to come along with me to see Lonnie Donegan in concert. Lonnie has been a hero of mine for years and he was one of the pioneers of the pop scene in this country way back in the 50s. After the concert, the great man was in the foyer saying hello to people as well as selling a 3 CD compilation set of all his singles which I just had to buy, and I have to say I still play that when the mood takes me. He was really excellent, but was suffering from the flu’ and it was sad that a few weeks later he passed away in his hotel room on that same tour.

The Beach Boy’s, ‘Pet Sounds’ is another of those classic albums that I still listen to, and I have to say I have a few Beach Boys compilation albums that always cheer me up whenever I play them.

Back in 2006, I bought an album called ‘Handful Of Soul’ by Mario Biondi. It’s an absolutely awesome album and many will know the track ‘This Is What You Are’ from it. Trust me, there are some other fine songs on the album worth hearing and if you’ve not heard it, go get it. It’s a shame the follow up album couldn’t keep to the same standard.

Other albums over the years that seem to get played a lot by me are Carly Simon ‘Hotcakes’, which brings back some great memories for me. Eagles ‘Greatest Hits (1971-75)’, Van Morrison ‘Moondance’ Marvin Gaye ‘Let’s Get It On’, and Al Green’s ‘Call Me’.

Frank Sinatra is another of those classic artists that I still find time to play. ‘The Capitol Years’ probably encompasses his most successful period and is jam-packed full of classics.  I have a few Ella Fitzgerald compilations that I love and hearing songs like ‘Manhattan’ and the absolutely awesome ‘Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye’ still send shivers down my spine. You’ll also find compilations by the likes of Dean Martin, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin in there too.

Classic albums do play a part in my listening and so Dire Straits ‘Brothers In Arms’ is there – as a side note it was the first album I bought on CD, way back in 1985. Don McLean’s ‘American Pie’ takes me back to a time when I was just a kid. Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ is there as well. I just love ‘Money’. 

I have a load of Elvis Presley albums, but I always end up playing ‘GI Blues’ for some reason. Probably because I still love the film.

Speaking of films, Isaac Hayes’ ‘Shaft’ soundtrack is awesome and listeners to my show will have heard me play ‘Café Reggio’s in my shows more than once.

One of my top three films is ‘Cinema Paradiso’ and the soundtrack album by Ennio Morricone is just about as chilled as it could be. Now it goes without saying, ‘Saturday Night Fever’ was a major turning point in my life, and I am very nostalgic about the album and just love to play MFSB’s version of ‘K-Jee’.

So what guilty pleasures do I have that I listen to – more to the point should I admit to them? Ah - why not. After all they add to the rich tapestry of life.

First up comes Gilbert O’Sullivan’s ‘Back to Front’ the album that has my favourite lyric of all time. In the song ‘The Golden Rule’ Gilbert sings,

‘I wouldn't behold wouldn't be cold,
I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for my Dear old mum and dad,
And the fun they had,
Early one night,
Dad put out the light,
Got hold of me mum,
Said he wanted a son,
And as you can see,
The result was me’

What a lyric eh?

Barry Manilow’s ‘Greatest Hits’ is there too – ‘Weekend In New England’ is just lovely. I can remember having the cassette in my car as a teen (but keeping it well hidden).

This next one has a sentimental pull to it to me as it’s an album I remember from when I was very young.  Max Bygraves & Ted Heath did an album in 1959 called ‘Max & Ted’ and it contained songs from the 1920s in it. Dated? Yes. Corny? Yes Do I love it? Yes. And it’s been rereleased under a different name.

And finally in my hall of shame ‘The Best of’ Wham’. Do I need to say anything about this album? No, I thought not.

Add to that a plethora of compilation albums and you can see that I pretty much like a bit of everything.

I promise not to play ‘Macerana’ or ‘Agadoo’ in a show anytime soon though!

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