The extra time has also allowed me to speak to friends and colleagues far more than I ever did and I've even dropped my guard recently and joined in with a few social media threads doing the rounds. One in particular was sent to me via Facebook from numerous DJs requesting me to join in a thread entitled '10 Albums That Influenced Your Music Tastes' and asked nominees to post an album cover a day on their timeline. I'll be honest, I don't usually go for stuff like that but during this lockdown period I find myself with a lot more spare time on my hands so I thought I'd join in for a bit of fun.
The idea was simple, you list an album a day for 10 days. The initial thread included the instructions 'no explanations, no reviews, just the album covers'... well you know me, I can't keep that quiet about anything, especially when it comes to music! So I adapted my posts to include a short description of each choice that was well-received by those friends who had sent me private messages asking about the albums I had selected, as well as putting my own twist on the theme... I don't do ordinary!
The albums I chose were:
Day 1: Complete Madness – Madness
Day 2: Tango In The Night – Fleetwood Mac
Day 3: The Complete Thom Bell Sessions '77
– Elton John
Day 4: Welcome To The Pleasuredome
– Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Day 5: The Life Pursuit – Belle & Sebastian
Day 6: Graceland – Paul Simon
Day 7: Volume 1 – Traveling Wilburys
Day 8: Greatest Hits So Far – Zak Brown Band
Day 9: The Liberty Of Norton Folgate – Madness
Day 10: The Album – Jive Bunny & the Mastermixers
Each of those albums played a significant role in carving out my music tastes, both personal and professional. Whilst some of my selections are greatest hits collections, others are classic albums that included the chart hits plus the usual array of album tracks that were often nothing more than fillers... but... amongst my choices are albums that include both hit singles and some hidden album track gems. The same can be said for many other albums of course and I’m sure that most of you reading this are already thinking of your own favourites among the many albums in your collections.
As a young boy, I would save up my pocket money to buy as many albums as I could afford. Back in the late ‘70s / early ‘80s you had to wash a lot of cars to be able to afford one... so I did just that... I washed lots of cars and every month I made enough to buy a new album. At first I would use my hard-earned money to buy albums by my favourite band, Madness, and in 1979 I purchased the seminal 'One Step Beyond' and played it over and over again. Whilst the hits, including 'My Girl', 'The Prince' and 'Night Boat To Cairo', were the main attraction, it was some of the album tracks that I would include on my mix-tapes... remember those? Tracks like 'Rockin' In Ab' and 'Tarzan's Nuts' were more than just album fillers and helped ignite my passion for music that stretched beyond the obvious hits.
Of course when you are a fan of a certain artist you are bound to like almost everything on their albums but the same thing happened on future album purchases that I made. I wasn't a huge UB40 fan but after the success of 'Red Red Wine' I washed a few more cars and bought the album 'Labour Of Love'. It included the extended version of their 1983 number one, with the added toasted verse from group member Astro, as well as their other hits including 'Cherry Oh Baby' and 'Many Rivers To Cross', but the more I played the album the more I was drawn to a couple of other tracks that were never released as singles: 'She Caught The Train' and 'Johnny Too Bad'. The latter became one of my favourite album tracks of all time.
During the ‘80s I bought a lot of albums to add to my personal music collection and at that time it was mainly to play the big hits. In my early days of vinyl buying I would regularly skip the needle to the hit songs and completely miss out on the other tracks that made up the album, which meant potentially missing out on some hidden classics. As I grew older I took more interest in the entire album and in doing so opened up a whole new world of music. I had become a fan of the album track and now found myself skipping past the hits to listen to the other tracks first in the hope of finding something special. Selecting each album for the Facebook thread that I had been invited to partake in, gave me a chance to remind myself just how good they are and how many great tracks are on each one aside of the obvious hits.
After I'd selected my 10 choices
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 102, Pages 26-32.