but version wouldn't have nominated you if he didn't think you've got it in you. it's the ultimate vote of confidence. the highest honour dissensus can bestow. a lot of people here have waited years from version to ask them, but he never has, and he never will. he doesn't think they're up to the task.
No worries. Right, we’re off. The first one is the easiest.
Belfast, autumn 1978, dark city port of eternal nightmares. British troops had flooded the whole Ardoyne, bad vibes you can‘t miss even as a kid visiting Nan with so many checkpoints, but the Dubliners were in town for a civil rights gig. The Ancient Order of Hibernians had commandeered a hall somewhere, along with a lady called Bernadette Devlin. What a woman, a living legend. Small stage, drinks flowing. Men in jumpers worn under jackets (see Alan Partridge’s lookalike). Cigarette smoke hanging thick, sandwiches and tea urns on trellises to one side, but most of the kids and a % of Mums started to leave while Bernadette’s speech finished. As night began to loom over us, the place was still rammed.
An old fella/mc, half-cut, wobbled on-stage and any crowd noise evaporated immediately. My Dad hoisted me onto his shoulders to see better. MC mumbled a caveat, then from the side of the hall a roar went up and I could see movement of folks heading for the stage. Shouting started. ‘Go on Luke, go on yourself Ronnie’ and this suited bunch of long-haired beardies moved up onto the stage, a few quick glances to each other. From there, the MC’s intro and the first note was a blur of noise, anticipation and beaming faces. A thick Dublin accent drawled through the PA, ‘thank you everyone today for supporting the cause, hope youse alright Belfast, here’s a song for Eire......’. A fiddle line rippled through the creaking speakers and life, music and everything in between would never be the same again
Notable highlights - Greenland Whale Fisheries, Enniskillen Dragoons and a more mournful Bunclody.
Tunes from home life. Tunes that drift across time and never leave you.
Dad jazz first, although there's some crossover with parental tastes, i just don't know how Dissensus will go for the folky shit. A chronology of sorts, i haven't listened to some of these in decades.
Sunday afternoon. It's hammering rain and you can't go out and play football. Then these slowly drift and swirl out from the living room and you forget there's even an outside world to be played in
Then his cans began to pop and you'd sit down as the mood changed, listening together he'd run through who featured on whose lp's
Notable highlights - everything Miles, everything Bird, Monk, Coltrane, Dizzy, Duke Ellington and Sun Ra. Add B Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, E James and west coast too with Chet Baker and GM. That list alone is too vast. Miss you Pops.
Team meeting cancelled after a 2 hour fucking drive to Bath, so you’re in luck.
From the other side of the 70’s, the fluffy, motherly, folky, velvety, songs that came from Mam Cymru‘s records and tapes. Some of these are the better renditions available online.
Black Rock Sands, wispy half remembered summers from around 75/77 onwards, a stunning part of the British isles. Wind-breaker awnings, my Nan in her rubber, all element sandals, Gramps cleaning his pipe in a deck chair complaining about English interlopers. Flares everywhere. My sister’s NHS, brown-rimmed specs held together by a plaster (“oh, owl ‘ead”). Massive collars, dungarees and brown buckled sandals from the shoe shop, the place with a mechanised size measurer. Beige hues galore, purple coloured sofas and a red Austin Maxi we’d drive down in.
This tune has haunted me for decades because I first heard it during one of these holidays courtesy of my Mum. The scaling, Mixolydian? It enchanted my sister and I from day one, plus they were Scottish. Pure envy at the pixie kids on the sleeve (who probably weren’t forced to attend mass). I think one of the girls in this band subsequently disappeared in America which added to its mystique over time, a living time capsule from a decade that was already haemorrhaging in on itself
Same period, different band. I can take or leave Fairport Convention, but this tune is on a different plane. A tune my sister stumbled on first on the only Fotheringay lp (thanks again Mum). Sandy Denny at her peak and a rare live vid that’s even better than the lp version. If you like twangy lead guitars (Mixolydian too?) with a sublime drummer, this for you
Gram Parsons, a singer my Dad could frown at and appreciate in equal measure depending on the song, but whom my Mum absolutely adores to this day. She had this as a hissy, multi-generation tape copy, badly weathered, which then got lost during a home move to her horror. Turns out Owsley Stanley recorded it as a soundboard, which is the reason I suspect my Dad was onboard for it too. Then the internet got rolled out and behold the songs returned to the family nest. The first 3 tracks (all ten minutes) are my own picks, incredible pedal steel from Sneaky Pete, what a player
Last but possibly the best pick of this post, a hymn that defines sublime. My gog north Walian relatives could sneer a bit at their Hwntws kinfolk, but bond over chapel. Fucking parochials. This is music for anyone with a soul
Don’t know how to structure the following. An era that incorporates the remnants of Krautrock, Zappa, Don Cherry, industrial - TG, Cabaret Voltaire (so much more intriguing than most punk) - the Man band, Turkish prog and first exposures to acts like Devo and The Residents. The odd crossover/pop gem from The Clash like the ‘Magnificent Seven‘ and Yaz’s ‘Situation’, then Chris and Cosey, Coil, and even then I’m going to forget a bunch of ear worms.
A move away brought Nottinghamshire’s uniquely flat vowels into focus. The gateway to the north. Land of Byron, Lawrence, Sillitoe, Gosling, Brian Clough and Torvill and Dean. Casual led violence, BNP hq in Ilkeston and the north of the county had already been decimated by deindustrialisation, compounded by the miner’s strike.
If you’re lucky as a young adolescent you get schooled on music courtesy of older siblings of friends. Lads 4-5 years older than your own cohort who worshipped records. They had lp’s my old man would shy away from, coinciding with discovering mushrooms and they were sound about taped copies being shared. Shit like Wolfgang Dauner, Xhol Caravan, Walter Wegmuller and Roedelius, most of which were first heard via red eyed wonderment on squidgy black hash. Add Popol Vuh, TD, Can, Holger Czukay and all the usual suspects. If I have to narrow these German artists down to a few tracks, that’s tough but perfection is a hindrance - in no particular order
Could add loads more on this subject alone, but time to cool the boots.