Thursday, 1 January 2015

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot?

Well that was 2014 apparently. Quite a busy time for me offline as the lack of blog entries may have indicated. Well, like a teenager with his new diary he got for Xmas from his gran, I intend to be a more regular blogger (Doctor's orders)

April 10th : Auntie Maggie's Birthday

I found myself at the year's end surrounded by the usual space filling lists online, in the papers and magazines - best films, best TV, best gigs, best books and of course, best albums.

I could make a fair fist of identifying runners and riders in many of those categories but the last one, the one which should be a walk in the park for a music obsessive like me was a struggle. I couldn't share the enthusiasm for the self indulgent wibble of The War On Drugs, the further adventures of white boys with guitars and the latest dubstep pioneers.

The only really outstanding new album by an artist I bought this year was Beck's immersive 'Morning Phase' which in itself is part two of 2002's 'Sea Change' - no bad thing. Yet Beck is someone who has rarely made a duff album so that's no great surprise.

This year I didn't really dig the new breed but found much to love in days gone by.

Over the festive period the album I have been playing to death is 'Brother Brother Brother' by The Isley Brothers from 1971. I bought it mainly for the 10 minute plus cover of Carole King's 'It's Too Late' that smokes and unfurls in its own sweet time. But I found the rest a complete joy from start to finish - brooding, pained, longing and soulfully rueful.

The remastering of the Boss' early albums made me appreciate and fall for the previously unloveable 'Greetings From Asbury Park' with the mud and dirt removed from its chrome fenders revealing a shining beauty. The Zeppelin and Beatles vinyl reissues made me dive back in, lots of dusty old soul shellac and so on.

I just didn't want to hear anything from now, today, and that was fine.

It's not that I'm wallowing in familiar sounds and old favourites (although I have the same binges of Costello that I always have) it's just I'm still so busy investigating the back roads of pop, soul, rock n roots from days gone by. Perhaps its age, lack of a real source of "new music" to sip from or just a boredom of trying to keep up.

Bottom line is should I be worried about it? I never have been hip (more "hip replacement" as the line goes), never followed fashions or trends so why start now? I love what I love regardless of time and place. New old stuff or old new stuff - it's all been the same. It either grabs you or it doesn't. 

Perhaps a world which makes everything available to you at the click of a link makes it harder for the good stuff to be heard. Recommendations from friends can only go so far and often end in disappointment.

I have a poster which is the London tube map with bands and artists in place of stations. Music interconnects, leads you down different paths and ending in new destinations. Sometimes they build fresh tunnels and lay down new tracks but there are plenty of disused stations and fascinating adventures to be had lying undiscovered in the darkness.

Anyway, here's to 2015 - let's make it a good un!


  1. I totally get it - I've experienced just the same this year. Like you, I don't mind feeling a bit 'out of the loop' regarding new stuff. I'm having too much fun investigating the "disused stations" of the past.

  2. Good resolution, o face of fido. By the time afterword gets back there will be blogs all over the world