I thought I’d try to compile a playlist of songs that represent me, or that speak to me on some level, so here goes. They’re in no particular order.
- Gone Cold by Clutch. Probably the first “new” band I’ve heard in a long time, though I’ve since found out that they’ve been going since the early 90s. I listen to podcasts a lot when I’m driving, and one work related podcast features this song as the intro and outro music. It has a lovely, laid back feel to it, with vocals which drawl gently through the opening lines, but which reveal more of an edge when singing the lines around the song title. I think I am also pretty laid back most of the time, but can be steely as and when necessary.
- Doesn’t Make it All Right by The Specials. When you’re growing up in a pretty much exclusively white rural town in the Scottish lowlands, a song which is very much anti-racist sends a strong message, This song combines one of my favoured music genres (ska) with a conviction that I felt strongly at the time and still do. Oh, and my favourite band, SLF, do an awesome version of it.
- Boogie Chillun by John Lee Hooker. Cut down, raw blues with a wonderful hook, this song is just brilliant. the lyrics, about a child’s desire to break free and get lost in their music at times exactly how I feel. I go through peaks and troughs, and at their height I just want to be enveloped in listening to and playing great music.
- Born On The Bayou by Creedence Clearwater Revival. OK, I’m not entirely sure what a bayou is, and I’ve no idea what shoogling is (it’s one of the words in the lyrics), but this song has a similar sort of feel to me as number 1 above does. It’s quite chilled, but at the same time full of a sort of restless energy which breaks out from time to time.
- Panic Song by Green Day. This song is not long, and it’s not complex: but the intro is nothing more than a build up of energy which eventually explodes into action. In a lot of respects, my anger is like that: it takes a long long time to build, then (and only very rarely) does it get released.
- Soul Man by Sam and Dave. This mostly made the cut because a) the Blues Brothers did it, b) it’s a fab time and c) they say “play it Steve” (to Steve Cropper) and I am a Steve!
- Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet. Again, Steve gets a mention, this time in the intro, but I chose this because it was one of the first songs I remember by a band I used to really like. I think this and Teenage Rampage probably laid the path for me to follow in terms of melodic music with a strong drum line.
- White Noise by Stiff Little Fingers. As with The Specials number above, this is very much an anti-racist number, though oddly enough when it first came out radio stations refused to play it because it has a derogatory w-word in every chorus. If they’d checked the lyrics they’d have seen that it was protesting about discrimination for whatever reason, whether race, colour, creed or nationality. What a great message!
- In The Hall Of The Mountain King from the Peer Gynt Suite by Edvard Grieg. I’m half Norwegian, half Scottish, and this is written by a Norwegian composer whose parents were Scots and has our hero encountering giants in their home.
- Donald Where’s Yir Troosers by Andy Stewart. This is a none too serious look at what it’s like to be a Scot from the sticks, and particularly when they venture down into the big city of London. I’m a Scot who made the move from a rural part of the country away to England and to a big down. Oh, and if you want an Elvis impression, there’s one on here too – uh huh!
This was harder than I had expected, but I think I got there in the end. I hope you like the list!