Three Albums I Love Because Of My Dad

My old man didn't really have any musical rules, except it had to be good and listened to loud and the time spent in his car as a kid was a vital part of my musical education...
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At various points in the 80s and 90s I spent a lot of time with my Dad in his car. As a sales manager he always had tidy motors which, in turn, had good sound systems. Weirdly, and I blame my Mother, we didn’t listen to much music at home and when we were all in the car, often on long journeys to France, we had to suffer Simply Red and Terence bastard Trent D’Arby. Or rather they did, I had a Walkman and would let no one else use it.

When it was just us; me, him, my brother and occasionally a few mates, the stereo was cranked up full, the sunroof and windows open and the speedo permanently above the limit. As with all memories, the sepia is high. I remember blue skies, sunshine, muddy knees and laughter. But what I remember most is the music. This music.

This is Big Audio Dynamite

Let’s just say it was Uttoxeter, 1986. It could’ve been anywhere in the Midlands, but I’m 90% certain it was Uttoxeter. My old man was working for a medical sales company at the time and had to do a display on a Saturday. God knows why Pete and I had to go, but we did. I remember hating it, we listened to a radio station that only talked all the way there, possibly because my old man had a hangover and he hated what he had to do. I have no proof of that, but I’ve done the sums.

For what seemed like an eternity me and our kid fought, argued, threw stones at stuff and caused general havoc in the car park of this building. For some reason I remember drinking seven Capri Sun drinks and trying to get my brother to eat a frog.

The samples, effects, jangles and lyrics blew my fucking mind

The way back was different. With the black cloud of hangover and sales hell lifted, he pressed play and E=Mc2 blasted out. I know now that this isn’t the first song on the album but that day it seemed like the only song in the world. Like an alien invasion in my head. The samples, effects, jangles and lyrics blew my fucking mind. I’ve fallen in love with this album again as an adult, and everytime I play it in the office, people who haven’t heard it ask, without fail, “what the fuck is this?” I only reply with “Big Audio Dynamite” in a slightly threatening matter. Matt Weiner loves it though, he nods his head like that Churchill Dog.

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

Cricket, it was definitely cricket. My Dad was captain of Bridgnorth Sunday Thirds in the late 80s and early 90s and I went with him every week, either as scorer or a player if someone dropped out. A poor man’s Mike Brearley (couldn’t bat or bowl, but he fielded like a bastard and could skipper a ton or a five-for out of a dead dog) his team consisted of teenage vagabonds. They loved him, mainly if I remember for his liberal approach to booze, porn and they way he constantly seemed to have a full deck of 20 Marlboro Reds to dish out.

He used to play Beefheart a lot to piss them off, and although I’ve come round to the captain, it had no effect on me then. I was too busy looking at naked pictures in the Sunday Sport. Much like with BAD, it is one song I remember, Lady Stardust. I was captivated by the opening piano and the way the vocal soared from a standing start, the message that everything was alright and the band were together struck a chord for some reason.

A few years later, probably two years after my parents had divorced, I found his vinyl of this and listened to Lady Stardust over and over. I then sold the record to buy hash, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it, just that I was a tit.

I guess it’s because I got into him while hanging out of a sunroof

Born In The USA

Summer, no idea what year but I’d guess at 1987. Me, our kid and two brothers who we were best mates with had been up to the woods. We’d played a sort of hide and seek, my old man went off with the younger two and Flash and I had to find them. I remember this day for two reasons. One, I found out that my Dad had a canon of bird sounds which he used to confuse the shite out of us.The other was that Springsteen was the boss. I’m not a massive Bruce fan. I love some of his stuff but he is down the list below Cash, Strummer, Dylan and a few others. I guess it’s because I got into him while hanging out of a sunroof on the way back from the woods with the title track blaring. Even though I didn’t then know the irony of the song (I was 10, George W. Bush has no such excuse), the opening verse is burnt into my brain and it could’ve been written for our town. Weirdly, I also love Darlington County. ‘Me and Wayne on the fourth of July’ just seemed really mystical, a place I’d never experience.

There are other albums and songs, like Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits which I’ve only ever listened to with him, or Tom Waits and even The Clash Singles collection. I was already a Clash fan but had never heard Hitsville Uk, and hearing that turned me on to Sandanista which I’d previously shunned.

Cheers Dad.

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