Brian Bulls precious 10

DSC_5209You may be surprised by some of Brian’s choices. But only some.

Brian Bull’s ten albums saved from the conflagration

How difficult this is. Nostalgia will play just as big a part as quality of music. In

fact some of these items are not CDs at all but an older technology known as

LPs. I know that none of you are old enough to remember them. I am only citing

albums which are actually in my possession and I am including some from my

extensive collection of jazz and pop albums. Anyway, in no particular order:-

1. Martin Carthy’s Second Album

This made a huge impact on me when it first came out and I have written about

it in more detail elsewhere in this website. Martin and his sidekick, Dave

Swarbrick, were just streets ahead of anyone when this was recorded (1965 I

think). Superb songs, superb singing, superb guitar and fiddle playing.

2. Penguin Eggs (Nic Jones)

I love Nic’s singing style and his way of accompanying himself on guitar. This

album is widely acknowledged as his masterpiece. Sadly he was very seriously

injured on the way home from a gig in 1982 and hasn’t gigged or recorded since.

3. Alistair Anderson plays English Concertina

Alistair’s musicianship has to be heard to be believed. This was his first solo

album (1970) and he was already a master of the instrument. When I heard this I

wanted to play like him……dream on. Since then he has continued to improve

still further but this LP has maximum nostalgia value for me.

4. Morris On

This is one of the original folk-rock pioneering albums and featured a mixture of

Morris tunes and traditional English folk songs. The line up was John Kirkpatrick

(concertina), Richard Thompson (electric guitar), Barry Dransfield (fiddle), Ashley

Hutchings (bass) and Dave Mattacks (drums). Very exciting and full of energy. I

still love it.

5. The Border Minstrel

I’ve occasionally mentioned Billy Pigg. He was a virtuoso of the Northumbrian

pipes, a unique talent. He died in 1968 and had never been into a recording

studio because no-one was interested in recording genuine English traditional

music on a commercial basis. This LP was compiled from home made tape

recordings of his concerts in his native Northumbria. It was listening to Billy Pigg

more than any other which made me realise that there was much more to folk

music than strumming three chords on a guitar.

6. Unto Brigg Fair

Most people wouldn’t spend five minutes listening to this I know. It was recorded

in 1908 by Percy Grainger, a classical musician who wanted to preserve the

authentic sound of English folk singing before it died out. The recordings were

made on wax cylinders (cutting edge technology for the time) and are very

scratchy. Several singers are featured, the most significant of them being Joseph

Taylor. Taylor was a very accomplished singer and was well known in his

community. This album shows us what folk singing was like 100 years ago

although the singers are elderly and mostly past their best. Still interesting to me


7. Blue Lester

I got into jazz quite heavily around 1960. This album I bought around 1964 and it

features one of my all time favourite musicians in any genre. Lester Young played

tenor sax and was a member of the Count Basie Orchestra. He often

accompanied that wonderful singer Billie Holiday and influenced many of the

inventors of Be-Bop, including Charlie Parker. This is classic jazz.

8. Django, the Unforgettable

In my early days as a guitar player I fancied myself as a jazz player but soon

realised it was far beyond my capabilities. My guitar hero was Django

Rheinhardt, showcased on this album which I bought around the same time as

the Lester Young album cited above.

9. The Sun Sessions

Yes, it’s Elvis. I was pretty disinterested in music of any kind until rock and roll

came along. This LP collects together all of Elvis’ first recordings at Sam Philip’s

Sun studios in Memphis; raw, exciting and highly original. I still get a kick out of

them even though they were recorded in 1954/55.

10.The Wonderful World of Buddy Holly

I remember in 1956 watching on black and white TV a show called ‘The Six Five

Special’. They played the latest releases from America and on came ‘That’ll Be

The Day’ by Buddy Holly and the Crickets. I was, as they say, blown away. It’s

still one of my favourite tracks of all time. This CD gathers together 24 of

Buddy’s best.

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