Beck-Ola – an album by the Jeff Beck group, released in 1969 but mostly recorded a year earlier. Jeff beck had been in The Yardbirds (see Y) but left in the mid-sixties (to be replaced by Eric Clapton). Now, to tell the truth I only bought this because the lead singer was not Jeff (he was the guitarists) but one Rod Stewart. It was here that Rod learnt his trade and also where he met Ronnie Wood…the rest they say is History. The album is okay, but a bit rough – quite bluesy; it was apparently much admired by the newly formed Led Zeppelin. Hey Ho. Anyway Rod’s singing is brilliant as usual.
The Bee-Gees – well, I loved the early singles, and even many of the later ones. I have a Greatest Hits collection. Nice to hear occasionally, and part of the Sixties (and beyond0 legacy..
Bjork – burst on the scene in the late 80’s, as the singer with Icelandic band The Sugar Cubes. Her solo debut simply called Debut came out in 1993. I did not buy it. I quite liked the single ‘Human Behaviour’ and the Christmas single ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, but I didn’t realise what a star she would become. Other songs on this record are okay, I like ‘Venus As A Boy’ too. I did buy Post, her second album; this seems a much more assured record, as if she now knows exactly what she wants to sound like. But I am still not sure if, great as she is, that I really like her that muh, which may seem strange – but you almost have to be in the mood for Bjork as she tends to assault your senses rather. Best songs are ‘Army of Me’ and ‘Possibly Maybe’ and the final track ‘Headphones’.
Homogenic came out in 1997. I like this much better, from opening track ‘Hunter’ to closer ‘All Is Full Of Love’ the album seems to hold your attention. Full of modern dance beats, industrial sounds and strange rhythms, it is Bjorks voice which captivates, hovering above everything with a strange haunting beauty – and sounding like nothing else at all. Hard to pick favourite songs as it all seems of one piece really.
She followed this with Vespertine. Incidentally it is almost worth buying Bjork albums for the incredible costumes she wears on the covers – this time she becomes a swan). Another very good record, but again I am never sure if I really like her. And although the voice is incredible I struggle to hear the words; there is also the question of inflection – lots of people criticised Dylan because ‘he couldn’t sing’, but it is the inflection, the emphasis, the meaning, the emotion he puts into the words that is the reason we love him. And with Bjork, as I struggle to understand (or even hear) a lot of the words =, something is missing. Medulla came out in 2004; I was only buying Bjork in Second-hand shops by now and got this one quite recently. It is actually very good, the arrangements are excellent, a lot of stacked vocals and a few slower songs. I also have a freebie Sunday paper greatest hits which is okay too. And still I am unsure of Bjork, an undoubted genius but sometimes I find the music, let us say – challenging