My Record Collection 199

Travis – were a short-lived hit in the late 90s – though they are still going and releasing albums, their popularity stems mostly from the big hit single ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me’ (1999).  Their songs and sound are (more or less) timeless and could have featured anytime since the early Seventies.  I only have 2 CDs – The Man Who – 1999 is the first and by far their biggest seller.  This is one of those albums you cannot really fault, the vocal harmonies are sumptuous and the songs particularly good.  Of course the big hit and ‘Turn’ and ‘Driftwood’ were singles, but there isn’t a bad song on the album.   I also nabbed from a charity shop one of those free CDs they give away with Sunday Newspapers.  It is actually quite good – live versions of ‘Rain’ and ‘Turn’ and a few I didn’t know – but actually I was never really a fan.

Jethro Tull – named after the agricultural inventor of the 18th Century this band was famous for lead singer Ian Anderson, flautist extraordinaire and main songwriter for the band, whose members changed occasionally.  I saw them a few times in the early Seventies and they were always brilliant – a strange mixture of sometimes quite heavy rock and pastoral classicism.  First up is a double CD of their first album – This Was (1968).  I went back to find this album after buying Thick As A Brick – (1972, the best of years). Well, I was not too impressed by this debut – no coherent sort of sound, just a jumble really – it still makes little impression on these poor uneducated ears.  Much better, of course was the brilliant masterpiece that was Thick As A Brick.  As well as being one long piece, simply divided to fit on both sides of a vinyl album – it is a comical conceit.  Musically it is superb with several ‘Movements’ and a recurrent motif or two threaded in.  It was apparently meant as a parody of the ‘Concept album’ and purported to be a poem written by 12 year old Gerald Bostock.  It came, such was the lunacy of record companies back then, as a fictional 12 page local newspaper, featuring a front page story about young Gerald, along with many other ridiculous stories and even football scores – a continuing joke was the existence of a non-rabbit.  Anyway, I loved it, the whole idea but especially the music itself.  There are no real tracks, but you have to listen to the whole thing, and it is simply a work of art.  Minstrel In The Gallery (1975) is my next album, and a more lyrical album.  The title track is almost medieval in it’s sound, but the star of the album is ‘Baker Street Muse’ – the lyrics escape me, but I like the playing.  Anderson seems to switch so easily between a pretty heavy full on rock sound and gentle flute-led melodies.  I can only think of early Genesis (see G) as a comparison really.  I also really like the sad and haunting ‘Requiem’.  Next up is the brilliant Songs From The Wood album (1977).  Remember at this time, ‘punk’ was all the rage and threatening to blow these old rock dinosaurs out of the water – well, most of them are still going strong.   Again a more folky album really, with occasional bursts of exuberance.  Best are the title track and ‘The Whistler’ and ‘Ring Out Solstice Bells’  A lovely record.  My last studio album is the equally good Heavy Horses (1978).   Again an excellent title track.  I also like ‘No Lullaby’ and ‘One Brown Mouse’.  I have no idea why I haven’t carried on collecting Tull albums -maybe they all started to sound similar….anyway.  I do also have the obligatory Very Best Of.   All the big hits are here…’Aqualung’, ‘Too Old To Rock and Roll’ and ‘Locomotive Breath’ among others. A very individual band, the likes of which we will never see again.