10 albums that influence my music taste


I’ve been nominated by Sean Quinn of Tiny Magnetic Pets to post 10 albums that have influenced my taste in music, 1 album on each of 10 consecutive days. The rules would appear to be no explanation, no reviews just covers. But since I have spent my life playing and talking about music, I’ll ignore that and most days I’ll will nominate someone else to do the same. It probably all began here. (1/10)

Are You Experienced Album
Are You Experienced Album

2/10 The challenge set by Sean Quinn is to post the covers of 10 albums in as many days. The albums have influenced my taste in music. There’s supposed to be no explanation or commentary – that’s not going to happen. The nornal wording is below. Yesterday it was the Jimi Hendrix Experience Are You Experienced which led me to all more JH and other guitarists and guitar bands – not the least this by Taste today’s cover.

Taste - Taste
Taste – Taste

After Taste, Cream. Hendrix, it’s possible I would have been happy with straight rock/guitar bands for years to come, but then cousin Paul Boyd from Preston (lost contact) or some place in the north of England came to visit with a string of very blue rugby songs and Ummagumma and I was off in another direction listening to Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontacta (honest – recorded off Radio 3), Amon Düül II, Soft Machine and the like. I stuck with the Floyd (Atom Heart Mother got me through O levels), but really didn’t like the others much (Thinks: I was only 14 when AHM was released). But there was something truly exciting to follow.

UmmaGumma – Pink Floyd

It is a cold dark early evening in 1973 and I am in a queue outside the McMordie Hall. I’ve spent 30p on a ticket (even then it seemed cheap). The band were to give the Belfast premier of their new album The Tain. My interest in this combination of folk and rock might have begun listening to Unhalfbricking or Jonathan Kelly’s Twice Around the Houses. But the album that confirmed my conversion (to this day) was Horslips Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part.


Horslips Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part
Horslips Happy to Meet, Sorry to Part

While I was listening to Horslips and a number of favourite albums that followed (The Tain, most Thin Lizzy especially Live and Dangerous, Lindisfarne’s Fog on the Tyne, David Bowie) they extended rather than changed by taste. I was aware that something else was going on. Elvis Costello, The Jam, Sex Pistols The Clash. But I wasn’t paying a lot of attention. I was happy in my flares and clogs (yup!) and Denis the Menace Tshirt.

Then this happened – first the single – then the album. (But I stayed true to my flares until they could not be bought any more).

Stiff Little Fngers - Imflammable Material.
Stiff Little Fngers – Imflammable Material.

IN 2001/2002 I was listening to this album, I’d heard 5 minutes on Radio 3 and immediately ordered the CD. It represents a whole swathe of experimental music ranging from Adams’s Short Ride in a Fast Machine, through Cage, Ligeti, Glass, and more from Reich. I don’t listen to a lot of avant garde, but sometimes it is just the right thing.

Drumming - Steve Reich
Drumming – Steve Reich

Did you know Laibach worked in the Belfast shipyard in the early 1980s? It sounds like a Wikipedia embellishment, but I confirmed its truth with Ivan Novak a few years ago.

It could be memory playing tricks but I think I first saw them on Channel 4’s Network 7 in the ’80s. The Spectre album led my taste in music in a new direction. After years of being bored with what I was hearing this album reminded me to look and listen beyond my self-defined borders.

Laibach - Spectre
Laibach – Spectre

It is rare that an album opens up a whole universe of music previously unknown. That is what happened with Kings of Sevdah. I don’t remember how I first came across Mostar Sevdah Reunion. I am pretty sure it was just a video that the YouTube algorithm recommended when I was living in Slovenia. The live album Kings of Sevdah introduced me to many of the musicians I listen to now from Damir Imamaovic, Milutin Sretenovic Sreta, Amira Medunjanin and now I find old sevdah music online. A whole universe.


 Kings of Sevdah - Mostar Sevdah Reunion
Kings of Sevdah – Mostar Sevdah Reunion

As I reach the end of the challenge and reflect what is missing, what didn’t fit on the timeline, what I was reminded of when thinking about this, I remembered one of the most important albums which helped shape my music taste. Motown Chartbusters Volume 3 1969. During many summers from 1969 onward I would stay for a week at my auntie Kitty’s just outside Castlewellan. I was probably a torment to my older cousins Ann and Geraldine, but they had records – I would bring my portable Dansette. They had Liege and Leif, Twice Around the Houses, Pentangle’s Light Flight [single] and Motown Chartbusters Volume 3. A classic then and a classic now and formative in my music education.

Motown Chartbusters Volume 3
Motown Chartbusters Volume 3

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