Classic albums A-Z: One Minute Silence – One lie fits all (2003)



There are two reasons why ‘One Lie Fits All‘, the 1993 release from metal/rap/rockers ‘One Minute Silence’ gets my classic status. One is that I don’t have that many albums for bands whose name begins with ‘O’. The second, and singularly more important is down to the stunning third track – ‘I wear my skin’.

Everything about this track is brilliant; the way in which Yap’s vocals grab you when they kick in; the power of the lyrics; the slicing guitar work from Massy and the stunning imagery of the accompanying video. My mind’s already made up – enough to see this track feature in my all time top 10 (and that’s really something)! See what you think…

I wear my skin like it’s not a problem, but is it a problem for you? The past writes the page we walk on, today writes the past for…

Full track listing
  1. Fistful of nothing
  2. Revolution
  3. I wear my skin
  4. The way back
  5. We bounce
  6. You so much as move
  7. Price of the King’s ticket
  8. Into our own
  9. A song about
  10. The hill is a hole
  11. Representing the poor man
  • Yap (vocals)
  • Glen Diari (bass)
  • Msssy Fiocco (guitar)
  • Eddie Stratton (drums)

Classic albums A-Z: Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)



Yes, well obviously this has to be here. No brainer. Primarily because of the opening track which remains one of my favourite single releases of the 1990’s.

And I guess everyone knows that Kurt Cobain wrote the song about a deodorant? Well, sort of.

A good friend of his – Kathleen Hanna from ‘Bikini Kill’ – famously wrote ‘Kurt smells like teen spirt’ on his bedroom wall. And it’s this which gave rise to the song. But it was only later that Cobain found out that there really was a deodorant called ‘Teen Spirit’. Suffice to say that sales rocketed after the single release in November 1991.

Full track listing
  1. Smells like teen spirit
  2. In bloom
  3. Come as you are
  4. Breed
  5. Lithium
  6. Polly
  7. Territorial Pissings
  8. Drain you
  9. Lounge Act
  10. Stay away
  11. On a plain
  12. Something in the way
  • Kurt Cobain (vocals, guitars)
  • Krist Novoselic (bass, vocals)
  • Dave Grohl (drums, vocals)

Classic albums A-Z: Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998)



Mezzanine is the fourth studio album from Massive Attack. Released in April 1998 having been preceded by the menacing atmosphere of ‘Risingson’ in the autumn of the previous year. Mezzanine went on to become the band’s first number 1 album. Guest vocalists included Horace Andy, newcomer Sara Jay and Elizabeth Frazer of the Cocteau Twins. Mezzanine’s downbeat grooves features samples from ‘The Cure’, ‘Velvet Underground’, ‘Isaac Hayes’ and ‘John Holt’.

Liz Frazer’s vocal talents come to their own on the wondrous ‘Teardrop’ which deservedly reached number 10 in the UK charts in May 1998.¬†‘Teardrop’ may have been Mezzanine’s best-selling offspring but for me, it’s the building menace of the penultimate track – ‘Group Four’ which propels this album to ‘classic’ status over the preceding three (which I also have). Written by 3D, Daddy G, Mushroom and Elizabeth Frazer and featuring the vocal talents of both 3D and Frazer, this track has all the components needed to make my spine tingle every time – haunting lyrics, deep rolling bass, complex guitar undertones and repeating dub step percussion – building to an expected crescendo like a wave before slipping immediately into a whisper as the wave breaks and calm returns. Group Four is an eight-minute moment to savour!

Full track listing
  1. Angel
  2. Risingson
  3. Teardrop
  4. Inertia Creeps
  5. Exchange
  6. Dissolved Girl
  7. Man next door
  8. Black mik
  9. Mezzanine
  10. Group Four
  11. (Exchange)
  • Vocals – Horace Andy, Elizabeth Frazer, Sara Jay, 3D, Daddy G
  • Guitars – Angelo Bruschini
  • Bass guitars – John Harris, Bob Locke, Winston Blissett
  • Drums – Andy Gangadeen
  • Programmers – Neil Davidge & Massive Attack
  • Keyboards – Neil Davidge, Dave Jenkins, Michael Timothy
  • Sampling – Massive Attack
  • Pro Tools – Jan Kybert


Classic albums A-Z: Leftfield – Leftism (1995)



Early in 1995 I accompanied some mates to what still holds the record as the latest start to a gig we’ve ever been to – 2 a.m.! Yes, that’s right – two o’clock in the morning! It was for Leftfield‘s ‘Leftism’ tour hitting the club circuit to promote the album of same name released a few months earlier in January.

The stage area was in darkness until the the band finally made an entrance, so it wasn’t until then that you realised (from the three full drum kits) that this wasn’t all about keyboards and programming. That was powerful enough, especially as the band opened with the kick-line from ‘Space Shanty’, but none of us was prepared for the bass. When that kicked it was a moving experience. Quite literally! Powerful enough to shake the floor; strong enough to make you stagger, deep enough to feel. Big time!

Full track listing
  1. Release the pressure
  2. Afro left
  3. Melt
  4. Song of life
  5. Original
  6. Black Flute
  7. Space Shanty
  8. Inspection (check one)
  9. Storm 3000
  10. Open up
  11. 21st century poem

Classic albums A-Z: The King – Return to Splendour (2000)



The small town where I live in Sussex, UK used to be graced by an equally small record shop – ‘Atomic Sounds’. Sadly, it’s no longer with us but, in its heyday, I’d spend most Saturday mornings there, browsing through the eclectic selection of new and back-catalogue stuff on offer.

One Saturday Elvis Presley was playing over the stereo. At least that’s what I thought; it’s just that something wasn’t quite right. Elvis seemed to be covering (and rather well, I might add) ‘Pretty Vacant’ from the Sex Pistols. And there laid the rub. Theoretically possible as the Sex Pistols released it in July 1977 and Elvis didn’t pass on until three weeks or so later on 16 August. But the King would have had to have been unbelievably sharp off the mark and it just didn’t quite jell as to why he’d bother. Just didn’t seem to be his style at all.

Duly puzzled, I asked the owner who immediately confirmed that it was indeed The King on the stereo. “Seriously?” I replied, “Elvis covered the Sex Pistols?” “Of course not!” Tony replied, “But the King did!” And there laid my introduction, as well as sealing which album I’d buy that day.

Jim ‘The King’ Brown hails from the bad end of Belfast. An ex-postal worker, he’s acclaimed as one of the greatest Elvis tribute acts working today. Backed by a stunningly talented band (The Questionnaires), The King takes the Elvis tribute to a whole different level covering the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Lynryd Skynryd and, of course, the Sex Pistols.

Return to Splendour is his second album and the third ‘covers’ album in this series.

Full track listing
  1. Sympathy for the devil
  2. L.A.Woman
  3. Under the bridge
  4. The house is rockin
  5. Whole lotta love
  6. You got it
  7. Everybody’s talking
  8. Sweet Home Chicago
  9. Child of a preacher man
  10. King of the road
  11. Crazy little thing called love
  12. Pretty Vacant
  13. Hoochie Coochie man
  14. Take me home country roads
  15. What a wonderful world
  16. Little ole wine drinker me
  • Jim ‘The King’ Brown (vocals)
  • Keith Weir (keyboards)
  • Ian Gould (bass guitar)
  • Steve Emney (drums)
  • Paul Guerin (guitar)

Classic albums A-Z: Jethro Tull – Aqualung (1971)



Jethro are at a potential danger point – around the stage where, having undergone personnel changes and guaranteed a certain response for whatever they attempt, a lapse of effort could bring on the disintegration of respect that is currently gnawing like woodworm at so many established bands. Yet the evidence of their fourth album is solidly against the rot getting even a foothold in the revamped Jethro Tull.

They are still growing; not leaping ahead in gargantuan jumps but doggedly and conscientiously pursuing and exploiting Ian Anderson’s and the band’s capabilities as writers and performers in the restrained manner that has always been their trademark.

Aqualung is progression within the distinctive area of music Jethro made and still hold as their own; more aggressive and riffy than the sweatily satisfying, under-rated Benefit. Certainly the time and meticulous attention that has gone into every facet of the product should be self-evident.

NME (New Musical Express) review, March 1971.

Full track listing (original vinyl) – side A
  1. Aqualung
  2. Cross-eyed Mary
  3. Cheap day return
  4. Mother Goose
  5. Wond’ring aloud
  6. Up to me
Full track listing (original vinyl) – side B
  1. My God
  2. Hymn 43
  3. Slipstream
  4. Locomotive Breath
  5. Wind up
Bonus tracks (1998 CD re-reissue)
  1. Lick your fingers clean
  2. Wind up (quad version)
  3. Excerpts from the Ian Anderson interview
  4. Songs for Jeffrey
  5. Fat Man
  6. Bouree
  • Ian Anderson (flute, acoustic guitar, vocals)
  • Martin Barre (electric guitar and descant recorder)
  • Clive Bunker (percussion)
  • John Evan (piano, organ, mellotron)
  • Jeffrey Hammond (bass guitar, alto recorder, odd voices)


Classic albums A-Z: The Isley Brothers – Forever Gold (1977)



There have been a lot of Isley Brothers compilations over the years, some later ones a lot more comprehensive than this. But this is early and is notable for a couple of very good reasons.

Firstly it commemorates that fact that the four albums preceding this release had each ‘gone gold’ – no mean feat by any standard. And secondly it features a cut of ‘Hope you feel better’ (from the 1975 album ‘The heat is on’) which you’ll not find on any other Isley compilation or ‘best of’ album.

But for me, ‘Forever Gold‘ earns ‘classic’ status for the inclusion of gems like ‘That Lady’, ‘Harvest for the world’ and ‘Summer Breeze’.

Full track listing
  1. That Lady (part 1 & 2)
  2. Live it up (part 1 & 2)
  3. Hello it’s me
  4. (At your best) you are love
  5. Fight the power (part 1 & 2)
  6. For the love of you (part 1 & 2)
  7. Hope you feel better love (part 1 & 2)
  8. The Highways of my life
  9. Harvest for the world
  10. Summer Breeze

Classic albums A-Z: Jeff Healey Band – Cover to Cover (1995)



Cover to Cover’, the second covers album in this series, has a place notably for the inclusion of three particular tracks – ‘Stop Breakin Down’, ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ and ‘Badge’. ¬†Part of my reason for writing this series is to showcase some albums I’m really pleased to own. So I’ve no qualms about sharing the meritoriousness of each. But first a bit about Jeff.

Born in 1966 in Toronto, Canada, Jeff Healey, blind from eye cancer at the age of 12 months, taught himself to play guitar after getting his first for his third birthday. He formed his first band when he has 15. Four years later he caught the eye of a much impressed Albert Collins and formed the Jeff Healey Band. Self-producing several singles and playing across Canada eventually landed the band a signing with Arista Records in 1988. Moving between blues and jazz in later years, he sadly succumbed again to cancer and passed away in 2008 aged just 41.

‘Stop Breakin Down’ was originally penned by Robert Johnson in 1937. Since then the song’s been covered countless times but remains one of my all-time favourite blues anthems, up there with ‘Dust my broom’ and ‘ Bullfrog Blues’. Notably covered by the Rolling Stones on their 1972 album ‘Exile on Main Street’, the Jeff Healey version here still has the edge for me.

‘Stuck in the Middle with you’ was written by Gerry Rafferty and was a successful hit for the fledgling ‘Stealers Wheel’ in 1973. However, good as that was, this version brings the song screamingly into the 20th century and gets me every time.

And finally ‘Badge’. A film which had a profound effect on me when I first saw it around four years after its release was Lindsay Anderson’s 1968 classic ‘If’ starring Malcolm McDowell. Cream’s haunted ‘Badge’ features in the soundtrack, the films’ central characters air-guitaring on tennis racquets along to Eric Clapton’s guitar solo. This version recaptures some of that memory for me.

Full track listing
  1. Shapes of things
  2. Freedom
  3. Yer Blues
  4. Stop Breakin Down
  5. Angel
  6. Evil
  7. Stuck in the middle with you
  8. I got a line on you
  9. Run through the jungle
  10. As the years go passing by
  11. I’m ready
  12. Badge
  13. Communication Breakdown
  14. Me and my crazy self
  • Jeff Healey (guitars/vocals)
  • Joe Rockman (bass)
  • Tom Stephen (drums)

Classic albums A-Z: Rory Gallagher – Live in Europe (1972)



If there’s one track that’s absolutely guaranteed to get me on my feet, no matter what my mood, it’s the live version of Rory Gallagher’s cover of the traditional blues anthem ‘Bullfrog Blues”. And, for an album recorded live during February and March 1972, it earns its due place as the closing track on this eminently influential album.

This series has already featured the number 2 best ‘live’ album in the form of AC/DC’s ‘If you want blood’. Later one there’ll be the number three. But ‘Live in Europe’ holds the coveted number one slot and deservedly so.

The album was Rory Gallagher’s first top ten release and earned him the 1972 ‘Best Musician of the Year’ award from Melody Maker. David Evans, an 11-year old schoolboy from Dublin, cites this album as the one that made him want to take up learning to play guitar so he could be in a band. It paid off because David Evans is better known as U2’s The Edge.

Full track listing
  1. Messing with the kid
  2. Laundromat
  3. I could’ve had religion
  4. Pistol Slapper blues
  5. Going to my home town
  6. In your town
  7. What in the world
  8. Hoodoo Man
  9. Bullfrog Blues
  • Rory Gallagher (vocals, guitars, mandolin, harmonica)
  • Gerry McAvoy (Bass)
  • Wilgar Campbell (Drums)


Classic albums A-Z: Bryan Ferry – These Foolish Things (1973)



There are a couple of covers albums in this series. This is the first; Bryan Ferry’s ‘These Foolish Things’ from 1973. Released whilst he was still the lead of Roxy Music, Mr Ferry turned predominantly Stateside for this eclectic selection touching everything from Motown to the early jazz standard that gave its name to this, his first solo effort.

The opening track admirably sets the scene, with the Bob Dylan classic outrageously changed with sufficient aplomb to merit a single release of the track a month before the album in September 1973. And, whereas the official video may seem a little basic, the vampish backing singers are each a certain Mr Ferry.

The album manages to capture the instantly recognisable crooner overtone synonymous with the man in later life with classics here from Elvis’ ‘Baby I don’t care’ (via Leiber/Stoller), Lesley Gore’s ‘It’s my party’, The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ ‘The tracks of my tears’. There have been many covers albums over the years but this one sits up there close to the top with the likes of Cat Power, David Bowie and Jeff Healey.

Full track listing
  1. A hard rain’s a-gonna fall
  2. River of salt
  3. Don’t ever change
  4. Piece of my heart
  5. Baby I don’t care
  6. It’s my party
  7. Don’t worry baby
  8. Sympathy for the Devil
  9. The tracks of my tears
  10. You won’t see me
  11. I love how you love me
  12. Loving you is sweeter than ever
  13. These foolish things

Way too many collaborators for a lineup, so here’s the video…