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Music Corner: Ten Albums You Probably Haven’t Heard Because……………

Posted on by sam

Before we start I must point out that the idea of this list came from the warped mind of fellow Happy Fingers contributor James Fox. James was initially reluctant to let me steal his idea but after hours of discussion we came to an agreement. In exchange for me pinching the idea of his list, I would let him giveChlamydia to any future daughter I may have once she hits 16.
Anyway on with the show…..


1.Jackson C. Frank – Jackson C. Frank (1965)
Everybody should read this poor fuckers Wikipedia page. From being burnt to his son dying of Cystic Fibrosis to being randomly shot in the eye whilst walking in America, Jackson C Frank was one unlucky bastard. His tales make the sickly sob stories on X Factor where some spotty 15 year old twat is crying because he’s lost a fucking pen look even more ridiculous.

This was the one and only recording of his career and the only disappointing aspect of it is that it makes you long for more. The hurt is evident everywhere in these acoustic folk numbers as Jackson pained voice sears above the delicate music. A very tragic but special record from a very tragic but special man.

2.Planxty – Planxty (1973)

So you want to know about Irish folk music? No? Well get the fuck out of here then. What exactly do you want from me anyway? Fucking NOBHEAD alert!

If you do want to know about Irish folk music then listen to this before you do anything else. If you don’t like it then the genre probably won’t be for you. This is the peak of Celtic music and my only gripe with it is that it set the bar so high that nobody in the genre could and still can’t ever hope to match it. Christy Moore is a legend deserving of as much praise as anybody from his era, whatever the genre.

3.Natty Cultural Dread-Big Youth (1976)

I have no idea why this isn’t regarded as one of the all time great Reggae albums. Its not even known as Big Youth’s best album but to my admittedly small ears this is the epitome of the Reggae explosion of the 70′s. Look at the album cover for fuck’s sake. It’s a black dude with dreads smoking a joint with his shades on. He’s probably indoors too. He doesn’t give one solitary shit.

Just stick the headphones on, grab yourself a beer or a joint and lose yourself to the best toasting in Reggae history. Spread the word, ‘Natty Cultural Dread’ is a classic.

4.Roast Fish, Collie Weed and Corn Bread-Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry (1977)

Though he already had a name as Reggae’s hottest producer and innovator this was Lee Perry’s first outing as a solo artist. Its everything you’d expect from him really. Insane, beautiful, stupid, unfocused and haunting all in equal measure. All this somehow adds up to make an excellent album.
There’s a song here called ‘You Squeeze My Panhandle’. And its brilliant. Only a mad man musical Einstein can manage something like that.

5.Germfree Adolescents-X Ray Spex  (1978)

A terribly under appreciated band, X-Ray Spex deserve much more than their usual odd mention on Punk Documentaries. Poly Styrene should be a poster girl for everyone, a true icon who makes you realise how insane this world is. When you see girls today declare the likes of walking talking Daily Star advert Rihanna as their idols it makes you wonder what the fuck is going on.

A classic Punk rock album with more attitude than a Cat who’s been kicked off a settee

6.Penguin Cafe Orchestra-Penguin Cafe Orhestra (1981)

As impossible to categorize as a racist who’s otherwise pretty sound , Penguin Cafe Orchestra’s second album is another incomparable work of beauty. The myriad of styles flow into one another with a sort of idleness that creates a picture of tranquil simplicity. ‘Penguin Cafe Orchestra’  is dazzling in many ways but perhaps its biggest achievement is how it  manages to form a sound easy on the ears despite being exclusively experimental from beginning to end.

A truly lovely album and this comes from a man who hates everything. Other than Boost bars which are the sole reason I haven’t done myself in yet.


7.Stawberries-The Damned (1982)

If you went straight from their debut’Damned Damned Damned’ to this you’d be a norm to think ‘what the fuck happened to these pricks?’. The energy is still present but the snotty punk of their debut is replaced by a true pop sensibility. Never content with knocking out the same thing over and over, ‘Strawberries’ sees another huge development in the evolution of the Damned’s sound. Who would have thought back in ’77 that this band would produce something as delicate as ‘Under The Floor Again’ or as reflective of ‘Life Goes On’.

This album should have made them huge. That it’s barely spoke of even in Punk circles is more upsetting to me than Boxer getting sent to the slaughterhouse in Animal Farm.

8.Red Roses For Me-The Pogues (1984)

Their idea of taking rugged Irish folk classics and speeding them up to sound like vintage Punk may seem like a pretty obvious move but it’s how The Pogues did it that made them so special. This is The Pogues album that owes most to their Irish roots and the covers here are truly original takes on Folk standards that had been re-hashed thousands of times before. Not only did they make people take another look at unquestionably un-hip Irish folk music but they kicked new life into the genre itself. The original compositions on ‘Red Roses For Me’ don’t sound out of place next to the classic covers such is the talent of Shane McGowen and his  songwriting.

They may have produced more expansive and polished work afterwards but this sums up what The Pogues were all about better than any of their more lauded albums.

9.Steve McQueen-Prefab Sprout (1985)

80′s pop is looked upon with some amusement. The big Yamaha Synths, the ridiculously obvious drum machine being used in every track, the wank clothes, the shit hair, fucking ‘Batdance’ by Prince….this list is endless.. ‘Steve Mcqueen’ has all the awful traits of the 80′s (look at the front cover to Prefab’s follow up album ‘From Langley Park to Memphis’ for confirmation on the clothes and hair) but it still works. It’s easy to mock the sound of the 80′s due to the fact it sounds shit but when you hear it carried out like this, the seemingly absurd ways of the decade begin to make sense.

One of very, very few albums that indulges everything 80′s and makes it sound like a golden era.

10.9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations On British Wrestling Of The 1970′s  & Early 80′s- Luke Haines(2011)

I am too young to recall the Wrestling on ITV’S World Of Sport. Despite this I find ’9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations on British Wrestling of the 1970s & Early ’80s’ a truly engaging listen. As always with the former Auteurs front-man,  Haines has his tongue  firmly in his cheek but he obviously has strong memories of the people he sings about here and they represent a bygone age close to his heart.

Haines’ humorous yet affectionate tales of these strange characters make me feel as though I knew them despite not even being born when they were in their pomp. At times this a really moving experience and though the concept in which he has based this album around is from a time I never knew, it still somehow evokes nostalgia from inside me. Its a testament to Haines’ storytelling that the eccentric entertainers he is honouring become so visualized in your mind after just a few listens.

I like a lot of what Luke Haines has done in his career  but I certainly wouldn’t call myself a die hard fan and a lot of his work goes over my head. Here though he strikes the exact right balance between humour and genuine affection to create an album that evokes beautiful images from a time in which I wasn’t even in this world. To me that is a special talent.

Written By Andrew Hague

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