Balearic Mike`s Musical Diets / Week 2: 24/01/2021

Words & musical selections by Balearic Mike

This week I have been mostly listening to … some more old favourites …Starting with some warm bass and mellow vibrations …

The Abyssinians – Forward On To Zion – Clinch Records 1977
Easing myself into this dreary Sunday with this beautiful LP of roots reggae. I’m lucky to have a small, but rather nice reggae collection, due mainly to working with Steve Yates in Vinyl Exchange for all those years, so cheers Yatesman!

Spiritual jazz!
Leon Thomas – Anthology – Soul Brother Records 1998
I’m not a huge fan of jazz: I like lots – I dislike lots, and if you’d told me to listen to some “jazz yodelling” I’d have pissed myself. However, it really is quite wonderful when Leon does it. I first heard him when at art college in Brighton in 1988. My friend Max had a tape of a stunning live album recorded in Berlin. It took me nearly a decade to finally get a copy – from Nick The Record of course – around the same time that this compilation was released. Leon is most famous for his work with Pharaoh Saunders on The Creator Has A Masterplan, Prince of Peace, etc. The final side of this LP is so beautiful – Balance of life,  Little Sunflower, Sun Song – that I shit you not, the actual sun came out for a bit! I as lucky enough to see him live – at Band On The Wall in Manchester – in the brief period between this LP`s release and his untimely death. He was quite superb!

LPs I will never tire of…
Cymande – Cymande – Janus Records 1972
The superb UK band`s debut LP which is as hard to categorize as it is close to perfection. A sublime mix of soul, reggae, folk, African music styles and Funkadelic influences. Many LPs which are famous for particular tracks are often a bit of a disappointment in comparison, but there simply isn’t a bum note on this from start to finish. From Getting It Back, to Dove, to Bra – the famous one! – to The Message to the beautiful finale of Ras Tafarian Folk Song – gorgeous!

Simply my favourite LP of all time…
Prince & The Revolution – Parade – Paisley Park 1986
Others might say that Sign “O” The Times is Prince’s masterpiece, and it’s hard to argue against that opinion, but I don’t care. SOTT is relegated to No.2 in my all-time favourite LPs list, after this musical miracle. The 4 singles from this are possibly Prince`s finest run of releases – Kiss, Mountains, Girls & Boys, Anotherloverholenyohead – and as well as that it has one of his best LP only tracks in Sometimes It Snows In April. The rest of the LP is a strange mixture of whimsical musical interludes, lounge crooning, machine funk and strange abstract doodles of songs – I Wonder U being the finest of these – as it was intended to be a soundtrack to the film Under The Cherry Moon, but it just somehow works in a really powerful way. It sounds so complete, almost like they recorded it in one take, with the sequencing of the tracks as good as side 2 of Abbey Road.

The first LP I ever bought for myself…
Adam & The Ants – Kings Of The Wild Frontier – CBS 1980
This week in 1981 – yes folks, that’s 40 years ago – this LP went to No.1 in the UK LP charts. It would spend a total of 12 weeks at the top of the charts – though not consecutively. I was already very into pop music by the age of 10. My Dad had been working in Saudi Arabia for a couple of years by then, and would send home parcels of very cheap, Saudi knock-off 747 cassettes of any LP I wanted, so I already had all the Madness, Specials, The Jam, Gary Numan, etc., that I asked for. Something changed with Adam & The Ants, something profound. After seeing them on TV, on Top Of The Pops, suddenly a dodgy cassette version was no longer going to be enough. I fell hard and fast for Adam & The Ants. I bought every single, including the early ones like Young Parisians and Car Trouble, which were being hastily re-released, and I bought the first LP as well. I cut out every picture I could find of Adam and his Ants from every paper and magazine – the Radio & TV Times, my mum`s magazines, from my uncle`s Melody Maker and NME, from girls in my class at school`s Jackie, Look In, etc., and from the copies of Smash Hits and No.1 Magazine which I could now no longer live without. I plastered these photos over every inch of my bedroom walls and ceiling – I had moved into the box room at this point, as I was obviously now far too grown up to want to share a bedroom with my ‘little’ brother and had no need of windows. Me and my classmates drew white lines in poster paint across our faces at school. I was truly madly deeply in love, if that’s at all possible when you’re a 10-year-old boy and the object of your affection is a grown-up male pop star. My obsession probably hit fever pitch that summer when Stand & Deliver was No.1 for 5 weeks….And then he released Prince Charming, and while I bought the single, and the album, something had changed, and my love for Adam just fizzled out. Things were changing. The Human League released Dare that year, Depeche Mode released Speak & Spell, and I moved on… although my obsession with music never really went back to normal… did it.

PS – There’s a new mix from Mike here…..


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