Music is my mistress

This vinyl junkie just can't stop himself...

This vinyl junkie just can’t stop himself…

William Shakespeare said never trust a person who is not moved by music. It’s not enough to tap your foot or sing along to the muzac on the radio: you have to need music like you need love. A song can make you glow inside, jump up and shout with joy or sit and cry your eyes out on the sofa. Most people I talk to believe that music is important in their lives. But I am suspicious of people who say they like all kinds of music: it usually means “nothing in particular”. In other words, music is not an obsession, an addiction, a drug.

You know you have an obsession when you realise that you really do like “all kinds” of music. I mean everything. When people claim to have wide taste it usually means “within the sphere of rock and pop”. My problem is I like the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. And all of it looks down on me every day from my record shelves.

OK - this isn't me, but I know how he feels...

Come up and see my LPs! Go on, you know you want to.

So here’s a little test. I am appealing to everybody on the blogosphere to examine their musical predilections and try and match this for “wide-ranging taste”. My record collection covers: country and western, English and American folk, every kind of jazz (from Dixieland and Duke Ellington to avant garde scary stuff), rock and roll, deep soul, disco, reggae, samba, heavy rock, soft rock, prog-rock, punk, bossa nova, every kind of classical music (from Bach to Bartok and Benjamin Britten), blues, brass bands and Welsh male voice choirs. I even have recordings of steam trains.

The worst thing about having an unstoppable fascination with everything recorded is the embarrassing cheesy stuff you have to come clean about. Over the years I have had soft spots for Barry Manilow, David Cassidy, Helen Reddy, Mantovani and his Orchestra, Cliff Richard, Julio Iglesias, Shirley Bassey and Boy George. And I’m not gay.

Let's hear it for Barry Manilow!

Let’s hear it for Barry Manilow!

The problem with having musical “taste” (and the inflated pride that goes with it) is that so much music has to be dismissed as trash. You can only like the good stuff and look upon the rest with derision. You become a self-appointed critic panning everything that hasn’t got…well, whatever it is you think it needs. But the real secret of having musical taste is liking everything. Yes, everything (apart from gangsta rap and André Rieu, of course).

My favourite music magazine is Record Collector (published in the UK). You never know who might be on the cover: Frank Sinatra, Iggy Pop, Donny Osmond, Adele or some weird prog-rock band from the early 70s. The ethos

The weird and wonderful world of...Mike Gibbs

The weird and wonderful world of…Mike Gibbs

of the magazine is that they don’t discriminate. Of course, some readers only buy the magazine to look for their favourite artists and skip the rest. But the happiest reader, the music lover, finds excitement on every page – like a schoolboy with a comic.

So the next time somebody says they like all kinds of music, ask them if that includes Bix Beiderbecke, Dolly Parton, Jethro Tull, Throbbing Gristle, The Only Chrome Waterfall Orchestra and the Nolan Sisters.

The majestic, tragic Bix Beiderbecke with his wonderful Wolverines, 1924

The majestic, tragic Bix Beiderbecke with his wonderful Wolverines, 1924

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Categories: Music, Vinyl | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “Music is my mistress

  1. I totally get what you mean about liking everything. It’s funny how music snobs will judge me for wanting to listen to a new Kelly Clarkson record after listening to LCD Soundsystem or Nina Simone. But how will I know if I actually like or dislike something if I’ve never heard it? I wanna listen to everything at least once!

    I just started the saddest blog in the world (http://recordsvshouse.wordpress.com/), and a part of me is afraid to write about all of my records. Cause not everything is going to come across as cool. It’s gonna be a little embarrassing!

    Also, you should check out this band I went to see when I was in Spain, Guadalupe Plata. http://guadalupeplata.bandcamp.com/album/guadalupe-plata-4
    They just had a new album come out. I am in love with this band!

  2. eric fairchild

    Yes, your post “music is my mistress” made a lot of sense to me. I have been collecting records since the late 60’s. I was so much older then, I am younger than that now. And what I mean here is that, yes, I still love John Mayall and the Chicago Blues, but over the intervening years I have also learnt that there are no genres of music that are unworthy, only good music and music that is less good. I have come to think that what interests me in music is that which reflects what is is to be human, does it stimulate heart, mind, mood or feet. Is the music rooted in time and place and is it rooted in a particular culture, whether ancient or modern? If it doesn’t touch me in these areas then it is of no interest to me.

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