Retroladytyping …

Tracks of my Years …or Desert Island Discs … or Top Ten Tunes …

The Ken Bruce Preservation Society

I don’t usually join Facebook groups, but as a long-time listener to Radio 2, especially in the mornings, I felt drawn to the Ken Bruce Preservation Society, initially out of curiosity, but then realised I was (albeit virtually) with a group of like-minded music lovers.  I know it’s ‘only’ Radio 2 and so music aficionados may look down on us, but I like it and it takes all sorts …

Some of you will know that part of Ken Bruce’s  Show is the Tracks of my Years segment, when a ‘celebrity’ is asked to pick two tracks each day for five days which are important to them.  In January this year, members of the Ken Bruce Preservation Society (I know … I know … ) FB group were asked to post their own TOMYs on the KBPS Facebook page in an allocated week.  My week was this week – 5th-9th March.    I chose my tracks back in January and, apart from one or few tweaks in the interim,  these are the tracks I chose.   Most of them were obvious choices.  I hope my reasons make that clear.    In future weeks someone else will do the same and I bet I will discover tracks I had forgotten or never knew and now need to know.

As I said I don’t often join Facebook groups, but I am so glad I did in this case.  It meant that I needed to remember, reminisce and decide which are the most significant tracks of my life;   not favourites necessarily,  but those which mean the most.  What follows is exactly as I posted on that FB page this week.

Here goes – My TOMYs

  1. 1962 – Telstar – the Tornados. The height of the space race, exciting times. I have memories of my brother and I playing this on comb and paper (that lip tingle!) and driving our parents bonkers.
  2. 1969 – Sugar Sugar – the Archies.           The first (and probably the last) time I clearly remember feeling ‘cool’ … aged 14, it was my friend’s birthday celebration at the old Silver Blades Ice Rink in Bristol. I was wearing my trendy laced-front jeans, a ‘jaunty’ scarf around my neck, this was playing and I stepped onto the ice with visions of whizzing around and people saying “Who’s that girl?” Didn’t happen quite like that … only one part of me was cool … and wet … and sore.
  3. 1974 – 31st October precisely. Annie’s Song – John Denver. Just had to include this one … my first date with my now husband at a Halloween Party. I didn’t feel well, so we spent most of the time walking around the shops in Clifton, Bristol. He loaned me his jacket to keep warm. We saw the album Back Home Again in a shop window and I said how much I loved this song. The next day I was at home poorly and he snuck over in his lunch hour, leaving the album on my doorstep to cheer me up. Reader I married him.    We happened upon a documentary about John Denver while channel hopping last week – yep, he still does it for me, so much more than the slightly geeky, national-health specs wearing man he’s often portrayed as. I used to belong to a fan club (yes, I know … I know …) where I found out a lot more. Apart from Annie’s Song, I think his best work was in the years just before his untimely death. Makes me wonder how much more there would have been, if only.
  4. 1979 – Bright Eyes, Art Garfunkel – for no other reason than it was around when my elder son was born. Memories of singing it to him in the wee small hours to get him to sleep. It seemed to work … unless he was just giving up in the face of my out of tune warbling. Still love it now … me, not him strangely.
  5. All Things Must Pass, George Harrison. When I was a schoolgirl at the height of the Beatles’ fame, I was one of the few in the class who didn’t have a crush on Paul McCartney. My all-time favourite was, and is, George Harrison, closely followed by Ringo. I’ve chosen this track from his later work because its title sums up how I try (mostly unsuccessfully) to live. “Daylight is good at arriving at the right time …” – I love that. He’s another one, along with John Denver, whose best work I think is his later stuff. I have the album All Things Must Pass and there isn’t one single dud track. Also excellent in the Travelling Wilburys, along with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty and Bob Dylan. This link shows his last live performance. Another one gone too soon, along with all but one of the TW’s.
  6. Tuba Smarties, Sky. This was one of the first LPs I had in the 1970s when I bought a ‘proper’ record player, rather than using my parents’.   I love Sky’s interpretation of classical pieces and their originals.   This is a less well-known track, which is brilliant when seen live. Herbie Flowers on the tuba, walking around the stage and up and down the aisles with bubbles coming out of his tuba at a gig in Poole was priceless and we were there! Always makes me smile. Does anyone know if they still perform? I’d love to see them again.
  7. Hey That’s No Way to Say Goodbye – Leonard Cohen (originally 1972). I was always aware of Leonard Cohen, but really got to appreciate him about 10 years ago when I heard this track on the radio during a sleepless night. We were lucky enough to see him live twice, once outdoors at Brooklands Race Track when it poured and poured, or, as he said – “It’s a bit fresh.” His performances are totally spellbinding. A complete poet, performer and, I think, musical genius, as well as a thoroughly nice bloke by all accounts. Certainly his respect for his support act and his band was palpable. His death wasn’t unexpected, especially following his letter to his late long-time love Marianne, when he said “I will not be far behind you. Reach out your hand and you will see me.” Wow. Just wow. As with John Denver, I feel his best work was in the last few years before his death, but maybe that’s because I didn’t see him live till then.
  8. If it Be Your Will – The Webb Sisters (introduced by Leonard Cohen). Another Cohen song, which we have seen performed live by the Webb Sisters, part of his supporting singers. Just wonderful. Totally spellbinding and even more so when seen live. On both occasions you could have heard a pin drop in that pause between the last note and the well-deserved applause.  One of the most moving performances I have ever seen and heard, only made more so when Cohen raised his hat in respect as the last few notes died out and said “Sublime.” It was.
  9. Good Riddance – Green Day  This is another track I heard in the wee small hours on Radio 2. It happened to be just before I was leaving a job which I loved, but finding just a little too challenging for comfort. My parents had not long died and I felt I was at a crossroads in my life. After much umming and aahhing I made the decision to leave that job and move on to volunteering with the Alzheimer’s Society, which I still do – very happily. It was customary to make a leaving speech and I was going to bottle out and just say how much I would miss everyone when I heard this. A friend suggested I make it the basis of my speech. I did – basing it around the first few lines, rather than the title ‘Good Riddance!’  “Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road / Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go / So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why / It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time / It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right”.

10.  Meet on the Ledge – Fairport Convention at Cropredy 2017 – their 50th anniversary and party-time. This is always performed at the end of their annual Cropredy Festival and each of their gigs. Iconic. As with Leonard Cohen, I was always aware of Fairport, but it wasn’t until a friend suggested going to one of their gigs around 15 years ago that I really began to appreciate them. Since then I’ve been to more gigs than I can count – the last only a couple of weeks ago in the town where I live. My particular favourite (and middle-aged crush!) is Chris Leslie – multi-talented and multi-skilled, especially on the fiddle, but he also plays guitar, mandolin, banjo and mouth organ and many more, as well as a bit of morris-dancing on the side.  I’ve met him during the interval when he was performing with Feast of Fiddles and we HUGGED! He and his fellow Fairport members are usually around during the intervals – usually in the Bar. Likewise at Cropredy, most of the performers are out and about with the rest of us – just like ‘ordinary people!!’ We’ve been to the Cropredy Festival three times now and will definitely be going again, though not this year., sadly. It is very special and I wish I’d discovered it earlier.

Thanks for reading and/or listening to this lot – there are more, as everyone says, but I think these are the most significant parts of my musical appreciation.   Till next time …  Just realised that quite a few of my TOMYs feature artists who are no longer with us … goes with the territory and my age I suppose!  If anyone would like to have a look, I wrote a couple of blog posts following Leonard Cohen’s death and my Cropredy experiences. Links below:”










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