Each morning I leave my house at the crack of dawn with some fresh sounds ready to be heard. Gonna write about what I've heard each week.
This week my buddy Brian recommended me two albums, from two acts that I was aware of, but not intimately.
Firstly the first Roots Manuva record, Brand New Second Hand. For three reasons. Witness (One Hope) is one of my favourite tracks of all time. I've never tired of it and I hum it and rhyming along to it in my head as I wander down the street often. For the first time in my life I'm living in a big city, hip-hop rarely comes from the sticks. It's often the soundtrack to concrete and hardship, not only lyrically but in the harshness of the rhythm. And that city is London. The more I meet the people the more I pick up on the mannerisms, slang and topics. I'm feeling more a part of it. I'm getting Roots Manuva more and more. His debut is intelligent, minimal and at times truly beautiful.
Roots Manuva - Dem Phonies
Brian then said that I should listen to the first Gil Scott Heron album. I joked that I can imagine him and his girlfriend sitting about all day, curtains drawn, smoke thick in the air, beret'd and bespectacled, clicking joylessly and nodding. Of course at this stage I hadn't heard this album. It's affected me. It's shone a new light on lyricism and hip-hop in general for me. If it's affected me, a white, rural boy who's never known want, how important was this to the disaffected impoverished black community of New York in the 70's? The more of this I hear the less I want to listen to indie rock music. (of course that's just right now, I'll be back bopping about to meaningless drainpiped tales of breakups in 4/4 time by Tuesday).
Gil Scott-Heron - Brother
Finally for this week, I've watched the first part of No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese's 2005 bioepic on Bob Dylan. It's fascinating. Like many people delving into Dylans work, given the sheer volume of work he has produced, and the quality contained is terrifying. This year I will get through it. I promise. I won't go into the documentary, safe to say everyone of importance who's still alive is interviewed, all of the great archive footage is shown and in terms of enjoyment it's entirely captivating. Catch it on BBC4 at the moment or buy the DVD. I'll revisit this next week when I've watched some more.
Bob Dylan - Tangled Up In Blue
Also, Happy 70th Birthday Bob. If you are a reader of shoddy new music blogs (as I'm sure you are) and you've dropped in to hear your old tracks again, I would love a ticket for London Feis for my birthday (in two weeks!), drop me a text. Love, Josh x