Great North Walean Albums
I hauled my heavy ass up Moel Famau this morning. A freakish morning devoid of rain must have addled my big head.
I eschewed the silence and birdsong in favour of some choice Welsh demos on the iPod. I think I heard the first two. The rest of the country's nascent musical efforts were obliterated by the sound of my heart trying to beat its way out of my chest.
Honestly, obesity seemed like much the better option, but the near coronary experience was worth it.
I crawled up the steps of the Jubilee Tower and stared out over the Dee Estuary at Liverpool sparkling like a city of dreams and wonders on the horizon. It's amazing what a blast of early winter sunshine can do.
Liverpool: epicentre of the Beatles, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Teardrop Explodes, OMD, the Real Thing, the La's, Shack, Soft Toy Emergency, Ladytron, the Coral, the Boo Radleys, the Lightning Seeds, the Zutons, Kling Klang, The Christians, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Dead or Alive, Cast, Clinic, the Wombats, the Mighty Wah! And they're just the ones I can remember off the top of my head.
All that music from that little city.
As I was standing there mulling over all of that world-changing music, Heal The Last Stand's album started up on my iPod.
It's a fine album. And it had me wondering what musical legacy North Wales had to put up against that of Lerpwl.
It's not a fair fight, is it?
The Alarm, of course.
We can lay partial claim to the myriad wonders of Super Furry Animals' back catalogue.
That Duffy did okay. Until the snipers aimed their bile bullets at her.
I'm not belittling our musical heritage. Far from it. As I stood on top of the mountain tucking my lungs back in, I was fair bristling that very good albums from those listed below only made the slightest dent on the consciousness of the world's music lovers. The realisation being that maybe now, with the industry as it once was in ruins, it's too late for someone from North Wales to make an album that conquers the world. That in itself is no bad thing. Commercial success is nothing compared to the artistic value of a piece. But it's easy for me, as someone whose livelihood doesn't depend on it, to say that, even if it's not said lightly.
So, which albums from North Wales do you think have deserved wider acclaim? Which albums constitute our musical legacy?
Here's a very non-definitive list from the time I've been 'doing' radio. Feel free to throw your own suggestions in. (In fact, that's the whole point.)
TYSTION - Shrug Off Ya Complex, MELYS - Suikerspin, ECTOGRAM - I Can't Believe It's Not Reggae, CAMERA - Ashes And Dim Light, COLORAMA - Magic Lantern Show, VARIOUS ARTISTS - R-Bennig O'r Ddaeargell, CATATONIA - Way Beyond Blue, AKIRA THE DON - When We Were Young, MOUNTAINEERS - Messy Century, SUPER FURRY ANIMALS - Mwng, MC MABON - The Hunt For Meaning, THE STILLETOES - ADH Dreams, DEZ WILLIAMS - Test of Faith
What else? Over the coming weeks I'll do blogs about each of the albums that get mentioned here. So, over to you...