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Baker's Dozen

Elements Of Confusion: Nick McCabe Of Black Submarine's Favourite LPs
Joe Clay , March 11th, 2014 09:21

With New Shores, the long-awaited debut by Black Submarine, out this week, the former Verve guitarist goes from teenage mainstays to recently-heard favourites in his top 13 albums

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David Crosby – If I Could Only Remember My Name
That was a real Verve record. We all really got into that. That came to us from Steve Sutherland (Melody Maker) of all people. [The photographer] Tom Sheehan and Steve were early fans of the band and they championed us to some degree. But they dispelled that notion that people in the music industry were cynical music haters. You'd be hard pushed to find people who were as into music as they were. Tom and Steve used to send us tapes and one of the tapes they sent us on one side had On The Beach by Neil Young, and on the other was If I Could Only Remember My Name. Instantly we all went, "Oh my god, how good is that?" It became a real Verve favourite; everybody in the band was huge on that.

I think the whole record has just got this unique atmosphere. I'm sure drugs have got a lot to do with it. It's a world in itself that record. Sonically, there are some real moments of paranoia on there. It's a very powerful record. You wonder how they were capable of doing something that amazing the state they were all in. But I don't think they managed to do anything quite as good as that. It all became a bit earthbound. It really stands out in the whole Crosby, Stills and Nash canon – that one is the peak for me. It's almost like a diorama; like a little enclosed box that represents a state of mind they were in at the time, and you can look in and have a poke about, like a rock pool. It's like a little universe.

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Mar 11, 2014 2:25pm

Sounds like a guy with eclectic tastes, which I didn't expect from knowing his work with The Verve. Good stuff.

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Star sail
Mar 11, 2014 9:15pm

This was a revelation. Full of interesting stories about records that I now look forward to checking out. Always the best thing about this excellent series. (Nick, your music has been a huge part of my life since I - somehow - managed to get into a Verve gig at the Jericho Tavern aged 15.)

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Mar 11, 2014 11:16pm

Seems a nice lad

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Mar 12, 2014 11:34am

Love Nick's guitar playing so much; 'Reprise' from A Northern Soul still gives me goosebumps after about 1000 listens ;)

Nice to see shout-outs for Autechre and Mobb Deep as well...

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Mar 12, 2014 12:37pm

In reply to autechrejambo:

This, totally! Just an astonishing piece of music/guitar playing/alchemy!

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Mar 12, 2014 1:11pm

Great to read about someone's obvious love and passion for music, made me want to check a few things...thanks.

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Mar 13, 2014 10:16am

Sometimes I google 'Life's An Ocean - Jools Holland 1997' to be reminded of the moment when everything I knew about what guitars could and should do was irrevocably changed. This man is a genius in the true sense of the word.

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teddy dogs
Mar 22, 2014 7:29pm

Love Nick's descriptions of why these albums mean so much to him. Can't wait to check out a lot of this stuff.

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lisa m. washer
Mar 24, 2014 8:07pm

I would be the first to comment on nick and simons jones talent as well. My god simon soooo good looking back the and talented and still is. And nick as well,. Too bad richards ego got in the way or who knows the verve might still be together,. I will buy the black suberine c. D. When it comes out look forward to it lol lisa m. Washer

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May 24, 2014 12:32pm

Fantastic interview. Some of the greatest guitar lines in British rock from the 90s come from this guy. There were supposed to be deluxe reissues of A Northern Soul and A Storm In Heaven but it takes all 4 members to sign off on it. Imagine the studio outtakes! Also there was talk of a live Verve record release.

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