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Baker's Dozen

A Sucker For Melody: Martin Carr's Favourite Songs
Joe Clay , October 28th, 2014 12:49

With an excellent new solo album, The Breaks, just released, and a London gig tonight, the former Boo Radleys and bravecaptain man has a trawl through the finest 7"s in his record collection with Joe Clay

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Elvis Costello & The Attractions - 'Oliver's Army'
I think the period from 1979 to 1982 was the best period for British pop music. And out of all that stuff it's 'Oliver's Army' that I've chosen. It gets more incredible the older I get and the more I understand about it. Visually, when it first came out, Elvis Costello was like a Halloween version of Buddy Holly. It's all distorted - his clothes were too big for him and his glasses were too big for him. He didn't look like a very nice guy - quite frightening - but singing this amazing song. Some songs will move your feet, emotions, and some will move your head - and this has got all of this, all together. I knew all the words. I'd write the words down in my exercise book at school, but I didn't understand any of it. But they're such good words you don't really have to. I love that first line: "Don't start me talking/ I could talk all night". It just brings up that image of youthful idealism - we can sit up all night talking. Before you get into drink, drugs and all that, you just sit up talking because you can. I love that. It could Paris in the late 60s, or London at the end of the century, or Greenwich Village. Musically, I just read about the piano part... Elvis didn't like the song at all and they were going to scrap it, so the piano player suggested, "Why don't we play something like ABBA?" I think it's 'Dancing Queen'. And then they put that on and that was it. But no one wanted to say yes at first as it wasn't a very cool thing to do.


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