As he releases new Magnetic Fields album 50 Song Memoir, Stephin Merritt doesn't delve into the past for his Baker's Dozen list but instead gives tQ an A-Z of some contemporary favourites, from Japan to Marc Almond, bawdy cockney songs and the BBC Radiophonic Workship. Pic by Marcelo Krasilcic
L: Elsa Lanchester - Bawdy Cockney Songs
True, other Elsa Lanchester albums have her husband Charles Laughton introducing each track, but only this one has both "When a Lady Has a Piazza" and "If You Peek in My Gazebo." Lanchester, most famous for playing the Bride of Frankenstein (technically, the bride of Frankenstein's monster) and Laughton's wife in Witness For The Prosecution, has an actor's voice, with perfect stage-Cockney enunci-OY-tion, which is perfect for this material. "Please sell no more drink to my father. It makes him so strange and so wild. Heed the prayer of my heart-broken mother, and pity the poor drunkard's child." She sings this with such relish, it's easy to see whose side she's really on.