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
A: Marc Almond With The Willing Sinners - Mother Fist...and Her Five Daughters
The aural equivalent of a Tom of Finland tattoo, this gayest possible album is dedicated to Truman Capote. With no electronics, prominent guitars or snare drums, its genre is kept vague, so there are sort-of accordion chanties and sort-of disco hits whose lead instrument is yang t'chin (Chinese zither). Released in 1986 only two years after the breakup of Soft Cell, this was Marc's third solo album (fifth if you count Marc & the Mambas), on top of which he was releasing 12" EPs longer than many albums, burning his crimson candle at both ends with, according to his memoir, a £26,000 monthly party habit. The literate lyrics are populated by hustlers, boxers, and Yma Sumac, and set in rundown motels, downtown Barcelona, and "the backrooms where soiled goods are sold." Makes a great gift for a confused teenager, along with some Jean Genet and John Rechy.