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Baker's Dozen

On Her Radio: Pauline Black's 13 Favourite Albums
The Quietus , November 22nd, 2017 12:17

The Selecter leader and one of 2 Tone's most formidable figures takes Lois Wilson from Jimmy Cliff to Björk in this list of the LPs that shaped her

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Joni Mitchell - Blue

Blue is the soundtrack to my first year at Lanchester Polytechnic. I arrived, felt isolated, alienated, I really missed home, I really couldn’t get my bearings. There seemed to be no other black students on full time courses, only on sandwich courses, which meant they were away from campus a lot of the time. I got introduced to some hippy girls and then to their friends and we’d hang out at a place called Hawkwind House, it was really shabby, and had a rabbit warren of rooms and we all got stoned and sat around the record player and would listen to each other’s records.

I never had a record player at home so it felt quite exotic. I heard Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, but it was Joni’s Blue that jumped out at me. I thought she was extraordinary, it didn’t matter if she was this strange white woman from Canada, she had this purity to her voice and her intention in making the album seemed so genuine as if she was speaking to me and my situation because it encapsulated that loneliness I was feeling. I became fixated on it, played it over and over and over until I wore it out. The title track, ‘River’, ‘Little Green’, they were my songs.


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