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Baker's Dozen

Nearly Perfect But Not Quite: Lloyd Cole's Favourite Albums
Lisa Jenkins , June 21st, 2013 07:07

The former Commotions man rifles through his record collection to pick his top 13 records


David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
It’s not as good as Ziggy Stardust... or Low, but from a songwriting and sound point of view, he makes a huge leap from Aladdin Sane. He did Pin Ups in between, but Aladdin Sane was his last proper album with The Spiders From Mars, and then Diamond Dogs. He didn’t have Mick Ronson to lean on anymore. Mick did a lot of the string arrangements and was like the musical director. Bowie would maybe give him ideas, but this was the first album where Bowie was really on his own. He plays all the guitars on the record - except the wah-wah’ed one on ‘1984’ - so all that mad guitar is Bowie. There’s a rawness to it that I think Ronson never quite had.

I loved both of them, but I was really surprised - and I think Bowie was as well - about how good he was. He probably didn’t think of himself as a lead guitarist. The ‘Rebel Rebel’ riff is fantastic. You’ve got this rawness on the one hand, but on the other hand there’s an amazing sophistication to the chord structures and melody structures of songs like ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll With Me’ or ‘We Are the Dead’, and ‘Big Brother’. I think they were written on piano. They’ve got a real sophistication to them at the same time as having this kind of slightly raw rock & roll sound, so I think it’s a unique record,

It was the middle of the 1970s for Bowie, and there are hints of Young Americans in songs like ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll With Me’. There’s still the rock & roll from the early times of ‘Rebel Rebel’. The lyrics in ‘Sweet Thing’ are really rock & roll. I quote ‘Sweet Thing’ on my new album: “then jump in the river holding hands” is on my new record.

I’ve never met him, unfortunately. He was working in the same studio we were working in one time, but it was around the time that he was doing ‘Dancing In The Street’ with Mick Jagger. Not really his finest moment.

I asked him to sing on my most recent record. His management people were very nice but said: “David’s not really doing any singing right now.” I found out this was because it was only a month away from him doing the big release of his song, so I’m pretty sure he was pretending that he might be sick [laughs]!