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Baker's Dozen

Soul-Searching Frequencies: Eugene Hütz Of Gogol Bordello's Favourite LPs
Julian Marszalek , August 15th, 2013 06:58

Following the release of their new album Pura Vida Conspiracy, Gogol Bordello's frontman trawls his records collection to pick out his top 13


Johnny Cash – Unchained
I was already a Johnny Cash fan based purely on the frequency of his voice and that started long before I knew English. I was hypnotised by it and was amorous to it and the official Russian record label – we only had one label then – actually released a series of 7"s called American Village Music and there was some bluegrass and there was some country. I remember putting it on thinking, wow, that’s pretty fiery, with all the banjo hoe-downs. Like a lot of people in Russia I also heard the music from spaghetti westerns and that kind of sound but the first thing I heard by Johnny Cash was ‘Ring Of Fire’ and I’d never heard that! That low voice! And sung in such a hypnotic way and I kept listening to that.

Eventually, when I came to the States – because I’m not the kind of person who learns from books and I thought, how do I learn this fucking English – I decided to learn by listening to music that was coherent enough, that I really like, so I kept on listening to Johnny Cash a lot and to follow his stories. That’s the long history of Unchained.

Then, I didn’t realise that Johnny Cash wasn’t really performing for a whole while. I didn’t really know what had happened to him. I saw this album which had been produced by Rick Rubin and I was, "wow", and immediately picked it up and I must say that it made even more of an impression on me, even more than the old Johnny Cash records. It was just fantastic to listen to. The selection of songs was great. It was more rock and it was so stripped down and once again the feeling of no production and that, for me, is a lot. And it’s a big science to do that! I’m always drawn to that kind of production where it’s transparent and where the voice has something to say. Is it country? Is it rock? Or is it true Americana? All I knew was that I was listening to one great song after another. These are songs that will stick with me forever.