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Baker's Dozen

God's Own Medicine: Wayne Hussey's Favourite Albums
Ben Graham , October 10th, 2013 08:06

We put in a long-distance call to Brazil to ask The Mission frontman and former Sister Of Mercy about the gems in his record collection


Frank Sinatra - Sings For Only The Lonely
Along with the Lennon album this is probably one of the two or three albums that would make every list of mine. It’s a heartbreak album; this album’s got me through some very dark times. And even now when I play it I feel - there’s a Portuguese word, saudade, and there’s no real direct translation into English. The closest is yearning, but that doesn’t really explain it, because you can feel saudade for someone even though you’re there with them. It’s a strange concept really. But even now when I play it I feel that kind of saudade. I feel kind of nostalgic for a time - well actually, when the record was being made, some of the tracks were recorded the day before I was born, and there were six tracks recorded three days after I was born - so saudade for my birthday, my actual birthday! It’s just an immaculate record. It’s a concept album of sorts, I suppose; maybe even one of the first ones. It’s Blue Frank.

The level of musicianship and performance is incredible when you consider they were recording straight to tape and there’s forty, fifty, sixty people performing at the same time, you know, and Frank singing. It’s an amazing level of musicianship. These days we all go and do it bit by bit, piece by piece, instrument by instrument, so you can get away with a lot more. And also Nelson Riddle was the guy who put the strings together for it, and he’s a genius; some of those arrangements are just absolutely genius.

Obviously I’ve always been aware of Frank and some of the more popular songs, and I dislike some of the more popular songs too; I’m not a huge fan of Up Frank. I like Blue Frank, if you know what I mean. But I found this album maybe late 80s, early 90s, I think it might’ve been a re-release or something and I read about it and thought okay, I’d best listen to that one. But this would always be in my top three, now.

I’ve just read a biography of Ian Curtis and he was listening to Frank when Joy Division were doing Closer. Ian McCulloch as well is another one. I think a lot of it is to do with that we reject the previous generation a lot easier than we reject two or three generations previous; we don’t like the music that our parents liked, so we kind of reject that, but we’re quite inclined to go back even further. So maybe the sixties guys were like, oh, we don’t want Frank, that was what their parents liked, and that was why they went back to all the delta blues and stuff. But the thing about Frank, and everyone says it, is that his voice was just incredible. The sound of his voice and the way that he sang was just incredible.