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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


Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home
I’ve always liked Dylan, but it’s only in the last four or five years that I’ve really become a big fan. There are probably half a dozen albums I could have chosen for Dylan, but this one has got probably two of my favourite Dylan songs on it, so that warranted its inclusion. ‘It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)’ has more lyrics in that one song than most people manage in a whole career, let alone an album. It’s just a phenomenal song. There’s a clip of him doing it in the Scorsese film, No Direction Home, and it’s just amazing.

I went to see him actually, last year. It’s the first time I’ve seen Dylan. He played in São Paulo, and it’s the best gig I’ve seen in years. I went with my wife, who’s not a Dylan fan it has to be said, and I wangled a place on the guest list and we were three rows back from centre stage, so quite close to the man. And for all the reasons my wife hated it, I loved it. There was absolutely no attempt to communicate with the audience. There was no show; there was basically a blue light on during songs and between songs a couple of white floor lights. A lot of the songs you don’t recognise until you get a snatch of lyrics. His voice is shot to hell. He’d play a lot of organ, and then have a little blow on his harmonica and have to lean on his organ to have a rest; I mean he’s seventy years old or whatever! And I loved all of that, I loved the whole show, and I was just captivated. I know a lot of people go and they just hate it, because there is no attempt to communicate with the audience. And the band were all looking at him throughout every song, following his every cue; it wasn’t like they were putting on a show for the audience either, they were just watching Bob. And I loved it, you know, but I can understand why people don’t! I just kept thinking, I’m this close to one of rock’s holy trinity. It was quite amazing. He had this hat on, and a black jacket and a white shirt with a dickie bow, and a pair of black pants with a white stripe down the side, and my wife said if you cut off the brim of his hat, he looks like a bellboy, which kind of ruined the image a little bit for me! She was bored out of her mind, but I loved it.

For me a song is at its most potent when it’s just written. I think it’s a lost art to a large extent really, but Neil Young does it too, you can hear it on the records; he takes it to the band, and there are one or two run-throughs and that’s it, that’s the take. But you need to be very good musicians to be able to do that. And I think with the advent of new technology, a lot of musicians aren’t able to do that anymore. They’re good musicians and equally good in a different way, but we can’t do that anymore, it’s a dying art.

A lot of the records I’ve chosen here are like that; you can hear the band playing in a room, together. You can hear the sound of the room. This is what I like, and what I’ve really grown to like over the past few years, are those kinds of records. I have a bit of an aversion to modern rock records. I have bands I like, records I like, but most rock records to my ears have become quite generic. And I kind of blame Pro Tools a little bit for that. I think in the old days you could hear the room itself, and that’s why when you looked at record sleeves you’d see that this record was made in this studio, and then when you heard another record made in the same studio it had the same kind of quality. And with digital effects and digital technology you’ve kind of lost that a little bit, I think.