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Baker's Dozen

Perfect Calibrations: Simon Raymonde's Favourite Albums
Colm McAuliffe , February 6th, 2014 09:02

Following the release of his new album with Snowbird, the former Cocteau Twins man and Bella Union boss gives us his rundown of his all-time (on this given day) favourite records


The Special AKA - In The Studio
I wanted to put in something by The Specials because I think Jerry Dammers is a really important person in music and sometimes I think he doesn't get the credit he deserves. The early Specials are untouchable and the Terry Hall era is the one most people remember. But this album was all about Jerry Dammers. At the time I was pissed off because all of the singles were on it. So when it eventually came out, it was a bit like, "I've got most of these already!" But, in hindsight, looking at the record as a collection of songs, it's still a really important record. Perhaps a little bit like the Wire album, there are wildly varying vibes on the album, you've got joyous tracks like '(Free) Nelson Mandela' followed by 'War Crimes', which has a very sweet, crazy, impossible to decipher rhythm and then underneath it you've got these lyrics which are quite polemic, comparing Israel's invasion of the Lebanon to Nazi Death Camps. That's pretty intense stuff, no wonder it didn't get much airplay. But I still think it's a genius single, up there with 'Gangsters' and 'Ghost Town', although many wouldn't agree. The album is Jerry Dammers venting his frustration at the world and, let's face it, the world is a fairly shitty place to be sometimes. This record shows it. 'Racist Friend' is a particularly cool song: he's saying it's not okay to simply confront a racist friend, he's basically saying to sever your relationship with them. It's brutal! And the record is in many ways quite brutal but the music is very sweet. So I wanted to put this album in there as a reminder to anyone reading that this is something worth revisiting.