The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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


Stevie Wonder - Innervisions
I heard this at the time, my sister would have had it but I wasn't really into music when I was eleven - music didn't come into my life until punk happened; the Stevie Wonder appreciation didn't happen until later. In fact I think it wasn't until I worked at Our Price records from 1981 to 1983 that my tastes changed, because until then I was quite narrow -minded about music. I was just into punk. I just liked the stuff of bands my age. Couldn't stand Dylan, Led Zeppelin, the Stones… didn't like anything by anyone over the age of 21. But then I got this job [in the record store] and I had a great manager who introduced me to a lot of great music: Charlie Parker, Mingus, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell. When everyone had gone home, we'd smoke and drink and listen to music. My eyes opened wildly and I took it all in like a sponge, these were fucking amazing records. This was probably Stevie's sixteenth record at that time, he probably plays 85% of everything on that record, before sequencing, sampling and multi-tracking as we know it now. And that kinda just blows my mind! I want to see a documentary about that period. There must be some footage of him in the studio. Did he start with the drumming? His drumming is amazing, one of the best drummers I've ever heard. It's actually quite a critical record, 'He's Misstra Know-It-All' is quite anti-government, anti-Nixon. A really interesting record, politically and culturally. And then on top of this you've probably got one of the most talented musicians ever seen. I just can't help loving Stevie Wonder because of that period. We do tire of the 'Happy Birthday' stuff and it all got a bit cheesy after a while but some of those Motown seventies records were incredible. Talking Book, Songs In The Key Of Life - some of it - these were brilliant.