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Baker's Dozen

Critic's Round-Up: Mark Kermode's Favourite Albums
Marc Burrows , February 11th, 2014 08:20

The film critic, television presenter and skiffle bassist sets aside his DVD stack to talk top records with Marc Burrows


Television - Marquee Moon
When Marquee Moon came out I was at school and trying to learn to play guitar. I'd built an electric guitar and it took two years, partly in school and partly at home out of plywood and fretwire and the rest of it. When you build an electric guitar you realise it's not that complicated - making a good electric guitar is really difficult but just making a guitar is not that hard. I taught myself to play as I was building it, so there'd be various stages in which it was only half built and I'd be playing it with only half the frets on it. A friend of mine got Marquee Moon and I remember thinking how much I love the sound of the guitar, with the two guitars, and as I was learning to play the way I'd do it was to play along to records. I had an old reel-to-reel tape recorder that would play at 15 inches per second, or seven-and-a-half inches per second, and I realised that if you slowed down to the seven-and-a-half speed it drops down an octave, it's the same tune but an octave below, at half the speed. So I went note-by-note through Marquee Moon at half speed trying to figure out how to play the solos, then you'd turn it up to the right speed and try and play along - which is impossible because you can't play like Tom Verlaine and you can't play like Richard Lloyd. Things like 'Elevation' and 'Friction', I loved the sound of those solos. Learning to play the guitar by playing Marquee Moon at half speed is an education.