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Baker's Dozen

The Right Things: David McAlmont's Favourite Albums
The Quietus , October 1st, 2015 13:22

As McAlmont And Butler mark the 20th anniversary of The Sound Of... with a deluxe reissue and a run of tour dates, David McAlmont pens us his own Baker's Dozen, moving through his 13 most formative albums

Photograph courtesy of Anthony Elvy

I decided to discuss the records that mattered before I made any of my own. What made it interesting was that the selections had to be albums. Singles would have created a completely different discussion.

It has been an affecting process: during the discussion I've revisited records that I no longer listen to; memory has been prodded. I have laughed, gasped and cried. I have had to be honest. At first I wanted to include "cooler" releases from my post-Thieves and McAlmont And Butler years. Instead I stuck to records released pre-1992 - the year of my first Thieves release. It meant that I had to underline albums that I knew before those collaborations.

The most moving part has been recalling the albums that soundtracked my childhood: The Sound Of Music Original Broadway Cast Recording, Perry Como's 40 Greatest Hits, Tony Bennett's 20 Greatest Hits and The Drifters' 24 Original Hits were the first long-players in my life. Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Gladys Knight and others were in my childhood, but in single format.

Top Of The Pops mattered enormously, but that was TV. I didn't begin buying albums of my own until I was twenty something. It is extraordinary to think that only four of the albums mentioned here were purchased by me, and to acknowledge the extent to which my taste was shaped by the taste of others.

What I like about these truths, if you will, is that The Sound Of McAlmont And Butler had to be informed by these unlikely influences. I like the idea that the ghosts of Perry Como and Rodgers and Hammerstein lurk somewhere within our sound, while my engagement with Roberta, Prince, Michael, Barbra and the Bee Gees armed me with a glut of melodic ideas.

It would be easy to say, oh yeah, you know, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, etc, but this list has been more like ''fessing up'!

The Sound of McAlmont And Butler 20 Year Deluxe Remaster is out tomorrow, October 2, on Edsel Records. McAlmont And Butler play a UK and Irish tour beginning on November 1 at Vicar Street in Dublin; for full details and tickets, head here. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through David's choices, which run in no particular order