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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


U2 - The Joshua Tree
I remember watching Top Of The Pops for the first time in years, when I returned to Croydon. There was a video of these guys performing in what I thought was Victoria station. I only noticed the ponytailed guy in the cowboy hat playing the guitar, and the other one singing. I liked the singer's voice; it was that shouty sort of Springsteen vibe. I kind of liked him. He seemed sincere and unpolished.

One of the contacts I had when I got back was a lady living in Clapham. She was a Christian, as was I. U2 was the safe rock choice for Christians then. There is a general view that 'Where The Streets Have No Name' is an allusion to heaven. I would visit the lady in Clapham often. We would drink tea and listen to The Joshua Tree.

Eventually I started working and The Joshua Tree was one of the first records I bought. I loved the brooding sleeve and the desert landscape. I had no idea what a Joshua tree was. The Internet was a French idea then, so you couldn't just Google things.

The album also held treasures beyond its singles. 'Bullet The Blue Sky', 'Trip Through Your Wires' and 'Red Hill Mining Town' were vital to the development of my musical taste. It was listening to U2 that would ultimately make a plethora of artists like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits approachable. Even Thieves and McAlmont and Butler would have been alien to me without the impact of U2. I have never enjoyed a U2 album as much as I still do The Joshua Tree.