The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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


The Drifters - 24 Original Hits
I became aware of this compilation via ITV. Extraordinary to think that there were only three channels back then. It was promoted with an eye catching commercial. Amazing voices and sounds emanated from the television. They soundtracked colourful cartoons of voluptuous black folk kissing under boardwalks, singing on the roof or sashaying away.

My mother brought those cartoons home but they were frozen in comic strip stasis on the album cover; each title was applied to one of the illustrations. The advertisement had conjured a sense of music from hot places with endless summers. The voices fascinated me. They echoed and ricocheted around, doing curious and affecting things to my child's ear. The tales they told were evocative beyond my prepubescent naïveté.

There was that Broadway word again, but not the Broadway of Rodgers and Hammerstein. This was a more exciting place. I didn't know where or what it was, but I believed in it 100 per cent!

I wanted to go to the cinema that these guys frequented on a Saturday night. I learned that there was a rare and mysterious power in a woman's smile. I wanted to experience that release: the one that could compel a guy to go up to the roof. I gathered how watching someone walk away could make the watcher sad. The drums were peculiar of pattern. The strings were unlike any I'd heard before. I wouldn't know for years that The Drifters were my introduction to doo wop. The song 'On Broadway' would become number eight on my favourite ever songs list.