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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


Various - Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track
In Guyana [where David lived from 1978 to 1987] music wasn't private. The record players were indoors, but the music escaped through the ventilation and the non-insulated walls. Those wooden houses occupied a cheap, enjoyable period in my musical education.

I didn't own a copy of Saturday Night Fever until I returned to the UK in 1987. I grew to love it quickly in Guyana. It was everywhere, blasting from people's houses. I didn't know that all of these amazing songs were on one record. I just assumed it to be a new style or something.

Heaven was missing an angel. Romantic obsession was bookended by the kind of music that the school orchestra in Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk, had played at special assemblies. Voices in harmony - like The Drifters, but more eccentric - asked about the depth of love. Sometimes I couldn't understand what the voices were saying, but the music was so infectious I didn't care. I was informed enough to notice that a Beethoven-like air had been absorbed by the new style. One of the songs described a towering inferno, but the skyscraper wasn't on fire. The dancers were.

The music was uplifting and fun, yet there was something melancholy about it. A great musical romance began in that period: in the years to come, records by Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton, Diana Ross and Barbra Streisand would remind me of the dialectical strains; three strange looking brothers with big hair and tight trousers made them. They were called the Bee Gees.