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Baker's Dozen

Bombarded With Asteroids: Richard Hawley's Favourite Albums
Sharon O'Connell , February 17th, 2016 10:51

Before he heads off on a tour of the UK tomorrow, the Sheffield singer-songwriter and quiffsman takes Sharon O'Connell through the rock & roll, blues and rockabilly albums that shaped his early listening


Little Walter – Little Walter
There were loads in the Chess Masters series and the cover of the Howling Wolf one is brilliant – it's him looking back at you as he's getting into a fighter plane. It's so surreal. Walter's at a bar, with his harmonica, but he's kind of melting into this desert island and it appealed to me as a ten-year-old boy. This is another record I got from Bradley's with my dad. I was so glad that I picked it out and I remember him saying: "Oh, I've not seen that one. Put it there." And he shuffled it into his record pile! I just thought, that looks great. Then, when I heard what was inside… The thing that Little Walter did that was unique – at least, no one else had done it as effectively as he did – was amplify the harmonica. It was a question of necessity, rather than invention, I think. To make what was considered a novelty or even child's instrument be heard… I couldn't believe what I was hearing on this record. His harmonica sounds like a saxophone from outer space and what with Leonard and Phil Chess's production adding all these random reverbs and echoes and stuff, it sounds vast. When Little Walter played in a UK tour, he just used pick-up bands and my uncle Frank was in one of his favourites, when he was like, 19. I was just so lucky to have heard this stuff early on, as opposed to Mud, or whoever.