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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


Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde

I'm not a prog rocker, but I like my double albums, I must say. When I like an artist I'm quite greedy, so it's nice to have more to listen to. I'm not a massive Dylan head, as such, but I just like listening to his words. And he has that amazing trick of making something sound really simple, because I imagine that a load of his songs are based on very simple folk and country music. The thing with Dylan is it's not his guitar playing, it's not his harmonica playing, it's not his voice and it isn't his band – the thing that's always turned me on is hearing his mind. You do drift off and go to random points in the universe within a verse and it's a record where all the receptors are open. It's not psychedelia in the widely understood, comic sense – I loathe that – but the reason I got into Dylan was because I could hear stuff I'd heard as I grew up; people like the Delmore Brothers and Hank Williams, a lot of the country and folk traditional stuff that I'd absorbed like a sponge, when I was a boy. I first heard Dylan when I was about 13, But it still hit me really hard; it felt like I was being bombarded with asteroids or something. My favourite track on Blonde On Blonde is 'Visions Of Johanna', by a mile, but I don't know why. It's like a beautiful, spinning, jewelled Christmas present that comes out of its box and I don't want to know which switch to press to make it do that. You just put the needle to the record and that's it.