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Baker's Dozen

How Was It For You? Tim Booth Of James' Favourite Albums
John Freeman , March 31st, 2016 08:03

After the release of James' Girl At The End Of The World, lead singer Tim Booth tells John Freeman about clandestine childhood listening and the redemptive powers of Iggy Pop in choosing the LPs that "saved his life"


Micah P. Hinson And The Gospel Of Progress – Micah P. Hinson And The Gospel Of Progress
I forget quite which year this album came out [2004], but it was an astonishing time for new music. There were wonderful albums by Martha Wainwright, Antony And The Johnsons and Arcade Fire. Micah P. Hinson's record was another – it was so simple. It didn't really have choruses or verses – he had a thing which I call a 'ver-chorus', which is something in between the two. It was totally memorable and his words never fail to hit the mark. The simplicity means that the album depends very strongly on the arrangement and they are impeccable. They remind me of Leonard Cohen in some ways.

He has a wonderfully deep voice. He seems to have gone through some kind of hell. I am not quite sure what it was – he made reference to it when I saw him play a show. Every single lyric hits home to me. Some of them sound a bit like homilies to me, but the way he sings them makes you believe him. There is not a dud track and I still listen to it, to this day.

I have tried many of his later songs, but this is the record if you want an introduction to Micah P. Hinson. It's a great record. When you asked for the list, I could have chosen bands that meant more to me – I didn't choose a record by The Doors – and I could have easily included Martha Wainwright's debut, but in the end I had to be honest with myself and come back to the records I cannot stop playing. This is one of them. It was a toss-up between Martha and Micah, and I went for Micah in the end.