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Baker's Dozen

Experimentalism Wrapped Around Pop: Barry Adamson's Favourite LPs
Julian Marszalek , April 19th, 2017 10:12

Post punk polymath Barry Adamson guides Julian Marszalek around his favourite albums, from Baker's Staples like Iggy Pop and can to the Wu-Tang Clan, Ornette Coleman and Micachu. Photo by Jone Reed


David Bowie – Aladdin Sane
Ah, the glam era! I can remember going to a disco in '73 and there was a Bowie and Roxy room in there and that's all you'd dance to…

Of course, anyone could see with passing of David Bowie last year the effect he had on people and on music. And every change that he went through we as fans went through that as well. What was interesting about Aladdin Sane, if you'd listened to his albums from The Man Who Sold The World onwards, they were all completely different records.

I was wavering between this and Diamond Dogs but I have a very vivid memory of Aladdin Sane being a real mindblower. This made me feel very rebellious and I remember telling my mum that was spunk in his collarbone. And then she probably cuffed me round the ear!

And of course it was an invitation to America and Americana. This was definitely a transition and you could hear it in Mick Ronson's playing and I think the introduction of Mike Garson on keyboards had something to do with it. Just look at the title track has that extraordinary piano solo.

What I've found with a lot of these records is that they've been invisibly formed by history. You can hear elements of the 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s but you can't really pin them down. Bowie does that really well. You listen to 'Lady Grinning Soul' and some of it is quite Poirot-esque. It could even be a Bond theme. But then you've got 'Drive In Saturday' which is really going to that American place.

But the songwriting is amazing here. I remember being blown away by 'Cracked Actor' and finding it quite a revelation to see the world that way. There's always something like that in a David Bowie record.