The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Baker's Dozen

Mighty Mighty Boosh Tones: Julian Barratt's Favourite LPs
Adrian Lobb , June 21st, 2017 09:00

As Julian Barratt releases 'You Can't Handcuff The Wind', a single by alter-ego Richard Thorncroft, he guides Adrian Lobb through 13 favourite albums, from Miles Davis to Zappa, Fela Kuti and the soundtracks of the Wicker Man and more


Miles Davis - In a Silent Way
My dad took me to see Miles Davis in the 1980s. This would be in either Leeds or Manchester – where we'd travel to see live bands like Herbie Hancock, always jazz stuff. He played with his back to the audience the entire time. My dad had warned me this might happen and contextualised it, saying he didn't want to be all jazz hands and big smiles, the Louis Armstrong school. Miles Davis came out of the black power movement and was against all that. I went to see him and I was over the stuff he was doing – which was covers of Cyndi Lauper and things. The idea being that jazz players always did covers of contemporary songs and showtunes back in the day, so why couldn't they do pop songs now? I suppose some bands still do. That's kind of what The Bad Plus do, if you have heard of those guys? They do covers of Rush and Nirvana. I'm not sure I liked Miles Davis's later stuff very much. I much prefer In A Silent Way, Kind Of Blue and some of the electric stuff from the early 70s – 'Black Satin', from On The Corner, is very brilliant.

In A Silent Way is just a classic. Those slowly evolving themes – he's left be-bop and is going towards the more modal rhythms and the harmonies are quite restricted, while the song structures are repetitive. It has that minimalist feel that I like and the beat. I think it inspired a lot of the stuff I got into later in the way it was constructed and put together.

I love that it had John McLaughlin on it who was from the north of England. I was struck by his playing on that album, which is really minimal and not how he usually plays – quite furious, electric, very fast. On In A Silent Way he held back. I was talking with John Etheridge, a guitar player I know who lives near me. He told me that it was out of fear. That's why McLaughlin played like that. He was afraid of doing the wrong thing on a Miles Davis record. He was playing tentatively – brilliantly, but not doing anything to overpower anything, just sitting in.

My dad is responsible for my musical journey, if you can call it that. His record collection is where I lived for a while. And the tape collection, I must add. That was very important as well. The C60s, C90s, C120s – In A Silent Way was on one side of one of the tapes my dad had.