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Baker's Dozen

Wot No Jazz Funk Greats?! Cosey Fanni Tutti's Favourite Records
Luke Turner , February 13th, 2019 09:32

As Cosey Fanni Tutti releases one of the albums of the year thus far, she sits down with Luke Turner to discuss 13 records that shaped her, from the soundtrack to pre-COUM hippy days in Hull to the present day


The Velvet Underground & Nico
This evoked so many feelings of my life back then. It was my introduction to Nico's voice, and they were living in this group in a cultural underground that one minute were all OK and the next were all at each other's throats and not getting on, let's put it that way. But they were also working together in some way, and when it's like that you understand one another. That comes across, with Lou Reed and John Cale writing songs for her. They just seem perfect for Nico, especially John Cale - when you listen to the instrumentation that he puts with her voice, it's just magical. I recently read that she'd known Leonard Cohen at that point, and it made complete sense to me. There was a creative, musical relationship even if they weren't working together. You'd think I would have twigged the connection before, but I hadn't. They have the same kind of emotion in a very low-key way. It's like your inner self is exorcising its emotions, that's how I think of both of them when they sing.  
 Was Nico an inspiration to you, being a woman as part of a group where as you say people were often at each other's throats? 
 Back then I never separated men and women, it was just all the one thing. Now you do, because its compounded itself - as women have been creative, Joni Mitchell, Judi Collins, Joan Baez, they wrote songs and Dylan would sing them, and he wrote songs and they sung his, it was a real exchange, but as time went on the ones who got the most credit were the men, the women got pushed into the background. That's why now they're saying, 'enough! I'm fucking not having that'. It's been around for centuries now, there was a little hiatus in the 60s and 70s where everyone came to the forefront, and then women had a bad deal again. So I didn't look at Nico as 'there's a woman who's doing something, I can be like her', I just thought there's a beautiful voice and beautiful music.  
 Did you ever meet her? 
 There was a proposal to do a 12" with her in the 80s, but she was really far gone by then, in a bad way drug-wise. The guy who proposed it was a junkie as well, but it was real, we went to a label and discussed it and saw her at the Marquee. She was sat backstage, and just looked so down and alone. It was sad to see her like that, but in a way those early records were a premonition - you hear those songs and think, 'this is her future'. It's very sad.