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Baker's Dozen

Dawn To Dusk: Richard Dawson's Favourite Albums
Jennifer Lucy Allan , October 14th, 2019 08:45

Tales of the oddest record shop on Tyneside and much more as Richard Dawson guides Jennifer Lucy Allan through an unsurprisingly diverse selection of records in this week's Baker's Dozen


Sun Ra - Lanquidity​
Again this was an early Windows experience. I was really thirsty for anything at that time, but up to that point I'd just had access to the local library, it was really just when the internet was just about coming in. I'd been to college very briefly for a couple of months before I flunked out, and then went to the record shop, where suddenly there was this shop full of amazing music from everywhere.

There was an amazing jazz section there, which contained so much amazing artwork, but the Sun Ra section was really well stocked, and I got so drawn in by the covers. I've picked Languidity because it's one of the ones I go back to again and again. It could just have easily been Space Is The Place, or When Angels Speak Of Love, It's impossible to pick one because it's about the complete picture, in that all the records complement each other. Initially I found it all a bit much – listening to Languidity, I just couldn't make any sense of it – I was like, 'what's happening here?'     Encountering Sun Ra as a young person in the North East of England – when you put it in that context… visually and musically it presents such a vision – somebody's gone way further, so you're encountering something that is not just music, but a back story, a mythology, a visual concept – just a different reality.

There's no coming back from it. There was a guy I worked with that took me under his wing a bit, and he was the guy stocking all this stuff. He had absolutely filled this section out with about 30 Sun Ra albums, including the obscure things, you know, not just your Impulse! and CBS things, also live things, and The Ark and The Ankh, the John Cage release – it was a complete primer on Sun Ra, right there. I'd spend my lunch break listening to things I couldn't play in the shop because the department I was on was the Middle Of The Road department.

There was this very tense thing going on, because you had a few of us there who were really into this exploration music, however you want to call it, and then you had the old timers, and they had been there 30 or 40 years, running the rock & roll department right next to it in the racks. We had a whole section for crooners – it was really amazing and weird, but very tense, to the point that staff members were assaulting each other and bullying each other, it was horrible. It was a clash of two different worlds, this shop from the past, 1950s style, and then these young oiks coming in and filling the racks with Sun Ra. That was always going to cause tension.