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Baker's Dozen

Beautiful & Sad: Ben Watt's Favourite Albums
Jude Rogers , January 29th, 2020 09:48

As he releases a new solo record, Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl guides Jude Rogers through his Baker's Dozen, from Frank Ocean to Paul Simon and Bobby Womack to why male music critics were afraid of Joni Mitchell


Nick Drake – Pink Moon
I heard Nick Drake quite early on, in 1981, when nobody of our generation really knew him. A friend of mine had a big brother who had given him the Fruit Tree box set [first released in 1979]. When I heard it I was all, 'What is this?' Listening to him, I felt like I was going into a world no-one else knew, especially when everyone else was into post-punk. I also found it very sad, as it was the last album he made a few years before he died.

I've got a funny story about it, too. I did one of my first sessions for Manchester Piccadilly Radio in 1981 or so, when Mark Radcliffe was working there. I came down on the bus all the way from Hull, and he was housesitting for someone in the music industry at the time – I can't remember who – but I had nowhere to stay, so I just slept on the floor there. I remember staying up late with Mark going through this music industry guy's record collection, then finding some Nick Drake records and getting really excited. Going, 'Oh, Mark, do you know him?', and Mark going, 'No, who's he? He's great!' He became a big fan. [So he did: Radcliffe wrote a 2005 novel called Northern Sky, and also picked a Nick Drake album, Bryter Later, for his Quietus Baker's Dozen.]