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Baker's Dozen

Things I Hold Dear: Nadine Shah's Favourite Albums
Jeremy Allen , June 3rd, 2020 08:46

In this week's Baker's Dozen, Nadine Shah guides Jeremy Allen through favourite albums from Mariah Carey to Fat White Family, along the way discussing her friendship with Amy Winehouse and why Richard Dawson is the only man who should be allowed acoustic guitars at parties


Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones
I think one of my favourite songs of all time is 'In The Neighborhood'. He's not one of my favourite artists but I love this album and that song is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. A lot of the artists I've grown up listening to are people who have great vocals, they were ones I could sing along to. Now with Tom Waits there's nothing in his vocal for me to sing along to and if I mimic him I'm just going to destroy my vocal chords. I remember meeting a boy years ago who was a big fan and I wanted to impress him. I was like, 'Yeah, I love him too', and then I went and listened to it and I was like, 'What is this ungodly sound coming out of this man's mouth?' I hated it! 

I've only recently got into him. When I did my first album and did music interviews people were like, 'Have you listened to Nick Cave?' No. 'Have you listened to such and such?' So I've had to listen to this stuff again as an adult and a musician, and then you gain new respect for songwriters and performers and especially artists with unique vocal styles, unique styles of storytelling, and so I fell in love with Tom Waits. But I had to revisit him and now every song I hold dear. 

I've grown up singing other people's songs, but it turns out that I've never enjoyed singing a song more than 'In the Neighborhood'. And it makes me cry whenever I hear his version. With his broken, ugly vocal, singing sensitive, beautiful lyrics, or Nick Cave singing 'Into My Arms', or Joni Mitchell singing 'A Case of You' as an older woman who smokes 40 a day - there is something really beautiful about that.