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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


Scott Walker - Scott 3
Scott Walker is my favourite artist of all time. Well, Scott Walker and Nina Simone, but it was hard to pick a Nina Simone album because for me there aren't really albums so much as songs and performances that I love. It was difficult to choose but Scott 3 is my favourite because it has 'It's Raining Today' and it's the string arrangements on it that are phenomenal. They're so pioneering and ahead of their time. I know The Beatles get cited for being pioneers, blah blah blah, but I really think that album is underrated even if it's vastly appreciated by many. The string arrangements by Wally Stott are bonkers. On 'It's Raining Today' the arrangements sound almost like a police siren or an ambulance going past; when you're walking around listening to something in your headphones, the siren always fits with whatever you're listening to. That's what these lush arrangements remind me of - they're very filmic and very familiar and pretty, and then they go really dark. 

There are three Jacques Brel songs on Scott 3 and I was into Brel before Scott Walker because of 'Ne me quitte pas'. I used to be a jazz singer and Nina Simone covered it. I was learning French years ago and I'd try to listen to Brel to learn the language. I love the story that Scott Walker was on tour and he went back to a Belgian woman's house, and they sat up and listened to Jacques Brel and he fell in love with it right there and then. He's a real Anglophile too - obviously he lived here for years. Lyrically he was heavily inspired by kitchen sink drama and his storytelling is beautiful. That's a very special album to me and one I revisit often. It's hard to pick an era of Scott I love most but that holds the most nostalgia for me.