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Baker's Dozen

Evidently Chicken Supreme: John Cooper Clarke's Favourite Songs
Alex Burrows , November 18th, 2020 11:32

Performance poet, style icon and broadcaster John Cooper Clarke tells Alex Burrows about his most-loved songs of all time and growing up during the birth of rock & roll. Portrait by Paul Wolfgang Webster.


The Velvet Underground – ‘Sister Ray’
For years I would look at it as a kind of a stint. ‘OK… I get it… it’s like this for half an hour…’ Then for some reason I didn’t play it for years, but then one day I played it and I thought, ‘what a great piece of music this is’. There are all kinds of things going on here that you’ll never get to the bottom of, including the story. As I said before, Lou Reed never had the strongest of voices, but it has that that treble, astringent kind of quality that cuts through any amount of music. That’s a wall of sound if ever there was one. It’s a great record and it rewards listening to the full track. 17 minutes? Seems longer. But even so, all the stuff that goes on in it, it never goes off the boil. And it’s actually quite light on its feet. Even though Maureen Tucker, she’s using the timpani hammers to the max, it’s actually quite light on its feet and has a degree of syncopation that is quite sexy. And you can really dance to it. It really is a dance record! Give it a go. It’s light on its feet. You think of it as a really heavy number, but it’s not. It has wings.