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Baker's Dozen

A Woman, A Man: John Parish's Favourite PJ Harvey Recordings
Jennifer Lucy Allan , February 3rd, 2021 08:42

As PJ Harvey continues a major series of vinyl reissues of her incredible discography, her long-time collaborator and friend John Parish guides Jennifer Lucy Allan through his favourite 13 of her recordings


‘Dress’ (From Dry)
This is Polly’s first great song, and a great recording featuring the original three-piece line up of Polly, Rob Ellis and Ian Oliver. When I first met her I could see immediately there was something great there – she already had a really good voice at 17, 18, and there was something about her spirit that came across straight away. I immediately asked her to join my band, although I couldn’t tell at that time what she was going to develop into. 

When we first started working together Polly was just starting off as a songwriter. Her first songs, like anybody's, were quite naïve. In the three years we played together in the Automatic Dlamini band, I watched her writing develop and saw her progress really fast. Between ages 18 and 21 we all change so much, and she was being exposed to a lot of stuff. It was very exciting to watch her go from someone writing quite generic folky stuff to coming up with her own identity and sound, both lyrically and musically. ‘Dress’ was the one that when I first heard it, I thought ‘wow’ – she’s here, she’s arrived.