The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

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


‘The Desperate Kingdom Of Love’ (From Uh Huh Her)
Uh Huh Her was a patchy album, but it contains a couple of really great songs and this absolute classic. It’s one of those precious songs that once you’ve heard, you can’t imagine it hasn’t always existed. It's just her singing over nylon stringed guitar – a kind of basic folk song in many ways, with a sort of universal title. You'd think that would be the hardest thing to make sound timeless. It's about taking an absolutely classic song format and making it something unique, and unique to her.

It's also a song I’ve heard others do – there's a Giant Sand cover with a full band, lush and quite orchestrated, which works brilliantly, so it's one of those songs you could do in 100 different ways and they would all sound really good. 

In that way, it is perhaps like a proper folk song.

It is. There's a lot of Polly's songs I love, that if somebody else did them it probably wouldn’t work, but that is a song that could and should be in the book of 50 classic songs for young guitarists to learn.