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Baker's Dozen

Is This Music? Norman Blake's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , July 28th, 2021 13:06

From the overlooked influence of Throbbing Gristle to an enduring love of The Velvet Underground, via Broadcast, The Rolling Stones and more, Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake picks the thirteen records that shaped him


Captain Beefheart And The Magic Band – Clear Spot

I think they were trying to make an album that was commercial and they thought it was time to have a bit of fame. As a band, we love this and Safe As Milk but it took me the longest to actually get Trout Mask Replica. I know a lot of people have issues with it but I love it. I picked up a CD copy recently in a second hand shop –I’m sure there are lots of copies of Trout Mask Replica in second hand shops! – but I like it and there’s something about the construction of his songs.

But this one, though, is really great! It’s really sweet and soulful in places. Something like ‘Too Much Time’, the guitar playing is so funky and soulful. We listened to this a lot in the early Teenage Fanclub days. For us, it was the guitar playing. In part, we were trying to emulate Sonic Youth and The Rolling Stones and this was a big influence on Raymond stylistically. Raymond was really digging the guitar playing on this record.

It’s lovely and it’s always been a favourite. In terms of the recording, it’s absolutely brilliant. It was recorded by Ted Templeman and he has some really good stories about recording that record about various temper tantrums, but ultimately, Templeman says he liked the band and got on with them. But the sessions were absolutely insane!

It’s an album that I like to lean back and listen to. I can stick this on any time and it puts me into a nice place and there are some Dr John-type elements in there. It’s the least manic of Captain Beefheart’s records although it still has its moments – don’t get me wrong!