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Baker's Dozen

Composites For A Generation: James Fry's Baker's Dozen
John Quin , September 14th, 2022 08:10

From the hits of Hot Chocolate and the trashy joys of Sigue Sigue Sputnik to the 'death jazz' of Miles Davis and the angst of Portishead, James Fry takes us through his life in thirteen albums


Portishead – Third

My son, who’s thirty now, he once asked us recently why didn’t we have any Kate Bush albums? Why didn’t we have any Cure? And I said – well, there were just so many records you could buy - but he picked up on this one. And he was asking me – Dad, what’s Threads? So I told him about a TV Drama about Sheffield being destroyed by a nuclear missile. John Doran told me Threads was Beth Gibbons’ favourite film. You’re like – fucking hell! My son went to see them in a disused aircraft hangar in Iceland where there was 23 hours of darkness. I was very jealous.’

The album is about angst. And angst is an adult phenomenon too, it’s not just for teenagers. Angst is for adults. I put this after the Four Tops because there’s this angst in her voice that no one else has really nailed. I love her voice. As Portishead’s records progressed they became bleaker and more stripped down. Third is for me the band at their peak. They sound very analogue. This could have been recorded in Sun studios, it has that kind of rawness to it. Any other band at that time might have gone all Beggar And Co with a string quartet but they’ve gone backwards and I love that. For me it’s a bit like Psychocandy – very few other records sound like it. I’d love to make a record like ‘The Rip’. And these tracks are turning up in adverts now like Suicide records which is a shame really.