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Baker's Dozen

Kernow Calling: Mark Jenkin’s Favourite Albums
Sean McGeady , January 18th, 2023 09:12

Cornish bard Mark Jenkin talks Sean McGeady through the soundtracks to his teenage summers, long drives to the hospital, and lonely afternoons hand-processing celluloid, from Junior Wells to Joni Mitchell


Joni Mitchell – Ladies Of The Canyon

Joni’s the best. Her voice and the way she plays, the way she phrases her lyrics. She’s up there with Dylan for me. I said to Mary, “I’m gonna put in Blue or Ladies Of The Canyon” and she said, “Don’t put Blue in, everybody says Blue. Put in Ladies Of The Canyon.” So I did. But also there are other reasons.

‘Morning Morgantown’, my stepson is called Morgan, so that song makes me think of him. But also, a few years ago, the summer of 2016, my mum had a bad accident while she was visiting my sister in Cheltenham, and ended up in hospital in Gloucester for the entire summer. I had to rush up here to go and see her. She was very badly injured. I just got in my car and drove to Cheltenham and to Glouscester hospital. And this CD was in my car. I ended up not coming back for a couple of months. Driving each day to see my mum in Gloucester. This was the album I listened to everyday. We weren’t quite sure how well my mum was going to recover, but very quickly she did recover and it’s all soundtracked by this album. It started off introspective and melancholic, like the world was changing, but then I was probably listening to this the day she came out. It’s the happy ending I’m left with, or I probably wouldn’t listen to it.

There are modern albums on my list but there’s not much music from my adulthood that’s baked into my existence. And this album kind of is, because of that very intense emotional experience that was soundtracked by it. The thing with Joni Mitchell is that she’s had such a journey as well. At the time when I was listening to this album forensically, she was very unwell, and has had a comeback and performed live. I just think she’s a total one-off. There’s nobody like her. Somebody who just turns themself inside out emotionally and puts it all out there. Every word just seems true. There’s no need to read an autobiography. It’s all there.