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Baker's Dozen

Strength In Strangeness: The Anchoress' Favourite Albums
Elizabeth Aubrey , May 17th, 2023 09:12

Ahead of a show this Saturday at London's Southbank Centre, Catherine Anne Davies takes us through the 13 albums that have defined her life and work as The Anchoress, from childhood memories soundtracked by The Carpenters and lifechanging encounters with the Manics and PJ Harvey as a teen, to newfound infatuations with SZA and The 1975,


Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On

This, like The Carpenters, came from my parents' record collection. My mum is a huge fan of Motown and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the genre. It really was an essential part of the soundtrack to my childhood – Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye – they were always playing. Of course, these artists all had such beautifully produced records and I still wonder if that’s where my passion for record production initially came from. On Sundays, all I ever remember is my mum putting an album on while she was making lunch and we’d all listen to it and dance around the living room to it. I have vivid memories of being told not to jump up and down too much because it would make the record skip.

What’s Going On was one of those that was frequently played. At the time, I was obviously completely unaware of the political weight it had. It’s an album I’ve revisited so much over the years and I’ve been able to lean into the lyrics more and more as I’ve gotten older – much more than I did when I first heard it as a three-year-old.

My parents had this really big speaker system and all these vinyl records that my siblings and I would get to choose to play on a Sunday while lunch was being made and eaten. It’s a record that if I put it on now, it takes me right back to that smell of roast potatoes cooking in my mum’s kitchen. A lot of music I do find really evocative and has the ability to ‘pull me back down another year’, as Tori Amos might say, and really go back to a more innocent time. My love of music and its power to move me emotionally was a seed that was planted very early from the environment that I grew up in. My parents' record collection was a great education in music history.