Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

Time Capsules: Bob Stanley Selects His Favourite Compilations

Soon to appear at this month's Deer Shed Festival, the Saint Etienne man and pop historian picks out 13 prime compilations from his record collection for his self-penned Baker's Dozen

"I was really looking for ones where people captured a thing," says Bob Stanley, explaining why he chose to put together a Baker’s Dozen of compilations. "Like The Psychedelic Snarl for me – I didn’t know any of those records, I think the only group I’d heard of on there was The Mindbenders. It’s quite life-changing, and now I’ve got like three boxes of British psychedelic singles, which I’ve collected in the thirty years since."

It’s a fitting enough statement for a prodigious record collector like Stanley. Perhaps best known for being one third of Saint Etienne, themselves nodding to an expansive range of influences, last year he published Yeah Yeah Yeah, an in-depth journey through pop music in the second half of the 20th century. He also heads up the record label Croydon Municipal, putting together collections of music available in the public domain, the fifth imprint he’s run. As a frequent DJ too, selecting discs from what must be heaving shelves’ worth, honing down his choices to thirteen was no mean feat. His final rundown goes from an early K-Tel hits collection, via music hall, electro, Swedish beat and girl group compilations and a smattering of single-artist albums, right through to a fairly recent release from reissue label Finders Keepers. Even then, it’s a close run thing, and Stanley follows up to say Acid Dreams, a bootleg of garage-psych 45s, Deep Heat 89, a house/rave comp and late 90s R&B collection Street Vibes 5 were all near-misses.

"The Beach Boys’ 20 Golden Greats, Golden Hour Of The Kinks – the first records that I bought by some of my favourite acts would have almost always been compilations of hits, just because you were more likely to get things you liked on those records," he says, going back to early purchases. And, as with most ardent listeners to compilations, their track listings become the definitive way those songs are heard, something once ingrained that remains unchangeable. "I mean Fire Escape In The Sky – whenever I hear, ‘Seventh Seal’ by Scott Walker, it goes into ‘The Amorous Humphrey Plugg’, that is the way I hear those things, beautifully sequenced. It’s almost like Julian Cope did a better job than Scott Walker did the first time round!"

Bob will be be in conversation with Dave Simpson at the Deer Shed Festival, which runs from July 25-27 at Baldersby Park in Topcliffe, Yorkshire; head to the event’s website for full details and tickets. Click on the image below to begin scrolling through Bob’s choices

First Record

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