Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

2. Nic JonesPenguin Eggs

In about 1981 there was a Virgin record shop in Birmingham, in the old days when people in shops used to be able to play what they liked, now you have it all decided. There was a guy called Martin who ended up being in a band called The Great Outdoors, who were like a sub-REM group, and he played this amazing song about a man eating penguin eggs in the Arctic. I asked him what it was and he said it was Nic Jones from an album called Penguin Eggs, which was a folk album. Now if you’d asked me at the age of 13 if I liked folk music I’d have said no, but because I’d heard it without knowing it was folk music, I didn’t dislike it.

Nic Jones was a great folk singer of the 70s but he’d had a terrible motorbike accident and he quit playing. He’s doing the South Bank at the weekend – his second gig in 30 years – for this weekend I’ve programmed. Nic Jones was on this label called Topic, so I went to the local library – this is such a long time ago, we had a library with records in it – and I got out any music on the Topic label, which is the oldest independent record label in Britain, it’s a folk label on Stroud Green Road. Those records got me into folk music.

Selected in other Baker’s Dozens: Darren Hayman
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