FAQ – What’s your favourite album?
I get asked this all the time, usually when someone finds out:
A: I still religiously buy physical medium music.
B: Own somewhere in the region of 1000 records and 3000 CDs
Lets not even factor in the countless downloaded songs I have (free downloads from local level bands mostly).
The question I have to ask is this:
How the hell am I supposed to pick just one?
I mean come on, seriously! I often wonder when asked this question how many albums (format dependent) the person owns. Maybe they are part of the digital download/streaming generation and have spent years picking and choosing songs from albums, so don’t appreciate an album front to back…I don’t know.
Maybe if someone asked me a more specific question I’d be able to answer it with a straight answer, but they very rarely do.
“What’s your favourite album?”
“Couldn’t tell you. Could we start with a genre maybe?”
“OK…what’s your favourite punk album?”
“I mean talk about a toughy! Are we talking roots of the genre here? The Ramones – Rocket to Russia has to be up there, but then what about some of the gems from the straight edge scene in the US in the early 90’s….or the New York hardcore scene?! I do love the pop punk years….”
This is the point where an innocent question to start a friendly chat becomes more of a one-sided conversation with myself.
The thing is, I would say I frequently have a favourite album, but it doesn’t necessarily stay that way, perhaps my favourite album is the one I love right now.
Over the years that has included Weezer, Farside, Tim Barry, Atmosphere, Social Distortion, Everlast, Ignite, New Found Glory, Johnny Cash (How could anyone pick one of his albums as the best?), High Contrast, Iron Chic, Jonah Matranga, Gaslight Anthem, Frank Turner, DJ Shadow, Justice, Against Me…and that is after a quick scan of my collection.
So, what is my favourite album right now?
Jake Morley – Many Fish To Fry
Originally release in 2010, it has only just crossed my path, let me tell you how…
It was a Friday night, and as part of the Full Moon’s now annual Free for All festival, I headed into town to see the phenomenal MC Xander (beatbox/rapper) who was playing in the downstairs part of the venue. As always I turned up early enough to catch the support act.
Upon arrival, my old friend Owen (promoter of said awesome venue) saw me and told me that I must go upstairs and watch the acoustic guy he had booked and promised me I was in for a treat. Owen has a knack of bringing some truly spectacular musicians/bands to the Full Moon and I’ve learnt that when he says I should watch something, I should shut up and go watch whatever it is!
This night was no different.
Why do I rate his performance (and his album) so highly? Well, the first thing that grabbed me was the technical level of guitar work on some of his songs. I’ve seen some of the best guitarists in the world, including one or two of the Virtuosos on Candy Rat records, and it’s fair to say if you stripped some of Jake’s songs back to just the guitar work, he could comfortably hold his own with those guys, but that wasn’t what completely hooked me.
The worst part of watching any technical virtuoso is they often sacrifice the quality of a tune at the expense of exploration of skills, Jake on the other hand, does not. His songs always feel like the priority, never letting the technical nature of the guitar work get in the way of what he is singing (and that he is singing and playing at the same time!)
Jake manages to write songs that can warm your heart, raise a smile, blow your mind at the technicality of his playing and make you feel like singing along all inside 4 minutes.
I can’t for the life of me remember the last time I thought that about anyone!
Don’t believe me? Watch this…
There most annoying trend at gigs in recent years is the odd tendency for people to talk whilst musicians are playing, why? Who knows? When it happens at gigs with a £10 entry price tag, it baffles me, at a free show, sadly it is has become the norm. But every now and then, someone comes along, who takes to the stage arm with little more than a guitar, voice, passion and heart and manages to stun a crowd to silence, apart from the inevitable applause and cheering. On a Friday night at a free gig in the Full Moon, Jake Morley silenced a room full of people, it was magical.
His album is recorded ‘with band’, which only added another dimension to why ‘Many Fish to Fry’ is my favourite album right now.
Good work Jake.
Check him out at:
P.S. On a personal note, anyone who can play at set of songs like this and then rock out to a Doom Metal duo called Beehover, is alright in my book.