Last Updated 25 Oct 2009

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MUSIC

Music was my first love
and it will be my last.
Music of the future
and music of the past.

To live without my music
would be impossible to do.
In this world of troubles,
my music pulls me through.


 

 
Hmmmm, okay, so that might be pushing it a little, but it's not that far from the truth. I was hooked on music from a very young age - purely as a listener I should add - I've never played a musical instrument in my life! I started by listening to radios (valve driven), reel-to-reel tape, transistor radio, then record-players, cassettes and in the 80's moved into the new digital age with CD's. As soon as I started work I bought a new GEC Soundeck music centre with an "S" shaped tonearm. Wahoo! I was so proud of it and listened to it none stop! Most of the time I had to listen to it using my white plastic headphones with volume-sliders on each side, LOL.
 
Back then, it was a bit of a revelation to be able to listen to LP's, cassettes and radio and even be able to record music!! From memory, the speakers were of a coaxial design, meaning that rather than have a separate tweeter and bass, the tweeter was mounted in the centre of the bass drive - an integral part of it. It was probably crap, but at the time I thought it was the dog's dangly bits.
 
After that, it was a case of buying separates from AKAI, ROTEL, AIWA and others. Aiwa were the kings of cassette and I was very pleased when I got my first cassette deck from them, complete with Dolby-B Noise Reduction. 
 
Also in the 70's was the amazing new "quadraphonic" sound system. I never actually saw any of this equipment in the shops, but I was fortunate enough to get a demo of it in action from someone I knew locally. He had a Pioneer surround amp, the details of which I cannot recall. I do, however, remember that it had a circular display not unlike a radar display, with four illuminated bars stretching out from the centre to indicate which of the four channels was operating. The guy put a "sound effects" record on and proceeded to amaze me as a steam-train thundered around the room from one corner to the next. Amazing!
 
As the years rolled by, I steadily upgraded each component in order to extract as much information as possible from the source. It often seemed like the better my equipment got, the more ticks and pops I could hear on the vinyl. It was so frustrating to go into town, buy a new LP and then find that it had a loud tick on first-play. Grrrrr!!!  Thankfully, a solution to that problem came in the mid 80's in the form of an affordable CD player from Philips. At the time, I was over the moon with this new development and it wasn't long before I'd sold my turntable and all my LP's.
 
My early musical tastes (some say I didn't have any taste) centred around light rock music. One day I got a lift from a mate in his Capri 3 Litre and he slipped a cartridge in his 8-track. Out from the speakers came the sound of a band I'd never heard before - it was Pink Floyd. Wow!! I rushed into town and bought Dark Side Of The Moon immediately. It was the start of a long-term relationship. To me, Pink Floyd was a "step up" from the grittier rock bands I'd been previously listening to. It was more intelligent and interesting and seemed to have a bit of "theatre" to it all.
 
Still in my teens, I started to develop a taste for classical music and one piece in particular had a massive impact on me - Tchaikovsky's 6th in B-Minor, "Pathetique". OMG, I just adored that music - and still do, almost 35 years later. Mozart was soon to follow with his amazingly beautiful Clarinet Concertos. I found that classical music was a very satisfying listening experience compared to the usual tap-footing pop music that floated around the house. Sure, you had to put a bit more into it in the way of focus and concentration, but you got a hell of a lot more back in return.
 
Sometime in 1981, a work colleague lent me an album which was to add a new dimension to the sort of music I listened to. It was Randy Crawford's Secret Combination and I loved it! Although most people probably thought of it at the time as a Soul/R&B album, I felt there was something jazzy about it and started to explore jazz from there on. This led to George Benson's albums joining my collection along with Elle Fitzgerald many others.

 

Another great love from my teens (and right through to today) was Joan Armatrading. If I was only allowed listen to one female singer for the rest of my life, it would have to be her. Her voice is amazing, her lyrics are intelligent and thought-provoking and her music is just far enough off the beaten track to make it stand out as something special. I feel the same way about Steely Dan. Listening to their albums was always another "step-up" as far as I was concerned. Without wishing to sound pompous (or up my own arse), Steely Dan's music was for the more intellectual listener. More than anything, their music seemed to me to be unpredictable. It wasn't like listening to a regular chart-song which you felt familiar with on the first listening - no, it took more effort and gave more pleasure and lasted longer. It also had a unique sound to it. Fagen's falsetto voice, the unusual jazzy, popsy, rocky, bluesy, R&B riffs and melodies, humorous and often cryptic lyrics. Additionally, the band was always made up from superb musicians and you could tell that each album was meticulously "crafted". Best album of all time? Gotta be AJA.
 
Van The Man. What can I say? Van Morrison has been in my record collection for a long time and is my most listened to male-singer. He's never made a bad album as far as I'm concerned (well, maybe one) and I don't think there's anyone like him out there. It seems absolutely ridiculous to me that HMV only had ONE of his albums in their store when I called in a couple of weeks ago. Just one!!! <sigh>
 
Back in the here and now, I'll listen to pretty much anything that isn't poppy or boom-boom. Yes, I'm a grumpy old git! Having said that, I consider myself to be fairly open and willing to try new things.  I will happily listen to classical, jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop, dance, dancehall, R&B and even a smattering of world. What's out?? Country is a no-no, along with Folk and most heavy metal. Having said that, I quite like Godsmack and the best music DVD that I have is by Bela Fleck!

Below is a list of the artists who's music I listen to. There's probably a whole load more to be added because this is quite an old list, but I can't be bothered to update it.

 
 
 
 
ACOUSTIC ALCHEMY
AL DI MEOLA
ALANIS MORISSETTE
ALEXANDRA O'NEAL
ALICIA KEYS
AMY WINEHOUSE
ANDREA BOCELLI
ANITA BAKER
ANNE SOFIE VON OTTER
ANNE SOPHIE MUTTER
ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM
ANTONIO FORCIONE
ANTONIO FORCIONE & SABINA SCIUBBA
AVRIL LAVIGNE
BAABA MAAL
BACH
BACHMAN TURNER OVERDRIVE
BALLY SAGOO
BARRY WHITE
BB KING
BB KING  & ERIC CLAPTON
BEETHOVEN
BELA FLECK & CHICK COREA
BERLIOZ
BERNSTEIN
BETH ROWLEY
BIG AUDIO DYNAMITE
BILLIE HOLIDAY
BILLY OCEAN
BIZET
BJORK
BLACK EYED PEAS
BOB DYLAN
BOB JAMES
BOB JAMES & EARL KLUGH
BOB MARLEY
BRAHMS
BRITTEN
BRUCH
BRYAN FERRY & ROXY MUSIC
BUCKSHOT LEFONQUE
BUDDY GUY
CANNED HEAT
CARL ORFF
CASSANDRA WILSON
CAT STEVENS
CECILA BARTOLLI
CHARLIE HADEN & JOHN TAYLOR
CHARLIE PARKER
CHEMICAL BROTHERS
CHICK COREA
CHLOE HANSLIP
CHOPIN
CHRIS REA
CLAIRE MARTIN
CLANNAD
COLDPLAY
CRYSTAL WATERS
CURTIS STIGERS
DANIEL BEDINGFIELD
DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET
DAVE MATTHEWS BAND
DAVID BOWIE
DAVID GILMOUR
DAVID GRAY
DAVID MURRAY QUARTET
DAVY SPILLANE
DEBUSSY
DEEP FOREST
DEL AMITRI
DIANA KRALL
DIONNE WARWICK
DIRE STRAITS
DONALD FAGEN
DOWN TO THE BONE
DR. JOHN
DVORAK
EARL KLUGH
EARTH WIND AND FIRE
EASY STAR ALL STARS
EGG
EGGSTONE
ELGAR
ELLA FITGERALD
ELTON JOHN
EMERSON LAKE & PALMER
ENIGMA
ERIC CLAPTON
ERIC SARDINAS
EVA CASSIDY
EVELYNN GLENNIE
FAIRGROUND ATTRACTION
FAITHLESS
FINLEY QUAYE
FOURPLAY
FRANCK
FRANK SINATRA
FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
FUGEES
FUN LOVIN' CRIMINALS
GARY MOORE
GENE HARRIS QUARTET
GENESIS
GEORGE BENSON
GERSHWIN
GIL SHAHAM
GILLES PETERSON
GLEN HANSARD
GLORIA ESTEFAN
GRANT GREEN
GREGORY ABBOTT
GRIEG
GUILLEMOTS
HAMILTON HARTY
HANDEL
HAYDN
HAYLEY WESTENRA
HILL & WILTSCHINSKY
HOLST
HORSZOWSKI
INCOGNITO
JACQUES LOUSSIER
JAMES GALWAY
JAMIE CULLUM
JAMIROQUAI
JARRE
JAZZ MASTERPIECES
JET
JIMI HENDRIX
JIMMIE VAUGHAN
JIMMY PAGE & ROBERT PLANT
JOAN ARMATRADING
JOE THOMAS
JOE WALSH
JOHN COLTRANE
JOHN COUGAR
JOHN LEE HOOKER
JOHN LEGEND
JOHN MAYALL
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOHN WILLIAMS
JOHNNY "HAMMOND" SMITH
JOOLS HOLLAND
JOSS STONE
JUNIOR WELLS
KANYE WEST
KARAJAN
KENNY G
KT TUNSTALL
LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO
LAURYN HILL
LEFTFIELD
LENNY KRAVITZ
LESLEY GARRETT
LISA STANSFIELD
LISZT
LUCIANO PAVAROTTI
LUTHER VANDROSS
MAATA HAARI
MACY GRAY
MADELEINE PEYROUX
MADONNA
MAHLER
MANHATTON TRANSFER
MARC BOLAN & T.REX
MARK KNOPFLER
MARTIN TAYLOR
MARY BLACK
MATHEW HERBERT BIG BAND
MEATLOAF
MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD
MENDELSSOHN
MESSIAENS
MICHEL CAMILO
MIKE HENDERSON & THE BLUE BLOODS
MIKE MORGAN
MIKE OLDFIELD
MILES DAVIES
MOZART
MUNDY
MUSSORGSKY
NAT KING COLE
NEIL YOUNG
NIGEL KENNEDY
NORAH JONES
OBIE TRICE
OCEAN COLOUR SCENE
OLIVER NELSON
OSCAR PETERSON
OSMAN ISMEN PROJECT
PAGANINI
PAGE & PLANT
PAT METHENY
PAUL WELLER
PERGOLESI
PETER FRAMPTON
PETER GABRIEL
PETER GREEN
PHIL COLLINS
PHILIP GLASS
PHYLLIS NELSON
PINK FLOYD
QUINCY JONES
R KELLY
RACHMANINOV
RADIOHEAD
RANDY CRAWFORD
RAVEL
RAY CHARLES
REM
RIK WAKEMAN
RIMSKY-KORSAKOV
ROACHFORD
ROBBIE WILLIAMS
ROBERT PALMER
ROGER WATERS
ROLLING STONES
RON CARTER
RORY GALLAGHER
ROSSINI
RUNRIG
SACRED SPIRIT
SAINT-GERMAIN
SAINT-SAENS
SANTANA
SARAH McLACHLAN
SARAH VAUGHAN
SCHUBERT
SCHUMANN
SEAL
SEAN PAUL
SEASICK STEVE
SERGIO MENDES
SHEILA CHANDRA
SHOSTAKOVICH
SINEAD O'CONNOR
SMETANA
SQUEEZE
STAN GETZ
STANLEY JORDAN
STEELY DAN
STEVE EARL
STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN
STEVIE WONDER
STING
STRAUSS 
STRAVINSKY
SUPERTRAMP
TAJ MAHAL
TANITA TIKARAM
TCHAIKOVSKY
THE ALLMAN BROTHERS
THE BLUES BROTHERS
THE COMMITMENTS
THE CRANBERRIES
THE EAGLES
THE HOAX
THE MAGIC NUMBERS
THE MUDDY WATERS TRIBUTE BAND
THE PLANETS
THE STREETS
THE VELVET UNDERGROUND
THE VERVE
TONY LASLEY
TOUMANI DIABATE
TRACY CHAPMAN
TRAIN
TRAVIS
U.P. WILSON
UP AND DOWN CLUB
URBANATOR
VAN MORRISON
VANESSA MAE
VERDI
VILLA LOBOS
VOODOO DOGS
WAGNER
WEBER & BARMANN
WILLIAM ORBIT
WYCLEF JEAN
YES
ZZ TOP

 

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All image and text are Copyright protected. Tom McQuiggan 2009