‘We’re more of an albums band,’ they said as they loaded up the van that night. It used to be the great 70’s get-out-of-having-to-have-a-hit retort. It worked then too. Bands we now consider to be the masters of their own particular universe have built careers and country piles on successive records with 3 songs per side and tracks which never troubled day time radio stations. Looking back now we’re all slightly jealous of them…at least I am. Recently someone decided to pick a fight with a retailer on twitter who was selling our album at a very competitive price. If I said the price was realistic I’d be lying. If the album price was realistic it would be more than double what it costs now. But that’s another story…..what really bugged me was how little someone thought they should be playing for that beautiful delivery van of continuous music – the album.
Sometimes we have forgotten how great a piece of art it really is. Up there with the play, the film and the novel, the album has been kicked around, derided undersold/oversold and misrepresented (the prerecorded cassette!) but still survives.
This week I’m thinking a lot about albums. In the 1970’s this man was thought to have gone off the rails.
Marty Robbins – in my opinion one of the greatest country singers of all time moved labels and made a slightly mystifying couple of albums. They’ve now been rereleased and we will be listening again. On a more contemporary theme we will introduce you to an album which follows in the footsteps of the music Marty made in the 50’s. Clint Bradley has made an excellent album which channels his inner Marty, Bob Wills and Lefty Frizzell. It’s Western, it’s swinging and it’s very good indeed.
But let me come to the point. Occasionally an artist makes an album which reminds you why we all own the dam things in the first place. The album is there to gather a brood of songs together as naturally as a mother hen. Isolated, sometimes they won’t stand up but put them together and they can make you feel like your world is spinning a little faster. It’s always great when someone you know and love makes the record you firmly believed possible of them. Charlie Dore (who has visited AC towers at least twice already) has done just that. Milk Roulette is the album of her life. Achingly sad, poignant, funny and gloriously musically uplifting it will remind you that great songs can be written and put together to make that thing we are celebrating here – the album. Thank you Charlie, sometimes it takes a friend to show you the way. Value your friends my friends….. and your albums.