Okay so the big countdown begins. 125 of my favourite lps. To remind you of the rules I've set myself
Only 1 lp per artist (although someone can have an entry for their band and as a solo singer) so some favourites will face the chop ...Steve McQueen or Jordan?
No greatest hits so all those singles bands I like Squeeze , The Cure etc. wont make the cut
No live lps (are these any good ever ...really??!)
No soundtracks so my strange Evita / Jesus Christ Superstar / oliver fix will be missing
Got to be all round good - one or two great tracks don't a great lp make - so no for example Visage
125 - Heaven and Earth - The 4 of Us 2004
First up is a whisky lp , ie one that works best at night with a single malt.
The 4 of Us are an Irish band who flirted with UK success (all the band's lps have charted in Ireland)with their debut lp after the track Mary featured heavily on the awful Jonathon King's Entertainment USA tv show.
The lp is largely acoustic but drums , keyboards all provide subtle textures. The cover of rough seas and threatening skies hides the smooth melodies and calmness within.
The lp opens with Sunlight and is one of the tracks with a fuller sound. The sense of hope and nostalgia is set
" speck of dust
sitting on a greyhound bus
and we're along way from home"
The track was voted one of the best Irish singles ever in one of those polls that don't really mean much but I love still the same
The mood mellows further but that sense of dislocation continues with the quiet wooziness of the songs built around Brendan Murphy's lived in vocals
Gospel Choir - the 4 of Us
The pace varies slightly but the sparse arrangements always have something going on to hold the attention. The fact that the lp is so understated is one of its key strengths
Only towards the end does the pace pick up again with a track that is the closest to their earlier work and shows they can write a good a pop song as anyone
Breakdown - The 4 of Us
Songs of fractured relationships, stories to be told and one bit of politics thrown in, but vague enough not to preach but to make you feel
We watched a roman candle burn
The day the world refused to turn
Even a chimpanzee can learn
To be a little human
You can buy Heaven and Earth direct from the band's website here