5 High Land Hard Rain by Aztec Camera 1983
As we get higher up the chart it becomes less about the music and more about wanting my desert island to be full of memories. When this came out I was 16 a year younger than Roddy Frame and whereas Bowie came from a different planet with an box full of history here was someone virtually my age. When I first heard this lp (I was a tad late , it was after Oblivious became a hit) I knew that this is what music should be about and it became a template for a large chunk of my record collection.
It also crystalised the need to get away. There was the boy wonder making records and here was I stuck in the fens , dodging skinheads on a Saturday night and drinking vodka and orange cordial in the imaginatively named Wine Bar hoping not to get rumbled as underage drinkers
Over the next 2 years it was the core record against which all others were judged. Listening back then the lyrics can drift towards 6th form poetry at times and the production is a bit woolly in places, but despite being 30 years old it holds up really well.
I loved everything about it and felt it had it all. Right from the cover art of David Band (now sitting framed on our dining room wall) down to the quotable lyrics and frantically strummed big guitars. The only thing I was never certain of was the fringed western jacket and checked shirts look.
The lp had everything love , politics , loneliness. The lush big number , the catchy pop song , the acoustic strum and a trio of singles that put a lot of bands to shame.
Here are 2 live songs , almost 30 years apart. Forgetting the slightly higher hair line Roddy Frame must have a dodgy painting locked in the attic.
"despite what they'll say
it wasn't youth we hit the truth"
Oblivious is a such a gloriously catchy single. One of those songs that when it comes on the radio or mp3 player , I still will turn it up , stop talking and start listening and smiling
Big choruses mix effortlessly with quieter more reflective moments.
One of my favourites is the big ballad We Could Send Letters. Like all good songs you can rewrite it to your own meaning. For me it was always about some home town romance broken by going away to college
You said you're free, for me that says it all.
You're free to push me and I'm free to fall.
So if we weaken we can call it stress,
You've got my trust I've got your home address.
And now the only chance that we could take,
Is the chance that someone else won't make it all come true.
I'll end with in his own words and acoustic punk song
If for some strange reason you don't have this lp then you can get it in an expanded version with questionable 12" mixes and top notch b sides here