Desert Island Discs – part seven

It’s time for Dave Woodhall to share his choices with us.

The recordings to choose for a desert island should be ones you’d not get tired of quickly, and they need to stir some emotion – nostalgia, joy, or just the ability to get you singing along on a day when endless sunshine and solitude are a bit too much. And with that, in no particular order:

What’d I Say – Ray Charles:
I love this song because it’s impossible not to join in; the call and response is infectiously catchy and it can’t help but lifts the blackest of moods. As one reviewer said when it first came out, “It starts in church and ends up in the bedroom.” The musicianship is pioneering; some of the earliest use of electric piano and percussion work that has never been beaten. Listen, and try to get to the end without joining in. You can’t.

Ode to Joy – Beethoven:
If I’m going to be left in charge of a desert island it’s going to have an anthem and this works as well as anything ever has. Joyous, uplifting and just the thing for a bit of self-importance. The version played immaculately by the CBSO and chorus, conducted by Andris Nelsons, from the Proms 2015 would provide a poignant reminder of home, should I need one.

Theme From an Unmade Silent Movie – Hurricane Smith:
If you don’t know why, there’s really no point in telling you. Whatever the time, wherever in the world the island might be, the opening bars of this otherwise obscure instrumental album track performed by a briefly-famous seventies pop singer mean it’ll always be five to three on a Saturday afternoon at Villa Park.

Anarchy in the UK – Sex Pistols:
Not only is this my favourite song of all time, but it’s also the most influential. Without the movement that was inspired by the band and this release the lives of so many would be totally different, and a lot of them don’t realise it. It’s also one of the most musically over-looked songs going; there’s a rock-solid solid rhythm in there and a guitarist who should rightly be ranked with the greats.

Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding:
There aren’t many male singers with such a strong claim to being the best there ever was. The studio cut of this is good enough to merit inclusion, but many years ago a live album of the legendary Stax/Volt tour of Europe were released. Volume three features a version recorded in London that hits places no human voice should get near. I tried to imitate it (late) one night and couldn’t speak for three days.

Another Girl Another Planet – Only Ones:
The building intro, the searing guitar work, the plaintive voice of Peter Perrett, all build up into a song that I don’t suppose I’m unique in loving in some measure because it didn’t get played to death when it first came out – indeed, for at least a decade it was virtually ignored before finding a second lease of life on every seventies/new wave compilation CD ever released. The other reason I love this song is that no matter how many times I hear it, there’s always something new to discover.

“Heroes” – David Bowie:
The correct punctuation on the title has been lost over time but I’ve always been a pedant where such things are concerned. Another singer with a claim to being the best of the lot, but one whose all-round genius sometimes masks the unique ability of his voice. Undoubtedly the coolest man who ever lived, Bowie’s understated vocal kicks off this piece of magic, before building to a pitch that always seems totally controlled and capable of another level, not that it was needed.

Morning Glory – Oasis:
I’ve got no idea why I like this so much. It’s not really my type of music, it’s not a band I’ve ever been particularly fond of. Maybe it’s because it’s so upbeat, with a real shout it out chorus that nobody could hear being bawled out at the top of your solitary voice. It also reminds me of a brief time when the world, like Oasis themselves, seemed full of optimism and progress and boundless possibilities. As I said, it was a brief time.

The book would be Life at the Tip by Merv Grist, to my mind the funniest thing ever written about football and telling the story of a season at non-league Atletico Whadden. It might be fiction, but knowing some of the goings-on at that level, it might not.

And the luxury item is a case of Rodenbach Grand Cru, the finest sour beer in Belgium, which is another way of saying the best in the world. An ever-lasting case would be nice, but if that’s not possible then a very big one will have to do. Big enough to sail away in if I ever got tired of playing those eight records.