Transmission #007 is a playlist by Phil Deeker.
I Can See For Miles – The Who
I discovered this song when I was 13, watching a film screened at school about the RAC UK rally. Shot from inside the car, the impact of the music and the stunning images of the Scottish Highlands flying into my face remains as vivid now as it did nearly 50 years ago! A cliché title maybe to open with from someone who seeks the Big Views, but I wanted to start with two ‘Love-Life’ tracks that hopefully kick-start the listener into the fast lane!
Bad Bohemian – British Sea Power
At the time of the planning of the 1000 Cols ride in 2017, BBC 6 had a soft spot for this song. Later, on my way down to Corsica, I randomly came across the CD in a French motorway service station. After the CCC Corsica (Cols 1-100) we took the ferry over to Livorno. The drive from there to Lucca is only about two hours. To some that might seem too long to play just ONE track on repeat! But as the ‘real’ mountains grew taller in the distance, and as I realised that I had another four and a half months of bohemian life ahead of me, the volatile mix of excitement and nerves burst into flames with this beat! Again and again!
Coney Island Winter – Garland Jeffreys
This is the first of my ‘Voice Choices’. When I listen to music the fist thing I focus on is the tone of the voice. Then I’ll explore each instrument. This guy has such a soft tone. There has always been an infectious flow to his music, often reggae-flavoured. This is one of my favourites.
You Got The Silver – Rolling Stones
Ah, Keith. I started listening to the Beatles when I was eight, in 1965. They were my Gods, until, I heard « Satisfaction ». I grew through the Beatles vs Stones period definitely on the side of the latter, even though I rushed to buy every LP of both, as they came out ! Each release was >An Event< for all of us. I wasn’t aware at the time, but I’m sure I connected closer to the blues in the Stones’ music. The whole album « Let It Bleed » I listened to over and over, LP cover in hand, in a dingy basement room at school in which a small clique of us had been granted permission to start a ‘music appreciation club’! Great place to smoke our first ciggies and think we were nearly as cool as the guys we were listening to! Keith Richards has been one of my idols throughout my life. With his self-destruct tendency, it can only be his amazing love of life and smile that have kept him alive this long! I love it when he can be bothered enough to sing as well as conjure the best riffs and sleeziest blues phrases out of his guitars. My favourite of his, with ‘Happy’ second.
Hanging On A Limb & Don’t Cry – Neil Young
I had to give this guy more than one song. Another one of my musical Gods. How could anyone listen to these two tracks and not be moved, both by the silky, innocent tone of his voice and the raw power and energy of his electric guitar? I have always loved this incredible duality in his art. The former reassures you, then the latter then kicks you out of this limpid cosiness and throws you onto Real Street.
Wave Of Mutation – The Pixies
A track that is easier to listen to than most of their music. Bowie’s love of these guys led me to them. If he liked them, then I guess I needed to as well! This is one I keep coming back to.
Golden Years – David Bowie
Two tracks taken from my ‘DJ years’. I was a ‘mobile DJ’ for a few years in the 70s. With a mate who covered the equipment side of things, I span the vinyls and did the chat. We rocked more than a few birthdays, weddings, house parties. It was called Black Velvet. Then we got an invite to go to LA and start DJ’ing there. Mark went, I stayed. Black Velvet was over. Thanks to Saturday Night Fever and Michael Jackson, ‘disco’ had arrived. He was driving a white Rolls one year later. I had a blue bike. No regrets!!
David Bowie was my #1 idol of them all. I actually cried in front of the TV that Monday morning when the news came over the screen of his death. His music was central to my life more than many things for many years and I still love it. The first time I heard this track on the radio I remember being spellbound. I still choose this as my favourite ‘single’ of all time. Perfect smooth ‘white disco’.
The Rubberband Man – The (Detroit) Spinners
For an upper-middle class white boy DJ, this was about as funky as I got back then! George Clinton’s Funkadelic was too extreme for most. This is pure pop at its best. Innocent, honest and fun. I still love to listen to this one, 40 years later.
Yancey Stomp – Jimmy Yancey
This recording was made in 1939. The piano has always been my « Plan B ». I have tried to learn to play piano three different times so far in my life. I intend there to be a fourth time : the one that sticks. I have to have something in mind if I was ever unable to ride my bike. My Plan B. My love of listening to music has always given me a drive to actually make some music one day too. I have a four-CD volume of recordings by Jimmy Yancey, all made in the 30s. If I had to choose just one artist I was able to listen to, it would be him. In this simple, genius music, there is everything. Everything.
Down to Zero – Joan Armatrading
The first of a trilogy of VOICES. First, two extraordinary female voices that move me deep down. Joan Armatrading had huge success in the 70s. I recall her being at Knebworth with Led Zeppelin. She almost commanded as much reverence as those Gods. Deservedly.
Motherland / Natalie Merchant
Another pure gem, oozing emotion. After her time with the group she founded (10,000 Maniacs) she took off on her own and made such amazing music.
Dance Like a Goose – Arno
This guy is another pure genius, who can rock as hard as anyone, then make grown men and women cry. He is just one of many treasures to be discovered in Belgium. Just listen to all the tone in that voice. His lyrics are a huge part of his talent too. Huge sense of humour and superb, sensitive gift of observation of our crazy lives. Belgium’s Tom Waits, with more humour!
Going to My Hometown – Rory Gallagher
The first of a trilogy of ‘Live’ tracks. These are three choices made for the emotion that comes through the recording. Rory Gallagher is one of my favourite Guitar Gods. I saw him in concert more than any other musician. He gave everything to the audience. So intense. So generous. This track shows some of that. But mostly, it show what an immensely emotional voice he had. I can still not work out whether I like him more for his voice or his guitar. A favourite driving song for heading back home after weeks or months on the road, obviously!
Nah Neh Nah – Vaya Con Dios
I love the pure joy that comes across in this track. Everyone is having a party and you want to be part of it! The musicians too are having as much as fun as Dani Klein, the singer. This group is another precious national treasure that Belgium has shared with the world.
Sky Blue (Live) – Peter Gabriel
I saw him on this ‘Growing Up ‘ Tour – one of the best concerts I have been to. From his first recording with Genesis, I have loved his music. Sometimes pure raw energy and infectious pop, but often more of a ‘Thinker’s Musician’. Perhaps my favourite voice of them all. (And a great ode to the Big Sky I love so much in the mountains!)
Blood of Eden – Regina Spektor
The singer is a little known Russian-born New Yorker. The song is one of my favourite of Peter Gabriel’s. It’s from the And I’ll Scratch Yours album where he invited others to cover his songs. A perfect fusion of two great artists.
Happiness – The Blue Nile
I recall one of my event staff blasting out a Stone Roses track at a feed stop on the top of the Col d’Allos. It hit the spot for me but some felt it spoilt the peace. Fair enough. Sometimes I feel literally ‘uplifted’ by the magic of a summit. A thumping bass groove can enhance that. But most often I just want to savour that feeling of well-being. Of not knowing, or needing to know, why life feels so perfect: just loving the fact that it does. Shut out the rational and listen to the heart. This track brings me close to that feeling.
Nothing Really Ends – dEus
I found this on my list before I spotted that it would make the perfect end track. Another group from Belgium who made some great stuff but never got much attention outside of our talented tiny country! They put some great lyrics into their songs. Everything has to ‘end’, but in fact something else then comes along, and there is therefore perhaps not really an ‘end’…