Inheritance Tracks


Sing Sing Sing – Benny Goodman

It turned me on to Jazz, not least through Gene Krupa’s drumming. I always had a bit of a thing for the drums anyway, even tried to learn to play at Saturday morning lessons at the Fender Soundhouse in Tottenham Court Road, with my long-lost step-brother who was quite a gifted drummer from the Carl Palmer camp. Strange this inheritance came from my step-father rather than my parents. My dad did have a decent collection of jazz records ranging from George Shearing (spotlighted in On The Road which I just finished reading yesterday) via Jack Teagarden (with the bright yellow sleeve) to Stan Freeman (a Sinatra alternative) but he never really communicated the passion for them – I think Barbra Streisand and Beethoven was more where he was really at). My mum has always loved music and taken me to hear it live but we’re more in the realm of Mahler and musical theatre with her – I guess a track from Jesus Christ Superstar could have been it, one of my first LPs (nabbed from her) which I drew and coloured along to for happy hours on end (we also saw Godspell together with David Essex in his Superman shirt). Her second husband was involved in the Archer Street generation, the musicians’ labour exchange on the streets of Soho habituated by the Ronnie Scott circles. I’ve just acquired a ticket to see Van at Ronnie’s little place which is a prospect and a half. And Benny would probably have enjoyed the trip back/forwards to 70s brown if his band would have fitted on stage. I’ve seen Maynard Ferguson’s big band there with an incredible young drummer called Stockton Helbing so it’s probably feasible. The drumming is primeval on Sing Sing Sing in the vein of Soul Sacrifice at Woodstock with the young&beautiful Michael Shreeve. And the Keith Moon craziness is key to the energy too. I like the way the Chicago Polak gets in touch with the roots of all ancestors through his insistent pounding – as Gershwin did in another way through Porgy, a profound understanding transcending race. Goodman is celebrated for breaking the race barriers with his mixed band – I love that too. By some twist of fate his great-niece ended up marrying my best-man via Argentina. The world swings in mysterious ways. And Sing Sing Sing swings with a mysterious primitive energy which does it for me deep deep deep down.


Flamenco Sketches – Miles Davis

Jazz too. It was a tough battle between Miles and Trane (A Love Supreme), my two funeral tracks, the former to end, the latter to start. I love this track because it leads me consistently to a transcendant place of tranquility. It soothes my soul. I was first transported by the record (Kind of Blue) driving home from St Albans one day, I just had one of those moments when I heard it properly. I can recall other such incidents clearly too – Love Theme from Spartacus (Bill Evans) in Kilburn, Hyperballad (Bjork), Into the Fire (Bruce) in Parliament Hill. Music lifting you beyond. I leave this beautiful performance, a one-off moment of semi-improvised perfection, the culmination of the second wonderous side of Kind of Blue, to the Enfants Terribles as a key to peace on earth.

16 comments so far

  1. Practical Psychologist on

    So Arkangel. My two. The track I inherited is ‘The Buzzard Song’ from Miles Davis’s (Arr. Gil Evans) version of Porgy and Bess. Amidst the Gilbert and Sullivan (who I have never ‘got’ – so twee) and the Bach organ concerto sat this gem in my father’s collection. He wasn’t (and isn’t) a great fan – Shearing and Ella are as far as he goes. But I saw this record and popped it on the turntable and had a listen. It’s not a ‘wow’ on first listen but the very next week I was at my friend Robin’s house and…call it serendipity…there was the self-same album. And it really was ‘wow’ the 2nd time around. And his music has lived with me ever since. The greatest 20th century musician in my opinion.

    The track I am giving to my daughters…there were a few candidates for this. ‘Everybody is a Star’ by Sly and the Family Stone got close but in the end I decided to be selfish and tell them a little about myself in 3 words. So it’s ‘I Love Music’ by the O’Jays. Simple.

  2. catalanbrian on

    I had some difficulty with the track that I inherited because I did not inherit any music from my parents. We did not have music in our house, I assume because my father, a farmer, was too busy farming to have time to listen to anything other than the weather forecast on the BBC Home Service. Similarly my mother, who also seemed to be too busy to relax. The piece that I inherited and which set me off on a lifetime of musical discovery and joy was bequeathed me by my school music teacher, Dr Edgar Brice. Eggy, as he was not unsurprisingly called by us boys was a music fan whose taste was as eclectic as he was eccentric. However this piece was neither eclectic nor eccentric and it absolutely floored me at the time, and still does. The piece, (or is it four pieces?) “Four Last Songs” by Richard Strauss, is so beautiful that it rarely fails to bring tears to my eyes whenever I hear it. I can only thank Eggy for opening up my ears to the phenomenal array of music that is available to us all.

    And now to the track that I wish to bequeath to my children. There were a number of contenders and I had to think long and hard to narrow it down to just the one. Amongst those under consideration was Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”, an exquisite piece that I can never get enough of. There was also “The Joy of Living” by Ewan McColl, a song that he had written as his farewell to the World and to the people he loved. However, I think that the song that I want to bequeath my children, Lucy, Thomas, Oliver, Amalia and Marisa, is “Your Daddy Loves you” by Gil Scott-Heron. The breakdown of a relationship is always difficult for the children involved and I failed twice in that regard. I just want my children to know that I was not running away from them. Gil, a great jazzer, sums this up perfectly in this short piece.

  3. Practical Psychologist on

    @Arkangel. So, we both have Miles albeit mine inherited. Coltrane was also a possibility for a track to be handed on – in my case it would been his take on ‘My Favourite Things’. I played it to my children once, just after watching the film and they didn’t dislike it.

    @Catalanbrian. ‘Your Daddy Loves You’ was also a candidate (the album it’s from is great too). Interesting that you also have Our Lord JC as a possibility.

    @Arkangel. Desert Island Discs next? Or, as a Christmas parlour game a revisit of the 100 best albums ever made? I think I would change about 30 of mine.

  4. ArkAngel on

    @catalanbrian and @pp – I’m absorbing, listening, thinking – will come back to you soon. Thanks for such great choices.

  5. ArkAngel on

    @PP I’ve got a proposal for a new game – you have to pinpoint a transcendent moment in a track which constitutes a magical music moment. Provide URL of track in YouTube and pinpoint the precise second the magic happens. EG when John Bonham comes in in Stairway to Heaven. I’ll add 2 below later this evening to get things going. Then I’ll pass the baton to you and you pass it to Catalanbrian etc.

  6. ArkAngel on

    This first one is based on a performance at the Royal Dublin Showgrounds – an uplifting moment when I realised Springsteen is at his best as a gospel/soul voice and got carried away on it.
    My City of Ruins (Bruce Springsteen)
    The moment is 4:07 but is indivisible from the build up 3:03-4:06

  7. ArkAngel on

    The second one is a massive cliche but no less powerful for that – it is one of The Great Rock Moments
    Led Zeppelin – Stairway To Heaven—4xQYA
    4:18 at which point every fibre of you so needs those drums to come in (to deliver fully at 06:22 and 06:42)

    Now over to you PP for a sublime moment…

  8. theluckhabit on

    Great idea. I need to think about this. There may be jazz involved. And Frank Zappa (who had the best ‘attack’ of any guitarist).

  9. ArkAngel on

    Look forward to it – why don’t you do two and we’ll make that the pattern.

  10. theluckhabit on

    OK – the first. Not on youtube but it is on the myspace player. One of the great live jazz albums is ‘Live at Peps’ by Yusef Lateef (Vols 1 and 2 are both great. The track is called ‘Number 7’. It’s got a great feel to it. You can hear the chat in the audience and the drinks being served behind the bar. Everything a great jazz club should be. There are two great changes – the first at 6.49 when a trumpet catches you unawares. The second a few seconds later when the piano comes in at the perfect moment and plays the blues. The audience responds and it’s recorded so well that you imagine yourself as an audience member. Yusef is now 92 and still playing. His album ‘Eastern Sounds’ is one of the great jazz albums – one of my top 10. But that’s another game.

  11. ArkAngel on

    I didn’t even realise MySpace was still alive – I hope it’s costing Murdoch money. Still it’s had its use today. Didn’t know this track – or any of Lateef’s stuff. Good call – it’s clearly A Moment. I’m not sure they always have to be changes or precise spots – e.g. the Springsteen example above builds over the course a minute. What’s your second one? And who are you handing on to?

    PS Think your timing may be a bit off for the Lateef moment – pls check the timecode

  12. ArkAngel on

    I’ll move this convo now to its own post and we can carry on there…

  13. […] just moving this parlour game over from the Inheritance Tracks post to its own space […]

  14. […] bugs the shit out of me. It always feels so artificial and inauthentic. I was listening to an old Inheritance Tracks podcast (BBC Radio 4) on my jog this morning, on which Ralph McTell played a Robert Johnson record […]

  15. […] jogging or you’ll end up in here), listening to Inheritance Tracks from Radio 4. Here are mine from 3 years ago, but I think de facto at this point the one I’ve bequeathed may be Sympathy for the Devil. I […]

  16. […] Inheritance Tracks […]

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