Desert Island Discs: Featuring our Business Development Manager Neil Hodgson:
This has been difficult for me because my taste in music is quite limited compared to most people.
Although I like almost anything guitar orientated, my favourites are usually some form of blues/rock tunes. I have tried to offer up a selection that most of you will have heard of – or least maybe heard about – so they are not too obscure. I could very easily have picked eight Wishbone Ash tracks but despite the urge I have kept it under control!
Disc One: Jessica – The Allman Brothers Band
I chose this as it will be familiar to everyone due to being the theme tune to Top Gear. I guess most of you will not have heard the full version but please give it a try, it’s awesome. The Allman Brother Band was one of a few who had twin lead guitars, one of them Duane Allman being the lead guitarist on the Eric Clapton track Layla (not many people know that). Unfortunately he died in a motorbike accident not long after recording that. Although I was already into twin lead guitars well before this was released I thought a familiar tune would be a ‘safe’ introduction to my collection.
Disc Two: Phoenix – Wishbone Ash
My second record is Phoenix by Wishbone Ash. Many of you will know this band is very important to me – being a fan since 1969 – and they are still performing as well as ever. This track is from their very first album and to this day (in my humble opinion) is the greatest rock track of all time! The progression from my early foray into guitar music like Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross is immense and the band took the twin guitar theme to greatness, outstripping the likes of Thin Lizzy and the Yardbirds.
Disc Three: Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
My third record is Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin, one of the giants of the progressive rock era. This track was so different to anything I had heard before it stood out and has become an all-time classic for rock fans. This was and remains timeless, I cannot envisage a time when someone listening to this for their first time not being blown away by the musicianship displayed. Provided of course they appreciate rock music in the first place!
Disc Four: Throw Down The Sword – Wishbone Ash
This is the last track from their third album Argus that was No.1 for many months in the UK album charts in the very early 70’s. This is special because the last few minutes consists of two lead guitars playing individual solos at the same time. Listening to this through a good headset is just mind-blowing. Andy Powell on his flying V and Ted Turner (‘Guitar God’ in my book) playing his Gibson. The album is literally full of classics but this highlights what Wishbone Ash were all about and for a very short time they were a household name before they went to live in America.
Disc Five: Free Bird – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd were another band with twin lead guitars and they really knew how to play them. Their style is more ‘Country Rock’ and most people know their commercial record Sweet Home Alabama as this became a hit single. Free Bird is a lengthy but truly astounding track where the band let rip after a fairly slow beginning. Not for the faint hearted this one but well worth listening to the whole track. The energy expended is palpable and jaw-dropping.
Disc Six: Rock and Roll – Led Zeppelin
The title says it all; it is pure red hot rock and roll and is one of 2 tracks that I play repeatedly if I am down for any reason (the other being The Breeze by Lynyrd Skynyrd) About six repeat doses has me jumping around like a lunatic; not great when I am driving the car but by golly it does me good! Led Zep is another band that could have provided the full eight records so forgive me for not choosing other well-known tracks such as Kashmir etc…
Disc Seven: Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
It never ceases to amaze me that almost everyone judges Pink Floyd because of the single Brick in the Wall. It’s a crying shame that more people have never heard their greatness or maybe have only had a fleeting glimpse (see what I did there!) via Dark Side of the Moon. Comfortably Numb is actually from the album Brick in the Wall but is nothing like the title track. This track is moody and very powerful both in terms of lyrics and especially the guitar solo at the end. Oh why does it have to end I always ask myself?! For the uninitiated check out the album Division Bell if you want to know what Pink Floyd are really about and to hear more of the Comfortably Numb style of track.
Disc Eight: Blowin’ Free – Wishbone Ash
This is their signature tune and is usually the last record they play to close a gig after the second or third encore. It is pure rock and roll ‘but not in the way you know it’ as Spock would say! This is originally from the third album Argus and is just an uplifting experience. Check out both the flying V and the slide guitar at the end. The best version of this is a live recording on the Distillation album (disc four) set that covers four decades of the band’s recordings.
There are many records I would like to have added and I will never be satisfied I have made the best selection because it’s impossible to fit them all in. It’s fair to say that Wishbone Ash will always be my favourite band, closely followed by Pink Floyd. I didn’t make room for Black Sabbath, Santana or Gary Moore and that saddens me. My wife walked down the aisle to Santana’s Samba Pa Ti when we got married four and a half years ago so leaving this one out was truly heart rendering. It’s fair to say that those songs I’ve chosen ‘Stone Me To My Soul’ as Van Morrison once said, so I will have to be happy with that.
Choice of book:
The truth is I would not have one because I am not a reader. Although I am not proud of it, I acquire most of my education and entertainment from the TV or Radio or Internet! For me spending time reading a book is wasted time and if I was on a desert island I am sure I wouldn’t be wasting time reading when I could be building a boat or finding some other way of getting back to civilisation. If that was not possible I would probably write a book to pass the time rather than read one.
My luxury item …..
I would want to take a music player as I would need something to listen to my chosen records! If that is a given, I would want the means to recharge the batteries or have some kind of generator for the power needed. Not sure what is allowable in this game! If I am on the wrong track I would want some nail scissors as keeping head and facial hair under control might be reasonably easy by tying it up, but how would I keep my nails from becoming a nightmare length so I couldn’t hunt, fish, write and build etc?!!