MY DESERT ISLAND ALBUM: MATTHEW STEVENS
WHENEVER I’m struggling there’s a place I go to in my head. It’s just me. I’m alone with my thoughts and emotions, pondering what’s going on, trying to put things back into place: to be content; to be happy; to be at peace.
It’s my own mental desert island, I suppose. In an ideal world I’d like to take a private music compilation with me. But only being allowed one album, it’s obvious which it will be: A Hard Road by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers.
And this may be cheating a little, but……. I’m picking what they call the Deluxe Edition.
Yeah, I know maybe it’s not ‘the original’ Blues, and purists (whatever that phrase means) might scoff at it a little bit. But I don’t care. Because to me it’s special and that’s what really matters.
When it comes to describing music, I’m a bit rubbish. I would make a terrible music critic. So there’s no track-by-track review here. What matters most to me is the emotions it evokes inside, that I identify with, and that make me feel as though I’m in a way somehow part of the band – we’re inhabiting the same emotional world.
It’s an album that helps me when I’m sad and crying; that helps me find calm in my chaos; that lets me know the pain inside is okay because I’m not the only one; and that helps me understand how I can ease that pain.
But most of all it’s an album that resonates with me because of one man: Peter Green. Here’s a man whose playing can help me to a cathartic cry with just one note, with just one phrase; a man who can help me lose myself in some parallel world where it’s going to be alright. A world where being truly at peace might actually exist, and even if it doesn’t it’s one where kindred spirits live.
While there’s not a track-by-track review here, ‘So Many Roads’ encapsulates this with some of the most emotionally charged guitar playing I’ve ever heard. It is but one example of the special connection I feel. One example of ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ is). ‘A Hard Road’ is full of these moments, preserved forever in time.
I hope you’ll forgive me for all of this indulgence and accept my apologies for taking up probably too much of your precious time. I’m going to leave you, to go back to my own little desert island……. there are tears to be shed, smiles to be had, and inner peace to be found.
Of the many roads in life, choose the ones that have Love. Try to be kind. Try to be happy.