NIGEL BROWN’S ‘DESERT ISLAND ALBUM.’
MY answer to the impossible to answer question?
Well, I’ve thought about this long and hard and in the end, the one album I have probably played the most and still enjoy after countless listens is ‘Abbey Road’ by The Beatles.
The Beatles, as for millions of people, have always been one of my most admired bands. The first album I ever owned was a cassette of ‘Help!’ Played until the inevitable pencil had to be brought in to unwind and untangle the slurring tape. But for me ‘Abbey Road’ is their absolute peak. The best songs, the best lyrics, and the best sounding band ever. I think the musical performances on this album are the best they recorded.
Kicking off side one with John’s, ‘Come Together’. This demonstrates perfectly how each person has come up with a brilliant part for the song. Put that together with a gritty rock vocal, singing wonderful lyrics, what can go wrong? The answer is nothing.
Then onto George’s, ‘Something’. Quite possibly one of the best songs he ever wrote. And interesting to note the George Martin orchestral arrangement underneath. They are quite quiet in the mix, subliminal really. You can hear these strings on their own on the boxset version or on Spotify. And then you realise the genius of George Martin. It is adding so much depth to the song.
‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,’ which I read that Paul had to force the others to learn this song! To be honest to Paul, I think it was worth it. His next, ‘Oh Darling,’ is closer to my ears. I always enjoy the backing vocals on this track.
Ringo’s traditional one song on the album, his own, ‘Octopus’s Garden’. Great lead guitar on this one, which I’m guessing is George. Closing with ‘I Want You’ a real bluesy number. I especially like the end riff that goes round and round. Great chords. Heavy and hypnotic. Always reminds me of Eric Clapton’s ‘Let It Grow’ which must have come later in life.
Side two starts with the classic, ‘Here Come’s The Sun’. Then, ‘The Sun King’ which I find touches on ‘Lucy In The Sky’ kind of vibe, quite psychedelic.
Then we finally come to what apparently was called, ‘The Long One!’ A selection of short songs all joined together seamlessly. If I was only allowed to take one side to a desert island it would be Abbey Road, side two! I never seem to tire of this piece of music, maybe because it is so varied. Ringo’s reluctant drum solo is perfect, into the end. The others all taking guitar solos in a kind of musical duel. Finished off by their genius producer, George Martin, with a full orchestra.
The End? Oh, no not quite. Paul has his solo acoustic, ‘Her Majesty’ stuck on the end. I’ve heard this happened by mistake when the tape was cut and spliced together. So it didn’t get lost the editor stuck it on the end of the tape. And that’s how the record was pressed!