PETE POET and his New Year’s Day DESERT ISLAND ALBUM
THIS album already feels like it has been my desert island disc! I listened to it on a loop back in the days when I moved to Rome.
It kicks off with a grimy horn and guitar and riff. “Hang on St. Christopher on the passenger side. Open it up and now the devil can ride!” You are in Tom Waits land, apparently in the sort of night club you always dreamed of finding. Welcome to Frank’s Wild Years! It is a theatrical album — which I guess makes it a concept album — but a cool one.
Frank’s story continues in the wild rhumba of ‘Straight to the Top.’ By this stage you are either hooked, or you have turned it off. I was completely hooked from ‘Temptation:’ “Rusted brandy in a diamond glass/Everything was made from dreams ….”
Was there ever a better album for late nights spent on your own? Tom’s crooning to the accompaniment of washed out horns, and allowing his falsetto an outing. You surely have brandy, or whisky in your glass.
Then things begin to get a bit maudlin: ‘Innocent when you dream’ is on next and I will be joining in the sentimental chorus by now.
Maybe you didn’t know any of these songs so far, but the devil is back in ‘Way Down in the Hole’ — and you know this one well enough. It is the theme song from the Wire — you have heard it a hundred times!
More highlights to come though. ‘Telephone Call From Istanbul’ is up soon, with wise words of advice — “never trust a man in a blue trench coat/never drive a car when you’re dead.”
After which comes the song that made me buy the album “Cold Cold Ground.” The road is washed out and you pass the bottle around. Or pour yourself another.
‘Train Song’ is up next, and it feels like the end of the story, but there is a distressed, lofi reprise of ‘Innocent When You Dream’ to come.
And then you have a choice to make: Are you going to listen to something else? Most times I’ll go back to ‘Hang on St. Christopher’ and start over again. That’s just how it is on desert islands — just hope this one has a decently stocked drinks cabinet.