Sunday, May 29, 2011

W is for...

Should be a lot of Ws, and there are, but once again it's difficult to choose whether to go for Obviously Important but not essentially my cup of tea, complete unknowns but who made a big (if only sometimes a fleeting) impression, bands I liked a lot in my formative years but are gone or irrelevant now, or the latest like who might not stay the course. So it's a strange list but hopefully makes some kind of sense.
  • Wire
  • Robert Wyatt
  • Jah Wobble
  • Woob
  • White
  • Whitetree
  • Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings
  • Tom Waits
  • The Who
  • Wings
Wire are up at the top, still going after 34 years, still pretty essential. As is Wyatt, a national treasure. Jah Wobble always surprises: from new wave and dub to world and poetry. Woob put out two fabulously dubby ambient electronic albums on em:t in the 90s (as well as another two under the name of Journeyman). White are a great Chinese band referenced elsewhwere in this blog. Whitetree is a one-off project featuring the Lipook brothers with Ludovico Einaudi - their eponymous piano and ambience album was just about my favouritie of 2009. And Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings' singing bowls of Tibet was an early revelation.

The rest qualify for old time's sake: The Who essentially for Tommy and Quadrophenia which I loved at the time, though I'm not a big fan generally; Tom Waits for the early stuff, particularly Swordfishtrombones; likewise Wings - an unfashionable choice I'm sure - for Red Rose Speedway and Band on the Run which as a 12 year old were firm favourites (actually I played the latter recently and it's still good).

And the rest of the rest...
Scott Walker, who should in theory be Top 10 but I've never given him the proper attention he no doubt deserves. Barry White, the 'walrus of love', for those lush sexy, late night orchestral odes to lurrrv. Weather Report, for one or two albums (probably more, if I could really get into jazz-rock). Steve Winwood for bits and pieces, and Stevie Wonder, if only for Superstition. And what the hell, Rick Wakeman for Six Wives and the preposterous but affecting Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Ada Wilson, just for his beautifully melancholic 1979 single In the Quiet of My Room, along with Ben Watt for his equally mournful pre-EBTG output on Cherry Red. Wreckless Eric for Whole Wide World. Paul Weller I suppose, although I've never really got into his post-Jam/Style Council career. Working Week (a mid-80s one-off), The Wedding Present, Westworld, The Woodentops (briefly exhilerating), The Wolfgang Press... 

Magma spin-offs Weidorje, Klaus Schulze spin-off Richard Wahnfried, Blancmange spin-offs, West India Company... Norwegian synth guy Erik Wollo plus quite a few more recent electronica artists like Windy & Carl, Wagon Christ, The Wood for the Trees, Warm Digits, Klaus Wiese, Bill Wells... Some darker, more difficult stuff like Whitehouse (in very small doses), Chris Watson (preferably on a very good hi-fi), Wicked Messenger, and the pioneering if now-somewhat-dated White Noise.

Who else?  Ummm, Loudon Wainright III, Muddy Waters, Wishbone Ash (sometimes, just sometimes, those guitars hit the spot), Colin Walcott, and Whale. Done?


  1. Wings?

    Let me re-state that: WINGS??!!!

    That tinkling sound you hear are the scales from my eyes cascading to the floor.

  2. Seems to be a lot of great Ws.
    Loudon Wainwright has been a constant in my listening since about 71 or 72. (His son Rufus has done some good things as well).
    Seeing Eberhard Weber do a live solo bass concert was just unbelievable, his Chorus, Orchestra & Pendulum albums are classics. Sadly his playing has been cut short by a stroke a couple of years ago.
    Love Weidorje. First Steve Winwood album is a favourite. Stevie Wonder in the early 70's was amazing. Agree about early Erik Wollo, Klaus Wiese (loved those cassettes!), Woob, Wobble.
    I'd like to add in Annie Whitehead & a newie, Jana Winderen, who's in the Chris Watson vein & has just won at Ars Electronica in Linz.
    And Robert Wyatt's Rock Bottom may just be the greatest album ever recorded!

  3. Oh, saw Weather Report live once as well, one of THE great gigs.