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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Totally Shuffled: A Year of Listening to Music

Extract from Totally Shuffled: A Year of Listening to Music on A Broken iPod (Kindle Edition):

I was a bit stumped when this came up. Not because it was unexpected, but because I wasn’t really sure what or how I was going to write about.  It’s not as if this is some widely experimental track that is so far off the radar that it would warrant something off at a tangent-it’s a great rocksteady classic. It’s not as if I’ve got a bad case of writers’ block or anything either; over the last six months I’ve always managed to string a few words together about any track that comes up. Sometimes the track that comes up is so self-evidently good that there’s nothing more that really needs to be said about it. It’s like the Ronseal of music-it does what it says on the record.
There are two things however, that sort of stem from this track. Firstly, a treasured CD I have that was ripped from On The Wire (a BBC Radio Lancashire show). I’ve written about this programme before but for now, it suffices to say that On The Wire was not typical local BBC Radio fare. This particular CD was ripped from a three-hour special broadcast sometime around 2001 and entitled “The A to Z of Jamaican Vocal Music”. It started with The Abyssinians and went all the way through the alphabet to The Wailing Souls. Not strictly therefore an A- Z ,but close enough. It was a brilliant journey through ska and rock steady. As I had recorded it on three different cassette tapes and just copied it to a hard drive without editing, it still has got the intros to all the tracks from the DJ’s; which to me is a good thing, as it was a useful primer and gave me an avenue into the myriad worlds of Jamaican labels, artists and producers. However, as I didn’t edit it, there still is the local news from Lancashire on the Sunday afternoon when I recorded it. Becoming slightly more technically proficient and having the software on the laptop, I have often thought of editing it out, but somehow if I lost the link between Carlton & the Shoes “Love Me Forever” and traffic conditions on the outskirts of Fleetwood something would be lost forever. Alton Ellis did crop up in the broadcast with this very song although it’s on the iPod from another route altogether, but I wouldn’t have got it unless I’d heard that On The Wire show.
The second thing is that for ages this show has been something that I’ve kept copied in lots of different formats; you know, “just in case”. Every single PC and laptop I’ve had has had a copy of it and every mp3 player (from really cheap ones with limited capacity to 80 gig iPods), and there are at least three copies of it burned onto CDrs scattered around the house. Just in case all the hard drives are wiped and all the mp3 players break I’ve got it backed up. (It’s also on a pen drive somewhere I think). All this now seems slightly redundant, as not only can I get all the tracks without too much messing about from the internet, but the proliferation of excellent box-set compilations at prices that years ago would have seemed impossibly cheap means that there really is no need to be so paranoid about losing it. (Just in case the unexpected happens, I have all the tracks written down in case I have to resurrect it. I’ve also saved the track listing as a word document and in excel on the laptop. And on a pen drive as well). 

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