Saturday, 6 March 2010

Vinyl vs. the iPod ... and an excursion in to reggae and ska

Something I've only noticed since getting my new iPod is that it's been a long time since I've really played an album 'end-to-end'. With my previous iPod I deliberately set all modes to random play, and often listened to my own playlists rather than to whole albums. This was entertaining for a while and I often managed to confuse myself over which band I was listening to. It was also great at dinner parties where the guests would try and work out a track that is on the tip of their tongue.

However, with my new iPod, although not intentionally, I have left it at 'factory setting', which means I'm hearing the tracks of an album in the order in which they were intended. Spurred on by this I have recently made it a deliberate policy to listen to complete albums. The great thing about this is that not only am I hearing the tracks in the order as the artist would have wished, but I'm pretty sure I'm hearing some tracks for the very first time. Only this evening I was listening to Obscured By Clouds by Pink Floyd, whilst chilling in the bath after a hard afternoon's digging of the vegetable patch (hardly rock'n'roll, but I like it) and there were several tracks on the album which felt very new to me.

Thinking about this a bit more I do remember in the 'vinyl only' world of my youth, that not only did I know the order of the tracks on my favourite LP's, I also knew the length of the gap between each track. It's a bit sad to admit, but before the days of even the tape Walkman, I do remember during a two hour coach journey that I recited the entire All Mod Cons album by The Jam to myself to pass the time ... at least I hope it was to myself.

Before I sign-off for the evening, I just wanted to share that, in the words of Jessie from the Fast Show ... this week I have mostly been listening to reggae and ska. I don't know anywhere enough about the genre to pass any sensible comment, but I'm liking what I'm hearing. My excursion into reggae and ska started with tracking down the original versions of Clash covers like Pressure Drop and Police and Thieves, and pretty much expanded from there. Current favourites are Toot and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, Max Romeo and Prince Buster. Obviously I'm only scratching the surface here so recommendations VERY welcome.


  1. Is that some rare Pink Floyd album I don't know about or did you mean Obscured By Clouds? I'm kidding. As far as their soundtrack stuff goes, I think I preferred More but I haven't heard this in awhile. Will re-evaluate.

    I like the convenience of being able to skip around to my favorite tracks, but a friend of mine pointed out that one of the things that may have been destroyed by the iPod generation is the concept album. They're a bit passe now anyhow, but I like them and now that listeners are inclined to randomize songs, musicians might not ever make them again.

  2. Ah yes ... good spot. Will correct my typo ;-)