Notes On Music By Lloyd Cole: 14 Perfect Recordings

Lloyd Cole first made a name for himself in 1984 with the Commotions, the British band he founded in Scotland before relocating to New York City four years later. Since, he has released records both as a solo artist and with the Negatives. Now based in western Massachusetts, Cole recently formed the Small Ensemble. The trio is joined by the likes of Fred Maher, Joan Wasser and Kendall Meade for new album Broken Record (Tapete), Cole’s first “rock” LP in almost a decade. Cole will also be guest editing all week. Read our new Q&A with him. Says Cole as an introduction/disclaimer for his guest-editing posts, “I am 50 years old. More than twice the age I was when I began making music. I have developed opinions, certainly, and these opinions have evolved, but I can only speak for myself. I am still astonished by music. I am still perplexed by it. I am still moved by it. I am still revulsed by it. And I am more and more confused by how others make use of music in their lives. Music seems to be everywhere. Here are some of my thoughts on it.”

1. I prefer the young, drunk Steve Earle. “Guitar Town” is perfect.
2. For a while I thought Cobain was the best screamer since Lennon, but now I listen to “Twist And Shout” and have no more use for Nirvana.
3. Prince’s “When You Were Mine”
4. Johnny Cash and June Carter singing “Jackson.” They must have had great sex and great fights, then laughed about it, then more great sex.
5. Joy Division’s “Transmission.” I love all the between-albums tracks. I think it was their peak. This is the pick of the peak.
6. The Clash’s “Complete Control,” produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry. Why didn’t they have him do more? This track is massive.
7. “Great Speckled Bird” by Roy Acuff & His Crazy Tennesseans. “What a beautiful thought I am thinking.” What a great opening line, and what a melody!
8. Paul Simon’s “Mother And Child Reunion.” His first and my favourite of his “these guys are good, I should get them on my record’ ventures.
9. Willie Nelson sings Kris Kristofersson’s “Help Me Make It Through The Night”
10. T.Rex’s “Telegram Sam.” Marc Bolan and Tony Visconti both at the very height of their powers.
11. “Ma Blonde Est Partié” by Amédée Breaux. Saddest recording ever.
12. Except maybe “Something On Your Mind” by Karen Dalton.
13. Or maybe Karen Carpenter “Superstar.”
14. And, OK, I cry most times I hear Nina Simone’s “Do What You Gotta Do” (written by Jimmy Webb).