Six Of The Best – Gideon Coe

May 12, 2011

Six Of The Best is a semi-regular feature that pokes, prods and persuades your favourite bands, bards and barometers of hip opinion to tell us six of the best tracks they’ve ever heard. The tracks could be mainstream million-sellers or they could be obfuscatingly obscure, it doesn’t matter. The only criteria set is that, aye, they must be Six of the Best. Think of it like a mini, groovier version of Desert Island Discs…

Number 5 in a series:

Gideon Coe is a triple Sony Award-winning DJ who currently spins the wheels of steel from Monday till Thursday on BBC 6 Music between 9.00 and midnight. He’s also (cough) what could loosely be termed as a celebrity Trashcan Sinatras’ fan. But you knew that already. You will also probably know that Gideon’s show is quite excellent. Much like a metaphor for BBC 6 Music itself, there’s a very high quality control mechanism in place and any time I switch on Gideon’s show I know that I’m going to like (and quite possibly own) whatever record Gideon’s playing, or at the very least, the next one that comes along. Gideon’s show sounds a bit like my iPod on shuffle – there’s a heady mix of the old and the new – it’s the kind of place where you’re as likely to find Beach House as the Beach Boys and the latest hip new thing sandwiched betwixt and between the broadcast of a listener-recommended vintage Peel Session and a Live In Concert special straight out of 1972. On any given night I’ll re-discover some long-forgotten indie guitar track from the days when I had a 28″ waist or I’ll hear something by a new band that makes me think, “Oh! Not all new music sounds like everything I’ve heard already,” or he’ll play a stone-cold accepted classic that reminds me exactly why that tune has come to be accepted as a stone-cold classic. If this brief introduction has whetted yer whistle, you can listen to the latest shows here.

Gideon’s Six Of The Best list could well be a mini tracklisting from any one of his shows. Over to the man himself…….

Off the top of my head:

Aretha Franklin – It’s faultless. It’s Perfect. (It’s ‘Say A Little Prayer‘, even though Gideon forgot to mention that bit!) And the final refrain where the “For Ever”s build is my favourite bit on any record ever.

The Clash – ‘If Music Could Talk’. ‘Sandinista’ is the best Clash album by some distance. And the rest are pretty good too. Much like the rest of the record it’s meandering and delightful.

Go Betweens – ‘Cattle and Cain’. Whatever the time-sig is on this, it works. Grant McLennan and Robert Forster are two of the best songwriters of the last 30 years.

The Blue Nile – ‘Easter Parade’. It’s raining and I’m 17 years old and I know this record will haunt me forever.

Midlake – ‘Branches’. ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ is my favourite record of the past 10 years and this slightly odd song has the most beautiful of all choruses.

Bob Dylan/Johnny Cash – Girl From the North Country. My first introduction to both of them. The greatest ramshackle duet ever recorded.

A mighty fine list I’m sure you’ll agree. Want more? Course you do! Gideon talks about more of his favourite records and gigs here.

Every Six Of the Best compilation comes in a handy RAR download file. Get Gideon Coe’s here.

*Bonus Track!

Here‘s another version of the greatest ramshackle duet ever recorded. Even looser, rougher and ragged than the officially released version, it finds Bob ‘n Johnny vocally jousting with one another, seemingly finding it difficult to sing the same lyric and fumbling for a place where the harmonies fit. It’s taken from the Dylan/Cash Sessions bootleg that’s easily findable in all the right corners of the internet and was recorded at CBS Studios in Nashville, February 1969 as part of Dylan’s Nashville Skyline album sessions. It’s only a short while since a pill-popping, motorcycle crashin’ Dylan had taken himself (quite literally) off the road, burnt out and spent, yet here he was recording sweet songs of love about long lost sweethearts and pie (yeah!). Dylan himself has attributed his unusual nasal whine on the album to the fact that he’d just given up smoking. And probably heroin. But that was kinda hushed up at the time. Anyway you look (or listen) to it, Girl From the North Country is one of Bob’s best. Good call Gideon.

I’m now off to re-acquaint myself with Sandinista! I can usually never get past Super Black Market Clash when I need a Strummer fix.

Coming next in this series –

Six Of the Best from Kris Needs.

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