It would be brilliant for me to be able to say that my musical journey was a long one; a trail of many lessons learnt, with both great and poor decisions made, a dozen weird instruments adopted and abandoned. Or perhaps I could tell you that I have a remarkable collection of rare and sought after records that I cherish and play everyday. Unfortunately this is not the case. In truth, I can rationally isolate a single moment of my childhood as directly accounting for everything that would follow in my musical consciousness.
It was Christmas 1988, and my dad gave me my first piece of music, a compilation cassette, "The Beach Boys, 20 Golden Greats". It was one of three tapes that we kids were given that day, and the other two were both "New Kids On The Block, Hanginí Tough". Up until this point I hadnít really obsessed over any one band or artist (although the Blues Brothers soundtrack had brought me a lot of joy) and there was something about The Beach Boys that fascinated me.
In my time Iíve seen a few other, what I would call, "self-appraising" album titles, which allege to have 10, 12 or even 20 gilded classics. But surely there has never been a better three word title/review than The Beach Boysí compilation, "Twenty Golden Greats".
For those of you unfamiliar with this best of "best of's", check the sleeve for the track listing...
At different times Iíve prized many different songs from this tape, first it was the surf/car/girl hits like Fun, Fun, Fun and Little Deuce Coupe that did it for me. Years later, with my discovery of Pet Sounds, Wouldnít It Be Nice et al became obsessions. Right now I canít look past a song like When I Grow Up (to Be a Man) for the all-round Beach Boys experience, and I urge anyone who hasnít heard this track in a while to give it another listen, itís just great.
In conclusion, if you happen to see this tape (and I must stress that the listening experience would be lost on any format other than cassette) please pay whatever the shopkeep asks. If not for yourself, buy it for me, as I wonít stop until Iíve collected one for every room in the house.
Nat Carson - The Guitar: talks pre-birth concerts
James Crombie - The Bass Guitar: the cassette that inspired his love of music
Stuart Leach - The Drums: a photo essay
Bekk Crombie - The Guitar: profile coming soon
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Live acoustic session at Love Is My Velocity's "Takeaway Tunes"