If anyone can tell you a story or two hundred about the early Manchester music scene then look no further than Ged Duffy. Iain Key and I interviewed him last week for Louder Than War Radio and we could have spent all day with this interesting music fan who has been there and done it when it comes to the early days of The Russell Club, The Hacienda, following Manchester United and his days with the Factory Records crew. Just buy the book and he’ll fill you in with his funny yet tragic story in parts. Ged gives me an insight into some of his favourite albums…
When I was asked to choose my Top Ten Albums of all time , I thought that it would be pretty easy, but it has turned out to be nothing of the sort. I have changed my mind so many times and even now I have loads that I could have put in. The first album that I bought was Slade Alive back in 1972 but Slade don’t feature in this list. Some of the other artists that I haven’t included in the list are David Bowie, Sex Pistols, The Who, The Smiths, Slaughter The Dogs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bauhaus, The Cure, Inspiral Carpets, The Clash, The Damned, Iron Maiden, Roxy Music, AC/DC, Motorhead, Velvet Underground, Lou Reed, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Pulp, Muse, The Fall, PJ Harvey, and Oasis. I couldn’t nail down ten albums, so I have cheated and chosen 15 instead!
These are in alphabetical order.
Birthday Party: Junkyard.
My first experience of The Birthday Party was their wild single Release The Bats which we used to dance madly to at Legend on a Thursday night. Seeing them live several times confirmed to me that they were a wild crazy band. When Junkyard came out it was such a brilliant album starting off with the totally in your face sound of Blast Off and then moving onto She’s Hit and Dead Joe. Tracey Pew was a great bass player with such a great growl to his sound. Hamlet (Pow Pow Pow) and Big Jesus Trash Can were two more swamp like songs. It had such a great vibe, an amazing album sleeve and is still a classic to me after all these years.
Buzzcocks: Another Music in a Different Kitchen.
I got this the day it was released and was so excited to get it home to play. From the first song Fast Cars to the last song Moving Away From The Pulsebeat. It was and is still a classic with no filler tracks. The chain saw guitars, John Maher’s incredible drumming, great vocals from Pete Shelley. Absolutely brilliant sleeve as well, so modern and nothing like any other punk band around at the time.
The Doors: The Doors.
I went to see Apocalypse Now in 79 at The Scala in Withington where I heard the song The End. I went to Sifters Records in Burnage and Pete AKA Mr Sifter told me that it was by a band called The Doors, so I bought a best of The Doors Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine off him. I played it to death and decided to buy all their albums. This one The Doors was their debut and its still a favourite of mine to this day. I can’t believe it was recorded in 1967 as its still a fresh undated sound today. Jim Morrison was a great frontman and I really would have loved to have been able to see these live. Break on Through To The Other Side, Light My Fire and of course The End are all great tracks.
Gang of Four: Entertainment
What can I say about this album….. brilliant drums, great funky bass, Andy Gill one of the best guitarists ever and proper meaningful lyrics. Amazing band live. This album flows from start to finish and hasn’t dated at all.
I had to put an album by James in this list as they are probably my favourite band ever. I could have chosen about six of their albums, but I chose this one as it was the first album that I ever brought which was recorded by mates of mine. I was so proud of them when this came out. What they have achieved since is just mind-blowing. Some great songs like Johnny Yen, So Many Ways, Just Hip and Why So Close.
Joy Division: Closer.
When Joy Division’s debut album Unknown Pleasures came out, I didn’t like it as it sounded nothing like their live shows. Live, they were so powerful, but the album sounded like an experiment in the studio. Having had the misfortune to work with the producer Martin Hannett a few years later I could see how he would take control. After my mate Lee Pickering played it on repeat all summer 1979, I had no option but to fall in love with the majesty of the album. Having said that, the album I have chosen is Closer. This album sounded more like the live sound of Joy Division around this time. They had developed musically and so Hannett didn’t need to mess about with their sound as much. From the opening drumbeat of Atrocity Exhibition to the synthesiser driven beat and melody of Decades, the album flows seamlessly from track to track. The drums and bass are so in sync with each other on this album especially on “Twenty Fours Hours” and Ian Curtis’s vocals are so good… a modern day Frank Sinatra.
Killing Joke: Killing Joke.
When I got this it just exploded onto my record deck. I had never heard a sound like it before. It was totally in your face and a lot different from their debut EP – Turn to Red. Wardance was a total foot stomper which caused total mayhem when played in the clubs, proper mosh pit music before mosh pits had been invented. Big Paul’s drumming was just tribal, Georgie’s guitar was brutal, Youth was an amazing bass player and Jaz just filled in the blanks with his keyboard noise. Still play this album to this day and it still sounds as good today as it did in 1980 when it was released.
Factory Fairy Tales by Ged Duffy is available here.
Check out the full interview on Louder Than War Radio here.
Words by Wayne Carey, Reviews Editor for Louder Than War. His author profile is here