My Record Collection - December 22, 2020

My Record Collection by Calexico's Joey Burns
by Tom
Tom
by Tom hmv London, Bio hmv.com Editor. Peanut butter, punk rock and pillows.

My Record Collection by Calexico's Joey Burns

In My Record Collection, we dig down to the bottom of musicians' souls to find out what the most treasured parts of their record collection are. This week, it's the turn of alt-rock duo Calexico and their singer Joey Burns, let's see what he goes for...

 

The first record I ever bought with my own money was…

"I was lucky to have access to my parents’ and two older brothers’ record collections including eight-track cassettes. I spent hours digging through and exploring lots of great music.  I bought Steve Miller’s Fly Like An Eagle for my friend Dave’s 10th birthday. After his party, I went out to buy myself a copy as well. I love those grooves and use of echo on the synthesizer parts."



The record that made me want to be in a band was…

"I spent a great deal of time listening to Reckoning by R.E.M and I was hooked from the first few bars of 'Harborcoat'.  I learned a lot of Peter Buck’s guitar parts, 'Pretty Persuasion' being one of my favourites, and saw the band perform live a bunch of times in Southern California including at Six Flags Magic Mountain Amusement Park. Not only did their music make a big imprint on me, but what they stood up for also mattered. I’ll never forget seeing the phrase "Think global, act local" in one of their tour books. This phrase and their music still hold up well today."



The record I've played more than any other is…

"In 1996, I was working on recording our first album Spoke. Having just moved to Tucson, I felt like I had stepped back in time. That same year I heard Gillian Welch’s wonderful voice on 'Revival' along with the guitar playing of David Rawlings and it matched what was going on in my life. Their music was the accompaniment to my travels on tour and soothed my soul when I returned. There is a sense of nostalgia and melancholy in their music but it doesn’t dwell in a pool of sorrow. Instead, it lifts your spirits up and has a healing effect. Check out the slide guitar work on 'One and Only' by Greg Leisz. It’s one of my all-time favourite solos ever. They have a new release out now. I can’t wait to unwrap it for the holidays and strum along."

 

The record that always makes me feel good is…

"Mayra Andrade’s album Manga always puts me in the best mood. I love how the combinations of organic and electronic rhythms plus the electric guitar parts provide a gentle accompaniment to her lush vocals. Her songs are so captivating and the grooves are fantastic. This one gets the party started in the best way."



The record I turn to when I'm feeling down is…

"While on tour in 1998 I had heard about Lhasa de Sela and enjoyed her first album. When she released her second album The Living Road, I was eager to check it out. I was blown away. It’s a masterpiece. Everything from the songs, performances and production. It’s like stepping into a different world when you put this album on and you will want to keep returning to it."

"Her voice is right up there with singers like Chavela Vargas, Mercedes Sosa, Amália Rodriguez, and Cesaria Evora. Lhasa is an old soul and has one of those voices that stands out.  She has that rare gift that compels you to go along with every twist and turn, every breath and phrase she sings, blue notes and all. This one is a true gem."



The record I think is the most underrated of all time is…

"The Minutemen's Double Nickels On The Dime is such a punk classic. I realise that in certain indie circles it’s well-loved and respected. However, I was always surprised that it didn’t catch on to a wider audience and get played on alternative radio stations and more. Their music is diverse, smart, punchy, fluid, eclectic and dynamic. Every chance I get I always suggest checking out this double LP. I grew up not far from San Pedro, CA where The Minutemen are from and got to see the band around this time and I’ll never forget the energy the three of these guys generated. Hands down they are my favourite punk band. Get the vinyl version when you buy it."



The record with my favourite cover art is…

"I love all of the classic Blue Note Jazz album covers. Pick any one of them and they stand up to just about any other album cover, but one of my favourites is Out To Lunch by Eric Dolphy. I love the casual black and white photograph of a storefront sign that reads “will be back” and a clock with seven hands. It’s a great album design by Reid Miles complete with the simple blue tone over the photograph and sparse graphics. Not only is the album a great avant-garde jazz classic with songs like “Gazzelloni” but it’s Dolphy’s only featured album on the label."

 



The record with my favourite title is…

"Everyone in the States should listen to this album by Manu Chao.  Clandestino is a classic album and the title track sheds some truth about how immigrants are misrepresented and poorly treated. After these last four years of a swing to far-right politics in the states and more racially driven violence, the album and its themes have even more significance. I do believe there is positive change coming but it takes all of our involvement much like Manu Chao’s consistent dedication to speaking out against corruption and injustice."



The record I can't understand why everybody loves is…

"I’ve never been into modern pop music and artists like Katy Perry. I might have heard a song or two while hopping into a taxi overseas while on tour. However, now that I’m a dad of twin daughters aged nine, I have grown to really, really like Katy Perry’s album Prism with songs like 'Roar' and 'Dark Horse' which have become staples in our kitchen dance parties. Her voice, the songs and production are amazing. Plus, Katy is a positive role model and hearing my daughters sing these songs takes on a whole new meaning. I’m a changed man and it feels good. Viva Katy Perry!"



The last record I bought was...

"I’ve been enjoying Lido Pimienta’s new album “Miss Colombia”. She bridges the electronic and organic Latin rhythms uniquely and her voice is stunning. I feel like she’s tapping into a lot of interesting elements and musical themes that are some of my favourite from South and North America. I would love to collaborate with her. Her ideas and home recordings are some of the best I’ve heard."


 
The record I'm most looking forward to hearing in 2021 is…

"Rita Indiana’s new album Mandinga Times is calling me. I’ve heard a few songs and read some reviews that pique my curiosity. I love her writing and the way she sings. I would love to visit her hometown in the Dominican Republic to see her perform there. That would be incredible. To be dancing to her fast-paced merengue with slashing guitars, buzzing synth sounds and soul-crushing percussion. She’s a visionary and I can’t wait to see where she is going on this new album."



The greatest record of all time is…

"I played bass in my high school jazz band and whenever we played Latin tunes the bass parts became way more interesting rhythmically and melodically. So when I heard Buena Vista Social Club with Ry Cooder I fell in love with this ensemble and production instantly. The voices and instrumentation are so enchanting and inspiring. The story behind this album is one for the history books as well."

"The project had a change of plans from the original collaboration due to several African musicians being denied visas so Cooder and Nick Gold along with local Cuban musicians found some incredible Reuter musicians and brought them to the historic Egrem studio in Havana. What they created is pure magic. The room sound is gorgeous on this album. I had the pleasure and honour to work there and hear that room sound for myself and I can’t wait to return there someday to work again. Cuba must be experienced. If you can’t go then listen to this album and let the voices and rhythms take you. It’s heavenly."

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