There are some great albums that you listen to over and over again, but they have no further meaningful effect on your listening tastes beyond the forty or so minutes that you spend with them.
There are others that lead you into other worlds that you’d never before considered entering – and once entered you never really want to leave. In 1981 I believed I had fairly diverse tastes. I loved OMD, The Clash, The Human League, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre and, crucially, I loved Elvis Costello. ‘Country’ music I didn’t love. I had heard a few songs by Kenny Rodgers and one or two by Dolly Parton, but beyond that I had absolutely no interest.Then Elvis Costello released ‘Almost Blue’ in a (now very dog-eared) flip-topped cigarette-packet- style box and the world of Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, George Jones and Gram Parsons slowly but surely opened up before me. It’s difficult to pick a favourite track here and I must be honest with you and admit that this is the first tape so far where, because of the high quality of the album and the very poor quality of my tape copy, I’m considering purchasing again on CD. I’m not sure if this reflects favourably or unfavourably on the concept of ‘the great 6 month cassette experiment’
Incidentally, the poor sound quality of cassette tapes may have initially caused me to incorrectly believe that Hank harboured some racist tendencies, as I misheard the opening lines of ‘Why don’t you love me (like you used to do)’ as follows;
Well, why don't you love me like you used to do,
How come you treat me like a one-eyed Jew?
So I’d like to finish with a very big ‘sorry’ to Hank and a very big ‘thank you’ to Elvis Costello.