Well, who would have thought back in 1963 when I drew those first columns in my school roughbook that sixty years later I would be choosing my Album of the Year 2023 ?
When I consider all the music I have listened to over that period, I cannot help but think how lucky my generation are to have been there literally from the start of modern pop/rock music – and that the generations following have kept it all going for our continued entertainment.
First Gig of the Year for us was Gentlemens Dub Club, one of the bands we have been waiting to see since before ‘the world stopped’ in 2020. We were finally able to make the short trip to the Marble Factory in Bristol to catch them.
The gig was part of a double-header tour with The Skints, in which they took it in turns to headline. On the night they had support from Cardiff singer Aleighcia Scott, who also shares an evening slot on BBC Radio Wales with DJ Huw Stevens. Her set was very tight, and I look forward to hearing her debut album due out later this year..
Well, here we are again. Another twelve months of chaos, mostly media-fuelled, has passed us by in the blink of an eye interspersed, I’m pleased to say, with some fabulous albums. Some of them you may have heard on the way, others may be new to you, but I hope that you will enjoy exploring them as much as I have.
So welcome to my Album of the Year 2022 blog, my sixtieth – now there’s something I would never have imagined all the way back in 1963 that I would write, but yes sixtieth – wander through the year’s results from the many taps of my long-suffering debit card.
We all have albums in our collection that are ages-old, but we still play regularly. Sometimes we may wonder whatever happened to that artist from all those years back; we may even regret never getting to see them live when they were ‘in their pomp’. One such artist, for me, was Toyah.
She appeared towards the end of the short 1970s punk revolution when, ironically, it was her live album Toyah! Toyah! Toyah! that forced its way onto my record deck during 1980. Regular readers will know that I specifically exclude live albums from my annual selection process, so it never featured in my roundup. But when she released her next studio album, Anthem, six months later it was an instant purchase. It made my top three in 1981, and has been a regular play over the intervening forty years. But I never got to a gig – until this weekend.
The One That Got Away has become a regular feature of my annual blog reviewing my year of music acquisitions. Last year I produced a complete blog for them, there were so many, mainly because of the disfunction to life caused by the 2020 pandemic. Now, for the second year running, there have been enough ‘late purchases’ to fill a separate blog.
Late-discovery of an album does not just involve the previous year – some escape notice for decades! And I guess, with 2021 still somewhat disrupted by Covid, especially the continued lack of much live music, it was only natural to search more content on streaming services and the like, opening up avenues of exploration that the busyness of ‘normal life’ would not normally allow. Hence some of the albums up for mention here are from the last century.