What music reminds you of a happy time?

Big Country “One great thing” taken from The Seer(1986)

What music, no matter when you play it or whatever mood you are in, always transports you back to a happy time or happy moment in your life?

I found myself pondering this last week when I listened to The Seer (1986) by Big Country.

I must have spent hours staring at this album cover and pouring over the sleeve notes.

It’s 1986 and I’m at my friend James’s house.

“You’ve got to listen to this,” said James reaching for his new 12″ album.

The needle came down on the vinyl and we listened to the anticipatory crackles and pops as it wound its way to the opening track.

This time we run
This time we hide
This time we draw on all the fire we have inside.
We need some time
To find a place
Where I can wipe away the madness from your face.

Lyrics from “Look away” by Big Country

We sat in almost silence for the next 50 minutes and 30 seconds as this Celtic rock washed over us. It was heavy, it was delicate, it was rousing and beautifully sweet in equal measure.

This was one of those moments of simple contentedness and the simplicity of sitting in the presence of a best friend.

If I remember correctly, James was made homeless that year—or maybe the next. He moved into the spare room of someone from church. This was one of the first albums we listened to on my first visit to his new home.

This album always reminds me of our friendship. The closeness we had. Both the fun and the laughter during these formative teenage years and the moments of sitting in silence with one another listening to music—Big Country, Sting, Jean Michel-Jarre, Guns n’ Roses—letting the music and lyrics change our view of the world.

I know the weary can rise again
I know it all from the words you send

Lyrics from “Remembrance Day” by Big Country

I’ve not seen James in many years—he eventually moved to live in Sweden—but this album reminds me of him every time I play it.

Queen—All Dead, All Dead (with Freddie Mercury vocals)

Queen’s News of the World (1977) album turned 40 years old this year. I was five years old when it came out. It would be six or seven years more until Queen were firmly on my radar, and so would begin a lifelong love of the band.

To celebrate the anniversary of the album’s release, Queen are releasing a box set on Friday 17 November that includes a number of recently unearthed out-takes and rarities.

News of the World 40th anniversary box set
News of the World 40th anniversary box set

Among the rarities is this hybrid version of “All Dead, All Dead” (side 1, track 4) featuring alternative lyrics and vocals from Freddie Mercury.

What I didn’t realise, all these years of listening to the song, is that the song was written by Brian May about the death of his childhood cat.

It’s a beautiful song, even if does have the ‘wrong’ lyrics.

The box set is released on Friday 17 November costing £109.99.

PREVIEW: Krysthla—Peace in our Time (2017)

Krysthla—Peace in our Time (2017)
Krysthla—Peace in our Time (2017)

This evening I previewed the forthcoming album Peace In Our Time (2017) by British five-piece metal masters Krysthla.

Like their debut, this album is amazing. And like their debut, I also gave this 100%.

Read the review...

I fully intend to see them live on their UK tour in May. Who’s with me?