My Life Flashed Before Me by Trevor Plumbly
Well it sort of meandered really through a druggy haze, as I suppose it’s wont to do after a heart scare. You’re lying on a hospital trolley thingy, wired and tubed-up to all manner of bleeping gadgets and strange looking plastic bottles, surrounded by people overloaded with calm confidence that you desperately want to feel. The old biblical ‘pick up your bed and walk’ obviously wasn’t going to happen, so one lies there and one reflects. In my case, not on events or people that have affected my life but more of what I’d read and heard along the way that had affected my attitudes. Dramatic theatre has always seemed like professional insincerity to me so that ruled out the stage from the soul searching, leaving music, literature, cinema and world events. I was slow to enjoy any of the arts, let’s face it, in the 1940s back street urchins didn’t do Beethoven, so apart from a few gung-ho ‘we won the war’ ditties, music sort of passed me by until my mid-teens. But since then I’ve enjoyed an ill-directed taste for music and decided that when they unplugged me, I would sit and re-enjoy these.
1. Hank Williams – “I’m so lonesome I could cry.” My first taste of country music, and still good.
2. Bob Dylan – “Visions of Johanna.” A great song with great lyrics.
3. Don Mclean – “American Pie.” Simply iconic.
4. Neil Young – “Helpless.” As exciting today as it always was.
5. Sandy Denny – “Who knows where the time goes.” Gutsier than the Judy Collins version.
6. Jerry Lee Lewis – “Another place another time.” A great country song and a great country voice.
7. Joan Sutherland – “I dreamt I dwelt in marble halls.” It always makes me wish I could sing.
8. Aled Jones. – “O’ holy night.” A beautiful version.
9. Julian Lloyd Webber – “Panis Angelicus.” Stunning.
10. Emmy Lou Harris – “Boulder to Birmingham.” Absolutely the best version.
11. Martha Wainright – “The Traitor.” They just don’t get much better.
12. Ian Drury – “There ain’t half been some clever bastards.” The first punk.
13. The Fureys – “The green fields of France.” Irish, without the ‘Oirish’ – good stuff.
14. John Williams – any of the “Bach Suites.” Just top quality listening.
15. Andreas Scholl – “She moved through the fair.” Old but still good.
16. Moriston Orpheus Choir – “Myfanwy.” Choir at its absolute best.
17. Jacqueline du Pres – any of the Elagar “Cello concerto’s.” For serious listeners only.
18. Paul Robeson -“The ballad of Joe Hill.” Better than the Joan Baez version.
19. The Band – “The night they drove old Dixie down.” One of the greats.
20. Yehudi Menuhin – “The four seasons.” Fabulous at full volume alone in the house.
21. The Rolling Stones – “I can’t get no satisfaction.” The old man at his peak.
22. Odetta – “The frozen logger.” It’s just nice nonsense.
23. Paul Simon – “Gracelands.” Less iconic than “Bridge” but a better song.
24. The Clancy Brothers – “The coming of the roads.” ‘Oirish’ but worth listening to.
25. Eric Bogle – “The band played waltzing Matilda.” An anti-war essential.
Why no Elvis, no Beatles? Well along with a lot of other worthies they just didn’t produce the goosebumps stuff for me, but if you feel short changed in any way, wait until I get into literature, cinema and world events!