This week we are very proud and excited to invite producer, artist, label owner, and of course one half of Fila Brazillia... Mr Steve Cobby to the Dusk Dubs family, who takes us on a musical journey from '66 to 86', back to the songs and artists that shaped him before the age of 20.
You can find Steve HERE:
'66 to ’86
1) Frank Zappa. Peaches En Regalia / Hot Rats. I loved following the changes and the triumphant and playful tones in ‘Peaches'.. The funkiness of it and the mad tapestry of sounds. Featured on a Sunday Times compilation LP entitled ‘Rock Revelations’ that my Dad bought in the 70’s which was a window into a brilliant array of musical worlds, unlike the pop that my youthful ears had been attuned to. The LPs influence on me is inestimable and so quite a few tunes in this list are plucked from it.
2) Compared To What - McCaan and Harris / Swiss Movement. Also first heard on ST LP As relevant now as the day it was recorded live at the Montreal festival in 69. Profound work. Written by Eugene / Gene Mcdaniels who also wrote Feel Like Makin Love for Roberta Flack and Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse
3) You’re All I Need To Get By - Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terelle / Motown Chartbusters Vol 3. An LP that received heavy heavy plays and rotation in the Cobby house when I was growing up. Had to include something from it. Went with Marvin and Tammi as he’s a genius and very high in my all time uber-dons list.
4) Another early love was the LP ‘Tom Cat’ by Tom Scott and the L.A. Express. Refried is taken from it. Fathers purchase again. I have him to thank for my love of solid grooves. I’d sit listening to this album on the headphones dreaming of all things American and how cool it was. I was the 70’s I was weaned on Kojak, Starsky and Hutch, The Rockford Files, McMillan and Wife, Ironside, Cannon, McCleod and Columbo.
5) Regiment - Byrne and Eno / My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts. The LP that fundamentally changed my outlook. I’d never come across or seriously considered incorporating sonic objet trouve into tracks. Be that from the radio, or lps or the TV. All presented on this magnificent LP.
6) Talking Heads - Listening Wind / Remain In Light. A song that has become more pertinent as the years have elapsed with its subject matter addressing foreign occupation, the concept of one mans freedom fighter being another mans terrorist.. Eno production and Adrian Belew adding top sonic textures with his guitar treatments and colours make it sonically very similar to Bush Of Ghosts.
7) Steely Dan - Home At Last / Aja. I was in my late teens before I started to ‘get’ Steely Dan. Id dismissed them as FM schmaltz as a young lad listening to Led Zep and Pink Floyd but soon woke up to the writing craft and production wizardry of Messrs Fagan and Becker. A sterling back catalogue.
8) Captain Beefheart - My Head Is My Only Home / Clear Spot. My favourite LP by Don Van Vliet, his eccentricity perfectly corralled by Bob Clearmountains disciplined production. A Tour de force. First heard via Baz Sharp, who was an HVAC engineer that our kid was apprentice to.
9) Tim Buckley – Dolphins / Morning Glory. Another selection from ‘Rock Revelations’. I was drawn to all things melancholic as a youth and nothing has really altered that attraction. Fred Neil penned this existential masterpiece which I coincidentally went on to cover with my band Heights Of Abraham many years later.
10) Blue Nile is another one from the Dad quadrant. He’d bought it after hearing ‘Tinseltown' on the radio apparently. More wistful gear….
11) Adrian Sherwoods more experimental production style was a massive influence when I was learning to record and produce and On U sound was a go-to label that rarely put a foot wrong. Loved all the Head Charge stuff and also Tackhead especially.
12) I loved Althea and Donna, Ken Boothe and Bob Marley, but if a reggae song didn’t get in the charts, I never heard it. My hometown wasn’t multicultural enough to warrant the shops to stock it and no one was playing it on the radio. That all changed when i met David Brennand a.k.a. Porky. who was renting a room in a shared house that my girlfriend at the time was living in. His reggae collection was immense. It was a schooling. I thank him for that. I was drawn to the dub stuff especially. Using the studio as an instrument would become a cornerstone of my approach and I have Lee Perry and King Tubby to thank for inspiring that. All heroes.
13) Cabaret Voltaire came into my life via John Bird, my uncle. His record collection was amazing. Like the John Peel show in hard form. I rifled it whenever I visited and the Cabs jumped out. Red Mecca and Voice Of America lp’s didn’t sound like music as I knew it. Lot of incoherent noise in there and atonal goings on.. I was appalled and intrigued at the same time. I would later get into them in a big way. Microphones and Crackdown are landmark LP’s. I went on to work with Richard and Steve who became and still is a very good friend. See the note for Nelson below. Same applies here.
14) I’ve picked this 7” version of Moonlight by TD for time restraints wouldn’t allow me to drop the 18 minute version from ‘Encore’, their live LP from 77. An LP my elder brother brought into the house that I hammered incessantly for years. It sounded fresh as new paint in the 70’s. An array of electronically generated sounds coupled with a classical approach to arranging plus improvisation and ad hoc tackle. Seminal. Never gets old.
15) Bill Nelson. Wherever my old mate Chris Wardell is, I have him to thank for turning me onto Bill Nelson and Magazine. They both had a massive impact. I didn’t much care for Be Bop Deluxe, but once Bill went solo I was in. A huge influence… His 'Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam' LP had a bonus LP ‘Sounding The Ritual Echo’ tucked in with it that was all instrumentals and is where this track’s taken from. I loved that album. He recorded it at home on basic equipment so it had a very appealing lo-fi quality to it. I was fortunate enough to meet and work with him in the 80’s. They say never meet your heroes but he turned out to be a wonderful human being.
16) Miles Davis – All Blues / Kind Of Blue. Again I wasn’t hearing much Jazz as a kid. Apart from a bit of Jazz-Funk courtesy of Tom Scott and Co. Then a lad called Chris who worked in a clothes shop alongside the market place I was working in lent me a cassette tape with Kind Of Blue on the A side and A Love Supreme by John Coltrane on the B. Properly opened me up to it. What better pair of ‘gateway’ Lps could you wish for? I imagine things would have turned out very differently if it had been Archie Shepp and Ornette Coleman.
17) Eno again, but this time in a production capacity as he twiddles the Hansa Studio knobs for Mr Bowie. I first heard Heroes in a friend of a friends flat I’d stumbled back to after the pub in my early drinking days. The A side is ace of course but the flip side was the first time I’d heard anything remotely ‘ambient’ ….I was entranced. I also remember waking up there the next morning and looking over to see Rob Eslor asleep in a puddle of his own piss.
18) I was never a massive fan of Japan, but once David Sylvian started exploring the ambient side of things I was hooked. Gone To Earth LP2 is a stunning section of textures, minimal approaches and treatments that captivated me from the off. Bill Nelson plays lead acoustic guitar on this track.
19) Led Zeppelin - Bron Yr Aur / Led Zep III. Very big Zep fan around 12/13 years old. Big brothers introduction again. They’re homogenous now, but they still felt ‘underground’ when I came across them. Certainly didn’t see or hear them performing on TV or Radio. Obviously they were selling huge amounts of LPs and doing packed out shows to thousands, but all of it was away from the zeitgeists glare. When they did get referenced they were marginalised as 'heavy metal', which amused me no end. John Bonham is one of the funkiest drummers Ive heard. Picked a pastoral number to fit in with the playlist vibe.
20) I do love Brian. I didn’t set out to feature him so heavily, but he obviously deserves a front seat considering how much of his work has seeded my ideas. Iconoclast, pioneer and general maker of good and interesting things. Erudite and engaging when discussing ideas. A signpost as I was learning my craft. Chapeau Eno! . . . Apollo is an extraordinary LP. Which has serviced many an altered state. A fitting end.