Yesterday I felt like listening to some Christmas music, and had a hazy memory of having a CD of the All Souls Orchestra somewhere. I had a flick through my CD folder but couldn’t find it, and then remembered that I’d looked for it last year and found it to be broken – CDs, it appears, are not 100% bullet-proof after all, and this one had decided that the silvery backing wanted to peel off, rendering it well and truly dead. So, that CD had ended up in the bin about this time last year. So long All Souls Orchestra.
At least, that was until I noticed I had a backup CD in my folder that I had created way back in 2002, on which I had crammed 9 music albums, some of them 2-disc albums, in MP3 format. Lo and behold, there was the All Souls Orchestra album! So I got to listen to the Christmas music after all.
Well, eventually. Trouble is, I found there were a whole load of other albums backed up there that I thought I’d lost and were in need of a good listening to. In particular I found “Who Plays Wins”, a recording of a Stilgoe and Skellern show. Richard Stilgoe used to be reasonably well-known a couple of decades ago, known particularly for his appearances on one of the news programmes where he would compose a song based on the news items of that day. Peter Skellern had a top-10 hit with his song “You’re a Lady” some years ago (i.e. before I was born), and while he never matched that level of national recognition he went on to record several more albums in which he sang 6 part harmonies with himself (multitracked, obviously) and played the piano. Stilgoe and Skellern made a fantastic pair, and we actually went to see their final tour a few years back in Torquay. The CD I unearthed included several of the songs from that tour, and it’s absolutely hilarious – Peter’s sheer brilliance on the piano combined with Stilgoe’s sharp wit and use of language.
Also among the treasures was a CD of Spike Jones (think 40s jazz played very badly, on purpose, using hose pipes as instruments, crazy sound effects and crazier lyrics, and then add a load more randomness, and you’re almost there), some cinema organ music, and a couple of Christian albums. It’s nice to know that my backups actually come in useful eventually!!