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Steve Davis' Interesting Alternative

Listening to the soundtrack of our lives.

I was besotted with soul music during the 80s and 90s. I was jazz-funk hijacked! Mole Jazz record shop in King’s Cross stocked both jazz-rock and jazz-funk. The staff were obviously knowledgeable and pounced on my claims of Herbie (Thrust), Chick (Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy) and Weather Report (Tale Spinnin’) and probed further. This was a revelation – the bands also had people singing! A long time since my virgin purchases of Hold Your Head Up and Heart Of Gold.

I was ready to explore. One Dee Dee Bridgewater album later and I’d become a fully signed-up member of the Robbie Vincent radio show for my weekly fix. Very quickly I was dragged (willingly, testifying) into the silly world of rare soul. I don’t regret it for one moment… except that I’m lying! I missed out on the timeline of discovering all the artists that should have been part of my musical DNA heritage.

Many years ago now, I explained to a soul collector mate that I’d practically stopped listening to soul. Nothing wrong with the music – it’s inspirational, heart-wrenching stuff – but truthfully, it’s a pretty narrow bandwidth. The umbrella of prog, in comparison, is huge and its connected genres make it a veritable marquee! I thought he’d be disappointed at my confession, but on the contrary, he surmised that when people reach a certain age, they return to the music of their teenage years – a time of happy memories, perhaps?

Maybe he’s right. When I listen to Hazard Profile (Soft Machine), I’m taken back in time to buying pints of real ale (underage) before their 1974 concert in Greenwich and sitting, blotto, watching two John Marshalls whack out two 30-minute drum solos – both at the same time! The Runaway (Gentle Giant – In A Glass House) reminds me of sitting with my parents watching Raquel Welch get most of her kit off in the film One Million Years BC.

Playing The Game (Gentle Giant) sees me walking home in plimsolls after having

my Power And The Glory LP stolen, along with my shoes, from the PE lockers. _Nirvana

For _Mice (Henry Cow – Legend) will forever be associated with Subbuteo at my musically like-minded schoolmate’s house, whereas East Of Eden’s Mercator Projected morphs into Action Man boot cricket, a hybrid played on the same Subbuteo pitch!

But hardwired into my brain is C’mon (Man – _Back Into The _Future) and our council flat kitchen, with my quarter-size snooker table pushed up against the wall, practising every evening after school. Tell me your memories on Twitter @stevesnooker.

Catch Steve’s Interesting Alternative Radio Show every Monday 10pm-midnight at