Someone once said you have seven songs in life that give you a shiver. John Cale’s Andalucia is one of mine. It’s totally distilled emotion. It says what it wants to say- apparently effortlessly. One line is ‘Andalucia, castles and Christians’. Four words. Bang on. Poems with four words don’t say as much as that.
When I was a kid I didn’t have much music in my life. My Dad had a few seven inchers- Gary Glitter, Leo Sayer, stuff like that.
I first heard this song about ten years ago. Me and Micheal (from our band Frankie & the Heartstrings) were running a cabaret night at the White Room in Sunderland. We asked everyone who performed to choose a couple of songs to put on a compilation CD that they each got at the end of the night. This was someone’s suggestion.
As soon as I heard it I knew it would be with me for the rest of my life. It was the first song at my wedding to my wife Ruth. My three year old son loves it. It’s the title of my mates second novel.
It’s from John Cale’s third album ‘Paris 1919’. All the bands in Sunderland agree to its class. I didn’t think a record was capable of that- creating unity! It’s just so emotive. It’s really upsetting and happy at the same time. I can listen to it anytime, anywhere.
It’s records like this that inspire me to spread the joy and keep galvanising the community through music and art. Along with touring that’s what I am focused on at the moment- creating our record shop, music venue, coffee shop and gallery – Pop Recs mark 2.
Photo: Pop Recs, Sunderland