Michael Marra: The Bard of Dundee and Modern ScotlandGerry HassanScottish Review, December 13th 2017 Michael Marra – musician, artist and force for good – was a precious Scottish gem. He was unique in his art but also in his delivery and style; singularly understated, modest and often humble to the extent that at times he hugely underpromoted himself and his work. It is worthwhile celebrating that the writer James Robertson has contributed his time and intelligence to produce a biography of Marra - ‘Michael Marra: Arrest This Moment’. This is a fascinating book, and important beyond the subject
MY YEAR IN MUSIC 2016December 16th 2016 2016 will be certainly be remembered as a year and for more important things than music. But it was also a year of musical genius and of great losses – which words are not adequate to describe. Without further to do my musical highs: MY BEST ALBUMS
David Bowie – Black Star
A magnificent goodbye. Bowie’s best album since the early 1980s. Not easy listening and with added pathos.
Nino Katamadze and Insight – Yellow
A Georgian Goldfrapp – only more melodic without losing the experimental
What do we do with lives and dreams after shopping?Gerry HassanThe Scotsman, January 19th 2012 Another tottering titan fell this week with HMV going into administration. It is the latest in a long line of retail closures: Jessops, Blockbusters, Comet, JJB Sports. This is part of a powerful challenge to the high street, to Britain’s sense of itself and its town centres, and in the case of HMV, the music industry, coming after the closure of Virgin, Zavvi and Tower Records. These stories are usually imbued with a golden sense of nostalgia, people fondly remembering their youth and
Gerry’s Desert Island Disc GroovesGerry HassanAugust 10th 2010 For some reason over the last few weeks I began thinking about my Desert Island Disc choices. In part it has been listening to the show a bit more of late – usually by accident, rather than design – caused by an increase in Radio 4 listening. Then there is my rising dissatisfaction with the conservatism and smug self-satisfaction with what modern pop culture has turned into. People going on about the Beatles. Give it a rest. The sixties. Punk and new wave which turned out to be even more
Gerry's Top Sixty Albums of the Decade Part SixDecember 18th 2009Nos. 10-1 Into the final furlong. This has been both exhausting and exhilarating; now I know how much work those boys and girls at ‘NME’ and ‘Uncut’ work on their end of year lists. For me personally it has been an even more varied, stimulating and utterly captivating decade in music than ever before. There are though some interesting (and some ominous signs) in the state of music (and I am not just taking about Cowell and the X Factor). There is the state of pop and plastic
Gerry's Top Sixty Albums of the Decade Part FiveDecember 17th 2009Nos. 20-11 Just like the chart of olden days into the Top Twenty. Cue CCS ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and Jimmy Saville with cigar! It is interesting to note what didn’t make my list. So as I said no Sinatra and I kind of feel guilty. The one Frank release which could have made it was ‘Sinatra in Hollywood’, a brilliant and comprehensive collection of all Frank’s film music – which is saying something – and which had for the first time the theme music for the stupendous ‘On
Gerry's Top Sixty Albums of the Decade Part Four December 16th 2009Nos. 30-2130. Post-War, M. Ward, 2006 This sound very old and very modern, fragile and unique and covered in a sepia-toned mood with Ward’s vocals as if they are coming from the past and the future. It all creates a very distinct atmosphere, with the ghost of Dennis Wilson in there alongside a cover of Daniel Johnston. This album follows his ‘Transfiguration of Vincent’ which is also superb, containing an acoustic, spellbinding cover of Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’. 29. The Drift, Scott Walker, 2006 This is music
Gerry's Top Sixty Albums of the Decade Part ThreeDecember 16th 2009Nos. 40-3140. America Brasil, Seu Jorge, 2008 Rio born Jorge broke through with the music for the film ‘City of God’ and then at some point did an album of Bowie covers in Portuguese which got a lot of attention, but passed me by. This is an album of his own compositions, which while varied in style, has an overall sense of up-beatness, the spirit of bossa nova, being breezy and filled with life and vitality. 39. In a Bad Mood, Geraint Watkins, 2008 Watkins is one
Gerry's Top Sixty Albums of the Decade Part Two December 15th 2009 Here is Part Two; numbers 50-41 .... 50. Singing for Life: Songs of Hope, Healing and HIV/AIDS in Uganda, 2007 What an unbelievably life-affirming album this is. Addressing one of the most serious issues of our time: the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa, ‘Singing for Life’ details the response of Ugandan musicians. With titles such as ‘Death is Bad’, ‘AIDS Finished Us’ and ‘The Graveyard is Our Home’ some might think this a bleak listen, but it is a celebration of the human (and musical) spirit. 49.