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The WILT Archive

What I'm Listening tO

        Since I like to write, quite a few people have suggested I write a blog. But I’m not especially interested in writing about myself. I did enough of that in my book (A Cure For Gravity) and even that is as much about music as it is about me.

        Writing about music is difficult, but I still find it interesting to try. So, once a month, I’m going to write a few words about a few things I’ve been listening to. It can’t hurt, and who knows, it might even do some good.

October 2020 Lockdown edition



'OK Joe, how about a new WILT, about what you've been listening to under lockdown in the UK?' Well, I don't really have the heart for more than a rough sketch, but here goes. 


Colombian music. Lots of different artists. 

Classic Cuban and New York latin music. As well as enjoyably cheesy latin-pop and 'Bugalú' by people like Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo. 

Count Basie. Especially the earlier stuff, with people like Jo Jones, Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Jimmy Rushing . . . 

Ella Fitzgerald and early Billie Holiday. 

Django Reinhardt. My God, he was great. Duke Ellington said he was the greatest European jazz musician, and he's still right. 

XTC (and their wacky alter-egos The Dukes of Stratosphear, a fictional psychedelic rock band from 1967-8. Their complete works have been compiled, re-mixed, re-mastered, and released as Psurroundabout Ride). 

Bob Marley. Especially Kaya(And Toots Hibbert, RIP). 

Beethoven. Especially the third and ninth symphonies. And not because I don't know how great and underrated the second and fourth are!

Ancient recordings of British Music Hall artists. (The ones that were still alive when recordings started to become almost listenable). 

Marlene Dietrich singing Ich Hab' Noch Einen Koffer In Berlin. Living most of her life in exile, she sings of still having a suitcase in Berlin, which she will someday go back and claim. When she opens the suitcase, her former life will come spilling out. But is the suitcase still there? 

German lessons online. Well, it's What I'm Listening To! Hey, they just sent me a certificate saying that, after all this time having einen Koffer in Berlin, my official level is Intermediate. But it's only a 'virtual certificate', and my German is still crap.

Dr. John. Including some lesser-known stuff like his enjoyably peculiar Ellington tribute Duke Elegant. 

Ray Charles. The old Atlantic albums: What'd I Say, Hallelujah I Love Her So, Yes Indeed, The Genius of Ray Charles

Etta James's late albums: The Right Time, Life, Love and the Blues, Let's Roll.

The Pogues. With a side of Dropkick Murphys. And a wee glass of Green Spot.

Fela Kuti and Le Tout-Puissant Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo de Cotonou. 

J.S. Bach's solo violin music.