Helen McCookerybook: My Top 10 Albums I

With her new album, Anarchy Skiffle recently released, the former lead-singer with The Horns and The Chefs, Helen McCookerybook, took time to chat to Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates and let him have a list of her (current) Top 10 albums. Here are the first five.

“My top ten changes every day. I have no musical loyalty whatsoever!

These are not in preferential order and don’t have anything to do with skiffle, either”:

Funky Kingston by Toots and the Maytals

An amazing record to dance to and sing along to, with that urban mystique of listening to musicians from another part of the world making music for their own audience. This was appropriated by young British people in the 1970s especially punks whom played it endlessly before the bands went on at gigs.


Gladsome, Humour and Blue by Martin Stephenson and the Daintees

This is my favourite Daintees album. It’s an album to listen to and think about, and an album to dance to, I Can See is a beautiful song that I wish I’d written! It’s been amazing listening to the versions of these songs played on the recent tour, by the band all grown up. The songs have well and truly stood the test of time.


Rockin’ Rollin’ by The Maddox Brothers and Rose

This kitsch hillbilly group were discovered when the A&R men went in search of blues artists in the backwoods of America. Their songs are funny and rowdy and Rose Maddox hollers at the top of her voice. It’s not pretty music but it’s really spirited. She became a solo artist and toured on her own until she reached a ripe old age. And I love their cowboy shirts.


The Velvet Underground (& Nico)

This is the album with the banana on it. My old band The Chefs did a cover of ‘Femme Fatale’ and I love the contrast between the gentle beauty of some of the tracks like that one and ‘Sunday Morning’, and the hellish noise of some of the others like ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’. This is a bit of an art college special because of the Andy Warhol connection. Art colleges were wild in the 1960s and 1970s until the Thatcher grip wrung the spirit out of them: it’s coming back, though.


Colossal Youth by The Young Marble Giants

This is stark and minimal. I love the sound of the twangy bass guitar and the contrast between that and Alison Statton’s wispy vocals. I went to see them live and I thought they were fantastic. There was nobody like them then, and there hasn’t been anyone like them since.


For the second half of Helen’s top ten go here.


The Helen McCookerybook Blog is here. You can follow her on Twitter here and like her on Facebook here.

You can listen to tracks from Anarchy Skiffle here.

All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.


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