Mick Crudge is the frontman of Blackpool punk legends The Fits.
We grew up together through the punk rock wars in the tatty seaside town when I was starting off my band The Membranes. Mick was always a charismatic frontman and when the band were out of a deal I connected them with Crass who put the band’s stunning “Tears Of A Nation” out on their Corpus Christie label.
The band have reformed for an eagerly awaited set at this years Rebellion Festival and more gigs are rumoured.
You can see a video of The Fits in action at the foot of this – Mick’s Top Ten Albums.
1. Bob Dylan: “Times they are a changing”Â
I discovered Dylan when I took off across America. I was looking for something I’d never heard before and although his voice is now part of the conscious & unconscious back drop to many of our lives.
This album just startled me, the delivery and texture of his voice and the guitar playing. You instantly believe him, that is to me what great singers are about, it’s not the technique or the range etc it’s “do I believe him or her or not”Â I don’t think there is one word on this whole album I don’t believe. ”ËSpanish boots of leather’ I listened to over and over again for hundreds of miles, at times it actually made me weep. Beautiful.
(Editor’s note: I don’t think there are any video’s of any tracks from this album on YouTube. As far as I can tell they’ve all been taken down, except for inevitably ropey cover versions of course. However if you go here you can see a brilliant version of the title track recorded in 1965)
2. Lou Reed: Transformer
Transformer really grew on me over time. I suppose it was better that way as it is still hovering around the record deck. It never fails to lift my spirits and make me smile.
Lou Reed delivers the story perfectly. ”ËTake a walk on the wild side’ ”Ësatellite of love’ & ”Ëperfect day’ are now undisputed masterpieces. The Bowie vocals and Mick Ronson guitars and arrangements are genius. Subtle incredibly beautiful and at the same time cheeky and very funny.
Transformer is to New York what New boots and panties (Ian Dury) is to London. I love the idea that a record sounds like a city, or at least what you ”Ëimagine’ a city or country to sound like.
3. The Sex Pistols. Never Mind the bollocks.
This just had to be in. I have phases on it. But when ever I hear it is still stops me in my tracks. There isn’t a weak link in here to me, great songs.
Rotten/Lydon is/was the most spine tingling vocalists of all time the way he gets his tongue around phrases and words combined with the power and delivery of Steve Jones guitar.
They really did alter the whole landscape with this, at the time when we were just kids it all seemed so obvious once it was out there but in retrospect you see what was around and it’s impact is even greater. I wonder if they really knew it in the eye of the hurricane. Greatness is bestowed on something after the fact when you’re just in the moment greatness doesn’t matter, it’s the moment that counts, Never mind the bollocks is certainly a moment.
4. David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust
It is hard to believe that this was recorded in 1972. I couldn’t pick a favourite song off it. I have never got bored of it. I remember a time I was listening to it and got really depressed as I figured after Ziggy Stardust there really wasn’t much point in playing and writing any more as everything is on there, it had all been done and said.
As far as rock n roll albums go there really is nothing better. They sound like they knew something at the time the rest the world was unaware of and although Bowie is the song writer genius arranger etc without the elements that come together at a time to deliver what has been put forward it would be nothing. Ronson and the spiders from Mars were just brilliant. Perfect.
5. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Murder Ballads
This is just storytelling at it’s very best. Nick Cave is the classic vaudeville villain here, a part he obviously relishes, it is this relish that is so captivating. It never fails to make me laugh out loud. I read somewhere that there are around 49 murders on it and on the surface of things it’s not a good recommendation. A friend warned me as I discovered it in his collection “you might not like that it’s very violent”Â I of course listened and just didn’t understand his apprehension. It has such a wonderful humorous atmosphere.
The bad seeds are at their very menacing best on Stagger Lee. Nick cave had said somewhere it was his most successful album because Kylie is on their, it isn’t, it is simply because it is a brilliant piece of writing recording and delivery. The curse of Millhaven just makes me smile thinking about it as I write this. Fantastic stuff.
6. The Black Crowes: The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion
If you want to hear crunching beautifully woven guitars this would be my top choice. The black Crowes are at their very very best here. They swing and rock and power there way through these fantastic songs. No Speak No slave is simply stunning, such a fantastic riff delivered with razor sharp duel guitar precision (Rich Robinson & Marc Ford) The sound of the guitars here are exquisite, like they are loving the ride.
There is a piece of music in Remedy where the band drop out, just the bass and keyboard, a simple clever little move that probably just happened by accident. But accidents like this don’t just happen you have to know and love the horse you’re riding to know when to reign it in or let it run.
7. The Damned: Strawberries
I loved this record, have from the moment I heard it. Again a band at their very best, I was really impressed with how musical the Damned had become but not lost their wild edge. Captain Sensible became such a fantastic guitarist, he always was I suppose, Dave Vanians rich voice & witty punchy lyrics, Scabies and Gray just awesome controlled speed and weight behind these great songs.
It has been such a tough choice between The Clash first album and this, but over the last few years I have played this album more. I particularly love ”ËIgnite, and ”ËDozen Girls’ which should have been a huge hit, it builds and builds layer upon layer. Great band great songs, great production, great album.
8. The Beatles: Revolver
The Beatles just had to be in here. They are the major part of the sound track to my childhood and so have subconsciously influenced me through out my life. That period of 65 & 66, there is something even now that when I hear Lennon and McCartney together from this time that makes me dreamy.
Eleanor Rigby is an example of perfectly crafted and delivered song writing. This album also has the hints (experiments, strings, textures, strange instruments, backwards guitar etc) of what was to come.
In retrospect and set against the modern recording machine it stands as a testament of what you can do with simple basic recording facilities if you have the songs the inclination and the talent. The Beatles were the trailblazers.
9. Radiohead: The Bends
It is just absolutely sonic in places and incredibly tender in others. The production is just spot on, I couldn’t get enough of it when if first came out, the punk influences are all over it too, particularly magazine. But that is how it should be taking elements you have grown up with taking it in and making it your own.
Beautifully crafted songs. There isn’t a weak track on here. Thom Yorke’s voice at times is just out of this world. A total complete record. Sorry Siouxsie, Helter Skelter was the missed penalty after extra time.
10. Pearl Jam: Ten
This has been such a hard thing to do. I was sure it was going to be “The screaming Blue Messiahs Gun Shy”Â but then I played Pearl Jam this morning and swung the other way.
Just the sheer power and the way the band have woven together on this album. I also have such fond memories of coming home Blackpool and listening to it with my Dad, so it’s a nod to him too.
There are so many examples where a bands first album says everything, has all that pent up angst, frustration and drive to break through, the need to make their mark. This album has all those elements you can feel them playing it you can feel them wanting it. I have never got bored with it, it rocks and it sways like a great tree does when a strong wind pushes against it. Fantastic.
Honorary Mentions: (that I haven’t already mentioned)
Buzzcocks: Another music in a different Kitchen
Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin 4 (SOZO)
Bauhaus: In a Flat Field
Adam & The Ants: Dirk Wears White Sox
Jane’s Addiction: Ritual De Lo Habitual
Ryan Adams: Heartbreaker
Sound Garden: Down on the Upside