Steve Barker of On The Wire Top 10 AlbumsWhen asked for a list of his Top 10 albums, On The Wire’s Steve Barker simply replied “that’s tough”. After deliberating over a ‘random Top 10’, in his true eclectic style Steve plumped for a 60s vinyl top ten “because I found it difficult to do anything else!”

Here, Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates gives us his final contribution to the On The Wire 30th Anniversary articles. Happy Birthday and long may the show continue!

Bo Diddley – Have Guitar, Will Travel – Checker 1960

The Mighty Bo poses on the album cover astride a scooter with his custom built square ‘geetar’ slung around his neck. This is the one that contains the awesome “Mumbling Guitar”.


Bert Jansch – Jack Orion – Transatlantic 1966

Bert became suddenly fashionable when he was old but in the mid-sixties he was hard-core and supercool. This album, his third, was the
first to feature traditional folk songs but the arrangements were updated and Bert’s playing revolutionary.


John Fahey – The Transfiguration of Blind Joe Death – Transatlantic 1968

This is the one that has “Death of the Clayton Peacock” one of Fahey’s most sublime slide pieces. The album is a link between his old folk blues playing and the newer more radical styles he was developing.


Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited – Columbia 1965

Worth it for the cover alone, the coolest rock star ever changing the face of popular music for all time.


Velvet Underground – White Light White Heat – Verve 1969

A savage assault. Motown was popular at the time amongst young people.


Thelonius Monk – Solo Monk – Columbia 1965

Mind-boggling genius strides the gap between jazz and the American standard with playing that has never been surpassed.


Terry Riley – Rainbow in Curved Air – Columbia Masterworks 1968

This is the soundtrack for cruising an empty Californian highway under a pure crystal blue winter sky.


John Coltrane – A Love Supreme – Impulse 1965

Coltrane and his peerless quartet move seamlessly from jazz to a new form of transcendental music.


Miles Davis – Bitches Brew – Columbia 1970

Releases in 1970 but recorded in 1969 Miles brings funk to the masses, the beginning of his rejection by the jazz mafia.


Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band – Trout Mask Replica – Straight 1969

If you still need to be convinced by this truly breath-taking set of work then drop the needle on “Pachuco Cadaver” for the most joyful piece of music ever.


The On The Wire blog is 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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Born and bred in Lancashire, currently residing in the Rossendale Valley. Everything deserves one listen, but, not necessarily a second. Only (ex-Community) DJ to ever play Nat ‘King’Cole followed by Nine Inch Nails, and, eat Fish and Chips live on air.


  1. Enjoyed this, but the track here by Captain Beefheart isn’t Pachuco Cadaver, it’s Dachau Blues – which could never be described as ‘joyful’!


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