My desert island – just me and lots of men

Someone has commented on the Desert Island Discs page on this blog “#diversityaudit as far as I know none of these are by women”. I have been reprimanded. This is indeed true. But they’re my favourites!

And I not only have black people in there, I have Belgians too! (I jest…) Not that I thought for a moment that I had to have black artists – or Belgians for that matter – to be ‘diverse’ in the ‘ensuring equality of representation’ sense, more that I really love soul music from the days when it really did have soul, and I love SoulWax too, and to have a list consisting entirely of post-punk/indie wouldn’t be a fair reflection of my musical tastes.

But is it wrong that I chose Sam Cooke over Aretha Franklin or Irma Thomas? There are times when both Aretha’s and Irma’s “Without Love” – totally different songs, same title – seems to me to be two of the greatest songs ever recorded. Other times I can take them or leave them. I can never take or leave “Bring It On Home to Me”, it gets me every time. (It is also Simon Cowell’s favourite – to his credit at least he’s never tried to foist an X Factor cover version upon us. Correct me if I’m wrong on that).

There was justified controversy just before Christmas when the Sports Personality of the Year shortlist didn’t feature any women sports stars. Am I guilty of the same crime? But that was about giving a choice of names to put to the public vote rather than being just someone’s very personal preferences…

I accept entirely that women ought to be represented on shortlists, be put forward for prizes… But if I like Joy Division more than the Au Pairs (who I still listen to from time to time) or the Four Tops more than the Supremes (ditto) or Bob Dylan more than Joni Mitchell (sorry, but I can’t stand Joni Mitchell!) then, well, aren’t I allowed to? Or do I have to fly the flag for the female musicians out there, and just pretend I’d rather be entertained by PJ Harvey on a desert island than by Evan Dando?

To compensate, here’s Aretha. Congratulations on getting engaged (again) at the grand old age of 69.

By the way, when I refer to her singing “Without Love” I don’t mean the better-known “Without the One You Love”, I mean “Without Love” which is pretty impossible to track down. John Peel played it many years ago (and I taped it, but many years later found it on vinyl). He said at the end “that woman could turn water into wine just by singing at it”.

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Comments

  • Ben  On January 6, 2012 at 12:21 am

    I’m prepared to accept a whole range of views within the Labour Party. Disagreement isn’t only natural but healthy. Diversity is a strength and is something to be welcomed.

    But there must be limits. You can’t stand Joni Mitchell?!

    • kerrymccarthy  On January 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm

      She’s really annoying! My father bought me a copy of Blue a few years ago, and I tried, I honestly did, but the moment the singing started….

  • Quietzaple  On January 6, 2012 at 6:53 am

    I’m not sure I’d want more than one woman on my island: I’d not want her singing all the time though.

  • Emma  On January 6, 2012 at 8:08 am

    I am very sad to see you don’t have any Dolly Parton, fond memories of getting ready to go out while listening to Dolly.

    • kerrymccarthy  On January 6, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      Getting ready listening to Dolly, then spending the night at the Switch listening to Southern Death Cult, Sex Gang Children and the Virgin Prunes!

  • Paul Bemmy Down  On January 6, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I have a couple of “Vinals” of Aretha Franklin, circa ’67, “Take it like you give it” and “Aretha: Lady Soul”. But, of course, you have not mentioned the greatest of them all, Otis Redding, who incidentally I was lucky enough to see here in Bristol not long before his death. Try “My Girl”, the obvious one, but surely one of his best.

    • kerrymccarthy  On January 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm

      Isn’t the obvious one “Dock of the Bay?” I’ve got lots of his stuff but if I was ranking souk singers it would be Sam Cooke, then Marvin Gaye, then possibly Otis Redding for me… unless you’re getting into lead vocalists in bands, and then Levi Stubbs is definitely top three.

      • thebristolblogger  On January 7, 2012 at 1:42 am

        Marvin Gaye was responsible for probably the most extraordinary soul album ever recorded, which is ideal for a desert island.

        In one of the weirdest/greatest court judgements ever he was ordered to hand over the royalties of his next record to his ex-wife – who also happened to be Motown boss Berry Gordy’s sister.

        The result – ‘Here My Dear’ – captures this meltdown perfectly. I’ve been listening to the thing for the best part of 20 years and still have no idea what to make of it.

        Short of being shot dead by his own father, it’s hard to see how Marvin could top this madness … Oh hang on …

      • kerrymccarthy  On January 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm

        I once did a blogpost about Let’s Get It On, and how he was actually being something of a sex pest. Never published it… Will dig it out for the anniversary in April maybe.

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