Justin Adams: What Are You Listening To?
Robert Plant is out with his eleventh solo album, Carry Fire, and, to celebrate, we hit up his guitarist, Justin Adams, to give us a look at what he’s been listening to. Adams has an eclectic discography, having worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Sinéad O’Connor and various African, Arabic and Irish musicians.
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Down the Dirt Road Blues, “Charley Patton”
The 1920s forerunner of Howlin’ Wolf, himself the progenitor of so much great rock & roll.
The Congos, “Congoman”
Twentieth century sonic genius Lee Perry turns the Congoes’ Rasta chant into an abstract African trance masterpiece.
Television, “Guiding Light”
Marquee Moon showed the way forward for electric guitar when the guitar heroes of the late ’60s couldn’t be outdone. Poetic, spare and never lapsing into cliche.
Brian Eno’s adventures with German innovators Cluster sounds fresh 40 years on. Not much happens, and somehow that’s a good thing!
Terakaft, “Kal Hoggar”
Original members of Saharan guitar band Tinariwen highlight the Tuareg campfire style. Ancient Berber melodies show their kinship with rock & roll.
Najat Aatabou, “Koun Maya”
I first heard this on cassette and couldn’t believe the wildness of Najat’s voice and the upside down rhythm behind it. Years later, I realized that this is classic Moroccan pop, and that Najat is the Dolly Parton of Morocco: outspoken and effortless.
John Lee Hooker, “Baby Lee”
What fascinates me on this track is the tension between the swing of the drums the guitars. An incredibly subtle and relaxed syncopation that is deeply funky.
The Incredible String Band, “The Iron Stone”
I used to listen to little bits of the ISB and not really get it. Recently immersing myself in their music for a tribute gig, I got completely hooked by their playful and profound imagination.
Johnny Burnette, “Train Kept A-Rolling”
Pure adrenaline rock & roll excitement.
Missy Elliot, “Get Ur Freak On”
I love the innovative side of modern R&B. This track is a heavyweight classic with a futuristic sound that seems to reference Arab, African and Indian sounds within hip-hop minimalism.
Van Morrison and the Chieftains, “Raglan Road”
A piece of Celtic lyricism. Van plays the drums as he sings on this one, backed by the Chieftains’ rolling melodies.
Hukwe Zawose and the Master Musicians of Tanzania, “Sisi Vijana”
Hukwe was one of the most amazing musicians I ever met; his music sounds like pure nature to me. Magically lilting, like birdsong.
(Photo credit: deargdoom57)
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