On this week’s Bandpicked, we talk to Allen Tate from Brooklyn-based collective San Fermin on the best albums he snaffled from his parents’ record collection – including Talking Book, Off the Wall and Sound of Silence.
San Fermin return with their third album, Belong, on April 7th. Every single released from the record has been my “very favourite thing I’ve heard this year so far.” Especially the breathtakingly exquisite ‘No Promises’, so I’m super-psyched to hear the rest.
In fact, when I was growing up in the 80s if this record was out AND it was owned by my parents, I would definitely have raided it for my own listening pleasure. Instead I mainly had to cope with the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, Bread and The War of The Worlds soundtrack. I guess that last one was okay. Anyway, the point being, and believe me I will eventually get there – Allen Tate, lead vocalist from San Fermin, had parents with way better music taste than mine.
Here’s Allen Tate on why he chose this particular subject for Bandpicked:
“The first thing I did when I finally bought my own turntable was of course, to raid my parents’ collection in my childhood basement. I was able to successfully “borrow” some pretty cool stuff. Here are my Top 8.”
Jackson 5 – Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5
This was one of the records I have the clearest memory of my Dad playing when I was growing up. Even now when I listen to it, I flashback to playing with my cousins in my basement during family parties. It is amazing to listen to then “little Michael” with all of that talent and charisma and think about all the things he was about to do.
Chuck Mangione – Feels So Good
To be completely honest, I had not heard any Chuck Mangione when I pilfered this for my collection. It was just some of the cheesiest album art I had ever seen and I had to have it. Big goofy grin on the front, group shot of one guy laying across the arms of the other three and band credits that include nicknames… it’s all just too good. Of course, so was the music as I later found out.
The Police – Synchronicity
This was another record I didn’t know that well before I took it, aside from the mega hit ‘Every Breath You Take’. The title track is absolute ripper, one I secretly hope San Fermin will cover one day. My mother says she bought the record on the street while living in New York. I’m not sure where it started out but all of the text and titles on the record are in Spanish which I’ve always found kind of cool.
Sly and the Family Stone – Greatest Hits
This is far and away my favorite record to clean my apartment to. A greatest hits album by a monster group like this is pretty tough to beat. The album opens with ‘I Want to Take You Higher’, ‘Everybody is a Star’, ‘Dance to the Music’ and ‘Everyday People’. That level of undeniable and contagious good energy they were able to cultivate may not ever be duplicated.
Simon and Garfunkel – Sound of Silence
During the first 6 months I had a record player, I listened to this album everyday. I know every scratch by heart. In fact, when I got my dog Mookie as a puppy, I trained him to go to sleep to this album. I would put it on every time I had to leave him in his crate when I went out. Even now, when I put it on he gets up and goes and lies down to nap. “Hello Darkness, my old friend…”
Willie Nelson – Always On My Mind
This is a record of all covers that Willie Nelson recorded in 1982. There is an amazing version of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ and the title track ‘Always On My Mind’ is probably my favorite Willie song of all time. This was another album I frequently put my dog to sleep with (he’s got great taste).
Michael Jackson – Off The Wall
I actually stole three Michael Jackson records from my parents’ collection, Off The Wall, Bad, and Thriller. They are all of course, all time great records by an all time great artist. However, the reason Off The Wall sticks out as a favorite for me actually has more to do with the artwork than the music. Instead of the usual vinyl binding with the spine on the left, this record opens up from the bottom revealing a full body shot of Michael in a suit and bow tie, mid dance move with glowing white socks. I have yet to find my own pair of glowing white socks, but I’m determined.
Stevie Wonder – Talking Book
Last but not least. This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I know every song and every skip on my (Dad’s) copy by heart. Aside from the super hits like ‘Superstition’ and ‘You Are The Sunshine of My Life’ this record also has some my favorite lesser known Stevie.’You and I (We Can Conquer the World)’ is quite possibly one the best songs to play for someone you love and ‘Blame It On the Sun’ is amazing song about wrestling with a broken heart. Neither was ever played in my house growing up without my father going over to the record player, turning up the volume and singing along in full voice. I have done my best to continue that tradition.