He`s got one of the best voices in modern music and he is also an accomplished bass player – but what did he listen to himself when he was young? What influenced him?
Under the Influence
Interview by Tony Stewart
WILSON PICKETT: “In The Midnight Hour”.
At that time I thought it was the best record, and it came out when I first started playing in bands. It’s just the whole feel of the song and his voice, and I took off on that.
JAMES BROWN: “It’s A Man’s World”.
I dug the first things he did, but this was a complete contrast. The first time I heard it, it freaked me out, because it’s a really lovely song with a lot of soul.
BOOKER T. AND THE MGS: “Hip Hugger”.
This kind of music I like. I’ve always admired Booker T, and this is the first thing of his I loved. And I especially like the guitar, which is really simple. I just enjoy the simplicity of instruments, like the simple bass riff and drumming here. Actually there’s hardly anything there at all. It’s so laid back — which at the time was great.
THE BYRDS: “So You Wanna Be A Rock
n Roll Star?”.
I thought this was the best single of ’67, without a doubt. Everything about it is so great. Although everybody used to play it, I think the Byrds version is magnificent.
MARVIN GAYE: “What’s Going On”.
I just love his voice, and the feel of this album was great with all the songs running into each other. But to me it’s something I play in the early morning, because it’s that type of album. I think he has got the best controlled voice, with so much light and shade. There are three or four black people who have rubbed off on me, and he’s one of them.
SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: “There’s A Riot Going On”.
This was it. The bass player, Larry Graham, is the best I’ve ever heard. The whole album is shit hot, but that bass player steals it for me. It’s incredible the way he picks his bass, and he’s got his own style completely.
ALLMAN BROTHERS: “Idlewild South”.
When we first started to play the States in Trapeze, we were in Making, Georgia, where the Allmans come from, and I got to know them pretty well. At the time they were recording that album. I’d heard the album before it came out, in the studio, and it’s incredible because of the guitars of Greg and Duanne. Again they’re all simple songs, really laid back.
DONNY HATHAWAY: “Live”.
I just bought this two or three weeks ago and I haven’t stopped playing it in the car. It’s an absolutely incredible album which has been acclaimed in the States because of his voice. But I’ve really got into the piano playing, and the way he sings across it.
Everything he ever did I’ve got. Even before “Music In My Mind” I dug him, but that did it, because it showed he is so good. I like everything from his musicianship to the presentation of the albums. He sings so excellently, and there isn’t one song by him I don’t like.
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