A concept album arrives – and it brings it's own rules…..

1) Jeremy Potter12 Days Of Christmas

This is an immaculately conceived concept – it uses 12 song that reference each of the days of Christmas. It starts with a Partridge and ends with twelve drummers and it also remembers the importance of FIVE GOLD RINGS. If Rick Wakeman had concieved a Christmas playlist this is what he’d have devisied – it’s a concept playlist.

But is it any good ?

Well, actually, yes  it is.

Does it break the rules – yes it does, and in a number of ways (it’s not 10 songs, there not all ‘Christmas’ songs as previously, but loosely defined). Does it matter ? Well…. it’s clever, not only do the songs match their slot but the artists have been carefully selected – ‘Snowy White’ , ‘The Jesus Lizard’. That’s a level of detail that playlist nerds like!

Also, I’m sitting in bed wearing a T-Shirt with Carl Sagan’s face and a quote encouraging the challenging of ‘argument’s from authority’ so I’m going to run with it. It’s by no means a conventional Christmas playlist but it’s been so well curated it would be plain daft to discount.

Any use of Alan Partridge is a good thing, any use of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers is generally a bad thing. ‘Chuckling Hens’ is one of the odder Christmas tracks turned up this year ‘oh the Cock sat up in the Yew tree…. we wish the cock would drop the turd and drop it in your eye’ is a line not easily forgotten. And then on to Snowy White – as befits his background it’s all Floyd and Thin Lizzy fret work and examplary guitar work it is too, a surprisingly good inclusion!

To follow it with Roy Orbison is also a very good move – I could listen to Roy Orbison sing a telephone directory and be enchanted. Then Joan Armatrading, it’s not a Christmas Song but it’s brilliant, properly brilliant (and it also hits big marks on the ‘proximity to Roy Wood’ rule, on the principle that Joan Armatrading lived in Handsworth, and so did I). When Lisa Gerrard arrives I started wondering if Jeremy has found a way of sneeking a peek at my vinyl collection… This Mortal Coil and Dead Can Dance are there.

The Dubliners remind me of my nan and this is also a very good thing, it does also sound somewhat festive. The Jesus Lizard impart a seedy air with ‘Dancing Naked Ladies’ and the variety of the list is helped by it’s inlusion. Silence at Sea is a very nice inclusion and it references the whole concept.

Jeremy has spent WEEKS trying to work out how to include AC/DC in a list and he TOTALLY Triumphs with the ‘Red Hot Chilli Pipers’ notably their use of ‘Thunderstruck’ – firstly it’s festive, it’s the best use I’ve ever heard for bag-pipes and it’s better than the real Chilli Peppers track earlier, which I now see as a deliberate inclusion to highlight their inadequacies. Some loud drumming and hitting things to end with, is a good end.

A cat has been set amongst the pigeons. It’s not even the right sort of cat, or the right sort of pigeons but it’s here and now we have to contemplate is this really a work of genius ?

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