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Martin Carr (Boo Radleys)

Martin Carr was born in Britain's northernmost town in 1968. After fighting in the Great Indie Wars 1986-89, he made records with his band, the Boo Radleys; some great, some not so great. Exiled in Wales Street since 2001, he continues to write songs, shout at children and stare into space.

Selected releases

  • James Carr 'A Losing Game'

    My Grandad's name was James Carr but I'm pretty sure this isn't him. My Grandad was a pasty Irish racist who played Danny Boy on the penny whistle and drank himself to death while this dude has a voice like a wounded wildcat shouting the blues amidst the driving rhythm of midnight rain. Songwriters and arrangers, wrapped up in the certainty that the more we pile our genius onto tape the better, have lost the ability to squeeze so much guts and glory into two minutes five seconds. Shame. 

  • Sharon Tandy 'Hold On'

    A friend played this to me in a North London kitchen a couple of years ago. I was immediately struck by the guitar solo, right across the chops. There are few records played with such abandon. 

  • Junior Wells 'Help Me'

    When I was fourteen or fifteen the documentary Chicago Blues (1970) was on the television. My dad would always let me stay up late if there was music on and I would always tape it in case it was great. The two guys I fell in love with were Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. They played with such an intensity and passion that I wasn't really feeling from the Thompson Twins, who I'd been pretending to like for months. I became obsessed with the film and Chicago blues, my mum bought me a Lee Oskar harmonica from Mersey Music in Liscard and I found a guy in the local paper who gave blues harp lessons not far from my house. He was a great man, had an incredible blues collection on vinyl, cassette and VHS. I borrowed a couple of books from him that, to my shame, I still have and I'd love to give them back but I can't remember where he lived. I could play pretty well and although I can still bend a note round the corner into a different room, I lost the feel years ago. I love his playing on this, the tone, the rhythmic thud and of course his vocal delivery. He can go from a desperate shout to a battered croon with a line. A master.

  • Ty Karim 'Only A Fool'

    Great intro. Again the vocal is overloading to the point of distortion. Like films, the advancement of technology in recording is usually to the detriment of the vibe. Or it could be the case that it was mastered off a cassette. Ask Ace. Another two and half minute goldmine. My intros are usually four minutes.

  • Smokey Wilson 'I Want To Do It To You'

    DO IT TO ME, SMOKEY. DO IT TO ME ALL NIGHT LONG! I have no idea what he wants to do but it sounds like fun. Unstoppable record.

  • The Vibrations ''Cause You're Mine'

    Raw vocal and wonderful arrangement. Again, and this is something that has struck me while compiling this top ten, they pack so much into a little over two minutes, it builds and builds and something different happens after every chorus and it MOVES. It is now my ambition to make an album filled with two and half minute stompers. I have a wing in the house devoted to my ambitions.

  • Love 'Love is Coming'

    "Forever Changes" changed my life as a teenager in the eighties and it took me years to play anything else by Love. Only Arthur Lee remains from the band that recorded "Forever Changes" on 'Love Is Coming' but it still has the pop/rock/soul heart that makes his sound so distinctive. I offered to buy him a drink once when I found him talking to my mum. He asked for ten vodka and oranges. That is TRUE.

  • Alex Chilton 'Every Day As We Grow Closer'

    Beautiful changes on this, it's a real swooner. I've never been completely won over by Big Star but it's songs like this that keep me trying. It's like Sunflower-era Beach Boys, you can hear how they would have done the harmonies. I can take or leave the last thirty seconds, mostly leave.

  • Ace Of Cups 'Music'

    Ahh, The Ace Of Cups, what a band. We're so lucky to have what we have of this band because, unbelievably, they never made a record. They played tuff R&B, gospel, a capella, yearning ballads and they sound like they played and sang together all the time. A joy to listen to. 

  • Esther Marrow 'Walk Tall'

    Another impeccably produced record. Esther Marrow has such a powerful presence, her voice dominates at all times throughout the driving funk and mighty brass section. And that bass sound, OW!