Ben James Wood
Artist, maker, tour manager, driver, other.


I write articles, memoir, project profiles and travel journals

Back catalogue

One of the saddest things about discovering a new band in 2016 is that they almost certainly won't have a back catalogue. No poorly recorded early albums (That haven't been destroyed/disowned), no trail of progression through different eras/scenes/moods, no "I prefer their old stuff". Those things are so important to me.

I just can't fall in love with, or obsess over the fine details of an artist who only has one song, even if it's the best song ever recorded. And if they ever make it to album five or six (Unlikely) I doubt I can keep that amazing connection with the first record, from back when it was just them and me, because it wasn't. It's them, me and everyone else. I feel like such a 'play statistic'. Let me be an elitist, damn it!

At the weekend my Uncle Jon was visiting. He was checking out some of my new recordings and asked if I'd been listening to Michael Franks. Who?! Have you heard of Michael Franks? I feel like this man just got created on Sunday afternoon to make me feel like there's a place for me in the world. I'm so sure I'd never heard of him or his music and now I'm in the midst of my most exciting musical journey since my obnoxious and painfully drawn out Toni Braxton obsession which started in early 2014. Eighteen studio albums!

I decided to ration myself to one album per day and then on day two I listened to 'Objects Of Desire' and I've not been able to stop playing it since. I can't move on until I've fully digested its smooth, tasteful glory. There's a fair chance this won't appeal to many of you, I'm prepared for that, but I want to share this song 'Laughing Gas', because it totally rules and because it fairly accurately describes how I've been feeling recently.

I cautiously remain ready for new, contemporary discoveries. There are sure to be young artists with Michael Franks prolific output, dedication to detail, quality and substance over style. Their rise to my attention must take all the time is needs.

P.S. I realise that there are some inappropriate and worryingly disrespectful references to women in Michael Franks' catalogue, not least in the cover and title of this record. I don't know this man personally, but I am aware of the history of rock and roll and of the progress we've made over the last thirty years in that respect. I want to celebrate his work and give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion and hope you'll understand why I'm doing so. Thanks.