Classic Scottish Albums: Shabby & Definitely Chic

There are some records that stop you in your tracks and make such an impression that you can recall the moment, the weather and the people sitting at the next table the first time you hear them. And then there are others that become so ubiquitous that life seems totally imbued with their sound and vibration. Primal Scream’s Loaded, from our Classic Scottish Album Screamadelica, is somewhere between the two for me. Memory tells me I first heard it on a scorching summer day around 1992, driving along the Broomielaw in Glasgow heading to a little studio on Yorkhill Quay where my Pearlfishers were finishing a record called Za Za’s Garden. But Loaded came out much earlier, in 1990, and was a bona fide hit record so it must have already been in the deep ether. Yet that memory of first hearing is burned on me; I could take you to the exact roundabout I was approaching when the sample ‘we wanna be free and we wanna get loaded’ burst into the picture. My point is less about the exact time and place you remember hearing something and more about the associations that are made in the experience of listening to music. The scorched sound of that record, fuzzy, overloaded, almost on the point of sunstroke; and its half-cut optimism and defiance are perfect symbols of a warm summer where exciting new possibilities were opening up, for me at least, in the shabby-not so chic environs of The Recovery Room Studio, Yorkhill Quay. Loaded just happened to enter the picture on one out of hundreds of days and became a postage stamp in the top right hand corner of a memory.

So, many years later, when I got a call from CSA producer Fiona Croall about doing a Bobby Gillespie interview for our Screamadelica episode I was keen to oblige. And even when the date, the time, the location kept changing and changing back and then changing again I was still keen to oblige. I LOVE Loaded, Bobby. Thanks for that one, man. Finally the call came to say, right, we can do an interview if you can pop down tomorrow and meet him at a café somewhere in North London. What time? It’s a wee bit vague, came the reply, but anytime between 11am and 4pm. Didn’t happen…

But that is a great record, isn’t it? Such a creative, beautiful sound; such an artful tapestry of cool influences, shabby and definitely chic licks, and one of the great non-vocal vocals in the history of rock and roll music. Deep down, indeed.

I do remember some indie band du jour playing at the East Kilbride Arts Centre sometime in the late 90s and getting a bit over excited that they’d been allocated a rider – six bottles of beer, a multipack of Golden Wonder crisps and a Sainsbury’s Variety Sandwich Selection – so much so that the less popular sandwiches were being deployed as weapons in a dispute between the guitarist and drummer. Entering the dressing room the venue manager – the excellent Evan Henderson – urged the band to stop acting like fannies. He’s right, lads, said the lead singer; Bobby Gillespie said in an interview that ye shouldnae trash dressin’ rooms ‘n’ that. It’s somebody’s wee Ma’ that has tae clean it up after ye.

Beautiful stuff. And Screamadelica remains beautiful too. Do enjoy, share and rate our Classic Scottish Albums Podcast and please keep your comments coming.

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