PSYCHEDELIA LOVES (STANLEY ROAD)
Since going solo in 1992, Paul Weller has confirmed that he is fuelled by a deep-rooted obsession to progress and continually create. From his self-titled debut to his 2012 effort ‘Sonic Kicks’, there is a glorious plethora of recorded brilliance to be found, whether in Heavy Soul, Wild Wood or 22 Dreams.
I knew that Tom would pick a Weller album to praise at one point or another. And who can blame him. Picture a four-year-old Dyer at Saints vs Spurs in 1992 at The Dell, their first Premiership Game of the season. He’s kicking off big time, devastated at the recent loss of Alan Shearer, he’s well and truly on one, the sugar intake is through the roof, and this was the first time he heard Paul Weller, and like many before him, a fixation spawned.
In recent interviews with the Mod Father, he’s proclaimed how absorbent he’s become to music as he’s got older, citing everything from My Bloody Valentine to Gill Scott Heron, and rightly so. You can hardly cast doubt on something you don’t know, and like many of us, he wants to know as much as he can about this freak show. There is nothing more unattractive than someone who genuinely thinks they’re at their musical peak, their knowledge on all things high and mighty, because more often than not, it’s these people with their 30,000 tweets and Instagram photos of vinyl oddities who are actually on the trip to jerk off their fickle cultural ego before the next fad trots from the gutter. In the words of Mike Cooley, ‘Just ‘cause I don’t run my mouth don’t mean I’ve got nothing to say’ – but back to the subject on hand…
It’s his 1995 effort, ‘Stanley Road’, that we want to discuss. Calling more on the rock and soul henchman, rather than the avant-garde, this is one of the best British guitar albums of our time. From the lightening opener of ‘Changing man’, a song I also remember from my childhood, to the gospel closing of ‘Wings of Speed’, everything slots into a perfect melange of what Tom and I would consider all-encompassing.
Appearances from Noel Gallagher and Steve Winwood (of Traffic and Spencer Davis Group fame) are coupled with a rousing cover of Dr John’s ‘I Walk On Guided Splinters (also brilliantly adapted by Cher on her unsung Muscle Shoals album and Johnny Jenkins, with slide legend Duane Allman on guitar – funnily enough, recorded in the Alabama Muscle Shoals region, either at Fame or 3614 Jackson Highway).
The special edition of the album sheds even more light on this melting pot of rhythm and soul and hard-hitting guitar-driven rock, with Weller taking on two BEASTS: Lennon’s ‘Sexy Sadie’ and Etta James’ ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’.
You can learn as much from the man himself as you can from his music. It’s not about being a mod or anything like that, and anyone who pigeonholes someone for their adoration of something that certain cretins may confine to a particular scene or image is nothing short of a total toss pot; it’s about appreciation for someone who you can hear progress through the years on a selection of albums. Hey, if it’s not your bag then it’s not your bag, but you won’t know until you take a precious hour out of your life. Take a little time to listen to The Jam, then The Style Council and then his solo work and you can hear the blossoming of a human who knows nothing other than determination. But hey, I’m sure that new Swim Deep 7” is going to just revolutionise the fucking world, tell me more…