WARMER MIXTAPES #1378 | by Ruth Willow

1. Lindisfarne | Dingly Dell
I would constantly visit places all over the UK, from the Scottish Highlands to the Southern Coast, often finding and adopting different types of Music like Celtic and Folk. One of these places, was the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and, as inspiring as it was, the Music I discovered there stole the lime light. Lindisfarne are from Newcastle upon Tyne, but named after the Island. I could happily have just written 10 of their songs here, I have a lot of love for their work, so you can imagine how much I struggled to choose just one. But in Dingly Dell they create something that, once you listen to, somehow describes itself and what Lindisfarne is, just by how it makes you feel. Fair to say, I’m very grateful to have discovered this Music from such a young age, and for it to have influenced me, they are my favourite band and a huge inspiration to me and my own Music!

2. Roxy Music | Just Like You
I’ve always had a weakness for 1970’s Music, especially Rock, probably sprouting from Sweet Home Alabama being a childhood soundtrack, as well as a truly great song that I have huge respect for, right down to its message. The song Just Like You actually played in a scene on Life On Mars, which, I feel I should point out, is one of my all time favourite TV shows that I would watch religiously and seriously fed my love for the 70’s. T.Rex, David Bowie, Cream all making it even better! Only a few lines of this track playing faintly in the background and I was hooked, it has an incredible calming effect and I will still hide away and listen to it as a stress buster.

3. Queen | I Want To Break Free
First off Freddie Mercury is amazing and Queen as a band have made some of the best Music ever, so of course the second I was introduced to them I never turned back! One of my favourite lyrics being I’ve fallen in love for the first time and this time I know it’s for real, it’s so simple but clever, and whether in film, creating new sounds, or just being able to pin point and express very human feelings so perfectly, they really got it right!

4. The Beatles | For No One
I’m now based in Liverpool and for a certainty The Beatles do fill the air sometimes. They have a unique and relaxed feel to their Music, one I link to traveling up from Lancashire to visit friends in Merseyside, and hearing various collections of their songs faintly calling down staircases of what I call the musical homes. I spent lots of time, since leaving School, at home studios and musicians dens, developing my own musical style, and in a way The Beatles Music was part of my journey. For No One is my personal favourite, as well as the honest Acoustic style, it definitely has a special sound to me.

5. Aretha Franklin | Don't Play That Song (You Lied) (Ben E. King Cover)
Aretha singing and playing this song on the piano, especially the strong introduction, is all of the reasons I love both listening to and creating Music. Something that gets said a lot is that I have a very soulful voice, one that you wouldn’t expect from looking at me. The reason probably being that I had Etta James, Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin as my main inspirations musically. I started singing from a young age and was immediately drawn to Motown and Soul, being mainly self taught it was as if these were my mentors in some way. Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City was actually the first song I ever recorded.

6. Desmond Dekker & The Aces | The Israelites
My parents CD collection had a big influence on me growing up, whether I liked it or not. One of the most memorable songs that stuck with me is this. Alongside Madness and The Specials, I was always drawn to anything with a Reggae edge. Also, the 60’s is another preference when it comes to Music, again maybe with thanks to TV influence in Heartbeat and The Royal. Poison Ivy, Runaway, The Shoop Shoop Song, and bands such as The Zombies, The Doors and The Animals are all favourites, and this track has that slight vibe to it as well, being from that era.

7. Georges Bizet | Carmen: Act 1, Scene 5: L'amour Est Un Oiseau Rebelle (Habanera) (Performed by Agnes Baltsa, José Carreras, Samuel Ramey, Leona Mitchell with Metropolitan Opera Orchestra & Metropolitan Opera Chorus, Conductor: James Levine)
I always wanted to sing Classical and Opera, but apart from half learning this and Arietta, I mainly stuck to show tunes and musicals growing up. Despite not being so obvious through my own Music, I am often inspired by Classical songs when I’m writing and getting ideas. I love the way lyrics are expressed in Opera and the way Music speaks without words in Classical, I learnt to feel what Music is through listing to this genre. This piece is brilliant and given the choice I would choose to watch this in an Opera over a live gig.

8. Steelyeye Span | Gaudete (Sacred Christmas Carol Cover)
I had no idea what was being said in this song or even what A Cappella meant before it, but while it was played, the Gothic feel actually put visions of arches and foggy hills to mind. The fact a group decided to do something this different, the idea that you could use a dialect or language you liked in the way you wanted to, to give a totally different feel, pushed me to do what I wanted to with my own Music, sometimes actually going against what I know is correct. Perhaps starting from this, when I write, perform or listen, I’m very visual and try to replicate the atmosphere I imagine the lyrics, story or notes to have, almost placing myself into the song.

9. Kanye West | Gold Digger (feat. Jamie Foxx)
As much as I’d love to fool you into thinking I listen to a lot of sophisticated, Acoustic and Elegant Music all the time, I would be lying if I didn’t admit to my main listening profile consisting of R&B, EDM, and Rap - a lot of Rap. There are literally too many to choose from, but this is probably my most consistent stop what I’m doing and look stupid for a bit track while it plays between Mozart and Adele on shuffle. I also love the take on Ray Charles I got a women, which gives the song an unfading greatness! Another aspect (as well as Soul), that is often picked up on with my own Music, is the Blues element. Blues, for a long time, including Ray Charles, was all I wanted to be and listen to, and I stand by it having a strength that means it will always run through my own Music in some way.

10. Joan Armatrading | Willow
Voices like Rufus Wainwright, Amy Winehouse or Tom Jones have an element of Realness about them, Joan Armatrading is similar. Christina Aguilera got it right when she said You used to have to sing and convey Emotion, and now, well, technically you can do anything with Technology. It sucks for Music today, but that's why that Old Music feels so good to me. Joan Armatrading’s deeper vocals are something I really prefer, but also that element of singing as if just telling a story (as you really mean it) is perfection for me, and I’d put these artists in a whole different league of their own. Hearing something that is technically perfect and precise, can be really amazing, however, I much prefer something warmer, less calculated and with its soul left intact. I knew when I first heard this Music that it was something unique and that if I took singing further, I wanted to be making Music that could stand side by side. Honest and Powerful Music - give me a real voice and heartfelt track any day!