Make room at the inn for a spe­cial edi­tion of the Al­bum Club, p10.

In this spe­cial edi­tion of the Al­bum Club, Daragh Downes hears from one-time mem­bers of Dublin’s home­less com­mu­nity about their favourite al­bums of all time

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Front Page -

JAMES PRIOR, James Harte and Dave O’brien have two im­por­tant things in com­mon. Each has ex­pe­ri­enced the night­mare of home­less­ness. And each is a devo­tee of good mu­sic.

Prior, a blues-har­mon­ica-play­ing Scot who has been based in Dublin for more than two decades now, has spent the past few days ag­o­nis­ing over which al­bum to sin­gle out as his all-time favourite. He takes us through an im­pres­sively eclec­tic list of can­di­dates – with clas­sics such as Bob Dy­lan’s Bring­ing It

All Back Home, Bob Mar­ley’s Ras­ta­man Vi­bra­tion and The Pogues’ Rum, Sodomy & the Lash get­ting namechecked – be­fore an­nounc­ing his win­ner: Are You Ex­pe­ri­enced by The Jimi Hen­drix Ex­pe­ri­ence. The mem­ory of first hear­ing The wind

Cries Mary on AM ra­dio back in 1967 is still glo­ri­ously fresh. “It was the B-side of Pur­ple Haze and I thought, ‘This is some­thing dif­fer­ent’. It was this lovely bal­lad with a re­ally po­etic lyric and lovely gui­tar riffs. And I re­mem­ber get­ting the whole of the al­bum and play­ing it on the old Philips Hi-fi in the house and driv­ing my par­ents mad with it.”

Prior gave the al­bum a fresh lis­ten only the other day. It blew him away all over again. “Look­ing back at all the cuts on the al­bum, it re­ally has every­thing. It’s got this kind of funky rhythm and blues sound to it. It’s got these philo­soph­i­cal lyrics like ‘Is this love, baby, or is it just con­fu­sion?’ Hen­drix is a re­ally old soul! And then there’s this other song on it, an in­stru­men­tal called Third

Stone From the Sun. It’s re­ally jazzy – drum and bass, even. They were like the pre­cur­sor of these styles that came later.

“And even when you’re lis­ten­ing to it now, it goes on and on, it’s a re­ally long cut. At that time, most rock-pop tunes were the stan­dard two or three min­utes, but these ones were re­ally long, you could get into it and just drift away.”

Even the cover photo is a mas­ter­piece. “Jimi’s wear­ing this psy­che­delic flurry shirt, when all the other bands at that time had on this col­le­giate look. And there’s this sort of fish-eye lens, with the three guys sit­ting there and Jimi with his hands in front of him. Those amaz­ing hands he had!”

From left: David O’brien, James Harte and James Prior.

Pho­to­graph: Cyril Byrne Mu­ral: Kube

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