I was seduced by the cover. Taken in by the 70’s glamour girl posturing which adorned many a budget sound-alike album bearing titles such as “Top Of The Pops” and “Hot Hits” which provided a cheap facsimile of a hit record collection for the cash strapped youngster. I was both fascinated and appalled by these albums and owned quite a few which got binned quickly once I started to get into record buying.
These albums, although featuring talented session musicians and singers, were the ultimate in unhip and I must admit to feeling slightly misled by Ian Moss’ publishers using this format for the albums on show here which tend to be more undervalued than unhip. Musical tastes very much align with age, as anyone who can remember watching BBC TV’s “Top Of The Pops” with parents will testify and Moss is a few years older than me and so naturally our tastes differ with him having a bit of a penchant for blues influenced British rockers which have never done anything for me. However, he is certainly eclectic with his choices here taking in both the obscure and the mainstream and encompassing many musical styles (Rock n’ Roll, Jazz, Soul, Punk, Disco, Northern Soul, Reggae, Folk are amongst the genres represented here). It’s all written with a great deal of respect (although he really doesn’t like Oasis) as each of the 110 albums (where did the 100 in the title come from?) are valued and re-assessed.
Ian Moss is a Manchester man who says his Top 5 Manchester acts are Roy Harper, 10CC, Buzzcocks, The Fall and The Prick Jaggers (me neither on the last one but Moss is a huge fan) with a collection as described in the foreword as being in a home which is “a living museum to the music of the last 75 years.” The driving force behind this book “celebrates musical diversity and encourages wider listening.” Our musical purchases as represented here only match a handful of times (great to see him describe the much under-rated Imagination’s debut as “a near flawless album that owed nothing to the rule book and all to inspiration and imagination.” I wore my vinyl copy of that album out.) One of the joys of reading this sort of book nowadays is (and I know I’ve said this before) that you can instantly go to Spotify and start listening. Not everything here is available, some is just too obscure but I have highlighted three of his recommendations (David Essex, ELO and Bim Sherman, the last of whom I have never heard of) for future listening. I enjoyed being allowed a glimpse into Ian Moss’ record collection even though this was not the cheese-fest I imagined (and hoped for) when I saw the book’s cover.
100 Unhip Albums was published by Empire Publications in 2019. I read the Kindle edition.