By David Beard
Peter Lacey grew up in Brighton, Sussex, England. At the end of the millennium, he emerged from the shadows of years of session work on the British scene, earning inevitable comparisons to such legends as Brian Wilson and Burt Bacharach.
Lacey’s music caught the ear of David Paramor, who had worked as a record producer at EMI in the 1960s. Although Lacey had intended them as demos, Paramor was so taken by the songs that he immediately released “BEAM!” on his own independent label, RP Media. “BEAM!” is exclusively available from RP Media (www.rpmedia.force9.co.uk/lacey).
With the release of his eighth album, “We Are The Sand,” Lacey has struck gold.
1. Jimi Hendrix, "Electric Ladyland": Hendrix’s incandescent guitar playing gave the instrument a new warp factor. Most cool, most dangerous ... and the music represented the need to escape from the world my parents and grandparents had known through two world wars — escape and catharsis.
2. Spirit, "Spirit": Underrated band with early West Coast jazz-rock fusion sensibilities, completely new to these ears and telling of the many developments that were appearing as pop music became more sophisticated and eclectic from the late ’60s onward.
3. The Beatles, "The Beatles" (The White Album): The Beatles on a complete roll. A veritable cornucopia of styles and genres melded to make their own. The songs took me to some very bright and happy places and equally to some dark and strange places I’d never been before. Can you take me back where I came from?
4. Steely Dan, "Can’t Buy A Thrill": Musicians’ musician’s music. Again, with guitar soloing I hadn’t heard before. A heady concoction of rock ’n’ roll and jazz. And Becker and Fagen’s lyrics painted an American urban underworld of bizzare characters not to be found in the pastoral environs of my native Sussex, England.
5. Joni Mitchell, "For The Roses": Out on her own as a singer-songwriter, using unusual guitar tunings to craft unusual-sounding songs. Moreover, lyrically she spoke to me — the big sister I’d not have had otherwise. She gave me some emotional intelligence, something rarely found in the words of my schoolmasters.
6. The Beach Boys, "Surf’s Up": Inimitable: At the height of the group’s collective power. I was most impressed by the emergence of Carl Wilson as a sublime songwriter, and to this day never tire of hearing his inventiveness, of which I wish he’d developed more.
7. Yes, "Yes": Lean, punchy and sharp arrangements before prog-rock became overblown. The individual players locked together to create a gestalt far greater than the sum of the parts.
8. Stevie Wonder, "Innervisions": His use of multi-track was almost unprecedented — the pioneering use of synthesizers, the multi-tracking of his own voice, not to mention sublime songs. In fact, I was blown away by Stevie’s ’70s albums in general!
9. Little Feat, "Dixie Chicken": Musicians’ musician’s music again, which they made sound so easy. They locked together as a band into these wonderful, laid-back syncopated grooves led by the recently gone Richie Hayward on drums and the inimitable slide playing of Lowell George.
10. The Who, "Who’s Next": Just for “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” The extraordinary synth-organ loop and Keith Moon’s thunderous drumming still galvanizes me today as it did back then. Such energy!