I decided not to listen to any music for the first five days of my trek. I wanted to absorb the sounds, sights and smells and capture as much of my adventure with my camera as I could, rather than just plodding along wearing my headset, listening to music.
When I left New Bridge early on day six I started listening to my music, just random stuff really. With today’s music players it’s so easy to skip tracks, change album and artists at the push of a button. I decided to do something rather revolutionary! I decided to actually play a complete album all the way through, from start to finish, the way the artist had intended. This was probably something I hadn’t done for some time.
I scrolled through the 7GB of music on my phone and selected the perfect album. Setting Sons by The Jam. As the album played, a flood of nostalgia swept over me and seemed to aid my progress as I descended the steep, never-ending stone steps, leading from Chomrong to Jinhu.
Growing up I was a massive fan of The Jam and was fortunate to see them live in concert on five occasions. When Setting Sons was released in November 1979, The Jam were establishing themselves as one of the biggest bands of the time. Setting Sons was The Jam’s fourth album and it’s release was eagerly anticipated at the time.
In the days before MP3 and downloads, a new album release by a major band was a big deal. In my local town in 1979, the only places to by music were independent record stores, like Dexter’s, and good old Woolworth’s! I had chosen to join a record club, had placed my order and eagerly awaited delivery of my copy of Setting Sons. As a side issue, why I was a member of a record club at 16 years old I’ll never know.
When the album arrived the process of playing it began. Firstly I unwrapped it from its packaging. Then it was down to studying the album cover and inner sleeve. The inner sleeve contained all the lyrics for the tracks on the album and other useful information. Now for the moment of truth, the first play. I removed the black disc from the sleeve and placed it gently onto the turntable, lifted the needle across … bring bring, bring bring, bring bring, girl on the phone keeps ringing back …
It’s amazing listening to brand new tracks by your favourite band, playing them over and over until they become familiar. Letting them flow over you, tracks that through time become classics. The Jam were recognised as on of the best live bands around. Their concerts were always fantastic, with great energy and an amazing atmosphere. Check out the clip below as an example.