Doctor’s Orders: Jamie Webster prescribes his nine favourite albums
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  • Post published:03/02/2022
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(Credit: Press)

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Doctor’s Orders: Jamie Webster prescribes his nine favourite albums

@josephtaysom

    Liverpool singer-songwriter Jamie Webster is a compelling talent with the rare ability to write potently about the world around him. His debut album, 2020’s We Get By, became the inaugural number one album on the UK folk chart, and he has continued to extend his loyal army of fans from that moment on.

    Naturally, releasing his debut album in the middle of the pandemic was a strange experience for the 27-year-old. Unable to tour his material, it was understandable that the situation impacted his mental health as he started to trick himself into believing the momentum he’d worked years to build up was slipping away from his fingers.

    Webster uses these unwanted feelings to fuel his songwriting on the new album, Moments. The emotions that Webster pours into the record will be familiar to many of us who have also struggled at various points over the last two years, making him a fitting guest on our Doctor’s Orders series in association with mental health charity CALM.

    CALM, whose full working title is ‘Campaign Against Living Miserably’, offer a free, confidential and anonymous helpline for those most in need of mental health support. Now lockdown measures have eased, that doesn’t mean that the impact of the last 24 months has ended, and CALM still needs as much help as possible to carry on with its excellent work.

    We at Far Out believe in music’s ability to heal. It could be the moment that the needle drops on your favourite song and provides respite from a chaotic world, or, conversely, it might be the fanatic conversation you have with friends about which guitarist was the greatest. Music, it’s safe to say, has always allowed us to connect with one another and ourselves.

    In support of CALM, we’re asking a selection of our favourite people to share nine records that they would prescribe for anyone they met and the stories behind their importance. Doctor’s Orders sees some of our favourite musicians, actors, authors, comedians and more offer up the most important records, which they deem essential for living well.

    If you’re able, and if you can afford to, please consider a small donation to help the CALM cause. £8 can answer one potentially life-saving call.

    The selection of records that Webster turns to when he needs something to uplift him is an eclectic mix that borrows significantly from yesteryear, and there’s a clear arc that aligns all of his choices together.

    Additionally, the Liverpudlian also makes ‘Doctor’s Orders’ history with his final pick by breaking an unwritten rule of the series, but he passionately justifies his reasoning for doing so and explains why it’s a worthy nomination.

    See Jamie Webster’s choices in full below.

    Jamie Webster’s favourite nine albums

    CSNY – Déjà Vu 

    The first selection from the 27-year-old is Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s sophomore album Déjà Vu which Webster says arrived in his life at a poignant moment.

    He frankly tells Far Out: “I sort of discovered this record during a decline in my own mental health during the second lockdown. I’d rolled away with the album, everything was good, the momentum was there, and we thought we’d get out to connect with the fans, but we’re given another blow. All that momentum began to slow, and it was a worrying time for myself. It almost helped me get out and write this new album.

    “The actual music itself just makes you feel better, them three, four-part harmonies are just blissful and just saturates your ears if you’re in a bit of a bad mood or feeling down, it’s a natural way to pick you up.”

    Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

    While Stop Making Sense isn’t a traditional studio album, it brings together the best of their work across a breathtaking concert film, and it’s proven to be a real source of escapism for Webster.

    “‘This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)’ is my favourite song in the world,” the singer enthusiastically notes. “You can’t help but snap your feet and follow the journey.”

    It’s another record that entered his life at a later point. Although he’s always been a Talking Heads fan, after watching the film that accompanies the album, his love for the group escalated, and he developed a healthy obsession for them.

    “I watched Stop Making Sense for the first time then went on a running spree when I was trying to get out of my head a little bit, and I’d run every day with Stop Making Sense on in my ears. It would just make me feel better every time,” he openly adds.

    Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde

    The influence of Bob Dylan shines through into Webster’s work, and it’s no surprise to see the bohemian troubadour make his way onto his list. “It’s just a great album,” he says about Blonde on Blonde. “From the first track, ‘Rainy Day Women’, and that hook line, ‘Everybody must get stoned’.”

    He continues: “I think it’s just cool as fuck. Obviously, the production is very olde worlde, too. The melody to ‘I Want You’ just makes you feel good, and even the way that he says his words in his classic Bob Dylan way,” Webster states before delivering an on-point rendition of his hero. “It’s almost as if he’s trying to amuse you, and it just makes me smile a lot.”

    Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

    Webster writes about the world that he observes around him. That’s why his songs are connecting with so many who are latching onto his work with the same intensity as the singer once did with Arctic Monkeys.

    “It’s a statement, obviously great songwriting from Alex (Turner), and frighteningly good playing, especially from Matt Helders,” he energetically says. “The lyrics are just so real, and it documents the frustrations of being a young lad who is into the indie scene. It’s just perfect.”

    Webster adds: “You’ve been in that pub, you’ve been in that town where everybody thinks they are a bit of a hard case. ‘A Certain Romance’ is the pinnacle track of the record for me.

    “‘Fake Tales Of San Francisco’ for anyone that’s been in a band on the circuit is just unbelievable, ‘Yeah I’d love to tell you all my problems, You’re not from New York City you’re from Rotherham, So get off the bandwagon and put down the handbook’ — I have wanted to say those words to so many people. They are speaking for us on that album.”

    (Credit: Press)

    Oasis – Definitely Maybe

    Following on the same debut album trajectory, Webster’s next choice sees him take a trip to Manchester Oasis’ Definitely Maybe is another record that also encapsulates youth. It was his earliest love affair with music.

    “Oasis were the first band that made me pick up a guitar, although nowadays I don’t listen to them. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I put an Oasis tune on, but, if Definitely Maybe comes on if you’re in the cafe, it makes you go ‘Lad’,” he colloquially adds.

    “It’s just four young lads knocking about who had dreams which they told in that first album. You see yourself in them, and it makes you feel like your dreams can come true too. Songs like ‘Live Forever’ are just full of euphoria, and they do just lift you.”

    Nirvana – Nevermind

    Nirvana’s breakout album Nevermind transported them from cult favourites to a phenomenon, and it’s a record that resonates significantly with Webster despite their perceived differences.

    “It doesn’t reflect in my music,” Webster says about his love of Nirvana. “You wouldn’t think they were a big influence, and it wasn’t as a younger lad, but it’s something that I’ve grown to as I’ve got older.”

    He continues: “It’s just mindblowing, and one of them albums that you don’t even have to like to appreciate for sticking two fingers up to the system. It opened the doors for almost nerdy teenagers who just wanted to make noise and vent frustration. God bless Kurt Cobain, it’s one of the greatest shames of the music industry, and I think it’s a different place today as it was back then.”

    Credit: Nirvana

    The Beatles – Please Please Me

    The following selection from Webster comes from his hometown heroes, The Beatles, and the singer-songwriter opted to pick their debut offering as his favourite from their unparalleled repertoire.

    “It’s just a feel-good record which makes you want to dance, and it makes you want to sing-a-long as the harmonies are just too obvious to ignore. Just the warmness and realness of the record too. They were just four young lads from Liverpool, and when you consider their age at the time and what they went on to achieve,” he says.

    “Just everything that surrounds it really, it’s so hard to put into words I will talk about what it means to me or what it’s done for the music industry. It doesn’t touch upon the subjects that are right or wrong in the world, but it’s just a happy record, and if you’re smiling, then you’re not sad.”

    N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

    While The Beatles are a band that is close to home for Webster, his next pick is from further afield and sees him take a trip to Los Angeles for N.W.A.’s debut album, Straight Outta Compton.

    “With that album, there’s still a lot of what they are talking about going on in the world today, and I think it’s so refreshing to listen to four lads from that background just telling it as it is,” he comments.

    “I was a rap fan when I was a bit younger, and this is a story for dreamers. Those who are thinking I’m not where I should be, and if you look at that story of where they were, and where they ended up through being committed to being real and working hard.”

    Jamie Webster – Moments

    In a first for the Doctor’s Orders feature, our guest has named their own record, and it’s a testament to his belief in his work that he’s willing to put it alongside these eight classics albums.

    “I know it’s egotistical, but I’m not arsed,” he cheekily says. “If you’re an average Joe who has been frustrated these past 18 months, then it’s going to resonate with you. It’s going to make you feel like you’re not alone, and things can be done. There’s more of us than you think, and if we all got together and talked about it a bit more, then there’d be more of us than them,” Webster passionately says.

    Speaking about his approach to lyricism, he adds, “I just try, and write in the same way that I’d have a conversation. There’s tales of love, tales of frustration, tales of political incorrectness, tales of crooked government’s, tales of sadness, but more than anything else; it’s just reality.”

    Stream Jamie Webster’s playlist below.

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