A music journalist from Caithness has achieved his life’s ambition by writing a book about albums that he considers essential listening.
Robin Murray said he tried to look beyond the tried and true classics and in doing so was able to re-evaluate his own relationship with music.
The book – his first – is called Listen to This If You Love Great Music: 100 Essential Albums That Really Matter, and will be available from next month.
London-based Robin (35), who grew up in Wick, is editor-in-chief of Clash Magazine.
He says the book is “an attempt to erase the slate, find different points of view and allow different voices to be heard.”
Robin explained, “Basically taking the birth of punk, disco and hip-hop as a starting point, he goes from seminal classics to understated gems, from The Clash and Young Marble Giants to Dizzee Rascal and Kanye West, by the way. by Beck, Blur and Beyoncé.
“The book is divided into 10 chapters, focusing on different aspects of music and fandom – so there are some great debut albums and incredible climaxes, super unique statements and incredible returns.”
It aimed for a 50/50 gender divide, “while reflecting the diverse racial identities of fans and musicians.” There is also a chapter on mental health and how it has been represented in modern music.
Ordered by Quarto Books, the fully illustrated volume has a release date of June 1 and preorders are now open. It will be available in bookstores, once the restrictions are lifted, as well as online retailers like Amazon.
Robin attended Pulteneytown Academy and Tain Royal Academy before studying at the University of Dundee.
“I joined Clash Magazine as an intern in 2007 and never left it,” he said. “I then did just about every job I could with the title and became an editor in 2020.”
Robin’s grandfather, Bob Murray, was a tin-whistle player who released an album, produced by John “Fats” Sutherland, and his father Rob Murray was guitarist with Radio City, Zero Option, The Interest, and One Card. Trick. Rob’s brother David was also in Radio City and served as Drum Major in the Highlanders Regiment, while his sister Lorna was bagpipe in the Wick RBLS Pipe Band.
Robin’s parents, Rob and Joan, live in Tain, while her sister Ruth is in Wick. Younger sister Faye, a former student of Tain Royal Academy who played principal violin in traditional music group Gizzen Briggs, lives in Glasgow.
“I am delighted to finally share this book with the world,” Robin added. “Writing it has been a wild ride in 2020, spending my evenings writing and re-writing chapter after chapter.
“Writing the book allowed me to re-evaluate my own relationship with music, to discover new elements in albums that I have loved all my life, while also finding new favorites. It is the realization of a lifelong ambition, and I hope people appreciate it. “