It's Better to Travel

A vinyl copy of 'It's Better to travel' by Swing Out Sister (1987).

The music I heard as a very young child came in the form of the pop hits of the day issuing tinnily from transistor radios. On my first exposure to heavier & harder rock I didn’t care for it - I called it ‘rough music’, so must have valued a certain softness & smoothness in the tunes I heard. In time though, I lost that aural equivalent of a sweet tooth and grew to appreciate the merits of roughness; eventually coming to disdain music I considered to have too smooth or glossy a surface. These latter sentiments prevailed – albeit with gradually proliferating exceptions – well into my forties. Even now I’m deeper into middle age, I often still find myself oddly resistant to certain lower-friction sounds.

A few of last year’s vinyl acquisitions brought me back to music I’d formerly overlooked for those reasons, among them Secret Combination by Randy Crawford; Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway; Sade’s Diamond Life; and (pictured above), It’s Better to Travel, by Swing Out Sister. From the last-named, I was unavoidably familiar with some of the singles, espcially ‘Breakout’, their most successful song. I liked the tunes well enough, and Corinne Drewery’s smoky vocals, but had been less fond of the sheen of their polished production. Now, thirty-odd years on, I can at last better appreciate it for the fine album that it’s always been.