The rules are simple(ish): they can’t repeat an album, and to just make it that little bit more interesting they have to use the same track number from another album. For example, Track 1 could be the opening track of the incredible Stone Roses’ debut ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. Track 2 could be Blur’s ‘Song 2′ – you get the idea? – basically their fave track 1,2,3 etc from 10 different albums

The rules are simple(ish): they can’t repeat an album, and to just make it that little bit more interesting they have to use the same track number from another album. For example, Track 1 could be the opening track of the incredible Stone Roses’ debut ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. Track 2 could be Blur’s ‘Song 2′ – you get the idea? – basically their fave track 1,2,3 etc from 10 different albums

This month’s Fantasy Album has been curated by comedian/podcaster Nathan Cassidy. Nathan has been working in comedy for over 20 years and this year was nominated for ‘Best Show’ for ‘Observational’ at the Leicester Comedy Festival this year. He is a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe and has been nominated for the Malcolm Hardy award for innovation. Since 2019 Nathan has hosted ‘Psycomedy‘ where he discusses the psychology of stand up with a host of fellow comedians including Marcus Brigstocke, Nick Helm, Shazia Mirza and children’s’ TV legends Trevor and Simon.

1 ‘Jesus to a Child’ – (Older, George Michael)

This is the last track I remember recording off the radio on to a tape. Yeah I broke the law, deal with it. I listened to it over and over again. Always loved George, who doesn’t? Recently I’ve learned piano and learned to play this and think I get an idea of why he was regarded as such a good song writer in later years – his first song Careless Whisper is basically the same 4 simple chords repeated all the way through, whereas Jesus to a Child and later songs are all major and minor 7ths and 9ths, B6, if you play the c sharp minor add 9 chord you just think ‘Jesus to a Child’. Saw him live a few times, what a beautiful, incredible artist.

2. ‘Kiss from a Rose’ – (Seal: Hits, Seal)

Love this for a few reasons – on karaoke it’s great and Jack Black does a very funny thing with it on Letterman (YouTube it). But as well as it being a great song I love the fact that (and I hope I remember this right) Seal wrote this, thought it was nonsense (as it basically is) so shoved it away, and only pulled it out when they were looking for something for Batman (Forever). I love that there will be bits of genius in music or comedy or whatever that gets lost and hidden away because your first instinct is ‘that’s shit’ !

3. ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’ – (The Seeds of Love, Tears For Fears)

I’ve been trying to convince people for many years that this song is better than anything the Beatles did. I do that half tongue in cheek but I seriously reckon it stands up. And if you’re drafting an abusive tweet, just listen to it once before you do. The lyrics, the musicianship, the vocals, it’s quite Beatles-esque actually and it’s also got a Bohemian Rhapsody quality about it, splitting off in unexpected directions. Yeah you heard me, it’s better than anything the Beatles or Queen ever did. And it goes on for so long the only way they could end it is they faded down the volume, otherwise it may have gone on forever.

4. ‘Something Happened on the Way to Heaven’- (…But seriously, Phil Collins)

Adore Phil. Saw him at the Royal Albert Hall on the night he later slipped over in the bathroom and had to cancel other dates there. His son was on drums and then piano, they did a duet, it was fucking beautiful. Anyway, listened to this album on a loop at a low point in my life when I was ill for a few months, and this is the one track on there with a bit of hope. I mean it’s a complete banger. And, again I hope I’ve got this right, this is the album he did everything on – he produced, wrote, sang, played every instrument, did it all himself. Love that.”

5. ‘Cowboys and Angles’- (Listen Without Prejudice Vol 1, George Michael)

The whole story behind this album with Sony is now pretty well known, and two of the tracks off it are iconic George hits – Freedom 90 and Praying For Time – but it’s the rest of the album that I think is the true genius, epitomised by Cowboys and Angels, a track I think was about a love triangle he was in where people wanted to be with people and they couldn’t be, and the lifelong heartbreak of that. You saw George’s tortured soul in all of his music, apart from maybe Club Tropicana where you just learned of that Club’s cheap drinks and their lackadaisical membership policy.”

6.’You can Call Me Al’ – (Graceland, Paul Simon)

Anyone that’s seen me do comedy in the last year (and there’s at least three of you) will know why this track means so much. Graceland is one of the first albums I bought, aged 12. It felt very grown up. I also remember buying an A-ha album at the same time and trying to return it because it had a splodge on the cover, and being told that was the design. I was embarrassed of course, but not nearly as embarrassed as I was buying an A-ha album.”

7. ‘Dance with My Father’ – (Dance With My Father, Luther Vandross)

I’m listening to this track a lot right now, because it’s involved in my new show ‘Roses from Joe’. This track makes me cry uncontrollably, and I don’t cry very often so it’s good to let those tears out sometimes, thinking about the people you’ve lost. Luther died so young as well. Live every day like it’s your last, and on my last day I clearly want to be listening to sad Luther Vandross songs and shit from the 80’s.”

8. ‘All I’ve Ever Known’ – (Hadestown Original Broadway Cast Recording)

Got more into musicals recently, training with the excellent Showstoppers in improvised musicals. Much as Rishi Sunak is advising people in the arts to retrain in other jobs, I am actively working to keep performing, keep putting stuff out there and making people feel better and giving them hope. The other day, someone gave me a £20 tip on top of a £10 ticket for a stand-up show saying that they were just so grateful that there was still live
entertainment to go to. Was so lovely. It’s so important, hope. And Hadestown is one of the musicals I hope to see very soon

Bonus 8. Starchild’- (Level 42, Level 42)

Level 42 are amazing, lovely guys and were generous enough to let me sing and play about with them a few years back, singing this song (scroll down to see Nathan Cassidy with Level 42). They are brilliant live too, and I just can’t wait for live music to come back.

9. ‘Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters’ – (Honky Chateau, Elton John)

I played a lot of piano during lockdown, and learned most of Elton John’s back catalogue, and going back to piano chords Elton John is famously C, F and G with the occasional A and D minor and E. But my goodness, while the same chords are used the musicianship and the lyrics make these songs, obviously, iconic. And this song is a lesser known track that I only discovered from a recommendation by a mate during lockdown. I saw Elton play at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas. Dear Rishi, please don’t tell Elton he needs to retrain!

10. ‘Room in Here’ (Malibu, Anderson .Paak)

I recognise that a lot of this album is ‘uncool’ and actually I don’t listen to these songs very much, although if I was putting together my fantasy album (which is what I’m doing right? )they all have to be on. So, here’s a song and an artist I actually do listen to a lot. In fact my current playlist is Anderson. Paak, Vanessa da Mata, B Young, Jamie Woon, Tom Misch, Ocean Alley, Seth XVI and Seu Jorge. So I am cool right, I am still cool. (I mean I do rely on much cooler loves of my life to recommend me these tracks but I’m still cool?). Forget about A-ha… ‘Excuse me this album is covered in gunk’.”

Bonus Track – The Legacy of Milli Vanilli (Thots and Prayers, JL Cauvin)

I’m a comedian, or now Rishi Sunak has made his announcement, I’m a trainee dental nurse.
And one of the best albums I’ve listened to recently is JL Cauvin’s Thots and Prayers. This track on there is what I love most about comedy – someone killing a room cold by mentioning something tragic, and then bringing the crowd back in seconds by saying virtually the same line. Comedy is tragedy plus time. Which is why I’m hoping Rishi is wrong. Hope people, never lose hope. We don’t have to be positive after what we’ve all
been through, but it’s within our gift always to be optimistic.

A big thank you to Nathan for a majestic fantasy album. You can definitely see what inspired him to learn piano over lockdown. The glunk on a-ha is surely their stand-out album ‘Scoundrel Days‘, its a bloody classic and never be ashamed to own a-ha.

Nathan Cassidy will be performing ‘Observational’ on the 25th and ‘Roses from Joe’ 26th October at the Brighton Fringe – reserve your tickets here

For news of shows and online content please check out his website before he vanishes to the world of dentistry.