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picture of Judy Garland

The Lowdown - November 2008

This week we get up close and personal with two of cricket's biggest names and ask ex-Derbyshire legend Fred Swarbrook and England hard man Brian Close to tell us what's rocking their iPods.

picture of Fred Swarbrook

Fred Swarbrook

Fred Swarbrook once had the yips so badly that during a match he bowled a delivery that went straight up in the air and came down on his own head. But after 254 first class games for Derbyshire Fred is now an internationally respected coach in South Africa. We asked him to tell PDCC what's giving him aural pleasure.

picture of Fred Swarbrook
Fred Swarbrook: "I like my rock hard."

Mahavishnu Orchestra: Birds of Fire

I first got into the Mahavishnu Orchestra at an April match at The Parks. I'd taken a few wickets and some of the young Oxford students invited me into their changing room and we chilled out. Imran Khan was captaining the Oxford boys and he said to me listen to this Swarbs. It turned me around there and then. Some people feel it is weaker than Inner Mountain Flame but I love its intensity particularly of Thousand Island Park. I've been fortunate enough to meet John McLaughlin a few times and he invited me backstage at a recent concert in Bloemfontein.

Neil Young: Ragged Glory

Neil keeps on reinventing himself. He'd released a load of dross in the 1980s but had showed some promise with Freedom especially Rockin'in the Free World. This album showed he was right back on top form and with Crazy Horse he just rocked and rocked and rocked.

picture of Clifford T Ward
Clifford orders a half of Home Ales.

Clifford T Ward: Home Thoughts from Abroad

After Derbyshire games at Chesterfield I used to go to The Queen's Head in the town centre with Tony Borrington and Alan Hill. It was full of Heads (as we called ourselves in the 70s) we liked the relaxed atmosphere and you'd see some guys trying to score some weed. Gaye or Home Thoughts, its B side, were always on the juke box. It takes me back to that happy time; young, free and a single. Well, that was my average at Chesterfield at the time!

picture of Dr Dre
Snoop Dogg shows Dr Dre the correct action to bowl an off-break.

Dr Dre: 2001

Prior to spending time in LA I liked my rock hard but thoughtful and I thought that all the good records had been made. I started looking in a new direction when I heard this mother. I did some cricket coaching in Compton, Los Angeles. Snoop Dogg was an excellent cricketer and involved in the set up. If he had given as much time to his cricket as to rap he could have been an international, no fear. He first put me on to rap especially to Dr Dre's previous record The Chronic. I started listening to a lot of Gangsta Rap and this was something fresh. Dr Dre is just about the best and this record gets it over my other favourite Biggie Smalls' Junior M.A.F.I.A

picture of Frozen Corpse Stuffed Full of Dope

Agoraphobic Nosebleed: Frozen Corpse Stuffed Full of Dope

I know the Derby crew used to get bored when I played Little River Band in the changing rooms all the time. I thought music had peaked with 'It's a long way there'. Check it out on You Tube! But I changed my mind when I saw these boys at the Texas Grindcore Festival in 1991. They say Mark Rothko expresses all artist emotions in his paintings. Well all 23 seconds of Bovine Caligula does that for me on this album. Kirsty Young will freak when I pick that on Desert Island Discs.


picture of Brian Close
Brian Close: "I feel love."

Brian Close

Brian Close always led from the front whether it was facing the fastest bowlers or fielding in the most dangerous positions . Off the field he liked nothing more than letting his hair down and getting his groove on. So what is on Closey's ipod this week ?

Cher: If I Could Turn Back Time

picture of Cher

Cher's gorgeous; every red blooded man knows that. I've always been a fan since I met her at The Oval in 1972. I was playing for Somerset and Cher was in London promoting Gypsies Tramps and Thieves which was a huge hit at the time. She was friendly with Peter May who had appeared on The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour a couple of times. He was replaced by Wilfred Hyde White for season 2, I think. We hit it off straight away and she was really knowledgeable about the game and knew all about the politics at Yorkshire.

Whenever she's in town a gang of us get together, put our glad rags on and you can't stop us dancing. My favourite is 'If I could turn back time'. What a ballad and what a rocker too!

Judy Garland: Get Happy

It's a little known fact that on the day Judy died she was supposed to be coming to see Yorkshire in the John Player. We were playing Essex at The Circle, Hull. Judy and I had some furious rows over the merits of the 1 day game. Needless to say she was a big fan.

I'd seen Judy a few times over the years and had been in the audience at the famous Carnegie Hall concert. I caught 1 of her final shows at Talk of the Town - probably the only good thing to come out of the cancelling of the tour to South Africa.

picture of Dorothy Squires

Dorothy Squires: How Deep is the Ocean

Dorothy Squires, what a gal! I loved her voice, loved her singing and saw her 5 times at the Batley Variety Club. But do you know she tried to sue me twice.

The first occasion was after an interview I'd given The Times in May 1972. I said 'if I had my way I'd do things differently' I think I was talking about the organisation of the test series or some'at. Any way Dorothy took offence and said my use of the phrase 'my way' was a direct lift from her top ten hit with My Way the year before. The next time a solicitor's letter dropped on the mat at Chez Close was after my performance against Michael Holding at Old Trafford. Dorothy said that I was copying her moves when she'd performed on the Russell Harty Show the week before. Fortunately both cases went in front of my good friend Mr Justice O'Brien who threw them out.

Donna Summer: I Feel Love

picture of Donna Summer

The Summer of '76 wasn't just hot for the England batsman facing the bowling attack of the West Indies. It was hot all over the dance floors of Great Britain as Disco exploded. I'd been given a residency at both Cinderella Rockerfellas in Leeds and The Farmers' Inn in Taunton. My turntables were playing such as Mighty Clouds of Joy and Harold Melvin. It was because of my connections with the disco scene that I was invited over to Studio 54 in New York City the following year. I was fortunate enough to DJ there on a couple of occasions. The big sound then was Donna Summer's I Feel Love. I met Donna on more than one occasion and had long chats with her about cricket. She was fascinated with the game and was an early advocate for the two division structure in England.

I carried on DJing until about 1980 but it seemed to lose all its fun and the New Romantics seemed to take over. It is forgotten now but I was the first person to play The Hues Corporation in England.

as told to Nosher McQuelland PDCC's man in the midlands.