“I’d love to be able to sing like Aretha...”

US singer and saxophonist Curtis Stigers returns to The Stables in Wavendon tomorrow evening, to promote his new album Let’s Go Out Tonight.

The album is a cross-section of pop, funk, country and soul interpretations of songs by artists including Bob Dylan, Neil Finn and Eddie Floyd.

The Stables date has been sold out for quite some time, but we did get Curtis to answer our Cue and Play questions for you...

Tell us about the first record you bought

Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

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I bought it when I was eight years old with my allowance money. I still love it.

An album you can’t live without, and why

B.B. King – Live at The Regal

This is the ‘Bible’ of the Blues, a perfect document of one of the greatest musicians ever.

I learned so much about how to play and sing with taste and soul from listening to this album.

Your favourite cheesy disc

Neil Diamond – Hot August Night.

An album you wish you’d bought, but didn’t

A Billy Tipton record I saw in the window of a record store in New York City back in 1988.

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Billy was a jazz trumpeter who died the very next year, and when he died, it was discovered that Billy was in fact a woman who had been living and performing as a man for her whole adult ife.

His/her albums became collectors items immediately.

I still kick myself for not buying it!

What about your favourite artist of all time?

This is a difficult question. I am crazy about Sinatra and Joni Mitchell and Elvis Costello and Bob Dylan and Steve Earle and B.B King and Willie Nelson and a dozen more.

But if I have to choose, it’s Ray Charles.

His contribution to the evolution of popular music is huge. He invented soul music, and his voice, his piano playing and his arranging just kill me.

If I’m ever at a loss about what to listen to, I put on a Ray Charles recording.

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If we could grant you a wish to meet one musician or band, who would it be and what would you ask?

John Lennon is someone I would love to have a chat with.

Such a brilliant, charismatic, enigmatic man. Question: Can I buy you a pint?

Name a song that never fails to pick you up

Sam & Dave – Hold On, I’m Coming.

And one that chills you out...

The Dimming of the Day – sung by Bonnie Raitt and written by Richard Thompson.

What was the first gig you attended

This is a strange one: When I was 10 years old, I was taken by my school friend and his parents to a concert of the US Army Concert Band, and I knew that night I wanted to play a musical instrument.

It was a very important night for me.

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First rock show: The punk/new wave bands X and Oingo Boingo.

Tell us about your favourite record shop

The Record Exchange in Boise, Idaho, my hometown, has been my favourite record store since I was 15 years old.

It’s still going strong after all these years.

They’ve got new and used CDs and vinyl records, they’ve got DVDs and books and a cool gift shop and hip little cafe.

They also host wonderful in-store perfomances (I wandered in one day to buy a CD and accidentally caught a set by the amazing Irish band The Frames). I’m doing a performance there on April 21 to celebrate the release of my new album, Let’s Go Out Tonight.

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You only wish you had such a cool record store in your town!

You can step into the shoes of your musical idol for 24 hours. Who do you choose and what would you do?

I’d love to be able to sing like Aretha Franklin for a little while. What a voice.

Is there a new or undiscovered artist you think we need to hear?

Teddy Thompson should be a superstar.

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He sings like an angel and writes smart, funny, beautiful songs.

You can bnanish one artist to the bargain bin. Who do you choose?

The bargain bin’s not such a bad place to be. I find a lot of my favourite artists in the bargain bin, and a lot of crap in the charts.

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