Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ten Favorite albums

Originally written: Wednesday, March 16, 2005

In no particular order here goes:

1. Dire Straits-Brothers in Arms Very atmospheric and melancholy. Meticulously arranged and recorded. It's ironic that this album has only one upbeat song and that is probably the most famous cut, "Walk of Life." It is also the least representative of the rest of the album.

2. The Who-Who's Next For my money the ultimate hard rock album, containing the ultimate hard rock song "Won't Get Fooled Again." Great songs and great performances. It's hard to believe that this album was really the cobbled together bits and pieces of a failed masterpiece.

3. The Beatles-Abby Road On this album they were hitting on all cylinders and couldn't make a mistake if they had tried. Great songs, cool vocal harmonies, and they take risks with song structure that no one else had nor has anyone else since. This may be the only time that a band did their best album as their last. Let it Be was released later but it was recorded first.

4. Robert Johnson-The Complete Recordings I discovered Robert Johnson because he was mentioned so many times by Jimmy Page and Robert Plant. He only recorded about three sessions over the course of two years in the late 1930's but the impact that this music has had can't be under estimated. Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton of Cream all admire this guy and have covered his songs.

5. Led Zeppelin-Physical graffiti Possibly their most diverse album. I love Led Zeppelin so much it was really hard to choose just one but this album will give you an idea of what they were all about. Also unlike most double albums there is no filler songs and no repeated musical ideas.

6. Pink Floyd-The Wall What can I say about this masterpiece that hasn't already been said? Many will tell you that Dark Side of the Moon is a better album and musically and sonically it probably is. Where this album really comes into it's own is the sheer scale of the story it tries to tell. It is a concept album with a plot and numerous subplots. Briefly it is about: the death of a parent, the oppression of the modern education system, an over protective mother, the fear of nuclear war, the isolation that fame causes, the excesses of stardom, and ultimately madness.

7. The Beach Boys-Pet Sounds An album about the kind of romantic first love that only comes once in a life time and it's inevitable end. No one every comes close to touching these guys when it come to their ability to harmonize with each other. This is almost more of a Brian Wilson solo album with the rest of the band along for the ride. Brian also throws every instrument he could get his hands on into the mix and it all works.

8.Sheryl Crow-Tuesday Night Music Club Probably the strongest first album by any artist ever. All of the songs are smartly written and the arrangements are near flawless. The other musicians that worked with her on this album really contributed whole heartedly. I love everything that Sheryl has ever released but she has yet to top her first album.

9. Theloneous Monk-Straight, No Chaser Believe it or not I had a pet rabbit named Hope that used to love this album. Whenever I would play it she would fly into the room and run around kicking her feet up in the air for about the first five minutes and then settle in at my feet to listen to the rest. She also loved Pink Floyd's Meddle and had the same reaction. Most other music she ignored as noise.

10. Chuck Berry-The Great 28 Elvis may have been the King of Rock and Roll but Chucks was it's father. The amazing thing about this music is that unlike most 1950's Rock it sounds as fresh today as it did when it was first released. It is feel good music that forces you to tap you toe.

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