- INCREDIBLE STRING BAND: THE HANGMAN’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTER: 1968: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Youtube: Blogger Introgroove is doing a 50 year series on 1968 and recently did a post on this album- which got me to go listen to it on youtube since I had never actually heard the album before. I have only listened to it once but it is an album I will go back to–psychedelic rock at it’s best- very musical- I have already ordered a copy. I need to listen more to point out standout songs etc but I enjoyed the entire album- one of the forgotten great albums of the era. 4 1/2 stars could move up to 5 with more listening. Introgroove’s blog can be found at–
- DAVID BOWIE: BLACKSTAR: 2016 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: It will always be difficult to assess the last David Bowie album- like it is John Lennon’s Double Fantasy. Bowie released the album on Friday and the news of his passing came out Monday morning. It is an album that to me needed repeated listens but with each listen It did sink in more and more. Where the album before this The Next Day sounded like a David Bowie album this one is much more experimental and I think in the long run it will be judged superior. The other day at a bookstore I picked up yet another magazine devoted to Bowie and the young lady who waited on me who I’d guess was around twenty-five give or take a year or two remarked “Usually celebrity deaths don’t effect me at all but David Bowie’s really did.” It’s been over two years and I still hear and read similar comments concerning Bowie. To be honest I didn’t realize he meant so much to so many people.
- DON HENLEY: BUILDING THE PERFECT BEAST: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: IPOD: I am not a fan of The Eagles but I do like Don Henley’s three 1980’s albums. This is the middle of the three and it has one of my 15 favorite songs of all time on it “The Boys Of Summer”- another one of those instant classics to my ears- the first time I heard it I was hooked and over thirty years later I have not gotten tired of it. Overall a pretty good album- other favorites-Man With A Mission, Not Enough Love In The World, All She Wants To Do Is Dance, A Month of Sunday’s, and Sunset Grill.
- GRANDMASTER FLASH AND THE FURIOUS FIVE: THE MESSAGE: 1982: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: VINYL: Overall this isn’t a great album but there are two great songs on it- the rest of the material so-so- the standouts the electro track “Scorpio” and of course the greatest rap single ever- The Message- a song that goes over 7 minutes that seems like a 2 minute song, a song of social commentary that hits the mark. It was a top 10 hit in the UK, New Zealand, Austria but strangely peaked at #62 on the Hot 100 in the US. One of my Hot 100 singles of all time.
- NICK LOWE: LABOUR OF LUST: 1979: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: VINYL: In 1978 what I knew of Nick Lowe was that he was Elvis Costello’s producer and a musician who had one other album out that I couldn’t find at the time. When the Cruel To Be Kind single came out- and it was another instant classic in my mind- i went to the mall and bought this album and wasn’t disappointed. I have over the years bought all of Nick’s albums and have seen him several times in concert. This is my second favorite Nick album I think -behind “At My Age” which came out a decade ago. Cracking Up, American Squirm, Without Love, Skin Deep and Born Fighter are other standouts on this album.
- ROD STEWART: A NIGHT ON THE TOWN: 1976: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: VINYL: The first side of the album is identified as the slow side and side two the fast side. I prefer the slow side. It has the #1 single “Tonight’s The Night” leading off followed by another hit single from this album the cover of the underrated Cat Stevens ‘The First Cut Is The Deepest” #21 but the real favorite of mine on this album- and probably my second favorite Rod Stewart song ever- closes out side 1- “The Killing of Georgie Part I and II” It is a 6:28 song about the killing in NYC of a gay friend of Rod and The Faces. The single peaked at #2 in the UK and made the US top 40. Rod Stewart at his best. Part II of the song employs a melody identical to The Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down” to which John Lennon said before his death “The lawyers never noticed.” Side 2 is alright but after hearing ‘The Killing of Georgie”…
- PAUL MCCARTNEY: TUG OF WAR: 1982: VINYL: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Paul’s best album since Band On The Run? It was the first Paul album since John’s assassination. He seemed to really up his game here. Two songs with Stevie Wonder- the “What’s That You’re Doing” being the best by far- but of course the #1 hit single was the rather bland “Ebony and Ivory.” Sir George Martin was back on board as producer and this is one of Paul’s better sounding records. Favorites’ Tug of War, Take It Away, What’s That You’re Doing, The Pound Is Sinking, Get It with the great Carl Perkins and Dress Me Up As A Robber.. Ballroom Dancing is a clunker to my ears. Overall one of my favorite Paul post-Beatles efforts. Oh I almost forgot- the closer to side 1- his song for John “Here Today” which is very touching and one of my favorites on the album.