- JOHN MELLENCAMP: PLAIN SPOKEN: 2014: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I didn’t like Johnny Cougar- and was shocked when he remade himself and added became John Cougar Mellencamp in 1983 and came out with Uh-Huh. I liked all his albums for the next decade plus. In the past decade Mellencamp announced that he had decided to quit chasing the hit parade and was just going to record what he wanted to do– in other words he was going to do what Bob Dylan and Van Morrison have been doing for their entire careers. I saw Mellencamp in concert once and it wasn’t a good concert he seemed to be racing through the concert. A week or so later he had his heart attack so I can give him a pass on that concert. There is something about him that I’ve always found irritating- very self absorbed but I must also say I am a fan- especially of his fiddle-accordion albums of the 80’s. I like this album-favorites Troubled Man, Blue Charlotte, The Isolation of Mister, The Courtesy Of Kings.
- FINN BROTHERS: EVERYONE IS HERE: 2004: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The Finn Brothers Neil and Tim have gotten together for two albums- this is the most recent one and the superior one. Was going to see them on their tour back then but a blizzard hit. Favorites on this album- Won’t Give In, Nothing Wrong With You, Luckiest Man Alive, Disembodied Voices, Edible Flowers. I wish they’d get back together and do another album or two.
- MILES DAVIS: KIND OF BLUE: 1959: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The best selling jazz album in history and a great listen from one of the jazz greats. I have always found Miles Davis to be the most easy to listen to jazz performer.
- WILCO: YANKEE HOTEL FOXTROT: 2001: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A solid contender for the greatest album of this century so far. I would also recommend the documentary of the making of this album too 2002’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart: A Film About Wilco.” Favorites- I Am Trying To Break Your Heart, Kamera, War On War, Ashes Of American Flags, Heavy Metal Drummer, I’m The Man Who Loves You, Pot Kettle Black.
- ARETHA FRANKLIN: QUEEN OF SOUL: THE ATLANTIC RECORDINGS: 1992: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: 4 discs 86 songs starting in 1967 and ending in 1976. She came into her own when she went to Atlantic and had Jerry Wexler producing. Nothing on this not to like- what a great great singer. I am not a fan where I am going to go out and buy individual albums- but I figure this has the essentials- and that’s good enough.