- JOHNNY CASH: AMERICAN RECORDINGS: 1994:5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Johnny Cash’s career had been commercially and artistically in the tank for over a decade. He was in the last decade of his life. He made his comeback starting with this album with Rick Rubin. This was his 81st album. It was just Johnny and his acoustic guitar. Five songs were written by Cash- and there were a number of interesting covers- Glenn Danzig wrote “Thirteen” for him. He covered a song by his former step-son-in-law Nick Lowe” The Beast In Me.” Why Me Lord a song of Kris Kristofferson’s, Bird On A Wire by Leonard Cohen. Down There By The Train- Tom Waits. I love the entire American Recordings project and the first one was the best.
- THE BEATLES: YELLOW SUBMARINE: 1969: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The soundtrack to the animated film. Side one is songs from The Beatles-including four previously unreleased songs- and side two is music from the movie by their producer George Martin. Only A Northern Song, All Together Now, Hey Bulldog and It’s All Too Much were the four new Beatles songs to appear here.
- THE BEATLES: THE BEATLES AKA THE WHITE ALBUM: 1968: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: What a departure from Sgt. Pepper just a year earlier. Of course one of The Beatles secrets was not to do the same thing twice. One step ahead of the crowd. My Beatles Mount Rushmore of Albums includes this one- Revolver- Rubber Soul- Abbey Road and The Beatles. Sorry Sgt. Pepper.
- DEEP PURPLE: SHADES OF DEEP PURPLE: 1968: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have never been a Deep Purple fan. I have heard their well known tunes but have never bought one of their albums. This is their debut. It’s a pretty good album. They cover two of my favorite songwriters- Joe South’s “Hush” which was a hit and a cover of Lennon- McCartney’s “Help” other standouts- One More Rainy Day, Hey Joe.
- MERLE HAGGARD: MAMA TRIED: 1968: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: My favorite all time country artist. The title track is one of his classics. Other highlights- his cover of Miss Dolly Parton’s “In The Good Old Days”, Green Green Grass of Home, The Sunny Side of My Life, a cover of Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues. Merle was on a hot streak at this point in his career.
- HUSKER DU: NEW DAY RISING: 1985: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: 3rd album from Husker Du and the songwriting continued to grow. New Day Rising, Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill, I Apologize, Celebrated Summer favorites. As the Dean of Rock Journalists Robert Christgau said in his review “Play loud—this is one band that deserves it.”
- THE SMITHS: THE QUEEN IS DEAD: 1986: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Considered The Smiths best album. My favorite Smiths song is on this album “There’s A Light That Never Goes Out.” Other standouts here- Frankly, Mr Shankly, Never Had No One Ever, Cemetry Gates, Big Mouth Strikes Again, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others. I am still a big fan of Johnny Marr’s work but Morrissey I have given up on too much drama with him.