- BOB DYLAN: OH MERCY: 1989: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: After two sub-par albums-Dylan was back- with a full album of Dylan written songs. I’d rank this up there with Infidels as my favorite Dylan album of the 80’s. Maybe an assist has to go to producer Daniel Lanois most famous for his work with U2- this album sounds better than the previous few- and the songs are better too- maybe Dylan just pulled himself out of whatever funk he was in. He sounds more interest. If I were to pick a few of my favorites from this- Everything Is Broken, Ring Them Bells, Most Of The Time and Shooting Star.
- VAN MORRISON: BACK ON TOP: 1999: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A strong album of Van back doing what he’s best at-blues and R&B. Best songs here-When The Leaves Come Falling Down- a beautiful song- the best on the album but others I like a lot- Precious Time, Philosopher’s Stone, Back On Top, Goin’ Down Geneva. Odd song- New Biography- where he complains about a new biography that came out about him- and the people who claim to have known him back when.
- STEVE EARLE: GUITAR TOWN: 1986: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Steve’s debut. I played Early Tracks yesterday and since the going through Dylan and Van The Man’s albums chronologically is getting into the later stages thought I’d start a new artist. This was a #1 country music album in 1986- and it had 4 country Top 40 hits on it. To Steve’s credit he rejected what would probably have been a successful career as a country artist to expand into other areas. Surely there have been very few if any country artists with a songwriting gift in the past three decades that come close to Earle’s. This album is full of gems. Still one of my favorite albums from him. Guitar Town, Someday, My Old Friend The Blues, Goodbye’s All We’ve Got Left To Say, etc- not a clunker on here.
- CAT STEVENS: THE VERY BEST OF CAT STEVENS: 2000: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: One of my most played ‘best of’s”- Cat Stevens might be my favorite artist from the 70’s singer-songwriter era. Off the top of my head I can’t think of anyone I enjoy listening to more. He had 11 Top 40 hits in the 70’s but it feels like he had more-since some that were not hits- sound like hits to me.
- LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM: LAW AND ORDER: 1981: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5. Released after Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk album. The single Trouble reached #9 on the Top 40. I saw today Buckingham is coming nearby in October. I haven’t been to a concert in over a year may have to get tickets for that one. This is his solo debut album. I am more a Lindsay Buckingham fan than a Fleetwood Mac fan- I’d go see him over them every day of the week. Favorites on this- Trouble, Mary Lee Jones, That’s How We Do It In L.A., Johnny Stew, It Was I.
- DRAKE: VIEWS: 2016: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Drake. I am pretty sure this isn’t The Drake from Seinfeld. Love The Drake? Hate The Drake? I don’t know- I have ordered all his albums through the library system out of curiosity to see what he is all about- this album is the one before the current one that is burning up the charts. I have nothing to compare it to yet. In reading up on him this album got mixed reviews because it was just repeating formula that had worked for him earlier. I have no way of knowing until I hear all the albums. I am not hearing anything here that is exceptional. Too long.
- STEVE EARLE: EXIT 0: 1987: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Just as good as the first album- still county but he would soon move on. Nowhere Road, The Rain Came Down, I Ain’t Ever Satisfied, Sweet Little 66, San Antonio Girl–among my favorites. 4 of the song co-written with others which is not the norm for Steve.