- R.E.M. MURMUR: 1983: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: They had previously released an EP- but this was their first full length album and it would be one of their best. Radio Free Europe was the big radio song that announced this album and group- it only made it to #78 on the Billboard Hot 100 but if you listened to good radio you heard it a lot. I was hooked from the first listen and went out and got the album. R.E.M. was unusual- what was this singer singing about? He was hard to understand and the lyrics- if you could figure out the words what did it all mean? Nevertheless- I love this album- certainly would rank high on a Best albums of the 1980’s list and Best Debut albums ever list. Favorite songs- all of them. They wouldn’t release anything less than an outstanding album- during the decade of the 80’s. One of my go to bands for a decade.
- BOB DYLAN: SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT: 2015: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Another Dylan change up- who thought he would ever release and album of songs made famous by the great Frank Sinatra?- and that the album would receive universal praise- and actually be a very good album? And the album was also a hit- it debuted in the UK at #1 on the album chart- and peaked at #7 in the US. Dylan recorded 23 songs for the album- releasing 10.
- VAN MORRISON: KEEP ME SINGING: 2016:4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: No shockers here- the typical Van album he’s been releasing this century- some blues, R&B, pop, and jazz. It was his first album of new material in 4 years. It appeared at this point that The Man was slowing down- two albums of new material in eight years. He had just turned seventy- but it appears there is still a lot of gas left in the Van’s tank. A good solid album.
- STEVE EARLE: WASHINGTON SQUARE SERENADE: 2007: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have nothing against Steve’s political songs- especially the ones which are not period songs. The anti- Bush songs from the previous two albums- they have long ran past their expiration date- the moment he went home to Texas. While his anti-death penalty songs of the past- which he has written a few- are ones that don’t sound dated- and from this album- 11 years ago- City of Immigrants- sounds even more topical than when it was released- and he plays it at every concert. I doubt he has played Condi, Condi in a while. This is his best album since 2000’s Transcendental Blues. He had moved from Nashville to NYC- and was inspired by his new surroundings and his recent 7th marriage. Another Grammy winner for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Best songs- Tennessee Blues, City of Immigrants, Jericho Road, Down Here Below and Way Down In The Hole- the theme song for the greatest television show ever- The Wire. One that sounds formula is Satellite Radio his plug for this radio show.
- NICK LOWE: AT MY AGE: 2007: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Paul McCartney’s recently released single Fuh You- in which it seems to me he is trying to appeal to the youth- reminded me of this great Nick Lowe album- at the time he was approaching 60- and the album sounds like a 60 year old wrote it- whereas Paul sounds like he wants to sound eighteen again. Whatever- but I love this Nick Lowe album. A Better Man, Long Limbed Girl, The Club, Hope For Us All, People Change, Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day some of my favorites. Nick Lowe a highly underrated songwriter.
- KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: THE ESSENTIAL: 2004: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: 2 discs- 37 songs- pretty much has all the tunes you’d want unless you are a big fan. It is easy to forget today how big of a star Kris was in the early 1970s not only in music but in movies. Most of these songs here come from his 70’s period. He released 9 albums during the 1970’s- in the nearly 40 years since he’s released 9 albums.