- STEVE FORBERT: STREETS OF THIS TOWN: 1988: This was Steve Forbert’s first album in six years due in part because of legal issues with his record company who wouldn’t release the album he turned in and wouldn’t release him from his contract. This album was produced by E-Street Band bassist Garry Tallent. Forbert’s best album since his debut. Don’t Tell Me I Know, The Streets of This Town, Perfect Stranger and I Blinked Once are among the favorites on this album.
- JOHN PRINE: SWEET REVENGE: 1973: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Prine’s third album- and another winner. Nothing will ever match the debut album but this one comes close. Sweet Revenge, Please Don’t Bury Me, Christmas In Prison, Grandpa Was A Carpenter, Blue Umbrella are standouts- not a song I don’t like on this.
- DONNA SUMMER: DONNA SUMMER: 1982: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This album was a disappointment coming after 1980’s The Wanderer. Love Is In Control was a hit #10 but the other two singles were only minor hits- State Of Independence #41 and The Woman In Me #33. Not a bad album but one that was never in heavy rotation on my turn table. Quincy Jones was the producer on this album a few months later he’d have Michael Jackson’s Thriller.
- THE BEACH BOYS: FUN, FUN, FUN: 1964: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Originally issued as Shut Down Volume 2- it was re-issued later as Fun Fun Fun. The albums has three well known Beach Boys hits- Fun, Fun, Fun,#4 Don’t Worry Baby#24- how did this only get to #24?? [one of my favorite Beach Boy songs ever} and The Warmth Of The Sun which wasn’t a single. A lot of filler filling out the album. The famous Wrecking Crew makes some appearances on the album.
- THE BEACH BOYS: DANCE, DANCE, DANCE: 1965: A re-issue of The Beach Boys Today under a new name and packaged together with “Fun Fun Fun.” This one is much better- not just hits and filler. The first version of Help Me Ronda is on this album but it would be a later version with a different arrangement that we know as a hit song as Help Me Rhonda. Dance, Dance Dance, When I Grow Up To Be A Man were top 10 hits, Please Let Me Wonder failed to crack the Top 40. The album of course can’t be compared to Pet Sounds which would come along a year later but listening to this you can see Brian Wilson’s writing heading into that direction.
- THE KINKS: WORD OF MOUTH: 1984: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: One of the better later day Kinks albums. Do It Again, Good Day, Living On A Thin Line are standouts. Living On A Thin Line was featured in an episode of The Sopranos. The song was also the played recently in the final episode of Vice Principals.
- RANDY NEWMAN: RANDY NEWMAN: 1968: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: For the longest time I wasn’t wild about this album due to the orchestration. My opinion has changed over the years. Great songwriting on Newman’s debut -many of them were covered by other artists. Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad, Living Without You, I Think It’s Going To Rain Today, Davy The Fat Boy, So Long Dad among my favorites. Rolling Stone nailed it when they wrote “a mood of bitter longing for affection characterizes the album.”
- JOE JACKSON: I’M THE MAN: 1979: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: No sophomore jinx here. A strong follow up after a fine debut album earlier in the same year. It’s Different With Girls was #5 hit in UK but failed to crack the Hot 100 in US. Favorites- On The Radio, Kinda Kute, It’s Different With Girls, I’m The Man, Don’t Wanna Be Like That, Friday. As good as Look Sharp! The album followed the similar style and formula of the debut- but Jackson would soon branch out.
listened to hours 2 and 3 of this weeks Neon Beat with host John Christopher on Radio George.