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  • THE KINKS: FACE TO FACE: 1966: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: In the past I have never listened to The Kinks albums in chronological order- I’ve decided to do that- and like The Rolling Stones it is steady progress. This is album #4 and now they are totally The Kinks that I know and love. The sound is a lot softer, the writing crisper and Ray Davies singing better.  The band was going through a rough year with personnel changes, legal battles and constant touring but still managed to record one of 1966’s best albums.

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  • XTC: DRUMS AND WIRES: 1979: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A great recovery after the disappointing 2nd album- the album opens up with one of their signature songs- the fantastic Making Plans For Nigel which went to #17 on the charts in the UK. Barry Andrews had left the band after the second album and they didn’t replace him with another keyboardist but added another guitarist in David Gregory who would remain in the band until 1998. This album was a turning point with the band- the songwriting of Partridge and Moulding [they wrote separately} made a big jump here in quality and would remain so. While Partridge always seems to get a lot of the attention- it was Moulding who wrote ‘Nigel.”


  • SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE: STAND! 1969: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Sly and The Stone’s 4th album and along with There’s A Riot Goin’ On- one of their best. Their most famous song “Everyday People” their first #1 is on this- Sing A Simple Song, Stand! and Don’t Call Me Nigger, Whitey- are standouts- Sex Machine coming in at nearly 14 minutes is about 10 minutes too long- the albums only drawback.

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  • STEVIE WONDER: TALKING BOOK: 1972: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Stevie entering his classic 1972 with two albums- Music of My Mind and Talking Book. He had been a star since the early 60’s and “Fingerprints” at age 12– but now at the ripe old age of 22 he had developed into a major talent- and his work in the 1970’s ranks up there with the best of the best. The album opener- You Are The Sunshine Of My Life- went to #1 and earned Stevie his first of a boatload of Grammy Awards for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Superstition- his signature song also went to #1. The album is great start to finish- one of my favorite Stevie songs is the final one on the album “I Believe {When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever} Stevie toured with The Stones in 1972- which helped expand his audience.

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  • GREEN DAY: AMERICAN IDIOT: 2004: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I am not a big Green Day fan- I’ve always thought of them as punk for people who can’t handle the real thing but a great album is a great album and this is a great album. A punk concept album about the disillusionment and dissent of a generation. The album had five successful singles- American Idiot, Boulevard Of Broken Dreams, Holiday, Wake Me Up When September Ends, and Jesus of Suburbia. Dookie may have put them on the map but it’s likely this will be the album they are best remembered for.