- THE KINKS: LOW BUDGET: 1979: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This album when it first came out seemed like a disappointment but it has gradually improved as the years have went by- in my estimation. A rarity in the Ray Davies song catalog- this album was about the here and now-the current events of those times- not the nostalgic looking back that Davies is best known for. This especially improves when you realize how The Kinks weren’t really that far from those dreadful ‘theater’ style albums of the mid-70’s- this is a rock and roll album. Superman nearly made the Top 40 in the US- #41. Not a classic Kinks album but well worth a listen.
- THELONIOUS MONK: BRILLIANT CORNERS: 1957: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Monk was a fascinating individual. Thelonious- there is a first name you don’t come across often- love it. I have always enjoyed Monk’s music that I have heard. This was one of the 1001 Albums To Hear. It was one of the most acclaimed jazz recordings of 1957. Playing with Monk on the album Sonny Rollins and Clark Terry.
- XTC: NONSUCH: 1992: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: It has taken me the month of January but I am nearing the end of a rewarding experience- going through the XTC discography. I have always loved the XTC pop year period the best and while this album got good reviews I think I like it more than most of the critics did. 17 well crafted songs in over 63 minutes. Andy Partridge wrote 13 of the albums 17 songs. The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead was the most successful single they ever had in the US- #72 but it was #1 on the US Modern Rock chart. After this album XTC ‘went on strike” against their record company- for the next seven years.
- ELVIS COSTELLO: ARMED FORCES: 1979: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: EC was no weekender- his 3rd album in 3 years and his most political. Elvis could do no wrong at this point- the album sounds more produced than the first two- Nick Lowe was the sole producer of the first four Elvis albums and no one in my opinion can top the first 4 EC albums- as far ‘best first four albums -by any artist”- The Ramones would be runner’s up. The album did go to #10 on the US Billboard album charts and went Gold. On the 1001 albums to hear list.
- ELVIS COSTELLO: GET HAPPY! 1980: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A departure from the first three Costello albums- but another big winner- 20 short and punchy R&B influenced songs- ten on each side of the record. Only a few songs over 3 minutes- and not a bad song on the bunch. The worst review of course came from the Dean of Rock Critics Robert Christgau- does he like anything? Rolling Stone who back then was a music magazine ranked it #11 on their best 1980’s albums- that is more like it. Rob Sheffield called it a ‘tour de force.”Chris Jones of the BBC ‘Elvis’s greatest album.”