- VAN MORRISON: ASTRAL WEEKS: 1968: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The greatest album ever- or is it The Beatles Revolver? On the 1001 albums to hear list.
- THREE DOG NIGHT: THE COMPLETE HIT SINGLES: 2004: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Collects all 21 of their Top 40 hits in chronological order. A lot of these songs I haven’t heard in years. I knew they had a lot of hits but 21 from 1969 to 75 is pretty impressive. For a group that was so popular at the time they seem mostly forgotten today.
- THE BYRDS: SWEETHEARTS OF THE RODEO: 1968: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Gram Parsons joined The Byrds and had a major influence on this album- considered by many the first country rock album. This album worked two ways- it brought Parsons to the attention of the rock audience and it drew younger people into country music. Win Win for Gram. A landmark album- which is one of the 1001 albums to hear.
- THE MONKEES: HEADQUARTERS: 1967: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The Monkees third album- they were given more control- allowed to play on the album and write songs- and it is a very good album-especially impressive when you consider there are no hit singles on the album. Some good stuff. The album itself went to #1 on the charts -their first four albums all went to #1.
- DAVID BOWIE: NEVER LET ME DOWN: 1987: 2 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This album was considered a total dog at the time of release- Bowie’s worst. I thought so myself. But in listening to it again- while I am not staying it is great- its not as bad as its reputation. Bowie wasn’t just mailing this in- there is a lot going on here-some of it might not work some does. There were three singles off the album- Day In-Day Out, Time Will Crawl and the John Lennon sounding “Never Let Me Down.” Old friend Iggy Pop joins him on Bang Bang.
- ELVIS COSTELLO AND ALLEN TOUSSAINT: THE RIVER IN REVERSE: 2006: Elvis has always been a total music fanatic and I have always liked how he would shine a light on other great artists- like this album with Allen Toussaint the legendary New Orleans musician, songwriter and arranger. Toussaint wrote most of the songs- alone- some co-written with Elvis. The album went to #2 on the Jazz album chart. Good solid listen- and gave Toussaint’s music attention late in his life. Costello had worked with Toussaint in the past. So I guess it shouldn’t have been a shock to see him do so again.
- THE BEATLES: REVOLVER: 1966: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The greatest album ever- or is it Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks?- on the 1001 albums to hear list. As far as closers go- Tomorrow Never Knows I rank as the second greatest closer on Beatles albums.
- DWIGHT YOAKAM: THE VERY BEST OF DWIGHT YOAKAM: 2004: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Going to see Dwight on Saturday night- thought I’d give him a listen the day before. A good representation of his best work-biggest hits.
- SUZANNE VEGA: SUZANNE VEGA: 1985: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Vega’s first album did better in the UK than in the US- the single Marlene On The Wall #21 in the UK- it did nothing in the US. Her second album brought her attention with the hit single Luka. I ‘discovered’ her with Luka and went back and also got this first album- which is just as good as the second album. It is on the 1001 albums to hear list.
- THUNDERCLAP NEWMAN: HOLLYWOOD DREAM: 1969: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have always loved the Something In The Air single- but until now have never listened to an album by Thunderclap Newman. This is their only album which is a shame. Produced by The Who’s Pete Townshend. Something In The Air is the real standout on the album-there were three other singles- Accidents, The Reason and Wild Country .
- KAREN DALTON: IT’S SO HARD TO TELL WHO’S GOING TO LOVE YOU THE BEST: 1969: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have never heard of folk singer Karen Dalton before going over a list of 1969 highly acclaimed albums- she only made two albums-this was the first. She plays banjo and guitar and has an unusual voice- she has been described as a folk singers answer to Billie Holiday- a Bob Dylan quote- “My favorite singer…was Karen Dalton. Karen had a voice like Billie Holiday and played guitar like Jimmy Reed… I sang with her a couple of times.” The songs on the album are covers or traditional songs. Its a shame she only recorded two albums. She died at the age of 55 in 1993 of an AIDS related illness.
- XTC: APPLE VENUS VOLUME 1: 1999: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: 7 years between albums- Andy Partridge wrote all but one of the songs. Guitarist Dave Gregory had quit the band. The album picks up where Nonsuch left off with the more orchestra approach. A great sounding record that didn’t get as much attention as it should have- the 7 year lay off and not touring for nearly two decades didn’t help sell the record.