- WARREN ZEVON: EXCITABLE BOY: 1978: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Zevon’s self-titled 1976 album is his best but it didn’t sell many copies- he was getting a lot of attention at the time though with Linda Ronstadt covering songs from that album and then Warren came up with the novelty hit of the year Werewolves of London which would become his only hit single #21. Other standouts- Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner, Excitable Boy, Lawyers Guns and Money, When Johnny Strikes Up The Band- If Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was a musician instead of a writer he would have been Warren Zevon.
- WILLIE NELSON: STARDUST: 1978: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Willie’s most famous album- it would stay on the Billboard album charts for a decade after its release. Willie covers ten standards. A lot of artists since have done this but none of those efforts have matched this one. Blue Skies, All Of Me and September Song were country hits- and to think the record company was kind of against this project because it didn’t fit into Willie’s outlaw country image. Won a Grammy for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for Georgia On My Mind. Produced by Booker T. Jones- it was made in just ten days. On the 1001 albums to hear list.
- MITSKI: BE THE COWBOY: 2018: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I had listened to and liked Mitski’s Puberty 2 album from a couple years ago- and had seen where this album was all over the Top 10 best albums lists at the end of 2018 but not until Aphoristical’s review did I get motivated to listen to it. 14 songs- only two go over 3 minutes. Outstanding songwriting- in fact in an interview last year Iggy Pop said that Mitski ‘is probably the most advanced American song writer I know.” Aphoristical’s review below.
- DAVID BOWIE: BLACK TIE WHITE NOISE: 1993: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: After the 2 album break from his solo career with Tin Machine- Bowie returns with this album his first solo album in six years. It received mixed reviews- Rolling Stone gives it one star- but I think more recent reviewers have been kinder. I try my best when listening to the 90’s early 2000’s Bowie to listen to those albums for what they are- and not try to compare them to the 1970’s Bowie- anything he did would have a hard time comparing to that. This is a solid album favorite songs-You’ve Been Around, Black Tie-White Noise, Jump They Say, Looking For Lester and Nite Flights.
- VAN MORRISON: HIS BAND AND THE STREET CHOIR: 1970: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Van had released the magnificent Moondance earlier in the year maybe he should have taken a little break- this is an uneven album- not a total wash out but not his best effort. Domino was a fantastic single though- it would become his highest charting single ever at #9. The song is a tribute to one of his heroes- Fats Domino.
- VAN MORRISON: TUPELO HONEY:1971: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Van wrote this album before his move from Woodstock, NY to northern California. He actually sounds pretty happy with life- and his marriage. A much better album than His Band And The Street Choir his previous album. Wild Night was a hit #28 and Tupelo Honey failed to make the Top 40 #47 but is one of Van’s greatest songs. The album contains a mixture of music styles.
- WARREN ZEVON: BAD LUCK STREAK IN DANCING SCHOOL: 1980: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Zevon’s third album was a disappointment- not that it is a bad album but the standards were high. If one were to make a Top 30 Warren song list- I don’t know if there is a song from this album that I’d put on it. My favorite songs from are Empty Handed Heart which Linda Ronstadt guests on, Bill Lee a short song about the flaky baseball pitcher at the time known as The Spaceman, and Gorilla You’re A Desperado. The single from the album was a cover of an Ernie K Doe song- A Certain Girl- which peaked at #57.
- TALK TALK: SPIRIT OF EDEN: 1988: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Talk Talk totally changed gears with this album- going from a synth-pop band to what has been termed post-rock which some critics claim that Talk Talk invented. The album draws on a little bit of everything- ambient, jazz, classical, rock you name it. I know whenever I listen to this album I go off to myself where I won’t be disturbed- usually I lay down in bed, close the door, turn out the lights and just listen as closely as I can. It is a unique listening experience.
- SIMON AND GARFUNKEL: BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER: 1970: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Simon and Garfunkel’s 5th and final album-it won Grammy’s for Best Album and Best Record-the title track. There were three hit singles -Bridge Over Troubled Water #1, Cecilia #4 and El Condor Pasa #18. The best song on the album is The Boxer which may be the best song Simon and Garfunkel ever did. My only criticism of the album is it does sound over produced. On the 1001 albums to hear list.