- ANDREA VON KAMPEN: ANOTHER DAY : 2015: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Folk singer-songwriter- she is coming to a nearby small venue tonight and I am going to thought I’d give her a listen ahead of time. This is an EP- she just released a new album too. Nice voice and her songwriting shows potential. Portland sounds like a hit to me. Sounds like there is potential here.
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: NEBRASKA: 1982: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: When this came out a lot of fans were shocked- an album of bleak songs recorded as demos- and while some didn’t like it I am among the crowd that thinks this is up with his best work. This is the only album Bruce hasn’t supported with a tour. Bruce had the Born In The USA material recorded for the most part and he and his people felt it was going to be huge so what to do? They decided to just keep it in the can and Bruce recorded these songs. Favorites- Atlantic City, Nebraska, Johnny 99, Highway Patrolman, My Father’s House..why am I listing favorites I like them all.
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: BORN IN THE USA: 1984: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Looking back 35 years later-and we know how his career has gone since- this album is an anomaly. Springsteen was certainly had more than a cult following before Born In The USA- but this album with its 7 Top 10 hits- blew the doors off and shot him into superstardom. I know a lot of Bruce fans who were not happy about that. He went from playing arenas to stadiums and there were people showing up at these concerts who hadn’t been aboard earlier and probably had never owned another Bruce album at this point. My friend Helmet- we were talking about this recently. I was putting in a plug for the Bruce on Broadway album thinking this would be something he would like. I knew Helmet had been ‘done’ with Bruce since Born In The USA and as soon as I started to talk about it I could tell he wasn’t going to ever give the album a listen. He talked about how up until Born In The USA- if he were to have gotten tattoos one arm would have Bruce on it the other Led Zeppelin… but he felt Bruce changed, sold out with this album etc… I got tired of the album back then because you couldn’t avoid it- the songs were all over the radio and MTV. In the recent couple decades I have been able to look at it for what it is- a pretty good album. My favorite songs on it though are two songs that weren’t overplayed- Bobby Jean and No Surrender. It’s interesting that after this dose of rock superstardom- and becoming a huge celebrity- Bruce dialed back.
- HANK WILLIAMS III: DAMN RIGHT, DAMN PROUD:2008: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Hank 3 not only looks like his grandfather but in listening to this album- he was doing outlaw country on this- he also does some heavy metal and punk–that if Old Hank was a contemporary artist this could be what Hank would sound like. Hank was the first punk rocker- if he were around today he wouldn’t be doing the moronic music a large percent of the hit makers of Nashville are doing today. Hank 3 is certainly his own man- in 2011 he would release three albums on the same day and one of them was a double album.
- JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO: DOUBLE FANTASY: 1980: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: When the album was first released it is easy to forget it got a lot of negative reaction- then a few weeks later John was assassinated. Even coming on 40 years since the assassination it is hard look at this album as just what it is- an album without the outside events entering your mind. Watching The Wheels is one of my favorite John solo songs. If I were to rank the seven John songs on here in order that I like them- Watching The Wheels, Just Like Starting Over, I’m Losing You, Beautiful Boy, Woman, Dear Yoko, Clean Up Time. Half the songs are John and of course Yoko has the other 7- she is probably sounding as good on this album as she has ever sounded. When I listen to the album I have always listened to the entire album start to finish- I don’t skip over Yoko’s songs.
- DAVID BOWIE: EARTHLING: 1997: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Another of the 90’s Bowie albums that seemed to be ignored. Not that it is a great album but it does have its moments- the album followed the electronica music that was hot at the time in England. Favorite songs- Little Wonder, Looking For Satellites, Seven Years In Tibet and the song from it that got the most attention- I’m Afraid Of Americans
- THE SHAGGS: PHILOSOPHY OF THE WORLD: 1969: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Today is the 50th anniversary of this albums release- The Shaggs have the billing as the Worst Rock Band ever. My first reaction was this band is bad but as the album played there was a certain charm about it and I started liking it- my wife had the same reaction. In a 1980 Rolling Stone review of the re-issue-Debra Rae Cohen wrote “Philosophy of the World is the sickest, most stunningly awful wonderful record I’ve heard in ages: the perfect mental purgative for doldrums of any kind,” Kurt Cobain listed it as his fourth favorite album ever- it had also been championed by Frank Zappa. NME listed in on their “100 Greatest Albums You’ve Never Heard” list. I’d listen to this album every day of the week over say a Styx album.