- ANDREA VON KAMPEN: OLD COUNTRY: 2019: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I saw Andrea in concert last night- the concert was good but like the album a little too brief- she played 45 minutes. I do think she played this entire album though which comes in at less than a half hour. The concert promoter in his introduction talked about how he listens to 30 newly released albums every week and this is the best album he’s heard so far this year- and it could be the best album of the decade or maybe even of all time.. Good thing they don’t drug test concert promoters. It is a nice album though- she has a fine voice and writes good songs- she just needs to write more of them 8 songs at 26 minutes is too brief.
- BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: TUNNEL OF LOVE: 1987: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: It took Born In The USA three years to die down- in the meantime from that albums release until this album Bruce met someone got married and the hints in the songs that that marriage was going south turned out to be true. He dials back on this one. Clearly superstardom has its drawbacks. After seven Top 10 hits on Born In The USA- there were two here-Brilliant Disguise #5, Tunnel Of Love #9 and One Step Up #13. Tougher Than The Rest and Spare Parts were released as singles and didn’t chart. An outstanding album but there were a lot of short time bandwagoners jumping off the bus- maybe that’s what Bruce wanted.
- THE RAMONES: TOO TOUGH TO DIE: 1984: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The last great album by The Ramones- a return to the punk form of the first four albums they released back in the 70’s. The old energy seems to be there the past few albums seemed to be chasing having a hit. The 2002 extended version re-issue has a cover of The Stones Street Fighting Man.
- THE RAMONES: ANIMAL BOY: 1986: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have a soft spot for this album since I saw them for the first time on their tour backing this album. Its an uneven album that has its highlights though- Somebody Put Something In My Drink, Bonzo Goes To Bitzburg and Something To Believe In- with the video spoof on Live Aid and Hands Across America.
- MITSKI: BURY ME AT MAKEOUT CREEK: 2014: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Mitski’s third album- the first two had been self-releases- and had been piano oriented. She learned to play guitar along the way. She wrote all ten of the songs on the album and continued her growth as an artist- he next album would be the ‘break out album’ that gained her a lot of attention. Love her voice and lyrics.
- VAN MORRISON: VEEDON FLEECE: 1974: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: On my Mount Rushmore of Van albums- a ‘stream of consciousness’ album in the mode of Astral Weeks- after a six year absence from Ireland he returned for a vacation and wrote all but three of these songs in a 3 week period. The album got back reviews when it was released but over the years has been recognized as a Van classic.
- TOM T. HALL: HOMEGROWN:1997: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This certainly appears to be the last new album Tom T. Hall will release- its been 22 years now. If that is the case Tom T. went out with a great album-full of his story songs. My favorites- Bill Monroe For Breakfast, The Way I’ve Always Been, Back When The Homeplace Was New, Waiting For The Other Shoe To Fall and Royal Annie.
- DAVID BOWIE: HOURS..: 1999: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: After the electronica of Earthling- a more subdued album. The shame here is-at this point a lot of folks had quit listening- it would be the first Bowie album since the early 70’s not to crack the Top 40 in the US- and its a good album. Thursday’s Child, Seven, The Pretty Things Are Going To Hell, Survive and What’s Really Happening are favorites. Bowie’s last album of the 20th century.