- STEELY DAN: KATY LIED: 1975: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The 4th Steely Dan album the original 5 man group was now down to Fagen and Becker and studio musicians. No big hits on this album- Black Friday barely hit the top 40 at #37. Even without a familiar radio song- it is a strong album. It sounds to me like most of the rest of their career sounded like- if that makes any sense.
- MARVIN GAYE: M.P.G. : 1969: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Marvin’s final 60’s album and before he really exploded in the 70’s as an artist in control of his own career- with What’s Going On. This had a couple hits on it-Too Busy Thinking About My Baby and That’s The Way Love is. I note that he wrote none of the songs on the album- a good album because Marvin is singing but a rather pedestrian album otherwise.
- BOBBIE GENTRY: THE GIRL FROM CHICKASAW COUNTY- THE COMPLETE CAPITOL MASTERS: ODE TO BILLIE JOE: 2018: I had heard about this box set which contained everything Bobbie Gentry ever recorded- 8 discs. My first thought was –why? Gentry hasn’t recorded anything since the early 70’s- she had 7 albums. Ode To Billie Joe of course her famous song. In listening to the first disc which is the Ode To Billie Joe album and demo’s etc from that period- all I can say is WOW- this is fantastic stuff. Quickly I saw why they released this. I am hoping in the next week to 10 days to listen to a disc a day. My first thought after it was over- what a shame that she quit in 1971. She was a pioneer- one of the first female artists to write and produce her own material and what a singer. She was much more than Ode To Billie Joe.
- VAN MORRISON: AVALON SUNSET: 1989: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This has to rank in the top 10 of my favorite Van The Man albums- from start to finish strong and Van’s voice as always sounds terrific and powerful- the duet with Cliff Richard- Whenever God Shines His Light and Have I Told You Lately are the most famous songs but just as good are Orangefield, When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God, Coney Island and These Are The Days. The critics for the most part liked it but no one I see gave it 5 stars like I do- Highly recommended.
- VAN MORRISON: ENLIGHTENMENT: 1990: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Another strong album by Van. I had a dream last night that my wife and I were at some winter resort type place but it was a Van Morrison themed resort and you could go on some snowmobile ride with Van- I woke up before we got to do that- but I was walking around in the Van gift shop and for $49 there was a really nice and thick hoodie with Van and Bob Dylan on it which I bought. We walked out to get in line for the ride with Van- when I woke up.
- THE POLICE: ZENYETTA MONDATTA: 1980: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS:Don’t Stand So Close To Me and De Do Do Do , De Da Da Da were the big hit singles- Driven To Tears, Canary In A Coalmine and When The World Is Running Down, You Make The Best Is What’s Still Around are other favorites. This is the only Police album that Rolling Stone failed to put in their Top 500 Greatest Albums list- and the only album allmusic gave 5 stars. Go figure. I’d rank it as their second best album.
- THE POLICE: GHOST IN THE MACHINE: 1981: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The Police’s 5th album and finally one that I could easily pronounce! The highlights are the hit singles- Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Invisible Sun, Spirits In The Material World along with Demolition Man which Grace Jones made even more famous.
- WAYNE SHORTER: SUPER NOVA: 1969: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Keeping up with my 1969 albums- Wayne Shorter one of the great saxophonists- a jazz great who is still with us today at 85. This album was influenced by the Miles Davis fusion movement of those times. Sounds pretty good to me- again not a jazz expert here by any means.
- CAT STEVENS: THE VERY BEST OF CAT STEVENS: 2000: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: An outstanding best of- there are certainly great Cat songs that are not among the 20 collected here but there is only so much room on a CD. All the hits are here- and some that should have been hits. My favorite singer-songwriter from the early 70’s singer-songwriter explosion .