- THE SMITHS: THE SMITHS: 1984: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Before Morrissey became this frustrating recording artist who is challenging Old George Jones for the record of most cancelled concerts- he was the singer for this fantastic band out of Manchester. Playing Keith Richards to Morrissey’s Mick Jagger was guitarist Johnny Marr. They only made four proper studio albums together and by the late 80s it was over- but they did leave behind some of the best music of the 80’s. I must have read about them somewhere- I know I didn’t hear anything off of this album on 1984 radio- favorites- Reel Around The Fountain, You’ve Got Everything Now, Hand In Glove, What Difference Does It Make and Suffer Little Children. In the Ginger vs Mary Ann of 80’s alternative rock- I choose The Smiths over The Cure.
- THE BYRDS: THE NOTORIOUS BYRD BROTHERS: 1968: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: One of the best Byrds albums- it is too bad that so few noticed at the time. After their debut album each album slid further and further down the charts. I was too young to remember much about 1967- but if the 1967-68 era was so cool- how come this album peaked at #47 on the album charts? Anyway- some people did get it. A variety of styles of music on here-the every changing line up continues-David Crosby was fired a few months before the albums release. The only single- a cover of Carole King’s Goin’ Back failed to attract much play. The only problem with the original album is its length-only 29 minutes- if you are seeking this album out find the extended version with David Crosby’s most famous Byrds contribution the hippie free love anthem Triad- before Crosby’s idea of a Triad was himself and a couple McRib sandwiches.
- MITSKI: BE THE COWBOY: 2018: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Another day- and another listen to Be The Cowboy- my recommendation of the month.
- VAN MORRISON: TOO LONG IN EXILE: 1993: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Van’s 1990’s out put wasn’t his best decade but being a big fan- I find every album to be competent and having something good to offer- even if overall the album in particular is inconsistent- he had that voice after all. 15 songs- 6 of them covers. An album more blues and jazz oriented than the pop of his two more recent albums at the time. The great John Lee Hooker appears on two tracks!
- VAN MORRISON: DAYS LIKE THIS: 1995: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: It is interesting to look at the reviews of Van’s 1990 albums- they are all over the place from near raving at times to dismissal. The reviews of this album are typical. Q called it a ‘glorious return to form’- other reviews weren’t as enthusiastic. His daughter Shana sings with Van on a couple songs including one of the albums highlights “Ancient Highway.”
- CHUCK BERRY: THE GREAT TWENTY-EIGHT: 1982: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This is rock and roll. I listened to this fairly recently but I am always in the mood for some Chuck Berry- and it was a great soundtrack today on my hourly walk. This compilation features his rock and roll classics- but he was also a great blues singer. There are other packages out there that give you the full picture- but I was in the mood for rock and roll today.