- QUEEN: JAZZ: 1978: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This album is one of those that stick out in my mind for having extremely mixed reviews- kind of like an album version of what the movie “Blue Velvet” received- every review of Blue Velvet was at one extreme or the other- a 1 star movie or a 5 star movie very little in between- and this album was much like that- I like it a lot- no big hits on it- Bicycle Race #24 was it- but the album did sell well at 5 million copies. The album features a lot of different musical styles-
- GEORGE HARRISON: EXTRA TEXTURE: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: George sounds better on this than on Dark Horse- but a fairly underwhelming album- never one that was on heavy rotation on my turntable. George is still sounding depressed.
- VAN MORRISON AND LINDA GAIL LEWIS: YOU WIN AGAIN: 2000: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Van gets together for an album with The Killer’s sister- an album of covers- Van over the years has had some fascination for working with lesser talents [not including The Chieftains who are great talents} One of my least played Van albums in fact I usually play it once or twice a year when I am going through Van’s catalog.
- QUEEN: THE GAME: 1980: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Where Jazz uncharacteristically had no big hits- this one had a couple- Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Another One bites The Dust. The first Queen album to use a synthesizer. The album was both a critical and commercial success going to #1 in the USA. Play The Game, Save Me were also singles. Good album.
- RODNEY CROWELL: THE HOUSTON KID: 2001: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: On the shortlist of my favorite albums of this century. Crowell had been a hit making machine in the late 80’s but at the end of the 90’s his final two albums of that decade didn’t even chart on the country album chart- he made a spectacular comeback with this album- by changing his songwriting style- into a more mature inward looking and this feels like an autobiographical album-I love the entire album but to pick a few – Telephone Road, Rock Of My Soul, Topsy Turvy, Wandering Boy. his follow up album Fate’s Right Hand is nearly as great.
- STEELY DAN: TWO AGAINST NATURE: 2000: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: After a 20 year hiatus Steely Dan shocked everyone with a new album- and they picked up where they left off- the album won 4 Grammy’s including Album of the Year. No hit singles on it- the music industry had changed in twenty years but Cousin Dupree should have been a hit. Received very mixed reviews most were very good but Pitchfork laughingly gave it 1.6 out of 10. Come on.
- GEORGE HARRISON: 33 1/3:1976: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have always loved this album- my second favorite Harrison albu . George lightens up at times on here from the serious nature his recent recordings had taken- the hit single Crackerbox Palace is one of my favorite George songs- and This Song- was another hit- a satire on his losing the lawsuit over copyright infringement on My Sweet Lord. There is a great mix of songs on here- a tribute to Smokey Robinson- a cover of a Cole Porter tune, Dear One is a wonderful tune.
- STEELY DAN: EVERYTHING MUST GO: 2003: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Their 9th and final album- 2nd since they came back a couple years earlier. The album got mixed reviews- certainly not as strong as the previous album Two Against Nature- this album sounds a lot like Two Against Nature- but I believe the former album has much stronger material.
- BUCK OWENS AND THE BUCKAROOS: IF YOU AIN’T LOVIN’:1969: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A re-issue of material recorded earlier on in Buck’s career- most of the material written by Tommy Collins. Not an essential Buck recording.
- VAN MORRISON: DOWN THE ROAD: 2002: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The album features a number of different styles that Van explores- Celtic rock, R&B, country, blues and folk. Originally it was going to be called Choppin’ Wood and feature Linda Gail Lewis again- but Van re-recorded it all deleting Linda Gail’s contributions- overall a good move one album with Linda Gail Lewis is enough. At 67 minutes Van gives you a lot of bang for your entertainment dollar here.
- STEVE EARLE AND THE DEL MCCOURY BAND: THE MOUNTAIN: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A full fledged bluegrass album with one of the best of bluegrass bands-this is one tour of Steve’s that I missed somehow- I don’t think he came anywhere nearby. The tour ended badly with Del horrified by Steve’s bad language. Anyway the album is another outstanding one- it’s too bad Steve hasn’t gone done another entirely blue grass album since. Highlights- Harlan Man, The Mountain, Dixieland, Carrie Brown, The Pilgrim