- QUEEN: FLASH GORDON SOUNDTRACK: 1980: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Queen did the soundtrack to the movie- I don’t think I’ve seen the movie and if I listened to this album it was back when it came out- for a soundtrack it actually isn’t all that bad. They were making the soundtrack at the same time they were recording their album The Game.
- VAN MORRISON: MAGIC TIME: 2008: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Yet another strong Van album- I don’t know if there is a Van album I wouldn’t give a recommendation too-he wrote 10 of the 13 songs on here. A sampling of all the styles that Van uses instead of just concentrating on one genre.
- GEORGE JONES: THE BEST OF GEORGE JONES: 1975: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: George signed with Epic in the early 70’s- this was his best of output up until the mid 70’s with that record label. Of course it is all 5 star material but I give it 4 because there are certainly better alternatives out there today. One of the .94 cent specials I picked up recently. The Grand Tour has to be one of George’s greatest songs.
- LOU RAWLS: THE BEST OF LOU RAWLS: 1986: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Another of my .94 cent vinyl buys recently- it covers his earlier years at Capital- before he had the big hits- You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine and Lady Love. It cuts off in the early 70’s. I was only familiar with his handful of hits later on-I had never heard any of these songs previously-a good listen.
- STEVE EARLE: JERUSALEM: 2002: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The title track is one of my favorite Steve Earle songs- I wish it had endured as Guitar Town-Copperhead Road- The Galway Girl- had as a must play at every concert. Released a year after 9-11 the album was certainly influenced by that and the war. Steve has always been political and Jerusalem and The Revolution Starts Now amp the political side up. Other favorites on here- Ashes To Ashes, Amerika V 6.0, What’s A Simple Man To Do, Shadowland and the song that put Steve in the news at this time- John Walker’s Blues about the young American who left and joined the Talibums. I think Johnny Walker is scheduled to be released this month.
- VAN MORRISON: PAY THE DEVIL: 2006: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: An album of country covers for the most part- 3 Van originals- better than 99.9% of the country albums coming out of Nashville this century. Most of the covers were old country songs from the 50’s and 60’s. Not an essential Van album but if you are a fan of his you should enjoy it.
- STEVE EARLE: THE REVOLUTION STARTS NOW: 2004: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Steve’s weakest album since his comeback a decade earlier but there is still a lot to recommend. It is a political album coming on the heels of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Highlights- the title track and the reprise of it at the end- Neil Young style. Rich Man’s War, Home To Houston, The Gringo’s Tale.
- JONI MITCHELL: NIGHT RIDE HOME: 1991: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: A few months ago I started listening to the Joni Mitchell catalog but stalled out late in her career- picking it up where I lift off- first time I’ve heard this album and I quite like it. No hits or songs on this that you would ever hear on the radio but finely written and performed songs on what would be her last go round with Geffen.
- QUEEN: HOT SPACE: 1982: 1 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Now I remember why I haven’t listened to this album since the early 1980’s- it is even worse than I remembered it being at the time. A contender for worst album ever by a major artist. The only thing that saves it is the song tacked on at the end- “Under Pressure” with Bowie. Body Language as a single peaked at #11 but it is the worst Queen hit- in fact the only Queen hit I don’t like. Queen totally changed the formula on this one- adding synthesizers and making a dance- funk-disco style album. A bad idea what were they thinking? Embarrassing. Until I do a Queen listen through again I won’t listen to this again.