- VAN MORRISON: VERSATILE: 2017: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Just three months after releasing Roll With The Punches- Van The Man was back again with a new album- his 38th studio album. Only three originals the rest jazz standards that had originally inspired him to sing. Another solid collection.
- QUEEN: THE MIRACLE: 1989: 2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The penultimate Queen album with Freddie Mercury. For an extremely popular band Queen has to be one of the most inconsistent of bands- this is another sub par album- as are most of their 80’s output.
- JOHN LENNON: PLASTIC ONO BAND: 1970: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: John’s first real solo album- it came on the heels of The Beatles break up and his primal therapy- a great work of art but not the feel good album of the season [it was released right before Christmas in 1970} John’s singing on God is possibly his best vocal ever- Mother was the single- it isn’t a surprised that it failed to hit the Hot 100 at #43- like most of the album a painful song to take in.
- AL STEWART: PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: 1973: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Stewart is big into historical themes in his songs- and this album is full of them- one song for each decade of the 20th Century up to that point- and topping it off with a nearly ten minute long song on Nostradamus. He considered this album his 5th his first major album- the others were his doing his apprenticeship. A good solid album. I like his writing- I can’t think of anyone else who writes so much about historical events and figures.
- JOHN LENNON: IMAGINE: 1971: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The follow up to Plastic Ono Band- a much more accessible album- Imagine would be his solo ‘signature’ song and went to #3 on the Hot 100. Some of the songs are on the surface just as painful as the Plastic Ono Band songs but are a little easier to hear. If I were to make a Beatles solo albums Mount Rushmore- both Plastic One Band and Imagine would be on it. While it is a fantastic performance I kind of wish he would have kept his attack on Paul- How Do You Sleep?- to himself.
- GORDON LIGHTFOOT: COMPLETE GREATEST HITS: 2002: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Unless you are a big Lightfood-head this should be enough to satisfy you needs – in case it is not there is a 4 CD box set out there that has over 88 songs on it. I’ve always felt Lightfoot was underrated/ underappreciated. At 80 he is still out on the road.
- FRANK SINATRA: SONGS FOR YOUNG LOVERS: 1954:4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Sinatra’s big comeback begins- his first album with Capitol -nearing 40 his sound began to change into a more mature one- and he would have his best years in the 1950’s at Capitol working with a number of great arrangers- the albums he made in the 50’s are considered by some the first ‘concept’ albums. He may not have written the songs- but he had a knack of selecting the right songs to sing and he made them Sinatra songs. This was his first album that wasn’t released on 78. Only 8 songs on this at 21 minutes.
- FRANK SINATRA: SWING EASY! 1954 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Another short album at 8 songs and 19 minutes- that would soon change with the next album- I deducted a half point due to its shortness. This was the first album Frank did with arranger Nelson Riddle.
- FRANK SINATRA: IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS: 1955: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Considered by many to be his finest album. The themes here are of loneliness, loss, rejection. depression. Nelson Riddle still the arranger. Rolling Stone ranked it at #101 on their 500 Greatest Albums Ever list. 16 songs/ 48 minutes. This album is one that self proclaimed Sinatra nut B.B. King said that he went to bed every night listening to.