- FRANK SINATRA: SONGS FOR SWINGIN’ LOVERS: 1956″ 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The follow up to In The Wee Small Hours- is a much more upbeat concept album- with Nelson Riddle again doing the arranging. Rolling Stone ranked it at #306 on their 500 Greatest Albums list- and it is considered by most Sinatra experts right up there in greatness with Wee Small Hours- at this point in his career he could do no wrong.
- FRANK SINATRA: FRANK SINATRA CONDUCTS TONE POEMS OF COLOR: 1956: 2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This is an album that they threw in on the Concepts box set- of Frank’s work in the 50’s- it is Frank conducting an orchestra- not singing. It’s not bad but when you listen to Frank you want to hear his voice.
- MERLE HAGGARD AND THE STRANGERS: I’M A LONESOME FUGITIVE: 1967: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: In the end Haggard would have 38 #1 hits on the country singles chart- the first was the title track from this album. While the single sounds like an autobiographical Merle song it was actually written by Liz and Casey Anderson. This was Merle’s fourth album since his debut in 1965 but it would be the one that made him a star.
- MERLE HAGGARD: BRANDED MAN: 1967: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Released just 5 months after I’m A Lonesome Fugitive- the intent was to cash in and while it did cash in the album happened to be another outstanding one. Branded Man would go to #1 and I Threw Away The Rose #2- Rolling Stone ranked Branded Man at #484 on their 500 Greatest Albums Ever list.
- HARLAN COUNTY U.S.A. SOUNDTRACK: 1976: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The soundtrack to the award winning documentary about a coal mine strike in Kentucky in the early 70’s- the documentary is excellent and well worth seeing- and the soundtrack- full of coal mining songs is just as good.
- ALANIS MORISSETTE: JAGGED LITTLE PILL: 1995: 2 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: The two albums that come to mind when thinking of the 1994-95 period are Hootie #The Blowfish’s album and this one- not because I liked them but because you couldn’t avoid them- turn on the radio and there they were. My main memory of this album is- we were living in an apartment at the time and for a period of maybe 6 weeks the girl who lived in the apartment directly above us- every morning at 5:30 on the dot- would get up and start blasting Jagged Little Pill. What a way to greet the new day. We speculated that she had a recent bitter break up. Morissette has made a career out of this album- years later there was an unplugged version and I read somewhere that a play is being made of it. This album fit the times pretty well- there was a lot of angry and disillusioned music out there in the early 90’s. One thing that I always found annoying about this album is how she over sings everything. Not a fan.
- QUEEN: INNUENDO: 1991: 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This is their best album from the late period of their careers so it was a good finish for Mercury. They would build an album later around vocals he had left behind before his death but this is the last album they made while he was alive. The last Queen hit in the US had been years earlier with Radio Gaga- but while the US ignored the singles- in the UK four hits off of this album including a #1 in the title track, #22 Slightly Going Mad, #14 Headlong and #16 The Show Must Go ON.
- GEORGE HARRISON: LET IT ROLL: THE SONG OF GEORGE HARRISON: 2009: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: 19 Songs covering Harrison’s career with The Beatles and as a solo artist- the only problem I have with it is- The Beatles songs are live versions- which I guess is alright considering The Beatles versions are not difficult to track down. In listening to George Harrison’s solo albums recently a thought came to me that I had not previously considered- maybe because his solo career for the most part ran for a short time 1970-to early 80’s– George was an artist like the Dylan’s, Morrison’s and Young’s- recording what he wanted- his output has been criticized in the past as learning toward the more spiritual side-and those songs have been described by some as boring- but he did what he wanted to do- and was not making albums for the most part that aimed to please the public or the record company- and by the early 80’s he was so fed up with the record companies he would unofficially retire only making one solo album in his last nearly 20 years. Let It Roll the best Greatest Hits album of George’s solo career.