- JOHN LENNON: MIND GAMES: 1973: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I have listened to John’s post Beatles albums many times but never in order -in a short period of time. What strikes me is how- his solo career was so short. He was busy the first half of the 70’s and sat out the 2nd half of the decade before his too brief comeback. Mind Games and the follow up Walls And Bridges are better than their reputation. In listening to them though in retrospect its not surprising that he took the 5 years off following the covers album Rock N Roll.
- JOHN LENNON: WALLS AND BRIDGES: 1974: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: In my mind at least Mind Games and Walls and Bridges are kind of lumped together. Walls and Bridges being the easier album to listen to. John had a #1 hit with Whatever Gets You Thru The Night and one of his better singles as a solo artist #9 Dream was also a hit and he takes the knife to that rat Allen B. Klein in “Steel and Glass.”
- FRANK SINATRA: NICE ‘N’ EASY: 1960: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Sinatra’s first album of the 60’s- coming after “No One Cares” -his suicide album- Nice N Easy -with Nelson Riddle arranging is still considered one of Sintara’s concept albums but it’s kind of loose as far as staying with a concept. Most of the songs he had sung earlier in this career. Another excellent Sinatra album during his greatest period as a recording artists- as Capitol.
- CHARLIE RICH: THE FABULOUS CHARLIE RICH: 1969: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Charlie Rich is remembered today mostly for his big 1973 hits- “Behind Closed Doors” and ” The Most Beautiful Girl”- he was the flavor of the year and after many years of struggling with commercial success it was great that he finally received attention- although those songs are far from his best work. Rich’s problem was he was hard to classify. His favorite music was jazz but he also did rockabilly, country, rock and roll, soul and gospel- which was probably the main reason he was more great than popular most of his career. This is a great album and features two of his best songs- Sittin’ And Thinkin’- which he wrote and a song his wife wrote- “Life’s Little Up’s and Down’s.
- JOHN LENNON: ROCK N’ ROLL: 1975: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This album got bad reviews when it came out but I’ve always liked it and I think with time-today’s critics are much kinder. It’s not a major statement- it’s just John Lennon recording some of his favorite rock and roll classics. I like Mind Games and Walls and Bridges but I think I’d take this one over them. Stand By Me was the single- and it peaked at #20- it really stands out as the best cover on the album- which has many strong performances. Great album cover-taken by Jurgen Vollmer back in the Hamburg days.
- JOHN LENNON/ & YOKO ONO: DOUBLE FANTASY: 1980: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I find it impossible to evaluate this album since just weeks after it was released John was assassinated. Watching The Wheels is one of my favorite John Lennon songs and that is including his work with The Beatles. Yoko Ono never sounded better- not that that is that much of a compliment but for the most part I can listen to her songs on here without cringing. Was John the first rock and roller to willingly step aside for a 5 year period- it was thought of as retirement at the time- he wasn’t touring or releasing albums. Nowadays it is more the exception than the rule- the old releasing a new album every 12-18 months and the constant touring- today no one thinks much of an artist/ band sitting out a few years between albums its the norm.
- JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO: MILK AND HONEY: 1984: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: 12 songs- six by Lennon and six by Ono. These were the songs John was working on in the last months of his life. I have thought from time to time what if John who been gone almost as long as he was here- hadn’t been tracked down and assassinated by that parasite? I think he would have had a very productive and interesting period as an artist. I could see a career like Neil Young’s- hits and misses but always interesting work. Of course their is always that Beatles reunion question. I imagine they would have gotten together at one point or another. The Lennon songs on this album are pretty good- Miss Ono’s not so much.
- JOHN DENVER: THE ESSENTIAL JOHN DENVER- DISC 1 &2 : 3 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: This two disc John Denver retrospective is arranged in chronological order- and I would think this is more than enough John Denver for anyone- 36 songs. It seemed like a job finishing disc 2. Denver was a hit making machine in the first half of the 70’s then went into decline at least commercially. Was he a case of perfect timing? I guess he fits into the singer-songwriter mode of the early 70’s and as music changed in the mid part of the decade his hits ceased. I really am not knocked out by much on disc 2- he gets boring pretty quickly. I think I would have been happy with a single disc of his 20 best songs.