Posts Tagged ‘Terry Reid’

Buried Treasure: River

12 November 2010

[Today: Terry Reid flows...]

It must be annoying to be remembered mostly for a job you turned down. In Terry Reid’s case, that was an offer from Jimmy Page to become lead singer in the band that would become Led Zeppelin. Legend has it that Reid politely declined, and then recommended an unknown singer named Robert Plant. But Reid’s annoyance must be magnified exponentially by the fact that he made a couple of albums that were more than good enough to get him off the hook for that decision. His 1973 album River features a diverse group of talents, including guitarist David Lindley, percussionist Willie Bobo, and bassist Lee Miles, late of the Ike & Tina Turner Review. Reid’s swooping falsetto sounds like a more polished version of Janis Joplin, and he uses his voice like an instrument throughout, stretching syllables out into their own musical language.

Early in his career Reid was cast as a pop musician, and it took him a few albums and a protracted legal battle to shake off those handlers and strike out in his own direction. His contract issues meant that he had a couple of years to work out the material that ended up becoming River. He eventually signed with Atlantic Records, and was paired with legendary producer Tom Dowd, who’d worked with everyone from Aretha Franklin to the Allman Brothers. Dowd gave Reid the setting he needed to stretch out and explore, and River feels like a journey. Side one consists of more group-oriented material, while side two is spare and acoustic, but the album’s seven songs run together into something that casts a spell.

In spite of Dowd’s tutelage of Reid, Atlantic staffers were baffled by the results of these sessions, and couldn’t figure out how to categorize or promote River. And so this haunting blend of funk, folk and jazz was left to wither on the vine, and Reid was deprived of his best chance to escape the shadows of his own career choices. It didn’t happen, of course, but he has maintained a good outlook on what is and what might have been. “Who’s to say what would have happened if Jim and I had got a band?” he’s said, “It might have been a bloody failure.” He might have also said that when you make an album as good as River, you don’t have to apologize for anything…

Listen: Dean

Listen: Live Life

Listen: River

Weekend Playlist

23 February 2009

Here’s a sampling of what was in our ears over the weekend…

Sex Pistols - Never Mind The Bollocks
Sex Pistols | Never Mind The Bollocks

Woody Guthrie | Dust Bowl Ballads
Woody Guthrie | Dust Bowl Ballads

Downliners Sect | The Rock Sect's In
Downliners Sect | The Rock Sect’s In

Prince | Purple Rain
Prince | Purple Rain

Blackalicious | Nia
Blackalicious | Nia

Fred Eaglesmith | Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline
Fred Eaglesmith | Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline

Tom Waits | Swordfishtrombones
Tom Waits | Swordfishtrombones

Willard Grant Conspiracy | Everything's Fine
Willard Grant Conspiracy | Everything’s Fine

Old & In The Way | Old & In The Way
Old & In The Way | Old & In The Way

Lifesavas | Spirit In Stone
Lifesavas | Spirit In Stone

Groove Armada | Lovebox
Groove Armada | Lovebox

Minutemen | Double Nickels On The Dime
Minutemen | Double Nickels On The Dime

Nick Lowe | Basher: The Best Of
Nick Lowe | Basher: The Best Of

The Smiths | Hatful Of Hollow
The Smiths | Hatful Of Hollow

Joe Walsh | Look What I Did: The JW Anthology
Joe Walsh | Look What I Did: The JW Anthology

Mother's Finest | Not Yer Mother's Funk: The Very Best Of
Mother’s Finest | Not Yer Mother’s Funk: The Very Best Of

Various Artists | The Rhino Disco Box
Various Artists | The Rhino Disco Box

Lightnin' Slim | Rooster Blues
Lightnin’ Slim | Rooster Blues

John Prine | John Prine
John Prine | John Prine

Cold War Kids | Robbers & Cowards
Cold War Kids | Robbers & Cowards

Little Barrie | We Are Little Barrie
Little Barrie | We Are Little Barrie

Mazzy Star | So Tonight That I Migh See
Mazzy Star | So Tonight That I Might See

Terry Reid | River
Terry Reid | River

Gene Clark | No Other
Gene Clark | No Other

Wings | Wings Greatest
Wings | Wings Greatest

Bryan Sutton | Bluegrass Guitar
Bryan Sutton | Bluegrass Guitar

Manu Chao | Proxima Estacion... Esperanza
Manu Chao | Proxima Estacion… Esperanza

Massive Attack | Mezzanine
Massive Attack | Mezzanine

Outkast | Stankonia
Outkast | Stankonia

Various Artists | Brainfreeze Breaks
Various Artists | Brainfreeze Breaks

DJ Shadow | Endtroducing...
DJ Shadow | Entroducing…

Neu! | Neu!
Neu! | Neu! 75

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble | The Sky Is Crying
Stevie Ray Vaughan | The Sky Is Crying

R.L. Burnside | Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down
R.L. Burnside | Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down

Flying Burrito Bros | Gilded Palace Of Sin
Flying Burrito Brothers | Gilded Palace Of Sin

Sidestepper | 3AM (In Beats We Trust)
Sidestepper | 3AM (In Beats We Trust)

Dino Valente - Dino
Dino Valente | Dino Valente

John Legend | Get Lifted
John Legend | Get Lifted

Weekend Playlist

17 November 2008

It was another gorgeous weekend in the Bay Area, with weather in the 80’s and the slightest of breezes. The P and I had the windows opened and the turntable fired up all weekend. Here’s what we played…

verve_remixed
Various Artists | Verve Remixed

AC/DC | Back In Black
AC/DC | Back In Black

queens-of-the-stone-age
Queens Of The Stone Age | Songs For The Deaf

Tropicalia | A Brazilian Revolution In Sound
Various Artists | Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution In Sound

Buena Vista Social Club | At Carnegie Hall
Buena Vista Social Club | At Carnegie Hall

Fred Neil | Bleecker & MacDougal
Fred Neil | Bleecker & MacDougal

Terry Reid
Terry Reid | Terry Reid

Kings Of Convenience | Quiet Is The New Loud
Kings Of Convenience | Quiet Is The New Loud

Bo Diddley | Big Bad Bo
Bo Diddley | Big Bad Bo

Funkadelic | Uncle Jam Wants You
Funkadelic | Uncle Jam Wants You

Hercules And Love Affair
Hercules And Love Affair | Hercules And Love Affair

Gorillaz | Demon Days
Gorillaz | Demon Days

Various Artists | Disco Hustle
Various Artists | Disco Hustle

massive_attack-protection
Massive Attack | Protection

Love | Da Capo
Love | Da Capo

Nick Drake | Family Tree
Nick Drake | Family Tree

Blue Mitchell | The Thing To Do
Blue Mitchell | The Thing To Do

Sly & The Family Stone | There's A Riot Goin' On
Sly & The Family Stone | There’s A Riot Goin’ On

Talking Heads | The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads
Talking Heads | The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads

Gomez | In Our Gun
Gomez | In Our Gun

The Flying Burrito Brothers | Burrito Deluxe
The Flying Burrito Brothers | Burrito Deluxe

Jurassic 5 | Quality Control
Jurassic 5 | Quality Control

John Phillips | John, The Wolfking Of L.A.
John Phillips | John, The Wolfking Of L.A.

Groove Armada | Lovebox
Groove Armada | Lovebox

Young-Holt Unlimited | Plays Superfly
Young-Holt Unlimited | Plays Superfly

The Band | Music From Big Pink
The Band | Music From Big Pink

M. Ward | Transfiguration Of Vincent
M. Ward | Transfiguration Of Vincent

Love's A Real Thing
Various Artists | World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love’s A Real Thing

Various Artists | Ghana Soundz
Various Artists | Ghana Soundz

Yet Another Day At The Flea

3 December 2007

Yesterday the P and I braved the wind and cold and journeyed out to our local flea market. As usual, I scavenged through many dusty, hive-inducing crates of lousy records, in search of overlooked treasures. Here’s some of what I found, good and bad:

terry_reid_seed_of_memory.jpg
Terry Reid * Seed Of Memory – Reid famously turned down the lead singer’s job for a little band that would end up calling itself Led Zeppelin. His swooping falsetto would have been perfect in that group, but the music he ended up making on his own is unjustly overlooked. His album River is a masterpiece, and Seed Of Memory just might be better, with a funk-lite sound that is the perfect setting for that voice.

Swamp Dogg - album
Swamp Dogg * Cuffed Collared & Tagged – Dogg’s third long-player, released in 1972, features a kickin’ version of John Prine’s ‘Sam Stone’ alongside his usual funk/soul whackiness. As Dogg himself says rather awkwardly in the sleeve notes, “Everything that is necessary to make a hit album I have; Ego, talent, originality, humor and I am dynamic, articulate, defiant, altruistic, considerate, warm, wonderful & humble.” His abundant confidence notwithstanding, Dogg never got that hit album, but he made plenty that could’ve been.

Marsalis - album
Wynton Marsalis & Edita Gruberova with Raymond Leppard and the Engish Chamber Orchestra – Two more names on the cover, and this album turns into a law firm! Here Marsalis shows off his classical side, and takes on pieces by Handel, Purcell, and Fasch. Gruberova is a soprano who adds operatic flair to three of the nine tracks. The perfect music for driving through the countryside, and perhaps the soundtrack for the next round of Grey Poupon ads.

Deodato - album
Deodato * Prelude – Deodato might be the foremost purveyors of what never came to be known as Fusion-Disco. The group is named after pianist Eumir Deodato, but features talents such as Stanley Clarke, Ray Barreto, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham, and Hubert Laws. Imagine a sprawling, latin-tinged, dancefloor-ready version of the theme to 2001: A Space Odyssey, and you’ve got their hit single ‘Thus Sprach Zarathustra’. The album also features jazzy interpretations of classical pieces, which are sure to turn many off, but make for decent background music.

Jackie Wilson - album
Jackie Wilson * Merry Christmas From Jackie Wilson – Either Jackie had his voice surgically altered for this recording, or he’s doing the world’s worst Elvis imitation. Either way, this one is b-a-d, even by holiday album standards.

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Clifton Chenier * The King Of Zydeco - The title of this album is no empty boast – the accordian-playing Chenier is widely regarded to be the king of zydeco music (and he’s got that funky crown to prove it). This 1981 album was recorded live at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Chenier introduces his band, they immediately launch into a red-hot zydeco version of ‘Jambalaya’, and the fun doesn’t let up from there.

Segovia - Three Centuries Of The Guitar
Andres Segovia * Three Centuries Of The Guitar – Classical guitar wizard Segovia is one of the most consistently undervalued artists on vinyl. His records seem to get lumped in with traditional Classical albums, and they often end up with a $1 stickers on them, even though they’re all excellent. Segovia’s music also allows you to listen intently and enjoy, or tune it out and let it play in the background. Highly recommended.

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Jacques Brel * The Poetic World Of Jacques Brel – Jacques sings with LOTS of emotion! I’m happy!!! I’m sad!!! No no no!!! Yes yes yes!!!

goodbyepop.jpg
National Lampoon * Good-bye Pop 1952-1976 – Oh, I get it: a crappy album about how crappy music was in the 70’s. Guess the joke’s on me…

Irwin The Disco Duck
Irwin The Disco Duck – How could I pass up a cover like that?

Johnny Cash - 4 Track Tape

Johnny Cash - 4 Track Tape - detail
Johnny Cash * At San Quentin [4-Track Tape] – My find of the day. This ancient 4-Track, reel-to-reel style tape cost me only five bucks. In Europe, that’s like 69 cents right now…

The 20 Most Overlooked Albums Of All-Time

15 April 2007

“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” – Miles Davis

*****

When a ship sinks, it can take a long time to go under. But once it starts to go, it will fall quickly and silently to the bottom of the sea, to lie undisturbed forever. There is a small chance it may be discovered by an intrepid diver who lives for the simple thrill of shining light on dark places, but far more likely, it will not.

An album can travel the same progression of futility: A lot of nothing – followed by a rapid descent to the bottom. And like a ship, it can take a lot of good people and precious cargo down with it.

There are so many forces at work that it’s impossible to say why some albums succeed where others fail (take a look at any Top 40 from the 1970’s and this mystery grows exponentially). But it is easy to see that many lousy albums do well (Mmmm Bop anyone?) and great ones don’t. Unfortunately the charts – like life – just ain’t fair.

Many of my favorite musical discoveries have been preceded by phrases like “the records on the floor in the back are all a buck” or “my brother was going to throw these out and I knew you had a turntable”. As Jacques Cousteau could tell you, the best stuff is often found where nobody is looking.

Of course, many more finds have come the old-fashioned way: by word of mouth. And for that I owe a debt of gratitude to my fellow subversives who are willing to look beneath the surface (or buy an outdated format) to find something unusual and worthwhile in a world full of too much shiny, pre-packaged junk.

In the spirit of passing it on, here are the albums and artists that I feel were most unfairly left to sink. The names may be unfamiliar, and the songs aren’t the soundtracks to anyone’s youth or commercials, but each of these records shine, like pearls hidden on the floor of a deep black ocean.

Paul K & The Weathermen | Love Is A Gas
Paul K & The Weathermen – Love Is A Gas (1997)

• Paul Kopasz has spent time in jail for heroin possession, and has drawn upon this checkered history to create a string of excellent and cynical albums. He has enjoyed marginal success in Europe, but his albums continue to be ignored in the States in spite of critical acclaim. Love Is A Gas contains no two songs remotely alike, but the whole thing works like a mad jigsaw puzzle, including lights-out covers of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Jesus Children Of America’ and Queen’s ‘You’re My Best Friend’.

Long Ryders | Native Sons
The Long Ryders – Native Sons (1984)

Native Sons has the unique ability to sound like a familiar favorite upon first listen. That’s because the seeds of all that would become alt-country are planted right here, and the list of bands influenced include R.E.M., Uncle Tupelo/Wilco/Son Volt, Whiskeytown, and dozens of others. In fact, the list of those drafting off The Long Ryders’ sound reads like a who’s who of 90’s rock, marking them as a hidden influencer on par with the Velvet Underground.

Dr. Feelgood | Down By The Jetty
Dr. Feelgood – Down By The Jetty (1974)

• This – their 1974 debut – put Dr. Feelgood at the forefront of the English pub rock bands that were later swept away by the rising tide of punk. As evidenced here, they brought raw energy and tight riffs to every one of their albums and live shows, and were one of the few bands outside of punk to actually earn the widespread respect and attention of punk artists.

The Stairs | Mexican R 'n' B
The Stairs – Mexican R ‘n’ B (1992)

• The classic case of the right sound at the wrong time, The Stairs’ raw, garage rock-meets-blues sound could have been (and eventually would become) the Next Big Thing. But Mexican R ‘n’ B was released at the height of grunge, and made no impact on any chart. This offbeat masterpiece has been out of print since shortly after going into print, which explains why you could fit everyone who knows it into a large elevator – a crying shame.

Radio Birdman | Radios Appear
Radio Birdman – Radios Appear

• Radio Birdman blasted onto the Aussie punk scene with their debut Radios Appear. Founder Deniz Tek hailed from Ann Arbor, MI (home to The Stooges and MC5), which helps partly explain the ahead-of-its- time velocity and swagger of this album. They waited a critical three years before following it up and dozens of bands rushed in to fill the punk product void. Birdman broke up after their second album was poorly received, and found themselves relegated to the ‘often cited but rarely heard’ bin. Tek would later form bands featuring ex-members of the Stooges & MC5, but never again approached this pure blue flame.

Wipers | Youth Of America
Wipers – Youth Of America (1981)

• Wipers – led by mastermind Greg Sage – have toiled away in self-imposed D.I.Y. obscurity for more than two decades. Their relentless, hard-driving sound is neither punk nor metal, but matches either for sheer determination and menace. Youth Of America’s 10-minutes-plus title track is a dark journey through barren wasteland, over a highway of broken glass. Wipers have pointedly avoided the mainstream, but their influence has seeped through nonetheless: a young Kurt Cobain was a big fan, and partly modeled the sound of his band (and consequently, his generation) on this.

Monks | Black Monk Time
Monks – Black Monk Time (1966)

• Henry Rollins likes Monks, and you should too. In the mid-sixties, these proto-proto-proto-punks decided to vent their spleen at being stationed as GIs in Germany by dressing in robes and shaving their heads like monks (imagine a flattop with a reverse Mohawk) and playing the most blistering music they could. The results are so undeniably punk that it’s hard to see why these guys don’t ever get mentioned in the same breath as other forefathers of that genre.

The Gun Club | Fire Of Love
Gun Club – Fire Of Love (1981)

• Gun Club rode a hybrid, slide-guitar blues-meets-punk sound straight into obscurity. This Los Angeles quartet, fronted by troubled singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce, counted many musicians and critics among their fans, but their tweener sound and Pierce’s struggles with drugs and alcohol were too much to overcome. Pierce launched an equally fruitless solo career in ’85, passed away in ’96, and Gun Club’s harrowing, ghost-out-of-hell albums – including this excellent debut – have slipped into the shadows.

ESG | A South Bronx Story
ESG – A South Bronx Story (1983)

• The Scroggins sisters – Deborah (bass, vocals), Marie (congas, vocals), Renee (vocals, guitar), and Valerie (drums) – formed ESG when their mother bought them instruments to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. In short order they went from a rough group of untalented musicians (alas, Ma Scroggins couldn’t afford lessons to go with the instruments) to a unique, female-driven funk act. They reportedly started writing their own songs so that audiences wouldn’t know when they messed up covers. And while ESG’s reputation grew during the 90’s because they were endlessly sampled, their own music was so generally ignored that they named a 1993 release Sample Credits Don’t Pay Our Bills.

Cymande - album
Cymande – Cymande (1973)

• Cymande was a highly influential but ultimately short-lived group featuring musicians from several Caribbean and African countries. Their self-titled debut is a perfect snapshot of its era, combining African rhythms with abundant percussion, sultry funk and quasi-politically aware lyrics. They barely cracked the Top 40, made just two more albums and called it quits. In recent years, Cymande has enjoyed critical re-appraisal, and many of their tracks have been sampled, but this nine-member funk dynamo should be known by more than just critics and beat-grafters.

IBB - album
Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band – Bongo Rock (1973)

• The Incredible Bongo Band was formed to make a single track for the soundtrack to an early 70’s horror film. When that track went to #1 in Canada, the label (undoubtedly smelling money) asked for a full-length follow up. From there it should have been a short hop to obscurity, but a funny thing happened on the way to the dustbin; a house party DJ in the South Bronx named Kool Herc used 2 copies of the record as a way to keep his crowds moving – making it the first breakbeat album ever. The music from those parties is now considered to be the cornerstone of the hip-hop culture and sample-based music. Mojo calls it – no joke – “possibly the most influential album in the history of post-60’s popular music.”

Mutiny | Mutiny On The Mamaship
Mutiny – Mutiny On The Mamaship (1979)

• After Jerome ‘Bigfoot’ Brailey split from the Parliament/Funkadelic camp (he was the funky drummer on Mothership Connection and others) because of money disputes, he formed Mutiny and released this blistering indictment of former boss George Clinton that reaches the same highs as the P-Funk mob at their best. After this and a second album both tanked, Mutiny was suddenly without a record contract (a fate that would also befall Clinton around the same time) and disbanded in the early 80’s. This is the rarest of commodities – an overlooked funk diamond.

James Luther Dickinson | Dixie Fried
James Luther Dickinson – Dixie Fried (1972)

• Name-checked as a mentor by Dylan in Chronicles, Vol. 1, Jim Dickinson is the ultimate musician’s musician. In addition to playing as a sideman on countless classic albums, he’s produced artists as diverse as Primal Scream, Ry Cooder, and Mudhoney. Featuring an uncredited Eric Clapton on guitar, Dixie Fried is the very definition of hidden gem. Every track crackles with wit and energy, and Dickinson portrays myriad characters with a humorous tongue and sympathetic ear. This was his lone album until 2003’s Free Beer Tomorrow – which was 30 years in the making, equally brilliant and well worth the wait.

ZZ Top - album
ZZ Top – ZZ Top’s First Album (1970)

• Before the Santa beards, pimpin’ rides, sexy ladies, MTV videos and multi-platinum success of Eliminator, ZZ Top were once an honest to goodness – and damned impressive – Blues band with a capital B. The proof is right here on an album that’s as laid back and true as its title.

Michael Nesmith & The First National Band | Magnetic South
Michael Nesmith & The First National Band – Magnetic South (1970)

• Yes indeed, it’s true: Michael Nesmith of the Monkees was actually a pretty talented musician. His three albums with The First National Band mark him as a forefather of country-rock, quite possibly on par with Gram Parsons (your call whether this is a positive or negative mark). Nesmith kept the FNB together for just a few years before moving on to tend his business interests, which included helping to found MTV. But you have to wonder what might have been had he not been packing around the Monkees stigma way back when.

No Other - album
Gene Clark – No Other (1974)

• For an album allegedly made on transcontinental rails of cocaine, No Other sounds surprisingly focused and is bathed in an almost spiritual glow. The entire breadth of this ex-Byrd’s solo career is overlooked, but this is the album that should have made him a star in his own right. The fact that it didn’t was reportedly a blow (no pun intended) that he never recovered from.

Wolfking - album
John Phillips – John Wolfking Of LA (1970)

• Phillips panned this solo album in his autobiography Papa John, saying “The lead singer seemed groggy.” While the raw, ragged sound was the antithesis of The Mamas & Papas’ California sunshine, Wolfking is a fascinating and bracing journey through the dark side of the Laurel Canyon star scene of the early ‘70’s. Papa John explains its quick demise: “It was DOA in the record stores.”

Terry Reid | River
Terry Reid – River (1973)

• Reid is most well known for turning down the lead singer’s spot in a new band Jimmy Page was forming that would become Led Zeppelin (Reid also graciously recommended an unknown young frontman named Robert Plant). His soaring and beautiful River should have overshadowed that anecdote, but the album never found its audience. Though re-issued to raves on disc a few years back, it’s too little recognition far too late for this talented guitarist and top-flight, multi-octave singer.

Rodriguez | Cold Fact
Rodriguez – Cold Fact (1970)

• Sixto Rodriguez should have been huge. Blessed with a gritty yet warm voice, an acoustic guitar, and a whole mess of lyrics about how fucked up the world was, he had everything one could have wanted in a 70’s singer/songwriter. But his lone album – 1970’s Cold Fact – went nowhere, and he disappeared. He gained a strong cult following in Australia during the 80’s that enabled him to tour that country and somewhat revive his music career, but really, this guy should have been huge.

Dennis Wilson | Pacific Ocean Blue
Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)

• Beach Boys’ drummer Dennis Wilson was generally thought of as a skirt-chasing, boneheaded surfer and longtime rider of older brother Brian’s coattails. When he made this overlooked masterpiece, he promptly changed the mind of anyone fortunate enough to hear these mini-symphonies that are as inventive as anything his prodigy bro’ conjured up. Then he died in 1983, and left us with a lot of what-ifs and enough odds and sods for another, equally unrecognized gem, Bamboo.

Alexander 'Skip' Spence | Oar
Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence – Oar (1969)

Oar begs the question: can an album be called underrated so many times that it starts to become overrated? Ex-Moby Grape drummer Spence was in the midst of losing his mind when he recorded this rambling, epic, and sparsely beautiful ode to all and nothing. At times the songs lose their structure and way, but the net effect is nothing short of mesmerizing. It is reportedly the worst-selling album in the long history of Columbia records.

Fred Neil | Fred Neil
Fred Neil – Fred Neil (1967)

• Never quite emerging from the Greenwich Village folk scene that spawned Dylan and others, Fred Neil released just three proper albums in a four-year career. By the early 70’s he had dropped out of the music industry to live out his life in seclusion in South Florida, where he passed away in 2001. The fact that this incredible singer/songwriter and unique voice isn’t a household name (and is best known for Harry Nilsson’s cover of ‘Everybody’s Talkin’ for the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack) is a cultural travesty. If anyone’s music deserves a Volkswagen-ad boost yielding widespread rediscovery and overdue respect, it’s Fred Neil.

25 More That Deserved Better…

Swamp Dogg – I’m Not Selling Out/I’m Buying In
The Peddlers – Suite London
Graham Parker – The Mona Lisa’s Sister
Bauhaus – Burning From The Inside
Barry & The Remains – The Best Of
Marah – Kids In Philly
Temple Of The Dog – Temple Of The Dog
J.K. & Co. – Suddenly One Summer
Pretty Things – S.F. Sorrow
Hank Mobley – The Turnaround
Bonzo Dog Doodah Band – Gorilla
Various Artists – Wild Style Soundtrack
Josh Ritter – Golden Age Of Radio
Michelle Shocked – Short Sharp Shocked
Stereo MC’s – Supernatural
Shorty Baker/Doc Cheatham – Shorty & Doc
John Martyn – Solid Air
DJ Hurricane – The Hurrah
Gary Higgins – Red Hash
A3 – Exile On Coldharbour Lane
D.R. Hooker – The Truth
Roy Harper – Stormcock
Moby Grape – Moby Grape
Slaid Cleaves – Broke Down
Alejandro Escovedo – A Man Under The Influence

And 10 That Are Grossly Overrated…

• Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run • I’ve tried (and tried and tried…) to hear the unparalleled masterpiece the critics all rave about. Every time I read a superlative review, I get all jacked up about this, but in the end, all I ever hear is just a decent bar band taking 8 minutes to play 3 minute songs.

• Jimmy Buffett – Any album • Until somebody sits me down and explains how Jimmy Buffett is anything more than just the 70’s nautical version of Weird Al Yankovic (which, by the way, perfectly nails my beef with his music) I’ll have no clue how this guy can sell out a bar, let alone a 25,000 seat amphitheatre.

• The Eagles – Hotel California • The Eagles have always reminded me of the too-popular kids in class whose status was based 100% on style and 0% on substance (I’m guessing every school has a couple of these). Exhibit A in any prosecution of the 70’s as a bloated, soul-less, nothing of a music decade, this album has no business near a turntable, let alone any Best Of All-Time lists.

• The Who – Tommy • Easily the lamest “concept” album of all-time. Let’s see… a deaf, “dumb” and blind kid plays pinball? Bartender, make mine a double. Unless the hidden meaning here is that in the future, people will cringe and/or laugh at the thought of Rock Operas, there’s nothing terribly brilliant about any of this.

• Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness • Gish and Siamese Dream were epic slabs of 90’s rock at it’s best, but this lame follow-up reaped all the big sales (nearly 10 million) and critical acclaim. Billy Corgan whines throughout, and this sprawling double album has barely enough good songs for a single disc. You could cull it down to a listenable ep, but I won’t.

• Dave Matthews Band – Crash • Last fall I took a river tour of Chicago, and passed under the infamous spot where the DMB unloaded the contents of their tour bus bathroom on an unsuspecting boatload of people. The options are so plentiful that I’ll let you create your own metaphors for how that story relates to the music.

• Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica • Continually shows up on Best Of All-Time lists, and I can never figure out why. It’s an incomprehensible mess from start to (double-album!!) finish, and the Cap’n has a trio of other albums (Safe As Milk, Clear Spot, and The Spotlight Kid) more rocking and listener friendly. On the bright side, this album will clear your unwanted houseguests in a matter of minutes.

• Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP • Any critic that places this on their Best Of All-Time list ahead of Eric B. & Rakim (and too many have) should be stripped of their credentials – and pants. And I think Em would probably agree with the spirit of what I’m saying here (if only the pantsing the critics part).

• Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow • Contains a couple of good tracks, but overall this album sounds flat and has aged poorly. Grace Slick’s voice has always been like nails on a chalkboard to me, so maybe I’m not listening with the right set of ears.

• The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band • Greatest album of all time? It’s probably no better than the 6th (and quite possibly the 7th) best Beatles album (running behind the White Album, Abbey Road, Revolver, Rubber Soul, and Beatles For Sale – and neck-and-neck with the underrated Let It Be). Admittedly, that’s a murderer’s row of great albums, but until I can rent a time machine to experience its ‘cultural impact’ first hand, I’m calling it overrated.


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