Friday, March 27, 2009

First 5 of My Top 25

Recently on facebook I was asked to do this:

Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, and emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. When you finish, tag 25 others, including me. Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill.

***This is not about being cool. Which albums have you actually listened to thousands of times?***

A tough assignment for sure, and even tougher for an old guy like me that is also a musician. My brain keeps wanting to separate this into 2 groups - influential and favorite, so I decided to mix it together.

Being a drummer, there are a ton of albums that influenced me, but I left those off the list. It might be fun for me to share that list at some time but for now, here it is in a very rough order reflecting the chronological order that they came into my life with little regard to release date:

Rolling Stones - Between The Buttons
Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced?
Blue Cheer - Outsideinside
Jethro Tull - This Was
Cream - Wheels Of Fire
Beatles - The White Album
Iron Butterfly - Ball
Jack Bruce - Songs For A Tailor
Runt - The Ballad Of Todd Rundgren
David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
King Crimson - Lark's Tongues In Aspic
Simon And Garfunkel - Bookends
Nino Rota - Juliet Of The Spirits
dB's - Repurcussion
Don Gibson - A Legend In My Time
Game Theory - The Big Shot Chronicles
Reivers - End Of The Day
Stories - About Us
XTC - Nonesuch
Christmas - Vortex
Ennio Morricone - Canto Morricone The 70's
Flaming Lips - The Soft Bulletin
Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
Judee Sill - Heart Food
John Vanderslice - Cellar Door

Whew! That was harder than I thought it was going to be! I'm sure it's pretty nebulous too - my list could probably be different on any given day. I guess that's a typical problem coming up with a list like this after living and breathing music for about 42 years of concentrated listening (which started when I was around 10 yrs. old).

Here are the first 5 with a few comments.

Between The Buttons - The Rolling Stones
I got this record as a kid and to this day I think it's my fave Stones LP. I was old enough to know that The Stones were indeed bad boys and I loved staring at the cover and being a bit freaked out at how tough they looked (and cold!). Musically, the U.S. version contained Lets Spend The Night Together and Ruby Tuesday which I already had as a 45 and liked very much. Even at that tender age, I was more enamored with those songs after seeing them performed on Ed Sullivan, with Mick rolling his eyes when he sang a cleaned up version of Spend The Night on the show! Connection is a very cool song and while being creeped out by doctors giving injections and the like, I really love the guitars and vocal harmonies. And being a bit of a cheat, I'm going with the U.K version to add that Back Street Girl (first heard on the LP Flowers) as an all-time favorite Stone's song, regardless of that one dang guitar string that's not quite in tune!

Are You Experienced?- The Jimi Hendrix Experience
I had been initiated into psychedelic music primarily by Cream's Disraeli Gears and The Vanilla Fudge's first album, but this one really knocked the psychedelic sound out of the ballpark. A strong LP from top to bottom featuring just out right blistering guitar and some of the best rock drumming ever recorded. Effects heavy production that in no way overshadows a very high energy band. This record also brought into my life the first racially integrated band I had ever owned a record of. Love the cover photo with all those 'fros, and again, these guys looked tough and mean!

Outsideinside - Blue Cheer
My dad bought me this album at a drug store a long time ago. This was back in the days when drug stores used to carry a rack or two of LP's. He told me to pick one out and I chose this one. I was somewhat familiar with the band due to their single of Summertime Blues that I heard on the radio. This record could be one of the heaviest and hardest rock albums ever recorded. A power trio pummeling the grooves with Marshall stacks and the biggest drum set I had ever seen! The artwork was intriguing with its druggie references and a strange gatefold type cover that opened up with a giant live shot of the band. Musically, a real powerhouse, mixing psychedelia and power chords with one of the strangest mixes I've ever heard. This was so different than what San Francisco bands were putting out at the time. Standout tracks for me are Just A Little Bit, Come And Get It and the sign-of-the-times tune titled Magnolia Caboose Babyfinger!

This Was - Jethro Tull
My best friend had a big brother that worked at a music distributor in Charlotte, and he had a drool-worthy record collection to my young eyes, and this one really caught my eye! Weird cover with the already strange looking band made to look even stranger dressed as old down-and-out homeless dudes with a bunch of mangy dogs! But it was the music that really grabbed my attention. Relatively straight-ahead British blues mixed with rock, jazz and folk performed masterfully. Ian Anderson hadn't put on his tights and codpiece quite yet, and he displays his skill as a very unique singer and flautist. The rhythm section of Glenn Cornick and fab drummer Clive Bunker handle everything thrown at them, but for me, it's guitarist Mick Abrahams that steals the show. Adept with any style (but preferring blues), he remains one of my very favorite guitar players. Check out the lead-off track - My Sunday Feeling !

Wheels Of Fire - Cream
This may have been my very first 2 LP set I ever owned. Cream was also my very favorite group and I couldn't wait for this one to finally show up in my mailbox after I had ordered it from the Record Club Of America. With mind-blowing artwork, side one featured new studio tracks, while side two contained live recordings. With the exception of their live version of Crossroads (some of Clapton's fiercest playing ever), I was immediately drawn into the studio stuff. White Room was a huge hit and I already had the 45, so it was the songs I had never heard that drew me in so enticingly. Specifically, it was Jack Bruce's songs that were now showing a remarkable depth and musicality (along with Felix Pappalardi's unique production) that sends me reeling. There are few iconic rock riffs as great as Politician, which is about as heavy as can be, but the stand-out cut for me is As You Said , which seemed kind of..eerie to me with strange chords, great vocals and a wonderful cello part that was something very new for me to hear on a rock record. It's hard to think of a much stranger song than Ginger Baker's odd but beautiful Pressed Rat And Warthog, and I've got to say (regardless of what Rolling Stone magazine thought), I love Cream's version of Born Under A Bad Sign ! The reviewer (whose name I have long since forgotten) hated the herky-jerky feel of Ginger Baker's uber-syncopated drumming, but not me! It's one of the most unique grooves I've ever heard and I still can't figure the damned thing out.

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