Dec 22, 2016 Musical Appreciation
So here is 1965 and they can be heard on Spotify with the playlist that I have created for everyone to follow along.
I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail – Buck Owens and His Buckaroos – My main exposure to Buck Owens came through the “Hee-Haw” show as he sat opposite Roy Clark. Cub Koda described this album as “Owens’ Bakersfield honky tonk sound at the height of its freight-train rumbling powers.” I enjoyed the album very much. It has the kind of swing and honky tonk groove that I hadn’t heard in a long time but still liked. Its the kind of music you get up and dance. Not what I would call 1001 material initially but i htink there could be room in my list for this gem.
Live at the Star-Club Hamburg – Jerry Lee Lewis – So this album showed Jerry Lee as “The Killer”! Jerry Lee Lewis live is the best way to hear him. He has a presence that leaps off the stage and the recording. Every track makes you think “how cool would it be to see late 50’s/early 60’s Jerry Lee Lewis?” He does what you would expect, “Great Balls of Fire” & “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” but he also pulls out “Good Golly Miss Molly”, “Hound Dog” and “Long, Tall Sally”. Great rock and roll album, definitely in my 1001 based on “Mean Woman BLues” alone!!
Here Come The Sonics – The Sonics – Ever heard of The Sonics? Me neither. At first listen, it’s a garage band. At second listen…it was still a garage band. I could imagine having these guys playing your party would have been the coolest thing around in ’65 but I don’t know what is so good about this album that would place it on the 1001. Fun stuff but not worthy of great distinction in my opinion.
Bringing It All Back Home – Bob Dylan – I’m a pretty big fan of Dylan as a writer. I don’t own a lot of Dylan’s albums just because I am not a huge fan of his vocals. This album is a great example of why I like Bob’s writing. “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, “Maggie’s Farm”, It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” are the hits but the whole album is sublime. It has a transitional feel to it as Dylan has one foot squarely planted in the acoustic folk and the other in the grittier electric rock side of the road. “Love Minus Zero” shows his folk roots while “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” is a crazy cool rocker. I’d have to say this makes the list for me.
Otis Blue – Otis Redding – This is Otis’ third album. When you hear it, it feels like a greatest hits album because all the songs are familiar. Otis Blue is a classic album you must have if you are a music lover. Yet, I don’t have it (a situation I will remedy shortly). This has classic songs penned by Otis like “Respect”, “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” and “Ole Man Trouble”. But he does powerful versions of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, “Shake” and “Wonderful World”. All in all, Otis slays us with every tune on this album. Due to the familiarity of these songs, I wouldn’t have put it in my 1001 because it would have felt cliche but listening again makes me realize this album impacted the music world heavily, as Aretha went on to do “Respect”. Definitely in my 1001 now.
The Beach Boys Today! – The Beach Boys – Between 1962 and 1964, Brian Wilson had written songs for 6 full-length albums, 5 new Christmas songs for a Christmas album and toured live with the Beach Boys including a Live album thrown in to boot. In late ’64 the decision was to let Brian stop touring to concentrate on writing and arranging the Beach Boys next album. This is that album. You can hear the beginning of the changes in the arrangements and instrumentation that would later be heard on Pet Sounds. It is the beginning of a change in writing focus as well. This album goes from “Do You Wanna Dance?” and “Dance, Dance, Dance” to “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)” and “Please Let Me Wonder. A transition from being a girl-crazy, hot-rod driven teenager to “what happens next” 20-something. I have the original pressing of this album on the Capital label. Definitely in my 1001 list.
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane – What can I say about this album that hasn’t already be said. I got introduced to this album from my love of Carlos Santana, who always identifies this as one of the top 5 musical pieces of all time. Simply 4 songs: Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance, Psalm. Coltrane recorded this just a few years before he died. Lots of people interpret this album and I find myself reading the “lyrics/poem” included with the vinyl jacket in synchronicity with Coltrane’s tenor sax during Psalm. Just a superb album. Its in my top 25, maybe even top 10.
Live At The Regal – B.B. King – What’s great about B.B. King is not only is he arguably one of the most recognizable guitar players due to his unique tone and vibrato but he’s also a pretty amazing singer. This album showcases B.B. at possibly his best vocally. But above all else, B.B. King is the consummate entertainer. He is an amazing bandleader and this group follows his every move with horn rips and a rhythm section that can swing the slack in anyone’s back. Get this album, put it on and dance around the room. You can try to stay still but you will still be swaying.
Bert Jansch – Bert Jansch – I can’t believe I hadn’t heard this album before. Bert Jansch (album) is a compilation of acoustic folk blues songs that he wrote. It’s in the 20 Best Folk Music Albums of All Time. The whole album was recorded on a reel-to-reel at the engineer’s house (supposedly the kitchen sounded the best for the recording due to the hard surface reflections). The rumor had it he played the entire album with borrowed guitars. That tape was sold to Transatlantic record label for £100 and they released it as an LP that sold 150K copies. He later went on to write “Blackwaterside” that was blatantly stolen by none other than Jimmy Page for “Black Mountain Side“. He was extremely influential on Page, Neil Young, Nick Drake, Johnny Marr and Beth Orton – professed devotees. Definitely would make my list!
Rubber Soul – The Beatles – So, The Beatles made 12 real studio albums – With the Beatles, Please Please Me, A Hard Day’s Night, Beatles For Sale, Help!, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Pepper’s, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles (White Album), Abbey Road, Let It Be. All the others were basically compilations. With Rubber Soul, the 6th album by the Fab Four, we hear them taking a departure from singles to a more album-oriented collection of songs. This was the first of what I consider to be the 4 best albums by The Beatles. I could go on at length about these records but suffice to say that there are no “filler” songs on this record. Every song kills. What’s even more impressive is that while each song stands up on its own, it is hard to not think of the track before or after when heard on its own. You play me “The Word” and it feels out of context without hearing “Michelle” afterwards or “Think For Yourself” before it. It probably just means that I listened to this album plenty more than your average bear. Top 100 probably but definitely in the 1001.
Mr. Tambourine Man – The Byrds – I thought I was a fan of The Byrds before I started this adventure but I discovered that I only like the hits by these guys. Despite that, this album is a great collection of well done covers. It shows off Roger McGuinn’s 12-string guitar work. All the tunes sound like they are Byrd’s originals when in fact there are just a couple of songs that anyone in the band contributed to the writing. It’s the kind of album that you are really captured by the harmonic vocals. I think of it as a rock version of the early singer groups that did covers. Motown was notorious (“Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, “(I Know )I’m Losing You”, etc.) for this kind of co-mingling. This album might make my 1001 simply as it was The Byrds debut and they did have a large impact on the music scene in the 60’s, but not an album I will cherish in my collection.
Highway 61 Revisited – Bob Dylan – Could there have been a more apt song to define the late 60’s than “Like A Rolling Stone”? To think that Dylan wrote and released this in 1965 is still kind of surprising. With Presley’s “Roustabout“, soundtracks “The Sound of Music” and “Goldfinger“, the Beatles’ “Beatles ’65”, “Beatles VI” and “Help!”and the Stones’ “Out Of Our Heads” topping the Billboard charts in 1965, it is even more impressive that Dylan could squeeze this rocker into the mix. Most of these songs are over 5 minutes long making them relatively unsuitable for radio airplay at this time. However, this might be one of my favorite Dylan albums. Definitely in my 1001 but might even crack my top 200!
The Who Sings My Generation – The Who – The Who’s debut, in itself, is worthy of a listen. Very crass and rough as though these guys were just emerging from their mod days into bonafide rockers. Obviously, the big hit is “My Generation” but the album holds up outside of that track. “The Kids Are Alright”, “Out In The Street” and “A Legal Manner” round out the hits but this album feels so angry that its cool.