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The List – 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (the early 60’s)

So here is 1960-1964 and they can be heard on Spotify with the playlist that I have created for everyone to follow along.


1960 – A Date With the Everly Brothers The Everly Brothers – Never “got” the Everly Brothers. I still don’t but this was a good example of why people might. Hits “Cathy’s Clown”, “Love Hurts” and the cover of “Lucille” are the true highlights of this album and the quantity of sub-3 minute songs makes the album and easy purchase but not sure it fits in my 1001

1960 – Elvis Is Back! Elvis Presley – So the original album was rather sparse on hits. It was later reissued by RCA to include some other songs that were recorded at the same time but weren’t included with the original release. The first album by Elvis upon his return from the Army actually didn’t contain “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”, “It’s Now or Never” or “Stuck on You” but the album still held up as a good album for the King. It does have “Fever”, “Such A Night”, “It’ Feels So Right” and the very cool “Dirty, Dirty Feeling”. Not one of my 1001 but still good album from E.

1960 – Joan BaezJoan Baez – Let me start off by saying, I am not a fan of Joan Baez. I have to admit that the rawness of this album is pretty stunning. According to the story, this was recorded with two microphones (one for vocals and one for guitar) in the ballroom of the Manhattan Tower Hotel. She apparently just did the set that she knew at the time, 13 traditional folk songs. This would not be in my top 1001 but it was a worthy listen. High point is her rendition of “House of the Rising Sun”

1960 – Miriam Makeba – Miriam Makeba – It took a long time for me to locate this album and since I was digging on African rhythms, I was looking forward to finding it. When I did, I have to say I was pretty disappointed. Miriam Makeba is a very prolific African singer that was introduced to the American public by Harry Belafonte. The album seemed a bit all over the map musically but the only high point for me was the song “Mbube” which is the original song that Robert Jon starts with in “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”

1960 – Muddy Waters at Newport Muddy Waters – Considered by some to be the very first live blues recording, it stands up every time I hear it. It absolutely kills with Muddy playing his Tele, Otis Spann tickling the ivories and James Cotten blowing the harp. Muddy is a poster child for the blues and it shows in this record. It contains some of the best stuff – “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Baby Please Don’t Go”, I Got My Mojo Working” and Big Bill Broonzy’s “I Feel So Good”. Not only in my 1001 but probably stretches into my Top 100

1961 – Sunday at the Village Vanguard Bill Evans – Amazingly powerful record! I love this album and have strong appreciation for the “The Complete Village Vanguard Recordings, 1961” which have all the takes made for the recording. If you haven’t heard this it belongs in my top 100 and probably in everyone’s 1001

1961 – Back at the Chicken ShackJimmy Smith – I love the Hammond B-3 and this is the best Hammond album. Jimmy Smith was to the Hammond what Eric Clapton and Duane Allman are to the guitar. He glides up and down both registers like the keys are puddles to skip in. Besides Smith’s originals “Back at the Chicken Shack” and “Messy Bessie”, it also showcases Jimmy on Hammerstein’s “When I Grow To Old to Dream” and Turrentine’s “Minor Chant”. Fits well in my 1001 but might fall short of the desert island 100.

1962 – Green OnionsBooker T & the MGs – Another great example playing hte Hammond organ is right here in this record. With the fabulous MGs (Steve Cropper, Lewis Steinberg – later replaced the amazing Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn – and Al Jackson, Jr.), Booker T. Jones put together a sound that helped define the Memphis R&B genre for years to come. This is a fun album but only really shines on the title track and “Mo’ Onions”. It suffers from it’s own defining moments in that this was the groundwork on which so much music was written from – it sounds common, not in a bad way but in a “Kleenex is to tissue as Fedex is to overnight delivery” way. Still a great listen and falls squarely in my top 1001.

1962 – Modern Sounds in Country and Western MusicRay Charles – This just proves that Ray Charles could have done just about anything he wanted to do. He was an amazing artist and to take a different approach on so many of these classic C&W songs is still astounding. The hit Don Gibson‘s “I Can’t Stop Loving You” completely outsold the original despite the single being a B-side to “Oh, Lonesome Me”. The album as a whole stands the test of time and I think easily fits in the 1001 but might reach into the top 250 for me.

1962 – Jazz SambaStan Getz/Charlie Byrd – I kind of came late to the Stan Getz party but once I discovered his playing I was a strong reveler in his stuff. This album with the great Charlie Byrd is so much a Sunday afternoon, drinking mimosas and reading the paper kind of record. It is a great laid back feel and is very representative of his amazing talents. Definitely a 1001 choice for me and might make top 100 in Jazz albums.

1963 – The Black Saint and the Sinner LadyCharles Mingus – Wow!! This album is so frenetic at times it’s almost hard to follow. A casual listener will really struggle with what Mingus has laid out on this recording, a working musician will find it intriguing if for nothing else the scenes it paints. Once describe to me by a bar musician as “detective movie” music, Mingus pushes every musician on this recording to paint a musical landscape in which the listener can wrap themselves in. I absolutely love this album but can’t listen to it with my wife as she doesn’t get it and can’t fin much to appreciate in the score. It is complex and deep much like “Mingus Ah Um” but this has a flow that is rich and velvety. Definite 1001 material and could be in the Top 100.

1963 – Live at the ApolloJames Brown – Is there any place in the musical world that would have been better to be than the Apollo Theater in 1962 to see the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown? HE KILLS IT! Must have, must listen, wished I could have seen. He finishes with what I consider to be the best pieces “Medley: Please, Please, Please/You’ve Got The Power/I Found Someone/Why Do You Do Me/I Want You So Bad/I Love You, Yes I Do/Strange Things Happen/Bewildered/Please, Please, Please” and the finale of “Night Train” really bring it home. Fits well in the 1001.

1963 – A Christmas Gift to YouPhil Spector – This is a really cool Christmas album and just for being exactly that deserves to be on the list for the 1001. This contains Christmas standards by The Ronnettes, Darlene Love, The Crystals and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans

1963 – Night LifeRay Price – The steel guitar playing of Jimmy Day and Buddy Emmons were probably the first things that grabbed me on this album. Expected this to be a straight up honky tonk album from the introduction but found Price’s voice to be unbelievably soothing and tranquil. Crazily truthful in his ability to express a story. While I wouldn’t have found it on my own I am glad that I listened to it and think of it as one of the better examples of honky tonk music.

1963 – Live at the Harlem Square ClubSam Cooke – Pretty stunning example of Sam Cooke at his best, live in 1963 in Harlem. He whips out “Cupid”, “Chain Gang”, “Twisting the Night Away” and “Having a Party”. It flows effortlessly for him. I would put this in my 1001 but it isn’t groundbreaking enough for me to stretch into the top 100.

1963 – With the Beatles – The Beatles – Just 7 months after the release of their debut album, “Please, Please Me“, the Fab Four start to really stretch their songwriting to create an amazing sequel. Packed with hit after hit, “It Won’t Be Long”, “All I’ve Got To Do”, “All My Loving” and “I Wanna Be Your Man” and great covers like The Supremes‘ “Please Mr. Postman”, Chuck Berry‘s “Roll Over Beethoven” and Smokey Robinson‘s “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”, this album is an absolute must have, must hear. In my top 100 easily.

1964 – Bert JanschBert Jansch – This album grabbed my attention like no other album from 1960 – 1964. First I had never heard it, secondly I had never realized I had heard Bert Jansch before. This guy was one of the guitar players in a group called Pentangle, a underrated folk-prog sort of band. So the story goes that this album was recorded in a single day in the engineer’s kitchen with a reel-to-reel. Jansch borrowed the guitar that he played and it was sold to Transatlantic Records for £100. It went on to become very sought after and sold over 150,000 units. This album is simply haunting and raw. Fantastic playing and visceral in it’s sparseness. I don’t own this because I can’t find it on vinyl but it should be listened to be everyone, in my top 100.

1964 – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Bob DylanBob Dylan has been called the great American poet for most of the time that I have been alive. This album seems to be the seminal Bob Dylan album. I think of Dylan as the great influencer. Everyone talks about how much Dylan influenced his or her music. This is a fantastic album and if one thinks of Dylan as a must have on a list, this would be the one I would recommend. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” is all acoustic guitar and harmonica staunchly presenting Dylan as the folk artist taking over for Woody Guthrie and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. It starts out with “Blowin’ in the Wind” and works thru “The Girl from the North Country” – which is often considered to be more a traditional folk song that Dylan heavily borrowed from. “Masters of War” is a desperately haunting song. “A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” are arguably the two best songs on the album.Fits nicely in the 1001 but could be something that cracks the top 100.

1964 – A Girl Called DustyDusty Springfield – I didn’t really know Dusty Springfield when this came into rotation. I knew “You Don’t Own Me” and “Wishin’ and Hopin”” which are on this album but she kills a number of cover tunes. She really is an amazing vocalist with great power in her voice. I kind of felt that the album was dated but it was defining for a time, so it isn’t really dated but classic. What I noticed was that she has a lot of soul in her voice as though she could have walked into Hitsville USA (Motown) and given any of those singers a run for their money. I actually laughed out loud at the raucously trampy “Twenty Four Hours from Tulsa”. This fits squarely in the 1001 and probably in the top half but not much higher.

1964 – Olympia ’64 Jacques Brel – Hated it! Not a fan of the style and Jacques Brel did nothing to change my mind. I found absolutely nothing redeeming about this album. Someone might, I didn’t.

1964 – A Love Supreme John Coltrane – Probably the second best jazz album in the history of jazz, given that Miles’ “Kind of Blue” is the first. This is Coltrane at perhaps his finest. This is a 4 song testament to where Coltrane was at this time – “Acknowledgement”, “Resolution”, Pursuance” & “Psalm”. He had come out of his addictions and he was finding his way to clarity of spirit and mind. The album has a prayer in the liner notes that was turned into a “wordless recitation” by ‘Trane using his amazing playing on his tenor sax. Elvin Jones, McCoy Turner and Jimmy Garrison all contribute to a real musical experience. In my top 100, maybe in my top 25.

1964 – Rock & SoulSolomon Burke – I didn’t recognize the name Solomon Burke but once I found the record I realized who Burke was and would never forget his name. He is a very large man with a persona that is bigger than life and I’ve seen him on a number of “all star” concerts and have always enjoyed his performance usually while seated on a throne. His vocals on this album are brash and buttery throughout. “Cry To Me” starts us off with a rough and tumble Burke hitting it like Ray Charles and then its followed directly by “Just Out of Reach” which if you didn’t know better you would think it was Elvis. Highlight of this whole album is “Can’t Nobody Love You” which is heart wrenching open letter for his woman to take him back. I hear Jackie Wilson and others in his voice. I understand why people would like him but for me he isn’t spectacularly remarkable to end up on a list like this. I liked it but scratched my head how this album ends up on here while others don’t. Wouldn’t make my 1001 but I liked it.

1964 – Getz/GilbertoStan Getz/Joao Gilberto – Samba/Bossa Nova music is the coolest ever. Great album for sitting back on Sunday morning and sipping mimosas when reading the paper with your favorite beautiful girl. The hit off this album is “The Girl From Impanema” which was sung by Joao Gilberto‘s wife, Astrud. Apparently, she didn’t even know that he wanted her to record the song until the day of the session. I find this album to be a great album that definitely belongs in the 1001, probably in the top 250.

1964 – A Hard Day’s NightThe Beatles – the third album by the Fab Four in an amazingly short time and finds the Liverpool lads writing every song on the album, no more covers. This is chock full of hits and great fillers – “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Anytime At All”, “If I Fell” and “And I Love Her” are timeless tunes. The associated film is amusing and great to see some action around the songs. This is in my top 50 albums of all time.

1964 – The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones – There are two versions of this album – the UK version which is simply called “The Rolling Stones” and is on Decca and the US version which is on London I believe and called “England’s Newest Hitmakers”. Both are pretty similar with a few different tracks and a different order. So I listened to both of them. What can you say, this is The Stones! “Not Fade Away” replaces “Mona” on the US release and therefore makes the US version my preference. This is the young, young Stones trying to be their idols in Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and they create a whole new genre of rock and roll in the process. Pretty amazing to listen to the early stuff by the Stones. I think this is easily in anyone’s 1001 but for me it does crack the top 200 and maybe even higher.

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