Wednesday, February 25, 2009

5ifteen

I was tagged on Facebook with this one by konagod, but decided to do it here since I don't have that many Facebook friends yet.

Here's the setup:
"Think of 15 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, emotions. They might not be what you listen to now, but these are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world." After that you are supposed to tag 15 people, which I am not going to do - but if you want to play, tag yourself and let me know in a comment. :-)

Not too long ago I did the "Seven Greatest Albums of All Time", but this list will be stuff I just went crazy for and wore it out - mostly all from the 60s and 70s, all on vinyl. These are arranged chronologically by release year.

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Meet the Beatles (1964)

I Want To Hold Your Hand, I Saw Her Standing There, This Boy, It Won't Be Long, All I've Got To Do, All My Loving, Don't Bother Me, Little Child, Till There Was You, Hold Me Tight, I Wanna Be Your Man, Not A Second Time

I was just the right age when the Beatles came to America to have my world turned upside-down by a rock band. This album, and The Beatles' Second Album came out in 1964, I got them both, and was absolutely flipped. Crushing on John Lennon was only part of it. They were simply different from anything I'd ever heard before, and still can't be beat.
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The Rolling Stones Now! (1965)

Everybody Needs Somebody to Love, Down Home Girl, You Can't Catch Me, Heart of Stone, What a Shame, Mona (I Need You Baby), Down the Road Apiece, Off the Hook, Pain in My Heart, Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin'), Little Red Rooster, Surprise, Surprise

I never chose between The Beatles and Stones, I loved both of them. The Stones were fascinating, and their "bad" image was impossible to resist. The drew heavily on old American blues, soul and Chuck Berry, and had a sexy, seductive sound and look - that soulful harmonica and Mick's James Brown styled dance. I crushed heavily on Brian Jones at age 12, but Mick and Keith were also part of the obsession. The topics were more grown-up than me, but I was familiar with the rural dive bar, roadhouse, and barfly so it wasn't altogether alien.
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The Yardbirds - Having a Rave Up (1965)

Mister You're a Better Man Than I, Evil Hearted You, Still I'm Sad, Heart Full of Soul, I'm a Man, Train Kept A-Rollin', Smokestack Lightning, Respectable, I'm a Man, Here 'Tis

OK, can you tell that I am a British Invasion freak? Yes, I still love that music, and back then I still searched beyond the hit singles for those deep album cuts. As you probably know, the Yardbirds had 3 of the greatest ever rock guitarists as members: Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Jeff Beck. All of them have very distinctive styles, and of those 3 (and I love them all), Jeff Beck is my favorite. This album's covers of old American blues numbers are what I love most about it - they are very intense and fresh takes: I'm a Man, Smokestack Lightning - that stuff is just awesome. Heart Full of Soul is classic Yardbirds with a sound that foreshadowed the psychedelic guitar-oriented rock that wasn't really around yet, but was influenced by tracks like this (among other things) {grin}. If you added For Your Love to this album, it could stand as a Yardbirds album that didn't need anything else. I will never forget when we moved to Greece in 1965 - I was a 12 year old kid and know what to expect the place to be like - then on our first night there in the hotel someone was playing For Your Love at full volume on the nearby beach. It's hard to explain how it made me feel.
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Them (1965) UK name The Angry Young Them

Here Comes the Night, Mystic Eyes, Don't Look Back, Little Girl, One Two Brown Eyes, Gloria, If You and I Could Be As Two, I Like It Like That, I'm Gonna Dress in Black, (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66, Go On Home Baby

Continuing with the British Invasion, this is Van Morrison's early band, and contains 2 incredible timeless rocking tracks: Here Comes the Night and G-L-O-R-I-A. It's hard to top Gloria. I am an eccentric freak who prefers Van Morrison's THEM to Van Morrison solo. I know you don't agree, hardly anyone does, and I don't expect it. It's just personal preference.
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Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Like a Rolling Stone, Tombstone Blues, It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry, From a Buick 6, Ballad of a Thin Man, Queen Jane Approximately, Highway 61 Revisited, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, Desolation Row

I was a big fan of Dylan from early on, and love all his records up through and including Blonde on Blonde. This is the newly electrified Dylan. I love every minute of it.
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Help - The Beatles (1966, UK version)

Help!, The Night Before, You've Got To Hide Your Love Away, I Need You, Another Girl, You're Going To Lose That Girl, Ticket To Ride, Act Naturally, It's Only Love, You Like Me Too Much, Tell Me What You See, I've Just Seen A Face, Yesterday, Dizzy Miss Lizzy

The records I got in 1965-1966 were bought in Europe so they are the UK versions, and this one is really a lot different than the American one. Again, I don't have a Beatle album I didn't obsess over, but I will pick this one because of the movie. I saw it in Greece at an outdoor theatre, it was like a drive-in without cars, everyone was in rows of chairs with the big screen in front of us, and we were under the night sky. Watching the band playing these (new) songs in living color - and they were so beautiful (the band *and* the songs) that I was ecstatic.
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The Zodiac - Cosmic Sounds (1967)

OK, this is trippy, as trippy as it gets. This album has been listed as a major influence by Jimi Hendrix, The Moody Blues, Pink Floyd and others. The instructions on the back say that you must listen in the dark. Dramatic poetry and mood-inducing compositions using flutes, Moog synthesizer, harpsichord or whatever else was handy. You can listen to some of here on its MySpace page. Wonderfully dated.
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Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed (1967)

The Day Begins, Dawn: Dawn is a Feeling, The Morning: Another Morning, Lunch Break: Peak Hour, The Afternoon: Forever Afternoon (Tuesday?), (Evening) Time to Get Away, Evening: The Sunset, Twilight Time, The Night: Nights in White Satin, Late Lament

The record label wanted the Moody Blues to record Dvorak's New World Symphony and they were going to release it as a quadrophonic aural experiment. Instead, they balked in the studio and recorded their own compositions, but it was still what the label was looking for: a perfect blending of rock and the symphony. If you listened to The Zodiac, you can really hear the influence of it here, especially with the inclusion of dramatic poetry recitation.
Late Lament
Breathe deep the gathering gloom
Watch lights fade from every room
Bedsitter people look back and lament
Another days' useless energy's spent
Impassioned lovers wrestle as one
Lonely man cries for love and has none
New mother picks up and suckles her son
Senior citizens wish they were young
Cold-hearted orb that rules the night
Removes the colors from our sight
Red is gray and yellow, white
But we decide which is right
And which is an illusion.
I am quoting that from memory only, no cheating, no looking. (it might have errors.) This is simply a gorgeous album. I think that Twilight Time and Dawn is a Feeling are my favorites.
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Jeff Beck - Truth (1967)

Shapes of Things, Let Me Love You, Morning Dew, You Shook Me, Ol' Man River, Greensleeves, Rock My Plimsoul, Beck's Bolero, Blues De Luxe, I Ain't Superstitious

Rod Stewart, before his pop commercial day, just wailin' the bluesy soul!! He's incredible, and the guitar stylings make this album something unique, even to this day. And look at these credits (pasted from wikipedia):
* Jeff Beck - guitars, vocals, arranger; bass on "Ol' Man River"
* Rod Stewart - vocals (except on "Greensleeves" and "Beck's Bolero")
* Micky Waller - drums (except on "Greensleeves" and "Beck's Bolero")
* Ronnie Wood - bass (except on "Ol' Man River", "Greensleeves" and "Beck's Bolero")
* Nicky Hopkins - piano on "Morning Dew", "You Shook Me", "Beck's Bolero" and "Blues Deluxe"
* Keith Moon - drums on "Beck's Bolero", tympani on "Ol' Man River" (credited for the latter as "You Know Who")
* Jimmy Page - 12-string rhythm guitar on "Beck's Bolero"
* John Paul Jones - bass on "Beck's Bolero" and Hammond Organ on "Ol' Man River" and "You Shook Me"
* Mysterious Scottish Bloke - bagpipes on "Morning Dew"

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Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland (1968)

...And the Gods Made Love, Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland), Crosstown Traffic, Voodoo Chile, Little Miss Strange, Long Hot Summer Night, Come On (Part 1), Gypsy Eyes, Burning of the Midnight Lamp, Rainy Day Dream Away, 1983... (A Merman I Should Turn to Be), Moon, Turn the Tides... Gently Gently Away, Still Raining, Still Dreaming, House Burning Down, All Along the Watchtower, Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

Jimi Hendrix, at some point in the late 60s, exploded into space. He was no longer of this earth when it came to his music. You couldn't even tell where it came from because it was so unlike anything before it. You can't explain it away with drugs, because the same level of drug use does not turn most people into a Jimi Hendrix. This double record will blow you away. I was lucky enough to see him live in 1970 at the Atlanta Pop Festival.
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Led Zeppelin (1969)

Good Times Bad Times, Babe I'm Gonna Leave You, You Shook Me, Dazed and Confused, Your Time Is Gonna Come, Black Mountain Side, Communication Breakdown, I Can't Quit You Baby, How Many More Times

This is still my favorite LZ album, maybe because when I first saw the band it was only a few months after this was released, I'd never heard of them but was blown away, to say the least. This is still an intensely wonderful listen.
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Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed (1969)

Gimme Shelter, Love In Vain, Country Honk, Live With Me, Let It Bleed, Midnight Rambler, You Got The Silver, Monkey Man, You Can't Always Get What You Want


This one is not any better than Exile on Main Street or Sticky Fingers, the Stones were hitting full stride with those 3 records. I picked this one because I saw them (from the front rail) on the tour where this was released, but truthfully it's impossible to pick one over the others.
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Johnny Winter - Guitar, Vocals
Edgar Winter - Keyboards
Uncle John Turner - Percussion
Tommy Shannon - Bass
Guest: the great Willie Dixon

I'm Yours & I'm Hers, Be Careful With A Fool, Dallas, Mean Mistreater, Leland Mississippi Blues, Good Morning Little School Girl, When You Got A Good Friend, I'll Drown In My Tears, Back Door Friend

If Robert Plant had my favorite howl then Johnny Winter had my favorite growl. I saw him numerous times at festivals in the 60s, and he was my very favorite flat out blues rock guitar player. His whole band was Texan, and the sound was all-Texan too, although that didn't mean anything to me at the time. I just liked it... a whole lot. Since I moved to Austin, I've seen his rhythm section, Tommy Shannon and Uncle John Turner (now deceased) many times at club shows, but passed up the chance to see JW when he played at Antone's last year. I guess I was secretly afraid I'd spoil my memories, or what's left of them. There's always a danger of that when you revisit things/places/people from your childhood or teenage years.
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Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Will The Circle Be Unbroken (1972) (3 record set)

Grand Ole Opry Song, Keep on the Sunny Side, Nashville Blues, You Are My Flower, The Precious Jewel, Dark as a Dungeon, Tennessee Stud, Black Mountain Rag, Wreck on the Highway, The End of the World, I Saw the Light, Sunny Side of the Mountain, Nine Pound Hammer. Losin' You (Might Be the Best Thing Yet), Honky Tonkin', You Don't Know My Mind, My Walkin' Shoes, Lonesome Fiddle Blues, Cannonball Rag, Avalanche, Flint Hill Special, Togary Mountain, Earl's Breakdown, Orange Blossom Special, Wabash Cannonball, Lost Highway, Doc Watson & Merle Travis First Meeting (Dialogue), Way Downtown, Down Yonder, Pins and Needles (In My Heart), Honky Tonk Blues, Sailin' on to Hawaii, I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes, I am a Pilgrim, Wildwood Flower, Soldier's Joy, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Both Sides Now

This features a long list of legendary country/folk/bluegrass/traditional performers (like Mother Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Vassar Clements, Merle Travis, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and more) and material. Country music had always been an important part of rock'n'roll, but this album brought the old traditional stuff, its form left intact, to the rock crowd. I was brought up on that music, so I didn't need much convincing, but I know this collection was a life-changer for lots of people. It's titled appropriately because it brought me back to my roots music, full circle.
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Bruce Springsteen - The Wild the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle (1973)

The E Street Shuffle, 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy), Kitty's Back, Wild Billy's Circus Story, Incident on 57th Street, Rosalita (Come Out Tonight), New York City Serenade

I moved out on my own right after high school, moved to the big city (St. Louis) all by myself. I rented a seedy, roachy apartment in a four-family brownstone, 3 rooms, no closets, no sink in the bathroom. I could hardly even afford that. I was very poor, and even working full-time for minimum wage I wasn't really able to afford basic things after the rent was paid -- but living on my own was so liberating, and the inner city presented an adventure, even though it was dangerous (and there's no way I would want to live in a place like that now, I'm too scared of things, but back then I was fearless). I guess that's why these songs really resonated. I got really hooked on them. Bruce Springsteen played St. Louis in 1974 in a fairly small theatre and I talked my live-in boyfriend into going. He had never heard of Bruce Springsteen (this was really early in his career) but we went and it was one of the best live shows I ever saw in my life. I hung around afterward and got his autograph (on a torn matchbook) as he was sitting in the car with a woman. A few years later, I gave the autograph away during a whacked-out religious phase where I was purging "earthly treasures." What an idiot I have been at times. All water under the bridge.

3 comments:

Pyzahn said...

Yes, this Bruce album was on my list. Check out how young he looks on the album cover.

Th' Rev said...

Whew!Did it.That was hard :)

Jannie Funster said...

Wow, do you have ROCKING taste in music!!

I'd say my top three are U2 Joshua Tree.

Dylan, Blood On The Tracks

and Handel's Water Music.