Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Other 100: 11-15

11. Roxy Music- Siren

There doesn't seem to be a lot of love among the cognoscenti for "Siren," Roxy Music's "disco" album. Was it because it was popular, with a genuine hit in "Love Is The Drug?" This record runs neck and neck with "For Your Pleasure" as my favorite Roxy Music record, but this is the one comes with me, because it has the very best drum sound I have ever heard on record. But also, it seems to perfectly mix the best of early Roxy with what later Roxy became. "Siren" nails it with accessible melodies and occasionally off-center arrangements. And again, it's drummer Paul Thompson's shining hour. Not a bad song in the bunch.

12. Bobby "Blue" Bland- Two Steps From The Blues

I know this record is on Elvis Costello's Top 100, but I think it's reasonable to say, his list is not a "usual" list, so it goes on mine. If you think you've never heard this record, chances are you still know every song. The record is an R&B classic, and the songs have been covered by many.  Hell, I think British singer James Hunter based his whole career on this album.

13. Rolling Stones- Through The Past Darkly U.K. MONO Vinyl

This is the most questionable entry on this list, but it must be here for the reasons I stated in the first post. I play this baby once a week. It has a better track list than its U.S. counterpart and the rare-ish MONO mixes from singles jump right out of the speakers. Essential!

14. Daryl Hall-Sacred Songs

"Sacred Songs" is part of an unofficial Robert Fripp-produced trilogy that also includes Fripp's own "Exposure," which Daryl Hall appears on, and Peter Gabriel's sophomore solo release. "Sacred Songs" is not only the best of the three, it might be Daryl Hall's finest hour. As a fan of both King Crimson and Hall & Oates, it certainly has elements of both, but it is incredibly unique in that nothing, not even the most commercial tunes, such as the title track and first single, or the gorgeous Philly-soul of "Why Was It So Easy" simply flow from beginning to end. Robert Fripp's use of his then "new" invention Frippertronics works in ways no Hall & Oates fan could have ever imagined for the pop duos own material.

15. Electric Light Orchestra- Zoom

Time certainly heals all wounds. When "Zoom" was released in 2001, no one gave a crap about Jeff Lynne. He canceled a tour due to lack of ticket sales and "Zoom" was forgotten, even by the man who created it. Now, Jeff Lynne is selling out concert halls all over the world, as he should be, and still, "Zoom" is forgotten. But not by me. I will go on record saying, there isn't one other ELO record with as many perfect pop songs as "Zoom." I loved it then. It's a favorite still.




buzzbabyjesus said...

Siren is hands down the best Roxy Music album. All of the records you've named are worth having. Very nice.

Charlie Messing said...

I get a kick out of most Roxy albums, but I'll listen to this one again with your mind in mind. Look forward to hearing Sacred Songs - missed it a few times online...ELO I'd like to hear - I'm forever glad to have seen them come from their Saucer at MSG! Laser on white cello solo...great show. Never thought about the mono factor in that Stones compilation - a good thought. All great - once again! Thanks.

Charlie Messing said...

And I forgot Bobby Bland! Great album - have un-re-mastered CD, heard it first in the 60s, what an album!

Shriner said...

My 11-15 (I'll keep this up as long as I can do it off the top of my head...)

11) Frank Zappa -- Sheik Yerbouti (a class full of everything that's great about Zappa: Novelty stuff, social commentary and my personal favorite FZ guitar solo in "Yo Mama")
12) Sloan -- Twice Removed. There are other great Sloan albums, but this is the best IMO and the one I'd take with me
13) Sufjan Stevens -- Come On Feel The Illinoise!
14) Kate Bush -- The Dreaming (ok, I'm *sure* this is on a consensus "top 100" list somewhere. But if it's not, it's in my pile!)
15) Redd Kross -- Researching The Blues (to me, this is the benchmark for what a "reunion" album should be.)

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying these - often thought "best" lists should be weighted towards one's go-to albums (altho I would substitute Underneath What's one album for The Darkness any day). my 1-15:

John Doe - Freedom Is
Cheri Knight - The Northeast Kingdom
Ride - Nowhere
Sonny Landreth - Levee Town
Scott Miller & Commonwealth - Thus Also to Tyrants
Fleetwood Mac - Kiln House
Fugazi - The Argument
Heatmiser - Mic City Sons
Small Faces - The First Step
English Beat - Special Beat Service
Marty Stuart - The Pilgrim
Dave Alvin - Romeo's Escape
Eleventh Dream Day - El Moodio
Eleventh Dream Day - Stalled Parade
Kaki King - Junior

itsok2beright said...

Three out of your five that I am familiar with. Might be a record (pun intended). I was trying to avoid compilations on my sprea.. I mean list. That'll open up a few other lost gems.

Thanks to the other's commenting. Gives me a reason to search for stuff I haven't listened to.

Eleven thru fifteen:

Brian Eno & David Byrne, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts
Buddy Guy, Slippin' In
Cheap Trick, In Color
Chicago, CTA (Maybe already in the 100) (I generally lean to the debut albums when that and the follow-up are so close)
Collective Soul, Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid

Bill said...

Couldn't agree more on Siren--to me, it's head and shoulders above all their other albums. And the drumming holds it all together. Paul Thompson returned to the drums for Roxy's early 2000s tour. The live album that came out of that tour is also excellent. Hearing his drums on the later material adds a different drive to the songs.

Good stuff.

Michael Giltz said...

Time to listen to Siren again!

I felt like I had a handle on at least some of these albums. But I'm way behind on my list. Here are my first five, very randomly chosen titles.

1. Shelby Lynne -- Temptation remember when Shelby Lynne got very cool for a few albums and then everyone sort of forgot about her again? Well, right before that I was playing this album to death. It's a Western swing country record and Lynne's vocals are just sensational. I later find out she felt put in a box during these years and had no creative control and it wasn't "her" but someone else's idea of what would sell. But damn it's a snappy little album filled with terrific songs and I absolutely played it to death.
2. Philip Glass -- Glassworks A major composer, Philip Glass has huge operas and experimental works and brilliant film scores and on and on (even a not very good collaboration with pop artists like Paul Simon. And then there's this, a starter kit for people who have no idea who Philip Glass is and want to give him a shot but aren't quite ready for a five hour opera in which nothing happens and happens very very slowly. It was probably tossed off, almost as an afterthought and was very definitely thought of in dismissive terms as something for the uninitiated, maybe even Philip Glass-lite. But it's gorgeous and simple and lovely and has very strong melodies and holds together as an album and really does give you an excellent sense of who Philip Glass and what his style of music is like in a quick dose. And again, just beautiful. When you don't try to make high art, sometimes you succeed.
3. Lindsey Buckingham -- Go Insane Sal's list helped me think of this alternative 100 as sort of "yeah, everyone loves this album by Elvis Costello but I'm nuts about THAT one too." So while I assume everyone likes Fleetwood Mac and might toggle back and forth between the eponymous current lineup debut and Rumours and the cool folk will plunk for Tusk and Sal will go for that later album he feels like everyone ignored even though it's awesome (Tango In The Night, right?), I'm gonna go for a solo Buckingham. Go Insane was when I realized how brilliant the guy is, flawed though it is. "Play In The Rain" drags on and on...and then it starts all over again on the second "side." But the rest of it is a pure pop delight from the breathy and infectious opener "I Want You" to his Beach Boys over the top tribute at the finale. I played it more than it deserved really.
4. Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris -- Western Walls OK, maybe the world doesn't have the Trio album on their Top 100 but in my mind they do. They really should have the Trio boxed set since Vol. II is very different and cool too. I'll remain forever heartbroken they didn't do more or tour so I could see them all and I blame Dolly since Ronstadt and Harris seemed ready and willing and finally got so bored waiting for her (this is all in my imagination, by the way) that they finally did a duet album called "Western Walls" that's so good I thought Dolly would hear it and say "Holy shit! They don't need me?" and get back on the phone w them and make another Trio album. Sadly, no. Dolly didn't pay any attention and the rest of the world didn't really either but it's a gem.
5. Prince -- Parade he died you know. And everyone said Purple Rain of course and Sign O The Times and 1999 and maybe some said this or that and I'm saying, Parade. Parade! PARADE! This album is so deeply funky to me and the arrangements so stellar and the sound so particular and NEW to my ears that it just blew me away and I played it to death and always believed it was his best single album and still do.

Shriner said...

So still playing along. I tried to put through a list of "second 100" albums by going through my iTunes, but about 1/4 of the way through I realized my "first 100" -- was probably more than 100 to begin with (as there would be multiple albums by many artists -- and I would be bringing along "Greatest Hits" compilations for probably 2-3 dozen artists...)

But with that, I tried to keep this to what would still be theoretically "second 100" and I stopped my list at 80 (and I realized that a lot of these were from the same time period so there's an enormous amount of nostalgia contributing too). I'll play along as long as you do. ;-)

My 16-20 (and these are in no particular order):

16) Bash & Pop -- Friday Night is Killing Me. (There would be at least one Replacements in my top 100, but this bubbles under -- a fabulous album that came and died too soon...)
17) Brian Setzer — The Knife Feels Like Justice. The first solo Setzer album, but before the big-band stuff. Top notch songs!
18) Nada Surf -- The Stars are Indifferent to Astronomy. This is one of those bands where everything sounds the same. But I love all of it. This is probably the best one, IMO
19) Jefferson Starship -- Freedom At Point Zero. Is it a *classic* album? No. But does it rock and have a special place in my learning-to-play-guitar heart? Absolutely!
20) Wondermints — Mind If I Make Love To You. This one might bump to the top 100, but it might not. If it did, I'd probably replace it with "Kalleidoscopin" or "The Wonderful World of Wondermints"

Shriner said...

Ack -- my post went to the wrong thread. Sal, you can delete and I'll stick it in the right one. Assuming anybody cares...

Troy said...

Thanks for the reminder on how good 'Zoom' is. Spot on.