46. Stanton Moore- III
Like I said about The Meters in an earlier post, New Orleans music takes on a different life when you are experiencing it live in the Crescent City. Not all of it translates to record with the same heart and soul. But when it does, you are rewarded in big ways. My go-to artist when I am in New Orleans, also happens to be one of my favorite living drummers, Mr. Stanton Moore. For years, he's been the anchor in Galactic. He's provided the beats and grooves for the avant-funk collective known as Garage A Trois. He's released solo records and he's been a session man, showing off his chops and ability with people as diverse as Rachid Taha and metal-thrashers, Corrosion Of Conformity. But he nailed it on his third solo release. "III" is everything and more. It's an aural feast of New Orleans sounds. And it's a drummer's dream, or nightmare, depending on your frame of mind. The originals, led by Robert Walter on the B-3, with the stellar Will Bernard on guitar, fall into a soul pocket from the get-go. It's Jimmy Smith meets The Meters meets Led Zeppelin, the latter getting name-checked because of the riffing and enthusiasm. I saw most of this record performed live at an intimate midnight show in Preservation Hall, not long after Katrina. That may give me an edge, in terms of "feeling it." But as I said, this one translates.
47. The Beatles- A Hard Day's Night
How does a Beatles record end up on an alternate Top 100? By being a record that is constantly overshadowed by the same 5 Beatles records that appear on everyone's list. "Rubber Soul," "Revolver," "Sgt. Pepper," "The White Album" and "Abbey Road" get the nods, all the time. But how about this baby, their third record in under 2 years, their first with all original material, and quite frankly, one of their rockingest. I don't need to say much more, except I love it more than most of The Beatles catalogue, including both "Pepper" and "The White Album."
48. Motorhead- Ace Of Spades
Lemmy, Fast Eddie and Philthy Phil, a trio unlike any other. You either get Motorhead or you don't. There's no "getting to know them" period. You won't suddenly appreciate the lyrics to "Love Me Like A Reptile" while sitting by the lake. You won't suddenly recognize the melodic bass line in "Fast & Loose." And hopefully, you will not relate to "Jailbait." But no band plays rock and roll, YES...this is rock and roll...as hard, loud and fast, as Motorhead. "Ace Of Spades" continues to come through when I had enough of that sensitive crap. It's a monster and I love it.
49. XTC- Nonsuch
Our good friend, AWITW, posed the question, "Which bands got better with age?" He suggested XTC and I agree. There seems to be three phases of XTC- pre-"English Settlement," post-"English Settlement," and post-"Skylarking." I'm a fan of it all, but "Nonsuch" is my favorite. It's a double-record that many claim would have made a better single record, but when I try to edit, I simply cannot. Lyrically, both Andy and Colin are in a zone, from the gorgeous "My Bird Performs," to the upbeat and still heartbreaking "Dear Madam Barnum," to the absolutely stunning, "Wrapped In Grey," XTC were on a roll. The pressure was on after the success of "Skylarking" and they delivered twice, first with the brilliant "Oranges & Lemons," and then, what I think is more brilliant, "Nonsuch." This record closes with "Books Are Burning," a personal fave and one of the greatest guitar duels ever put the wax, courtesy of Dave Gregory and Andy Partridge.
50. Bruce Springsteen- Magic
I'll keep this brief, since I've gushed on about and defended "Magic" way too many times on these pages. It's simple. "The Boss" did not stop making good records in 1978. And if we want to talk about albums versus "records" in Grammy terms, "Magic" is chock full of great "records." I love this album. In the old days, this would have had as many hit singles as "Born In The USA."