Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Other 100: 21-25

21. Fleetwood Mac- Then Play On

I know there are many who think Fleetwood Mac came onto the scene in 1975. But before Buckingham and Nicks and the 12 billion sold copies of "Rumours," there was Peter Green and Danny Kirwan, and the music they made on 1969's "Then Play On" sounds like nothing before it or since. There are songs that stay faithful to the British blues of their two records prior, but mostly this record "plays on" like a psychedelic dream, floating in and out of some of the most gorgeous sounds you will ever hear. For this particular record, I must insist on the original U.K. track list and running order. "Then Play On" might actually be on some of the "usual" lists, but I don't care. I love this so much, I need to play it safe and include it on every list.

22. New Radicals- Maybe, You've Been Brainwashed, Too

After two unsuccessful records under his own name, Gregg Alexander released "Maybe, You've Been Brainwashed, Too" in 1998 under the moniker, New Radicals. "You Get What You Give" was a smash hit. The critics loved it. And that was that! Alexander hated every minute of it and retreated to hide behind the scenes as a songwriter, arranger and producer. "Brainwashed" is monumental! It is a veritable cornucopia of pop and soul that sounds like the dream record of Prince & Daryl Hall produced by Todd Rundgren. As a matter of fact, Hall & Oates went on to cover a track from the record, with Rundgren guesting on vocals, so all involved must have heard something, as well. If all you know is the single, which is a triumphant piece of pop, you must dig in to this one.

23. Steve Earle & The Dukes- The Low Highway

There are many great Steve Earle records, including one that will end up on many lists, "Guitar Town." If you want to go off grid, you might pick "Copperhead Road" as your fave, or maybe still, you've got something else on your mind. But 2013's "The Low Highway," is my favorite, without question. Yes, I love it more than "Guitar Town." Maybe it has something to do with the New Orleans-influence on some of the tracks. I guess Steve picked up a few things while filming "Treme." But track and after track knocks me out, from the rockin' Stones groove of "Calico County" to the beautiful melody and killer harmonies on "After Mardi Gras" to the swing of "Pocket Full Of Rain," this record delivers punch after punch, with hooks that will snag you and not let go.

24. Genesis- A Trick Of The Tail

"Selling England By The Pound" may be my favorite Genesis record,  and I imagine if there was any list with a Genesis record on it, "SEBTP" gets the nod.  So, I'm going with "A Trick Of The Tail" for two reasons. The first is, this record might actually be better. And B, this band lost its lead singer and front man and created an accessible prog masterpiece with their drummer taking over lead vocals, leading the band to even greater success. For that reason, "ATOTT" gets my vote. Prog Rock scares people away. "A Trick Of The Tail" works to get those people back. Think of melodies you can sing along with, occasional Beatles harmonies, backed by real adventurous arrangements played by four of the greatest musicians in music and you've got "A Trick Of The Tail."

25. Paul McCartney- Chaos & Creation In The Backyard

A few artists have multiple records on my "Other 100." I've yet to decide if I should replace those records with other artists, keeping it one to a customer, or just running with the original 100. McCartney has three and this is the one that stays for sure. When "Chaos & Creation" was released in 2005, I hated it. There was no good reason. I think I hated the prior record, "Driving Rain" so much, I was already prepped to hate anything else Sir Paul was to release.

What the hell did I want from this guy in 2005? I'm sorry. It wasn't you, Paulie. It was me.

In 2017, I couldn't ask for anything better from Paul McCartney than "Chaos & Creation In The Backyard." This is the EXACT record you want from an adult Beatle. I want to thank my friend Bruce Handy for insisting, some years ago, that I give this record another chance. You were right, Bruce. This is a stunning collection of understated songs, with nods to "Rubber Soul," "McCartney," "Band On The Run" and just about anything you love about Sir Paul. This record has grown on me so much, it might be my favorite solo Beatle record. I mean it.






Patrick said...

"Fine Line" - vintage early 70's McCartney. So so nice!

Shriner said...

Continuing along with mine as long as this goes on and in no particular order

21) The Pipettes -- We Are The Pipettes. Might this make my first 100? Quite possibly. If not, it's definitely in the next 100 and I would bump anything else that tried to fight for it's place. This is an album of pure joy and I could not live without "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me".

22) The Tubes -- Remote Control. All the Tubes you need in one great concept album.

23) Southern Culture On The Skids -- Countrypolitan Favorites. I would want a SCOTS album, so I'll go with this most-excellent covers album.

24) Liz Phair -- whitechocolatespaceegg. "Exile in Guyville" would probably be in my top 100 (unless I wanted to leave off any albums that were remotely depressing). This could easily take it's place as I think it's that good.

25) Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band -- Live Bullet. I'm from the Detroit area and I read in Rolling Stone that Detroit audiences are the greatest rock and roll audiences in the world and -- shit -- I've known that for 40 years now... This would be one of the two live albums I would take with me (the other will show later...) Could I go to a desert island without the "Travelin' Man" segue into "Beautiful Loser"? Probably not...

buzzbabyjesus said...

Nice work!


Sal. This project is so much fun! I'm reminded of music I don't play enough (and lots of music I don't know well enough)

Of course I'm too disorganized / scattered / ... to craft lists like this.

Much in my mind since you started this "The Other Hundred" is a million years ago (I think) Greil Marcus edited a collection asking people what one album they would take to a desert island. One essayist said his desert island album is Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica because it is so inaccessible that the only way you can really appreciate the genius would be if it was the only album you could listen to.

So after I read your posts, listen to the clips I'm spinning The Captain!

Looking forward to the balance of the list.


Michael Giltz said...

11. Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On What? Fleetwood Mac recorded albums before Buckingham/Nicks? Yeah, I knew that. I just really didn’t care. At all. I love that eponymous “debut” of the classic lineup “Fleetwood Mac” even more than “Rumours” or the hipster choice “Tusk.” But Sal said, “No, you idiot. You need to listen to this.” My god, did they invent the genre that the Allmann Brothers and so many others mined for decades after? That’s just one strand of this wild and mind-blowingly good album, one of the many reasons I happily keep an open mind (and always listen to Sal). I mean, really, you should probably listen to something at least once before dismissing it as not worth the time, right?

12. Peggy Lee – Miss Peggy Lee Sings The Blues I think the first album that introduces you to a great artist can maintain a powerful hold on your imagination. Peggy Lee has some beloved albums like her 1975 “comeback” album “Mirrors” and of course “Black Coffee” and a collaboration with her lover Nelson Riddle and Beauty And The Beat! (Hey, the Go-Gos loved Peggy Lee!) But the first album of Lee’s I heard was this very atypical, very quiet collection of (mostly) blues standards performed by Lee and a crack band. It was her first album in almost a decade and one of her last. She’s infirm and clearly mustering her strength for one final artistic push. I don’t think I know anyone who likes it but I love it and have played it to death. No one could sing quietly with more tension and drama than Miss Peggy Lee. As a bonus, it’s good for date nights. Just saying.

13. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age Of The Understatement I’ll see your one-off side project and raise you with a side project that had several albums. The UK bands Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs are surely on Top 100 lists in the UK and deserve to be there. So I’m going to zero in on Arctic’s Alex Turner and his side project The Last Of The Shadow Prophets, done with Owen Pallett et al. It’s everything you want in a side project – vastly different from what the Arctic Monkeys do, totally surprising and a great embrace of some classic pop moves that wouldn’t work in the context of his day job.

Michael Giltz said...

Con't because I won't stop jabbering on.

14. Steve Earle and the Del McCoury Band – The Mountain Actually, I don’t think I would choose anything from before Steve Earle’s rehab as the best of the best. Not because I don’t think he did great work then. But simply because I believe he’s developed into such a richer, more fascinating artist since then. He got out of prison and the music came pouring out too: “Train A Comin’,” “I Feel Alright,” “El Corazon.” And then this bluegrass collaboration with the great Del McCoury Band. The songwriting is so wise and embracing and hard-earned, this is when I understood that Earle was turning into a much better artist than I ever imagined he would. The closer “Pilgrim” feels a thousand years old.

15. John Lennon and Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy You say, come on! This is on people’s first 100. I don’t know. I doubt it. And I doubt even more that they actually listen to it. To me this is sacrilege but I know people who absolutely love the Beatles and they only listen to the John tracks. They’re crazy! What makes this a stone cold masterpiece is the ping ponging back and forth between John and Yoko, how each song speaks to the one prior and leads into the next. Yoko truly came into her own as a pop songwriter and her work stands toe to toe with what amounts to some of John’s best. Here he is surrendering to his inner Paul and offering up some of the most purely gorgeous melodies of his career. It’s just perfect. Sure, the first time I heard it I was freaked out by Yoko’s awesome caterwauling on her first track and I leapt for the volume control when she segued into what was clearly an orgasm. (Sorry, Mom!) And I played it again and again and now love every second of it. Knowing it was the last album he’d release makes this all the more poignant. Oh what we were cheated out of when John was assassinated at 40 years old. 40!!! Just 40. What a talent. And a hearty second to Sal’s take on “Chaos & Creation,” which is indeed damn wonderful.

Ken D said...

I'm also a big fan of "The Low Highway." A standout among so many excellent albums.
But I have to take exception to the song "Burnin' It Down." "It" being the local Wal-Mart. Yeah, I understand the sentiment and the anger but there's no excuse for arson...

Anonymous said...

totally agree with the Mac and "Trick of the Tail." I was on the fence about Genesis until I heard "Squonk" from Trick; I probably play that album at least every other month, along with "Wind & Wuthering."

Earle is one of my favorite artists, but it's hard for me to narrow it to one album or version of his band.

Dwight Twilley - Twilley Don't Mind
Laura Nyro - Gonna Take a Miracle
Little Feat - The Last Record Album
Earth Wind & Fire - Head to the Sky
Flora Purim - Stories to Tell

Chris Collins said...

You know I love Genesis. I love that New Radicals record as well.

Shriner I LOVE that Pipettes record! Love it!

I would go with "Exile" if I were doing Liz Phair. The Bob Seger pick is a good one too.

more later. I hate when work interferes with my fandom

Sal Nunziato said...

Ken D. I think Steve Earle is only "thinking 'bout Burnin' It Down."

itsok2beright said...

The real Fleetwood Mac ended after Peter Green. Why is it that greatness is always living on the edge of self-destruction?

I like the Tubes reference above, though Love Bomb will be on my list.

"Prog rock scares people away"?? Then let them leave, they just don't get it.

My 21-25:
Damn Yankees, Damn Yankees
Donovan, Sunrise Superman
ELO, Zoom
ELP, Return of the Manticore
Faces, A Nod is As Good As a Wink

wardo said...

"Maybe You've Been Brainwashed" and "Chaos And Creation" are two of my favorite albums by anybody. Thanks.

ken49 said...

I would have to also toss Fleetwood Mac's Bare Trees on my list. And thanks for the mention of Dwight Twilley, either or both of his 1st two albums would make my list. A lot of records from the late 60's, early 70's would populate my list, Traffic's 2nd, Procol Harum Salty Dog. Sal, this was a great idea and a way to get everyone talking about the albums they love. Definitely got some new discoveries to check out.

Noam Sane said...

Just dropping in to let you know how much I'm enjoying this series. Your enthusiasm for the music you love is inspiring, Sal. This stuff is important, particularly now, when the whole damn world is going crazy. Art keeps us sane. Much appreciated.

Unknown said...

Sal, a little (OK, completely) off-topic but I know you love a good, get-off-my-lawn rant.This month's entry from Joe Jackson's blog sounds like you co-wrote it.
eg "I'm basically a mainstream kind of guy. But if I'm going to be honest, the fact is that I think the vast majority of current pop music is shit." and " doesn't change the fact that the songs suck."

Anonymous said...

Hey Sal, you're welcome! It was the least I could do for all the amazing music you've turned me onto over the years, going back to NYCD! Scales still tipped pretty heavily in your favor....

Bruce H