Friday, March 10, 2017

The Other 100: 41-45

41. Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle- One From The Heart

I don't hate Coppola's film. I don't care how much money it lost, or what the critics had to say. Seeing it opening weekend at the Ziegfield Theatre in NYC was mind-blowing. I fell hard for the visuals, the sound, the love story and of course, the music, courtesy of the unlikely pairing of Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle. This was a match made in bizarro heaven and it paid off in spades. This soundtrack is a heartbreaker, and probably has a better story line than the film itself.

42. John Cale- Paris 1919

John Cale has worn many hats since leaving the Velvet Underground and he has the diverse catalogue to prove it. But, "Paris 1919" is his masterpiece and I don't think critics would disagree. I imagine this baroque pop gem might be on someone's usual 100. I know it will be in my Top 40, but again. it goes here because of the mission statement. Beautiful, melodic and at times, triumphant (like the title track), "Paris 1919" is Cale's most accessible record that still sounds fresh almost 50 years later. It's another one of those timeless records that sounds like nothing before or since.

43. Little Feat- Sailin' Shoes

And speaking of masterpieces, "Sailin' Shoes" was no sophomore slump for Little Feat. A pet peeve of mine is when someone describes their taste in music as "eclectic" and then offers this, "Oh, I like everything. Rap, jazz, funk, techno..." Oh shut up. Little Feat's 1972 release is the epitome of "eclectic," and yet, this album could not be more cohesive. It is the perfect balance of all that this band was before and became after. It is funk, gospel, soul, rock and roll, blues, jazz and psychedelia and best of all, none of those things. It is fucking Little Feat! I've heard bands try to be the Beatles and the Stones, but no band will ever be Lowell George's Little Feat. Every once in a while I will hear a song and I'll say to myself, "Man, I wish I had written this." Man, I wish I had written "Willin'."

44. 10cc- The Original Soundtrack

And speaking of pet peeves, it really twists me when bands are pigeon-holed because of one or two hits. And you know what else? "The Things We Do For Love" is a great, three minutes of pop music. Go ahead! Write a three minute pop hit. I'll wait.  (~like walking in the rain and the snow and there's nowhere to go and you...~) Finished? Thought so. The four men that make up 10cc were producers long before America turned "I'm Not In Love" into a smash. Sadly, the single edit of that tune, the one everyone heard on the radio, is a disaster. If you listen to the full 6 minute version, found on "The Original Soundtrack," you will hear what was hamhandedly cut out, one of the most brilliant bridges assembled in a pop song. And just about everything else on 10cc's third release is as brilliant, including the 8 minute opener, "Une Nuit A Paris," where 10cc out-Queens Queen, the McCartney-esque "Flying Junk" and the indescribable "Second Sitting For The Last Supper." Genius, though the last cut "The Film Of My Love" should have been 2 minutes and not 5.

45. The Hollies- Butterfly

If you've been reading Burning Wood for any length of time, you already know how I feel about "Butterfly." I might have taken my love a tad too far, when I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post claiming it was better than "Sgt. Pepper." Over the top and unnecessary, but I felt it at the time. This record was The Hollies' "Sgt. Pepper" and it is their best record, for sure. Released here in the US as "Dear Eloise/King Midas In Reverse," with an alternate track list to cash in on the two hits in the title, the original U.K. tracklist works better. Straight power pop like "Step Inside" and "Dear Eloise," a big Phil Spector ballad like "Would You Believe," and gorgeous acoustic folk like "Wish You A Wish" and "Postcard" all find Clarke-Hicks-Nash at the top of their game. "Butterfly" will not be on anyone's Top 100, usual or bubbling under, but it is one of my faves of all time. Special hat tip to Frank D., for introducing "Butterfly" to me, all those years ago.


cmealha said...

As one of the few people who actually liked "One From The Heart" I was pleased to see the soundtrack on the list. Other than the cut you posted I don't recall the rest of it but this will bring me back to it.
Also, that 10cc track is one of there best.

Charlie Messing said...

Great choices again, Sal. I have One from the Heart on CD, as I do Sailing Shoes. Yep to all you say. Waits wrote that score around the time he was meeting his wife-to-be out in Hollywood. It's a nice bridge between his styles. "You Can't Unring a Bell" is a favorite. I'll have to find that Hollies LP.

mike said...

Butterfly is surely better than Sgt Peppers,which sounds like a dull pop record in comparison.The Hollies here show what true genius pop psych really is.

Joelhb53 said...

One of my major life regrets was never seeing Feat with LG.

Shriner said...

Barely a day to catch my breath! Here are my next 5 which probably won't generate as much love as "Mad Love" did and at least two of these will probably irritate our host, but there you go with some of my more "poppier" (hah) picks:

41) The Soft Boys -- Underwater Moonlight. I know Sal can't stand Robyn Hitchcock. But this album has everything I like about Robyn balanced with the pop sensibilities of Kimberley Rew. This could be a top 100 for me. But this is also an album where the rereleases with the bonus tracks detract from the original tight track list, so non-bonus-track version for me! All other Soft Boys albums range from the bizarre to the relatively unlistenable to me. This album, tho! Almost replaced by a RH solo album, but I could not choose one specific one ("Eye"? "Jewels for Sophia"? "Moss Elixir"? "Element of Light"? "Fegmaniax"? the list goes on...)

42) Teenage Fanclub -- Grand Prix. Continuing on with bands that Sal favorite album from TF (who have a long line of great albums.) Anybody that can make a great song titled "Verisimilitude" deserves a listen! The Scottish version of Sloan!

43) Cheap Trick -- Next Position Please. Probably a controversial CT pick. But chosen on the strength of "Heaven's Falling" and "I Can't Take It" -- my two most favorite CT songs. I thought making Cheap Trick sound like Utopia worked and I did not miss Tom Peterson on this one.

44) Barenaked Ladies -- Gordon. IMO, the *only* BNL album anybody needs. The *only one*. More than even a Greatest Hits album. Everything you think you like about BNL -- is in this debut album. It's a stone classic (but not a top-100 classic). A definite second 100.

45) Ween -- White Pepper. What? Something from the 2000s? Why yes! This blog introduced me to the brilliance of the "why had I never heard this perfect pop song before" of "Even If You Don't". I've listened to all other Ween albums -- all of them -- since then and *for me* this is a friggin masterpiece and all the rest are fairly unlistenable apart from a few songs here and there. If White Pepper had been released by any other band, it would likely be considered a classic of the alternative genre up there with "Nevermind". It's the album Weezer keeps trying to make over and over.

(And now I'm debating if Weezer's Blue Album is going to make my second 100 now that I've slagged them...)

Sal Nunziato said...

First and foremost, thanks Shriner for continuing along. Loving the posts and commentary. It takes time, so I appreciate the effort.

Next, I do NOT hate Hitchcock or TF. I wish either had something I could hate. My problem is indifference. Nothing, not one song has ever made me want to go further. It's all just fine to my ears. I simply think both are overrated. I do, on the other hand, hate Barenaked Ladies.

As for your controversial CT, pick. I agree with you across the board. Rundgren gave them something special here. And even if Todd's "Heaven's Falling" is "Crybaby" rewritten, it is one of CT's best.

Shriner said...

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”
― Elie Wiesel

And the BNL pick is somewhat due to the Canadian Content laws -- heard a lot from this streaming over the border living where I do and it grew on me. I think it helps if you like "novelty" music -- which I do (a lot -- Dr. Demento changed my life more than John Borack!). And I agree that BNL became somewhat insufferable as they went along, but the first album -- when they were just basically a bunch of unknown schlubs is great.

itsok2beright said...

Remembering that 10CC doesn't show up until I pass 'Z', I listed Deceptive Bends (ok, so it's more pop). But, Rubber Bullets and Speed Kills make their first one a very viable candidate.

The Hollies can easily have a few of their albums represented in the next 100. I just don't have the appreciation yet for Butterfly (admittedly, since I don't own it).

As to BNL, I can see the allure of the first album. I believe that's a good example of how musicians have their whole musical life to create their first album. After that, they are pressed by their record label to get out number 2 (pun intended). Thanks to this, many sophomore efforts will not live up to the hype. One notable exception is Queen II, the best 2nd album ever. Though, I don't feel the need to include any BNL in my 2nd 100.

My next 5:
Jeff Beck, Truth
Jefferson Airplane, Surrealistic Pillow (Is this already a top 100?)
Jimi Hendrix, Axis: Bold As Love
Joe Jackson, Big World (Have to leave off Look Sharp, since it is a Top 100 already; or better be)
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, A Hard Road (More Peter Green)

Anonymous said...

I've refrained from commenting because I've never tried (and won't now) to figure out what my favorite 100 records are, but I know that few of my all-time faves would make it to anybody else's Top 100. Exceptions might include The White Album and Abbey Road, and Blood On The Tracks and John Wesley Harding. That's not to say that I don't have a slew of what are considered the Top 100 albums, because I definitely have lots of 'em (when I've checked out such lists) -- it's just that those choices aren't often my choices for all-time faves. If there're any T Rex albums in the consensus Top 100, it's not likely to be Tanx, which isn't just my favorite T Rex, but one of my Top 10 of all time. Ditto Cosmo's Factory by CCR.
But I wanna speak to some of the things written here, and offer a couple general comments. First off, I love reading all the choices folks have made and their reasoning; even without the reasoning, the music geek and list geek in me are loving it. Second, I was the 'Anonymous' who alerted Sal to the bogus King Crimson YouTube link yesterday, and say this only to confirm that, Yes, there are folks out there sampling your choices. I'm especially likely to if the write-up makes me overly curious (and, boy is Sal good at that!), or if it's an artist I've liked for other things (I have Crimson's debut album, but only that one), or if (and this ties into my first reason) it's something I've heard is good but I've never gotten into before. This latter reason is why I'll try new artists I've heard lots about, despite my misgivings about the shape of recent pop and rock; it is rare in the extreme, tho, that I'm swayed even a little. Here I'll give props to this blog for one that Sal posted years ago with that kind of write-up I noted earlier (the write-up makes me curious): an Emeli Sande song called "Next To Me" that just bowled me over, despite a trace of the whininess in the vocals that unfortunately pervades so much of modern music. Sal was on the fence about it (if I recall), but I loved the big piano and drum sound, the simple and ageless tune, and the stirring chorus.
Anyway...I will add that I'm with Sal about not liking when folks say they like "everything". If that's the answer I get, I press them by saying, "Nobody likes everything. What's the last thing you listened to? What's in your car right now? What's the last thing (or first thing) you bought?" At that point, unless they're one of those rare beings that truly is indifferent to music or just has it on as background filler (which, by the way, isn't the same as "liking everything"), I'll get closer to the nitty-gritty.
This is already too long, so I'll save for a possible subsequent posting any comments I could muster about the selections already made.
C in California

Anonymous said...

found a new channel off of the Roku - PRC - that has a bunch of English 60's and 80's live performances, including a great Hollies mini-set. I never thought of them as a live band before, but obviously they could play (and sing).

It took me a long time to learn the story behind "Willin'." I grew up thinking it was a Seatrain song.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Uncle Charlie and his Dog Teddy
Zeitgeist (the Reivers) - Translate Slowly
Material - Memory Serves
Ely Guerra - Lotofire (more of a producer's choice, since this album sounds like none of her others, making Latin sound goth)
Valerie Carter - Just a Stone's Throw Away (more Little Feat!)

Michael Giltz said...

41. Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle – One From The Heart Damnit! I should have listed this one earlier so I could pretend Sal was copying me. The movie is technically interesting but not very good; to me, Coppola’s Tucker: A Man And His Dream is pushing some of the some boundaries a little more interestingly. Tucker isn’t a great film either but it’s a little more dramatically satisfying and BOTH films have great soundtracks. I might have gone with Joe Jackson’s score for Tucker or Mike’s Murder to represent his work. One From The Heart does have the unexpected pairing of gravelly voiced hobo Tom Waits and crystalline-voiced angel Crystal Gayle and it works a dream, especially on “Take Me Home.”

42. Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Sessions I was going to choose their second album The Caution Horses because I think Michael Timmins is a great songwriter and captures female characters so well I kind of wondered if he was gay, even though I should know better than to think like that. But another poster selected The Trinity Sessions and helped me realize that, yeah, no one thinks about Cowboy Junkies and while to me of COURSE Trinity Sessions would be on everyone’s first 100 as an awesome debut, perfect driving album and one of those magical little moments in music (like John Hiatt’s “Bring The Family”) where the planets align. I know it was kind of a trendy, attention-getting album for a New York minute but they’ve had a good career, I’ve seen them in concert several times and that recent whatever the F--- it was boxed set that included some recent albums and newly recorded versions of said albums AND some new music was not the way to regain attention from the masses but I liked it.

Michael Giltz said...

43. Various Artists – The Indestructible Beat Of Soweto A hugely important compilation. When Graceland came out and blew people’s minds and they went to the record store and asked where can I get more stuff that sounds like this – but you know, the REAL stuff – this is the album they were pointed to. It made the World Music sections of record stores prominent for the next 20 years; instead of dusty compilations of archival recordings it became a center of great pop music from around the world. The Indestructible Beat Of Soweto is also tremendously catchy, raw, well-paced and just plain fun from start to finish. I didn’t quite appreciate Ladysmith Black Mambazo until I first saw them in concert (the full impact on CD is lovely but not quite as breathtaking) but this CD sent me searching for their music and that of most everyone else listed on the credits. The notes were almost nonexistent and though I could chant and sing along with the melody I hadn’t a clue as to what anyone was singing about; it was a minor revelation to realize, hey, this is what it’s like for most of the world’s population that doesn’t speak English to sing along with Springsteen and the Who and the Beatles and Aretha! I know a fad for a particular style of world music has always been around from the Hawaiian craze that helped launch electric guitars (in a way) to bossa nova and so on. I think this is where crazes ended and a permanent place at the table was won.

44. Sandy Denny – Like An Old-Fashioned Waltz I’m not sure which Sandy Denny would make the first 100. Probably her work with Fotheringay? A hipper solo album? This gentler, more pastoral work to me finds Denny not grasping for the brass ring of pop success as a solo artist and being all the better for it. (That doesn’t quite track its real genesis, but whatever.) My god, it didn’t even chart in the UK, which is just sad. Two lovely covers, some brilliant originals (including the one-two punch of the opening tracks “Solo” and the title tune) and a confident, cohesive vision. She has such a jumble of a career, recording here and there and everywhere (who wouldn’t want Denny singing somewhere on their album?). But this is what I think of first when I think of her tremendous talent.

45. The Mavericks – Music For Every Occasion One of the great live acts I’ve ever seen, the Mavericks have an excellent string of albums to their credit. This throwback to the country-politan sound is a-typical but boy do I love the country-politan sound and boy do they do it to perfection on this masterpiece. A smooth as silk cover of “Something Stupid” with Tricia Yearwood, the rave-up “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down” with Flaco JimĂ©nez that was a “Rosalita”-like concert staple for years (“Take it away, Flaco!”) and not a bum tune in the bunch. Eleven tracks, under 40 minutes and Raul Malo in glorious voice. What a band.

ken49 said...

Great calls on the John Cale (listened to this about 3 weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised at how good it still is), Little Feat (I love songs that have geographical references and Willin is about as good as it gets) and 10CC. 10CC rocks a lot harder than people realize or give them credit for. I am going to have to check out the Hollies, I have never heard this. I concur with Shriner, Grand Prix is the Teenage Fanclub I would choose and the Soft Boys' Underwater Moonlight is easily on my list. The first song I Wanna Destroy You is almost enough to guarantee a spot!

Chris Collins said...

with the exception of the Little Feat album I don't really know any of these. So now I can't wait to listen.

and I love that Mavericks album noted above.

I forget where i am. So i'm just throwing 5 out there.

1. Keith Richards- "talk is cheap"- the best thing out of the Stones camp since "Some Girls"
2. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes- "Better Days"- Little Steven returns to the fold and somehow tops his 70's work with the band. A masterwork.
3. Living Colour- "Time's Up"- better than the hit debut. A varied, beautiful, amazing, rocking record.
4. Rosanne Cash- "King's Record Shop"- It really could have been "The Wheel" or "Interiors" as well. But this album is the one i go back to the most.
5. Bangles- "A Different Light"- I love this band without apology.

buzzbabyjesus said...

Coincidentally Lowell George and some of Little Feat back John Cale on Paris 1919.

Michael Giltz said...

Hey Chris, and I love Roseanne Cash and the Bangles. I assume Cash would be on any country list though perhaps I should consider one of the three you mentioned. No need to apologize for the Bangles. I think I'd rather be out front for the Bangles and backstage afterwards with the Go-Gos.

Dr Wu said...

Sal, thank you for this site. The considerable effort it must take is greatly appreciated by all of us. The topics and the many comments - I'm sincerely envious of those who are able to articulate about the music they love. Me? I'm cursed with being monosyllabic in that regard. Lots of grunts. But I do know: I LOVE THIS BLOG!
With that said, I'd like to continue with 41-45, if I'm not too late. Again, albums that I listen to often that don't fall within the 'recognized' Top 100. In no particular order:

Lloyd Cole 'Don't Get Weird on Me Babe'
Pavement 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'
Julian Cope 'Peggy Suicide'
Magnetic Fields '69 Love Songs'
The Shins 'Oh, Inverted World'

As many of you have already acknowledged, the artists we list often have so many albums that could easily be substituted for the ones we share. Sometimes it feels at this point that it's a race to mention an album before others do. Lol! And to think: there are so many, many more albums that I look forward to hearing about. It's wonderful life!