Friday, March 24, 2017

The Other 100: 66-70

66. Bob Dylan- Shot Of Love

"Blood On The Tracks" is my favorite Dylan record. Of course, there is the Holy Trinity of "Highway 61 Revisited," "Bringing It All Back Home" and "Blonde On Blonde." Pretty good run, no? But the truth is, I play "Shot Of Love" more than any of them. I could care less if it's a Jesus record. This is Dylan's "Thriller!" There are at least six singles on this record. It rocks. It's radio-friendly. It has "Every Grain Of Sand" AND Ringo. This is Bob's neglected treasure.

67. Faces- Ooh La La

The Faces made four records and it's always the other three that get all the kudos. "Ooh La La" has the stories attached to it. Band unhappy with front man's solo career. More drinking than the usual drinking. I don't even think the band likes this record. Too bad. "Ooh La La" is my fave. It's a sloppy mess of a party, with the band out-Stones-ing Mick and Keith and it has not one, but three of my favorite tunes- "Silicone Grown," and the two beauties that are "Glad & Sorry" and the title track. To my ears, "Ooh La La" represents all that the Faces were about.

68. Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen

Jon Cleary left his home in England after falling in love with the sounds of New Orleans rhythm and blues. Finding a home in the Crescent City and working for beer and free admission to the Maple Leaf Club, which employed him, he soaked in all of the sights and sounds. After working as a session man, he formed his own band and began releasing his own music, and 2002's eponymous release is Cleary's best. This is another of those records that for me, defines the vibe of that great city. The Monster Gentlemen are...well...monsters. They can funk it up like The Meters. They can take it to Sly Stone and his Family's heights. They can lay back and write quick and catchy tunes that would not feel out of place on Steely Dan's "Royal Scam" or any Taj Mahal record, who Cleary has toured and recorded with. I love this record. I love all of Cleary's records, but I love this record.

69. Aerosmith- Rocks

Greatest hard rock record of all time. Period.  That's it. I mean it! There were just the right amount of drugs and money, fueling this masterpiece of riffs and sleaze, with all five members of the band at the top of their game. From the opening screech of Steven Tyler on "Back In The Saddle" to the impossible sounds and grooves on "Nobody's Fault," to the relentless thrash of "Rats In The Cellar," Aerosmith's "Rocks" is one of a kind and still sounds fresh 40 years later.

70. T. Rex- The Slider

One of the first three 8-track tapes I bought at Happy Tunes on West 8th Street in Greenwich Village. (The other two were Mott The Hoople's "Mott" and "Abbey Road.") It was 1973 and I was slowly pushing my Beatles and Stones records to the side, to make room for Bowie, Mott and Marc Bolan. I think "The Slider" has more peaks than "Electric Warrior" and has stronger songs than "Tanx," but man, what a trio of records. "The Slider" gets my vote because I can listen to it still and it feels like there is no filler. T.Rex at their best.














Shriner said...

So here come the rocking women in no random order, but this

66) The Bangles -- All Over The Place. Apart from the clunker that ends the album -- this is the one I go to all the time. It doesn't have the over-played and unfortunately-not-representative polished hits that "Different Light" has on it -- and it rocks harder. For a "girl band" they are much more aggressive than the Go-Gos and that's obvious all over the album where their 60's influences came from. This album could only be made greater if they had rereleased it and tacked on the EP.

67) The Go-Gos -- Beauty and the Beat. Now it may seem from the above that I was slagging the Go-Gos -- but their debut is just as good, but for different reasons. While the Bangles were garage rock-influenced, the Go-Gos were surf/Shangri-La/pop influenced. The two hit singles still stand up, and this album is chock-ful of other great songs like "How Much More", "Can't Stop The World", "Tonite", etc. Subsequent albums had their moments, but this is all killer-no filler.

68) Concrete Blonde -- Concrete Blonde. The third in a series of debut albums today. "Still In Hollywood" was what I heard first from this (probably on MTV). Killer song. Bought the album and fell in love with it. Johnette Napolitano is not often mentioned in the pantheon of great rock voices, but she's got pipes and plays a great bass. The opener "True" should have been a big hit for the band and an ace cover of "Beware of Darkness" is another highlight in an album full of soulful rock songs. Some of the album has that shitty-80's drum sound I hate, but the songs are so memorable, that I can overlook it.

69) Ivy -- Apartment Life. Ivy is what Adam Schlesinger was doing between Fountains of Wayne albums. OMG, what a voice Dominique Durand has -- it can make you melt. Strings, keys, horns, guitars, dreamy vocals, catchy melodies -- this album has everything. Why a song like "This Is The Day" wasn't a monster smash hit, amazes me. At many levels it's *very* FoW-ish, but it's more "dream-pop" than they ever got (but some of the songs are very poppy). The albums that followed this one are almost as good, but this is the best and fired on all cylinders (as far as a fairly mellow album can be considered "firing" on anything...)

70) Missing Persons -- Spring Session M. Yes, Dale Bozzio's for everybody. But this band made up of ex-Zappa sidemen created an album that comes close to being the definitive "new wave" album for me. I recall putting this on the tape deck for a long car ride with the drummer in my band and he thought it sucked, until he started listening to the drum parts and remarked how remarkable Terry Bozzio's playing is on such an off-beat pop/new wave album. The reissue has the band's best song -- Mental Hopscotch -- tacked on to the end, so that makes it make the list. Some classic new wave here: "Words", "Destination Unknown", "Walking In LA", but it's the weird stuff like "No Way Out", "U.S. Drag" that appeal to me just as much. Maybe this one is more for the Zappa fan (which I am) than the casual consumer. Subsequent albums are meh, though I always like "Surrender Your Heart" from the follow-up.

More women later! 30 albums to go (and my remaining list has 35, so I'll have to start chopping something...)

Charlie Messing said...

Hey hey. Shot of Love - Keltner and Ringo? Duck Dunn, Ron Wood, Clydie King? I have never heard this album (it was 1981 when all I had was a cassette player and mixtapes). Now I have to get it, of course. I know what you mean about "Blood" being your favorite and the holy trinity and all, but the truth is that after you listen to your favorite whoever album 100 times you may not have to listen to it anymore - so no faulting of the other Dylan LPs. Same with Faces, actually - and can you beat the ridiculous moving gimmick on the cover? Great, those trick covers from back then...Led Zep's wheel, Some Girls' face-change thing, etc. Yep, Ooh La La is overlooked, and the band was still great as always. RIP Ronnie Lane: a master. The Slider - I had a double import cassette with Slider on one side and Electric Warrior on the other - both great. Great album. [I'll have to check out Jon Cleary.] Rocks, which I recently got on AM/PM, is indeed great. I haven't heard as many similar LPs to compare with, but I believe you. When I get a Shot of Love I'll bet it feels good. Even if I'm (and he's) Jewish. Thanks, Sal!

Anonymous said...

"The Slider" edges "Electric Warrior" for me, too, probably because it's weirder and its great cover design.

John Prine - Lost Dogs and Mixed Blessings
This Mortal Coil - It'll End in Tears
Let's Active - Cypress
Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar
Wye Oak - Civilian

Chris Collins said...

Great additions. I'm crazy about each and every record here, except the Cleary one, which I will have to go listen to now.

I picked "Pump" over "Rocks" cause I thought that "Rocks" could actually wind up on a list somewhere. But I love both records.

How about these:

1. Tesla- "Five Man Acoustical Jam"- a live record, yes. And one where the covers are better than the original songs, but a really great record nonetheless. "Love Song" still packs a punch.

2. Guns n' Roses- "Use Your Illusion II"- I know you hate this band. And this record is HUGE! It's bloated and epic and borders on parody, but good god, do I love "Estranged" and "Civil War" and "Breakdown" and almost every other song on it. Their ambition on this one is stunning. Then it all fell apart.

3. Scout- "It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time"- the most obscure record I'm going to post. From a Queens band that ALMOST made cult status. The entire album is gorgeous. Think replacements meet beatles with a female lead. I love this record with all my heart.

4. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes- "Better Days"- the reunion album. Little Steven is back. Bruce contributes one song and duets on another. It's just as good as "Hearts of Stone" or the debut. Cut like it was recorded on a sweaty night on the Jersey shore. It's a perfect record.

5. Willie Nelson- "Across the Borderline"- an odd choice. Willie has put out 530043 records. This one is almost all covers, but it's a beaut. His version of Paul Simon's "American Tune" kicks things off and breaks your heart. The title tune is gorgeous, of course. Duets with Bob Dylan and Sinead O'connor don't quite play out, but they are the only semi-weak spots on the record. Ends with Willie's own "Still Is Still Moving to Me", which has become a staple of his live shows since then.

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Borstal Boys" rocks. "Rocks" is all that. The Slider has the best drum sound, anywhere.

Anonymous said...

I may've already posted the following here, or maybe I think I did or was going to in the context of some comment...Tanx is not only my favorite T Rex album, but one of my 20 favorite albums of all time.
The Slider was my intro to T Rex, followed by Electric Warrior, and all three records are, as you indicate, wonderful things. The Slider's production is my favorite of the three -- so thick and rich; that mix of electric and acoustic guitars and ambient drums is out of this world. The Slider was instrumental in turning my mom, who was in her mid-50s, into a rock fan. She wasn't a fan for years, and even hearing bits of it in a house full of kids playing rock didn't change her mind. But when my sis had her 16th birthday party and a band of friends played live for it in our living room, my conservative folks felt obliged to hang for it to monitor and my mom later admitted that she'd never really listened to rock music and, by golly, she LIKED it! When I'd asked her a scant few years before who Alice Cooper was -- he was turning up in the news a lot, and my brothers had Love It To Death -- she replied (PC alert!) "Some queer." After her conversion, AC and T Rex and The Allman Brothers and Bad Company Bowie and The Beatles all went to the top of her playlist. Eventually, by the time she was in her 70s and 80s, I'd put Pizzicato 5 and The Skeletons and The Ramones and Webb Wilder on tapes/CDs for her. She still requested Bobby Darin's Beyond The Sea and Nat King Cole's Straighten Up And Fly Right, but she loved hearing new stuff, too.
Off subject -- what was it with Americans producing Brits in the late 60s/early 70s that produced such gold? Tony Visconti & Bowie & T Rex, Joe Boyd & Nick Drake & Fairport Convention (including Unhalfbricking), Jimmy Miller & The Stones, Shel Talmy & The Kinks, Phil Spector and various Beatles, Felix Pappalardi & Cream. That's a lot of great stuff!
C in California

itsok2beright said...

I'm confused. If Rocks is the greatest hard rock record of all time, and it's NOT in the top 100 albums, are you saying that NO hard rock records are good enough to be in the top 100?

dogbreath said...

Back in the 70s always had a lot of fun and laughs listening to Faces albums, the good times vibe mixed with just the right amount of sentimentality, and a lot of laughs poking fun at T.Rex/Bolan, only belatedly confessing to the guilty pleasures derived from Warrior, Tanx & The Slider. Oh well. Good alternative 100 so far.

Sal Nunziato said...

"I'm confused. If Rocks is the greatest hard rock record of all time, and it's NOT in the top 100 albums, are you saying that NO hard rock records are good enough to be in the top 100?"

Let me unconfuse you--I'm saying I think "Rocks" is the best hard rock album of all time and that I don't think it ever appears in the usual Top 100, though it would still appear in my first 100.

itsok2beright said...

Ok, that's what I thought. Since, I'm sure there are a few other hard rock gems that must be in the top 100, if not the top 10.

I like the Faces choice, but I gave my kudos to 'A Nod is as Good as a Wink'.

I left off Aerosmith completely from my list. All of their 'good' albums are in my top 100, and there others just suck.

For T. Rex, when I get there, I just can't stop singing Jeepster in my head for at least three days after hearing it, so I'm going to have to choose Electric Warrior when I get there.

My 65-70:
The Merseybeats, The Merseybeats; Would the Beatles be the Beatles without the Merseybeat sound? Yeah, I guess so, they do have a little talent. But, you got to start somewhere.
Metallica, Death Magnetic; If limiting choices to just one of each band, this would have to be it. They are maturing gracefully.
Moby Grape, Grape Jam; I just love their prequel to 'Since I've Been Loving You'.
Motley Crue, Shout at the Devil
Motorhead, Motorhead; As I've mentioned before, the 'Witchdoctor' and 'Train Kept ...' covers make this album for me.

Dr Wu said...

You’re en fuego, sir. ‘The Slider’ is pure classic and sadly little known. And Aerosmith’s ‘Rocks’ – I listen to it more than the Beatles or the Stones – blasphemy, I know, but the gospel truth. It’s just more fun. And is Tom Hamilton an underrated bassist? Curious: am I the only one who loves the closing ballads on ‘Toys in the Attic’ and ‘Rocks’? Who needs Dianne Warren? May I also throw some love towards ‘Draw the Line’ – how talented must a band be to craft an album as amazing as this while undergoing collective drug-induced psychotic breakdown? Kudos to Shriner as well – excellent choices.
My next five:
Jane’s Addiction ‘Nothing Shocking’ – when it was released in 1988, there was nothing like it. Zeppelin mashed with alternative. And it still holds up.
The Waterboys ‘Fisherman’s Blues’ – Brilliant! And drop the mic.
The Go-Betweens ’16 Lovers Lane’ – by virtue of ‘Dive for Your Memory’ alone.
Brian Jonestown Massacre ‘Tepid Peppermint Wonderland – A Retrospective’ – a compilation, so I realize it may be cheating, but with an artist who was releasing four albums in a year, I think it should be allowed. Bonus points for contributing the theme song to ‘Boardwalk Empire’: ‘Straight Up and Down’
The Cure ‘The Head on the Door’ – the template for all their subsequent classic albums. ‘A Night Like This’ and ‘Close to Me’ are pop masterpieces.

Michael Giltz said...

Dr. Wu, I'll see your "Fisherman's Blues" and raise you the "Fisherman's Box," which collects about four or five CDs worth of material recorded at those sessions and boy was that band touched by the muse during that time. Music was pouring out of them and I find it kind of overwhelming. But on with my picks.

Neil Diamond – 12 Songs Now exactly which album of Neil Diamond would be enshrined in the First 100 by that damn mainstream media? I guess Neil Diamond’s “Greatest Hits,” that first 12 song compilation back when greatest hits albums had twelve songs and we were happy! But surely aficionados are still gaga over his late career resurgence via Rick Rubin? A classic singles artist (it’s not an insult, folks), Diamond dug deep and delivered a stunning, complete album better than anything he’d done before. The follow-up was damn good too and he’s kept the bar pretty high since. And my punk pop bar band does a mean, sped-up version of “Save Me A Saturday Night” if I do say so myself. (It’s a radio hit just waiting for some act to cover it.)

Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle I was sitting in a diner in New York City at 3 in the morning, chatting with the Boston University film major from Mumbai who had no hotel room that night and was trying to stay awake until his bus was leaving at 10 am. Naturally, we talked movies but music cropped up because he had headphones on and I asked what he was listening to and he said “The Boss.” Not Springsteen. Just “The Boss.” He mentioned how surprised he was by the virtually all white audience Springsteen attracted at the concerts he’d gone to (noticing he was virtually alone at one as a person of color except one black man apparently dragged there by coworkers). Why was that, he wondered? Got me, I said. His favorite Bruce album? “Darkness.” I responded with “Nebraska” which of course would be on the First 100 along with perhaps “Born To Run” and “Born In The USA” and/or “The River.” My second pick for overlooked Bruce is “Wild,” the album before “Born To Run” catapulted him to permanent fame. To me, the greatness is splendidly on display right here. This truly feels like an album showcasing a band, not an artist being backed by a band, however great it is, which is the feeling from “Born To Run” on out. But “Wild” is so exuberant and poetic and bursting with energy and great tunes; it has the sweep of “Born To Run” but still has its feet on the ground. They just happen to be dancing.

Michael Giltz said...

Con't cause I can't stop won't stop typing.

Sade – Stronger Than Pride Would any album by Sade be enshrined? Probably not though I assume if it were they’d plunk for her debut Diamond Life. I’m going for her third album, which I’d call overlooked if Diamond Life and Promise and the rest weren’t overlooked too. Rarely has an artist made better use of a modest voice and very particular sensibility than Sade, who knows exactly who she is and what she can and should do. To me, Stronger Than Pride has more emotion and heart than the chilly first two albums. I just love how she disappears for years at a time, suddenly returns with another album that sounds exactly like Sade and then disappears again to her island retreat. It’s like Enya, but good.

R.E.M. – Life’s Rich Pageant Well, it starts with Murmur and ends with Automatic For The People and I’m sorry if the popular consensus bores you but it happens to be right. (And I would NEVER have imagined Michael Stipe not delivering solo albums starting about a week after R.E.M. stopped though I couldn’t guess if it would be offbeat a la EDM or truly out there a la Sting and his lyre or what have you but nothing? I’m flabbergasted and torn between admiring and intrigued as to why.) To me, the band really rocked out on their fourth album. Reckoning was a fine follow-up and Fables Of The Reconstruction displayed a broader palette but Pageant rocked, darn it! A barnstormer from start to finish.

Paul McCartney – Tug Of War Let me echo others who singled out this reunion with George Martin as a career peak for solo Paul (along with “Band On The Run” and “Ram” and “Memory Almost Full” and “Chaos and Creation” and… yeah, he’s had a great solo career). It helps that this was the first solo album of his I bought, though Pipes Of Peace was maybe second and that’s not second in my heart so maybe this is just damn good. As always, it begins with the songs and this is a great bunch. No one writes catchy nonsense like “Ballroom Dancing” or “The Pound Is Sinking” quite like McCartney. The title track is lovely, his tribute to John touching, “Wanderlust” a winner and only “Dress Me Up As A Robber” a weak link. To me, the all-star contributions are excellent. “Ebony and Ivory” would be just fine if it weren’t such a massive hit and it’s more than made up for by the funkiest track McCartney would ever record, “What’s That You’re Doing?” And Carl Perkins popping in for the tossed off gem “Get It” is a keeper too. The not so secret sauce is the excellent production of Martin, which has that innate sophistication of his work with the Beatles without ever calling attention to itself. Definitely some of HIS best work outside the Fab Four, too. I’ve played it and played it, then and now.

Dr Wu said...

Michael, you're right about 'Fisherman's Box' - everything was certainly clicking for Mike Scott at that moment and I found it was a great listen over the weekend. Thanks for the share. I was torn between 'Reckoning' and 'Life's Rich Pageant' as my favorite R.E.M. album - the difference for me was the fourth album's closer, 'Superman' - their cover is perhaps the most fun the band ever had on record, and still a treat every time I hear it. Personally, I go all the way with the band thru 'New Adventures in Hi-Fi', the end of the Bill Berry years. Spent much of Friday listening to the great Sade, based on your write-up. After all these years, 'Hang on to Your Love' is still the one for me. Remarkably consistent artist over the past thirty years plus, underrated and forgotten by most because of her continual vanishing act. Thanks again. I'm looking forward to everyone's continued suggestions and insights.