June 12, 2006


I was thinking about asking anyone who reads to post their favorite albums. Not favorite artists or songs, but favorite entire albums. Those albums that hold together thematically and musically and need to be heard as one. Those albums that stand the test of time and still deserve to be played and heard.

As I was imaginging this in my head, I started thinking about my own musical progression. I thought I would start there.

I grew up in a small town in western Colorado. I have two older brothers who were very influential on much of my development. My middle brother is very musical and taught me a lot about the guitar, but my older brother has great appreciation for music and really values good songwriting. And he also values albums as works of art. I still remember him putting two different albums on the turntable: Emmylou Harris' Pieces of the Sky and Dan Fogelberg's Souvenirs. (Say what you will about Fogelberg, his early stuff is good. It isn't until later that his music turned maudlin and annoying--"Leader of the Band" and stuff like that).

Having an older brother can be handy. It was convenient musically for me. While my friends were listening to Abba (and I did too--we were all young and stupid at one point), my brother had me listening to Pure Prairie League, Emmylou, Fleetwood Mac and even some Dylan.

So, for my first favorite album, I will name Pure Prairie League's Bustin Out. Famous for their one big hit--"Amie"--this album has a lot of well-written songs; "Boulder Skies," "Early Morning Riser" and others. It was a big hit in Colorado.


Those are the rules: has to be a good album that you like to listen to as an album (doesn't mean you like every song, but overall has more good songs than bad); has to have some kind of thematic sense to it (completely subjective, I know); has to stand some test of time (we all know how albums can fade); and can't be a live album (we will do those next).

For my next album, I hope to take my musical evolution out of the 70s. It was a bumpy ride--April Wine, Triumph, Def Lepard, and Van Halen, to just name a few.


educat said...

I wore through three copies of The Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Sessions on cassette before the CD era.

Lovely, all fluid and mellow.

How I wish I were not an oldest child if only to not have wasted so much time on bad music...

Streak said...

Oh yeah. Great choice.

Mining for Gold, Misguided Angel, Sweet Jane. Man, those are some great songs.

Mike Kear said...

Emmylou Harris' Roses in the Snow

ubub said...

Bob Dylan, of course (oh, I thought you said . . . ). My favorite Dylan album is Blood on the Tracks, with Bringing It All Back Home a close second.

Lou Reed's New York is an amazing album, in part because it is so strong as a whole yet few of its songs, if any, are able to stand alone as singles. It tells a great story and makes my list for that reason.

Anyone else gonna give a shout out to the Pixies? I absolutely love Doolittle.

And as for the Clash, whom I dearly love, Sandinista and London Calling would be neck and neck with a slight edge to London Calling simply because Sandinista is less coherent as an album.

I'm not sure what it says about me, the state of the album, or what, but the most recent entry on my list is from '89. Get off my (recently edged and freshly mowed) lawn!

Bruce said...

there are a few for me:

Wilco - YHF
Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo
Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

JoeG said...

Chicago - CTA (1st album). Chicago at their finest.

Grayson Hugh - Bring it All Back and Road to Freedom. Excellent soul sound, I could listen to these two all day.

Michael Buble - It's Time. Great jazz, awesome versions of classic songs, nice originals as well.

Styx - Greatest Hits. Dennis DeYoung has one of the best voices ever.

Sorry Streak, no country! I'm a northerner, never got down with the country thing.

Streak said...

Wow, some interesting choices here: Roses in the Snow is a great, great album. I bought it again recently after realizing I confused it with her Christmas album. I am not completely sold on the inclusion of "the boxer" on this album, but some of the other songs are just close to perfect.

Ubub, as usual, pushes me in a different direction. I really love Blood on the Tracks as well. That is an amazing album and might have made my list except how it fits into my musical history. Lou Reed is someone I never really got into, nor the Pixies. I am considering getting Doolittle when my emusic sub reups.

Bruce, I am not familiar with the middle two and will have to check them out. Wilco is amazing and I will get to them. Rumors is probably the other album from the 70s that would make my top list. I still love that album. I went with the Pure Prairie League because it has a more personal connection.

JoeG! Nice to see you here, dude. I saw Chicaco in concert, though well after their first album. You don't do country and I don't do the jazz. I know it makes me a less rounded muscial person, but, as Ubub is fond of quoting me, at times, Jazz "pisses me off." I don't want it to, but it does. I am not as sold on Styx, though I always liked the song "too much time on my hands."

Wasp Jerky said...

The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers
The Beatles - Abbey Road
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Larry Norman - So Long Ago the Garden
Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison
Johnny Cash - the four American albums
Nirvana - Nevermind
R.E.M. - Automatic for the People
Brian Wilson - Smile
Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP
L.A. Symphony - Call It What You Want
Moby - Play
Sufjan Stevens - Michigan
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
Pedro the Lion - Control
Pedro the Lion - Winners Never Quit

Anonymous said...

No Depression by Uncle Tupelo!

When a friend told me that "No Depression in Heaven" was an old Carter Family tune I started exploring the history of American music and listening to a lot of old country that I ignored while growing up.

Similarly, Nick Cave's Murder Ballads (and his version of Stagger Lee) prompted me to track down the history of both the song and the genre.


Streak said...

Wow, WJ, what a list! Some great stuff in there. I was a Larry Norman fan back in the day. Some really good stuff.

Dave, absolutely nothing wrong with Uncle Tupelo. Good call.