Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Playing Favorites - 1960's - Albums #30 to #16

This is what I've been working on.  Well this and taking care of a newborn child.  Did you know they are a lot of work?  Needy little things...feed me, change my diaper..."dance for me little man."  I feel like Michael Imperioli's character "Spider" in Goodfellas when Joe Pesci is making him dance, by shooting at his feet.  Except I haven't been killed...yet.

I guarantee some of you will be disappointed...I don't care, make your own list.  It's just for fun and these are just favorites mainly.  Deal with it.  This will be a two parter.  These are the Top 30, with numbers 30-16 included in this entry.  Here we go...

30. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - Neil Young/Crazy Horse

 The first album Young did with Crazy Horse.  It has the song "Cinnamon Girl," but more importantly it has, "Down By The River."  That song is amazing.  The full rock band changes his sound from what you were previously used to from Young.  Less folk and more rock.  A good place to start for those of you getting into Neil Young.

29. Piper At The Gates Of Dawn - Pink Floyd

The debut album of the psychedelic stalwart Pink Floyd.  So many really great songs on the album.  Purchase the UK version instead of the US, because it's the better one IMO.  There is a difference in songs.  Syd Barrett's crowning achievement and then he would lose it all, sadly and literally, over the next couple of years.  I'm not the biggest Floyd fan, but I do own this album.

28. Beggars Banquet - Rolling Stones

The last Stones album with Brian Jones as a full member.  He was a great talent.  "Jumping Jack Flash" is found on the versions that have bonus tracks, but was never actually on a Rolling Stones studio album, just released as a single.  Then after it's success, included on all of their hits albums, rightfully so.

27. Surrealistic Pillow - Jefferson Airplane

So many great songs.  Of course there is, "White Rabbit" and "Somebody To Love," but I love the instrumental "Embryonic Journey" by Jorma Kaukonen.  One of the classic must own albums and Grace Slick slept with everyone in the band, except Marty Balin.  Well, it's true.

26. Disraeli Gears - Cream

When it come to the big three guitarists from the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton is my least favorite.  Just a personal preference.  He's still great.  Anyone that can play better than me (that's everyone, by the way) is great, IMO.  I just like Beck and Page better.  There are quite a few great songs on this album.  "Strange Brew," "Sunshine of Your Love" and my personal fave, "Tale of Brave Ulysses."  Highly recommended.

25. Green River - Creedence Clearwater Revival

John Fogerty, where to begin with him.  A truly great singer, songwriter and guitarist.  CCR really came up with their own sound, that swamp music, roots rock, bayou blues, whatever you want to call it, it was original.  You would think they were from "down South" or some place like that, but they were a California band.

24. Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel

A marvelous album by the two, well, Paul Simon is the true talent, but Art can sing and clap his hands like a MoFo.  The entire album is great, but the second side is where all the hits are.  Yes, I said second side, as in, vinyl album.

23. Days of Future Passed - Moody Blues

Not "Days of Future Past" the X-Men storyline.  The album that had "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights in White Satin."  The first album with Justin Hayward and John Lodge in the band.  Hayward has a really heavenly voice, sings like an angel.  With their sound they would contribute to the start of progressive rock along with...

22. In The Court Of The Crimson King - King Crimson

Let's just say this album isn't for everyone.  Extremely challenging music, as far as playing and listening.  Robert Fripp is right there with the most experimental and influential guitarists ever and has always had a very talented band around him.  Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer), Bill Bruford (Yes), Adrian Belew (David Bowie) and Boz Burrell (Bad Company) have all been a part of King Crimson at some point. 

21. Truth - Jeff Beck

The debut of the Jeff Beck Group.  What a group it was, with Jeff on lead guitar, Ron Wood on bass (Faces, Rolling Stones) and Rod Stewart on vocals.  The entire album is fantastic and the chemistry that they had is electric.  Sadly, they would only go on to make one more album after this.  Wood and Stewart would join the Faces and have great success there, before going their own ways.  Beck is still going today, making very challenging, but melodic music.  A true guitar great.

20. Stand! - Sly and The Family Stone

Do you own this album?  Why Not?  A totally integrated and multi-gender rock/funk group in the late 60's, very daring.  Sly Stone was all of that.  His music and words even more so.  They were singing about what was going on in the USA.  They were the "people's" band.  A little controversial and political, but all for the good of his fellow man.  A true socially conscious and musical genius.

19. Kick Out The Jams - MC5

Their music is like lighting a stick of dynamite.  Rob Tyner is screaming at the top of his lungs, with Wayne Kramer and Fred Smith's electric guitars ripping through your ears.  If this music doesn't get you moving than you may have to take your pulse.  Crank it a little louder, it'll jump start your heart.  Totally raw just like where they came from, the Motor City.  They earned those scars.

18. Sweetheart of the Rodeo - The Byrds

Enter Gram Parsons and the Byrds would never be the same.  They would be psychedelic no more.  This is the album that invented alternative country.  Not commercially successful, in fact I believe it's their least successful album ever, but the influence of this album trumps everything.  Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman would leave and form the ill-fated, but much loved (such a good band, at times) Flying Burrito Brothers.  The Byrds never quite recovered.

17. Otis Blue:Otis Sings Soul - Otis Redding

You have the golden voice of Otis Redding backed by the Stax house band, aka Booker T & The MG's and Isaac Hayes.  It doesn't get much better than that musically.  The songs are brilliant, like there was any doubt.  I've only recently (within the past year or two) gotten this album and I don't know why I waited so long.  It's good from top to bottom and there aren't many albums like that.

16. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash

Already successful individually in previous bands, they would come together to form the band and at times be joined by Neil Young.  Woodstock was the second time they played in front of people.  The way their voices sound together is really beautiful.  The harmonies are what this group is all about.  One of the best vocal groups ever.

There you have it...#30 to #16 of my favorite albums of the 1960's.  The top 15 will be coming up hopefully sooner, rather than later.  If you don't own any of these albums, I think it should go without saying that they are worth looking into.  Expand your horizons, it'll probably be the best thing you ever did musically or really, in anything else that floats your boat.  Enjoy!

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