How can I only pick fifteen albums? For that matter, how can I pick 50 or 100? In yesterday's post, FIFTEEN FANTASY ISLAND FAVORITES, I chose fifteen of the albums that I would want if they were the only ones I could ever listen to for the rest of my life. It's an absurd premise as I would have to pick across genres and there are so many to choose from.
Continuing from the original plan where classical music is not being included, here are fifteen more in my original picks of albums. These I decided to eliminate from my top thirty because my first fifteen just seemed more important to me. But this list can change from week to week or even day to day. Listening taste can be fickle and the more I think about the question the more the list gets changed. For what it's worth, here are fifteen that are next in line for the time being:
Today! (1965) by the Beach Boys--- One side is a collection of those bright sounding beach music hits that kept the "Boys" on the charts so often in the 1960s. The flip side of the record (of course it's all on one side of the CD) is the lush beautiful romantic ballads the Brian Wilson does so well--those are my favorites. Harmony vocals that are some of the best to be found. This album carried me through adolescence and sounds even better now.
Creedence Clearwater Revival (1968) by Creedence Clearwater Revival.
It was the beginning of my senior year in high school in Maryville, TN. On a Sunday evening sometime in the Fall of 1968, I was listening to an FM station that was identified as coming from St. Louis. Fade in the incredible CCR version of "Suzy Q", one of the finest rock and roll recordings of all time, and I was blown away by eight and a half minutes of something quite different to the music I had been listening to previously. I soon owned this great album of roots rock psychedelic soul music. This album had a big influence on much of the music I would begin listening to.
Seals and Crofts (1970) by Seals and Crofts--This was their first album before they became slickly commercial. Here they harken to traditional roots with some fun rock influence. The songs are spiritual and mystical as they sing about their Bahai faith. The vocals are absolutely beautiful and the instrumentation is fine.
Watertown (1970) by Frank Sinatra -- Not one of his better known albums, Watertown is a concept album--it could be the soundtrack for a movie. The story is of a man whose wife leaves him and his children. This is not the classic Sinatra with whom we are all familiar, but the songs are excellent and well sung. I always enjoyed listening to this album when I was in my twenties and, though I do not have a copy at the present, I still recall the songs and long to hear them again.
Deja Vu (1970) by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young --- I really liked the first Crosby, Stills, and Nash album, but the addition of Neil Young gave the group a more varied sound. There are such great songs on this album and the album captures my college years of the early 70s so well. Young's "Country Girl" suite is some of his best work in my opinion.
Blind Faith (1969) By Blind Faith --- I was already a Cream fan when this new "supergroup" began to get hyped. They were a great group. Classic rock and roll with the soulful Stevie Winwood on vocals. Eric Clapton's guitar work weaves in and out of the music with the tribal drumstyle of Ginger Baker laying down the beat. The songs are all classics with "Presence of the Lord" being my personal favorite.
Thank Christ for the Bomb (1970) by the Groundhogs-- How do I describe this album? Some articles say they are blues-rock and I guess they are kind of like Cream. This album has an almost acoustic feel to much of it. I might call it acoustic metal or progressive, but I'm not that good at labeling music either. All I know is the songs are catchy, the vocals are very British accented, and the instrumental jams are quite good. It's a good rock and roll album and that's enough said I guess.
Autumn (1968) by Don Ellis Orchestra-- This is highly arranged big band music filled with intricate rhythms and complex instrumentation. However it all comes together flawlessly in very listenable musical pieces that range from classical sounding, smoky sultry film noir, rock, and even a tad of country. Simply amazing when I first heard this album and it remains amazing.
Time Circle(1968-1972) by Spirit---One of the best rock bands from the California psychedelic period, Spirit plays tightly arranged tiny musical epics. They don't get into the long drawn out jams and I always wish the songs were longer. They are sometimes jazzy and at times very commercial. Well crafted songs that are performed by expert musicians in well-produced recordings.
Eat a Peach (1972) by the Allman Brothers-- The Allmans were definitely the main soundtrack of the early 70s in Tennessee. Everybody was playing the albums and the local bands all played the music. The Allmans play some nice country tinged rock songs and extended rock blues-rock jams with plenty of dual guitar action.
Future Games (1971) Fleetwood Mac --- This is Mac before they became the commercial hit machine with Buckingham and Nicks. This incarnation of Fleetwood Mac has Danny Kirwan and Bob Welch. The songs are excellent and the sound of the band is often sad and ethereal, but extraordinarily beautiful. I love this album.
The Ultimate Prophecy (1970) J.D. Blackfoot -- On the original vinyl, one side was a collection of well executed heavy rock songs. The other side had the spiritual psychedelic tour de force called "The Ultimate Prophecy". I guess you would call it a rock and roll song cycle in which each separate song blends into the other and the entire cycle tells a story. It's a pretty cool rock and roll epic.
Crowded House (1986) Crowded House--- Really good well crafted catchy rock songs is about all I can say. "Don't Dream It's Over" is on of my favorite songs.
Time Out (1959) Dave Brubeck Quartet--- I was familiar with the famous song "Take Five" for many years, but I did not really hear the album until the 90s. Piano, sax, bass, and drums in classically cool jazz arrangements. It's just totally cool and laid back.
Blinking Lights and other revelations (2005) The Eels-- Terrific collection of highly listenable rock and pop sounds. There's like 33 songs on two discs. They are short songs, but they are very good. This is a very pleasing album.
I could keep on going and naming many more albums, but that is enough for now. However next Monday I will be naming Nine Nice Jazz Favorites. If you'd like to join me let me know--I'll even start another Linky list if there is enough interest.
And by the way, the participation in the FIFTEEN FANTASY ISLAND FAVORITES was fantastic. Such an amazing diversity of musical selections in such fine presentation. If you didn't check them all out, I encourage you to do so. We had a really great time. Thanks to all who joined us.