Sunday, September 30, 2007

388 - Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (I) (1977)
















Track Listing


1. Moribund The Burgermeister
2. Solsbury Hill
3. Modern Love
4. Excuse Me
5. Humdrum
6. Slowburn
7. Waiting For The Big One
8. Down At The Dolce Vita
9. Here Comes The Flood

Review

Well I am starting to get tired of so many good albums. 77 is definitely an improvement over the 2 previous years, and there is still more good stuff to come. So here's another good album.

There are many things to like here and a couple to gripe with. Peter Gabriel has shed the shackles of Genesis and so decides to show the world what he can do. He comes up with this album, while it starts with a song that could perfectly well be on Lamb Lies Down, he continues with Solsbury Hill, a truly great pop track. From there he touches all kinds of bases, from Rock to Blues to almost disco and power ballads. The album is all over the place.

That said it is all good, it is touching too many bases for its own good, but it is doing it all very well indeed. Fortunately all songs sound distinctly like Peter Gabriel even if they are in all these different styles and that gives some kind of coherence to the album.

This is a really good collection of songs, each individual track is great but it is just that, a collection of great songs, there is little coherence to the whole thing. Gabriel proves that he can do a bit of everything, he just didn't need to do it all in the same album. Still it is pretty nifty and I will be adding it to my mp3 player nonetheless, after all this ranting it is still getting a 9. I am just angry because I love him.

Track Highlights

1. Solsbury Hill
2. Moribund The Burgermeister
3. Here Comes The Flood
4. Modern Love

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Gabriel and producer Bob Ezrin assembled a team of talented musicians, including Robert Fripp of King Crimson, to record the album.

The album's second track, "Solsbury Hill," describes Gabriel's departure from Genesis and has become one of Gabriel's more popular songs. Erasure covered the song in 2003 on Other People's Songs.

Solsbury Hill:

Saturday, September 29, 2007

387. Iggy Pop - The Idiot (1977)

















Track Listing


1. Sister Midnight
2. Nightclubbing
3. Fun Time
4. Baby
5. China Girl
6. Dum Dum Boys
7. Tiny Girls
8. Mass Production

Review

This was the last album that Ian Curtis listened too before he killed himself, it was found in his record player on the 18th of May 1980... two years before I was born to the day. And you can tell why he would have liked this, but it isn't bad enough to lead you to suicide. Suicide might lead you to suicide, but not The Idiot.

The first thing you have to know about this album is that it was produced by David Bowie, and more than produced a lot of the music is vintage Bowie but then you throw Pop into the mix. And you have something that sounds like punk, but is much more refined and worked on, it sounds like a Berlin period Bowie album with a proto-punk touch.

This makes it one of the founding albums of Post-Punk, there is the attitude which isn't as ridiculous as that of punk because Pop is older and he's been there and is just coming out of drugs now, thank you very much. But the voice is definitely there sounding somewhat like an angrier Lou Reed, with this Eno and Krautrock inspired music behind it. It's both different and similar to Bowie. The subjects are different and you can immediately tell that most of the songs were surely written by Pop while Bowie did the music. So it's great, and now that we have no more Bowie this will do nicely thank you. We will have more characteristic Iggy Pop music later, because no matter how good this album is it is as much a representation of Bowie as Iggy.

Track Highlights

1. Sister Midnight
2. China Girl
3. Nightclubbing
4. Baby

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"Nightclubbing" and "Funtime" appeared on the 1978 live set TV Eye, recorded during Pop's 1977 tour, the UK leg of which featured Bowie on keyboards and backing vocals. Bowie re-worked "Sister Midnight" (with new lyrics) as "Red Money" on his 1979 album Lodger, whilst his cover version of "China Girl" on 1983's Let's Dance became a huge hit. In 1980 Human League covered "Nightclubbing" in a medley with Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll". The song was remade again the following year by Grace Jones as the title track to her album Nightclubbing. "Funtime" has been covered by Bauhaus’ Pete Murphy in 1988 and REM in 1995, amongst others.

Bowie and Pop:

Friday, September 28, 2007

386. Suicide - Suicide (1977)
















Track Listing

1. Ghost Rider
2. Rocket USA
3. Cheree
4. Johnny
5. Girl
6. Frankie Teardrop
7. Che

Review

Now this is a challenging listen... or at least a challenging track. Frankie Teardrop is probably one of the most terrifying, macabre and hard to listen things ever put in an album. Still it sounds exactly like it is supposed to, like hell. The screams... the screams. Still if you can't bear Frankie Teardrop the other tracks aren't as hard going.

Suicide is probably the only band integrated in the Punk movement which has only two members and no drums or guitars, just synths and voice. It isn't really punk but it is hard to say what it really is if not punk. Is it synth-pop? There isn't much pop about it, post punk? Punk as only just started.

Suicide are therefore one of the few true originals, they sound like a rockabilly nightmare, like music from the netherworld and it is at the same time fascinating and dreadful. Much like suicide itself. There as rarely been such a dirty, raw, original and challenging music on this list. We are all Frankies.

P.S. - A shout out to the 1001Albums group at Last.fm

Track Highlights

1. Frankie Teardrop
2. Ghost Rider
3. Cheree
4. Girl

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"Frankie Teardrop" is one of the songs featured in Nick Hornby's book 31 Songs. "Cheree" is featured in the closing scene of Downtown 81 with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Frankie Teardrop:

385. Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue (1977)
















Track Listing

1. River Song
2. What's Wrong
3. Moonshine
4. Friday Night
5. Dreamer
6. Thoughts of You
7. Time
8. You and I
9. Pacific Ocean Blues
10. Farewell My Friend
11. Rainbows
12. End of the Show

Review

Now to a rarity, if you want to ever have this album in a legal way you will have to shell out 100 pounds or 200 dollars for it. For the fucking CD! Not even vinyl! Yep that's how hard it is to get it. Now that you are thinking about breaking the law, you can easily get it on eMule/Soulseek etc. Now the big question is, is it worth it rotting in a Turkish prison over this?

Well, yes. Firstly because the chances you will get caught are minimal, then you'd have a case in court because the album is out of print, and can only be bought by stupid amounts of cash, and because RIAA are fucksticks anyway. Oh and if you have a unsecured WiFi connection they can't get you, because they can't prove it was you who downloaded anything!

Now that I've told you to break the law I am also going to tell you that this is a great album. It just sounds fresh, almost, but not quite as fresh as Surf's Up with something of Stephen Stills in the mix, and it truly is a lost gem. Beach Boys late drummer Dennis Wilson, had one of the most earnest voices in the business, and you can really connect with the music, even tough he was a Mansonite. This album is really worth it even if it was just composed of two songs, Thoughts Of You and Time. They sound like the best of late Beach Boys but also very intimate. There are misses here as well, What's Wrong isn't great for example, but the album is worth it.

Track Highlights

1. Time
2. Thoughts Of You
3. Dreamer
4. Farewell My Friend

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Wilson became the first member of The Beach Boys to undertake a solo project. Released in August 1977, Pacific Ocean Blue received glowing reviews for its depth and emotion and performed encouragingly in the U.S. charts. It is also notable that Dennis' hard living had begun affecting his looks and more importantly his singing, delivering grainy, yet still soulful vocals. Despite Wilson's pledge to record an even superior follow-up, entitled Bamboo, his continuing decline into substance abuse and personal problems ensured that the album remained unfinished at the time of Wilson's death in December 1983. Thus, this album, alongside his pioneering work with The Beach Boys, remains a focal point of Dennis Wilson's legacy.

Issued by Caribou/CBS Records on CD in 1991, Pacific Ocean Blue went out of print within a year; copies of the extremely rare CD now sell for over $200. Due to current disagreements over copyright ownership, the album is still awaiting fresh remastering and re-release.

About Dennis Wilson:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

384. David Bowie - "Heroes" (1977)
















Track Listing

1. Beauty And The Beast
2. Joe The Lion
3. "Heroes"
4. Sons Of The Silent Age
5. Black Out
6. V2 Schneider
7. Sense Of Doubt
8. Moss Garden
9. Neukoln
10. Secret Life Of Arabia

Review

I remember, many moon ago, the first time I listened to "Heroes". I felt it was weird and discordant, Black Out freaked me out a bit. Now it isn't... why? Because I have head so many weird things in between that this is just interesting. "Heroes" is indeed an interesting album, I think of it as the other side of the coin that is Low. While Low has a pretty downbeat sound this is the high.

It is a particularly "high" album on the first half, it follows Low's blueprint in having a second side mainly devoted to instrumentals. The album itself is also propelled higher because of the use of Fripp's guitar which stands out throughout the album. In the end this isn't as good as Low but it is not far off, it is an essential companion to Low.

Eno makes himself known throughout, if you take the lyrics from the title track it could absolutely be a Eno piece, and a good one at that. This is the last David Bowie album on the list, and for good reason, he would never return to this level of quality, not even in Lodger, his last Berlin album. So a long farewell to Bowie... although he will be producing some good albums late in the list. He will be missed.

Track Highlights


1. Moss Garden
2. "Heroes"
3. Neukoln
4. Beauty and The Best

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:


Recorded at Hansa Studios in what was then West Berlin, "Heroes" reflected the zeitgeist of the Cold War, symbolised by the divided city. Co-producer Tony Visconti considered it "one of my last great adventures in making albums. The studio was about 500 yards from the wall. Red Guards would look into our control-room window with powerful binoculars." Bowie again paid tribute to his Krautrock influences: the title is a nod to the track "Hero" on the album NEU! '75 by the German band Neu!, while "V-2 Schneider" is inspired by and named after Kraftwerk's Florian Schneider. This came about because earlier in 1977, Kraftwerk had name-checked Bowie on the title track of Trans-Europe Express. The cover photo was inspired by Erich Heckel's Roquairol, as was that of The Idiot, one of Bowie's collaborations with Iggy Pop that was released the same year.

"Heroes":

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

383. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours (1977)

















Track Listing

1. Second Hand News
2. Dreams
3. Never Going Back Again
4. Don't Stop
5. Go Your Own Way
6. Songbird
7. Chain
8. You Make Loving Fun
9. I Don't Want To Know
10. Oh Daddy
11. Gold Dust Woman

Review

Now we get to the equivalent of Dido for the late 70's. Fortunately, however, this was proportionally better to Dido, much like all the music was proportionally better than what we have now. There is a lot here to smirk at, the songs have been overplayed, misused to the point of utter tackiness, but I can't hate this album.

What shows me that Fleetwood aren't all that bad is the fact that I really quite like the songs I don't know, it is a band which has been more damaged by it's fans and overexposure than anything. That said, this sounds anachronistic, stuck between Talking Heads and David Bowie, this sounds like something which is trying to grab a ship that has sailed. That ship was probably the reason why it sold so much, it was music for people who weren't on or interested in the cutting edge, it was for the equivalent of Dido listeners today. And that is a huge market, not to say the biggest adult market out there.

So yeah, they are commercial and poppy, but sometimes the mask slips into the folksies they would really like to be, Never Going Back and The Chain are good examples. Stevie Nicks has a great voice but she isn't necessarily the best thing on the album, the best thing is when the production slips and you can see a band with some real talent behind it.

Oh and that broad is trying to kick that guy's dangling balls.

Track Highlights

1. Never Going Back
2. The Chain
3. Dreams
4. Gold Dust Woman

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"Go Your Own Way" was believed by Nicks to be a gloomy reference to the break-up of their relationship, and she and Buckingham argued about it. "Dreams" was her attempt to be more optimistic. "You Make Loving Fun" referred to an affair between Christine McVie and the group's lighting director. "Gold Dust Woman" was a reference to cocaine. "Don't Stop" was written by Christine McVie after her divorce with John McVie, and it provided an optimistic outlook on their newly separated lives. "Oh Daddy" was almost certainly a reference to Mick Fleetwood, the spiritual father of the group who largely held it together, and the only member who was a parent at the time. "Songbird" Christine McVie described as "a little anthem" and said it was for "all of us". It took a long time to record because it had to be one continuous take. "The Chain" was an oddity. The final section, the last minute and a quarter or so, was written first, but at that point there wasn't a song for it to be the end of. Stevie Nicks had written that quite separately, and as she put it "gave it to them". Lindsey Buckingham then had an idea about how it should begin and the first section was re-recorded.

Lindsey Buckingham does Never Going Back Again:

Monday, September 24, 2007

382. Talking Heads - 77 (1977)
















Track Listing

1. Uh Oh Love Comes To Town
2. New Feeling
3. Tentative Decisions
4. Happy Day
5. Who Is It
6. No Compassion
7. Book I Read
8. Don't Worry About The Government
9. First Week/Last Week... Carefree
10. Psycho Killer
11. Pulled Up

Review

There are few albums in history which just sound so original like this one, this isn't punk, it isn't rock, metal or anything else. The most appropriate tag is "art-rock", but that sounds tacky and doesn't do much justice to the music, if there was a band before the Talking Heads that you could compare them too, I would most definitely say that it was Sparks.

So here I am trying to define the undefinable, but you already know who the Talking Heads are if you have any taste, and I know you do dear reader(unless you are Anonymous Billy Joel fan number II - scroll down if you don't know what I mean).

So this is staggeringly original, there are elements of Punk here, but it is definitely not a punk band, there is too much artistry to the lyrics and instrumentation, and Byrne is unhinged in a very different way from most punk vocalists, the songs are also more melodic and the humour is subtler, more like the Sparks really.

Hell this is one of the great albums of all time and you need it.

Track Highlights

1. Psycho Killer
2. Uh Oh Love Comes To Town
3. No Compassion
4. Don't Worry About The Government

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 2005/6, it was re-released and remastered by Warner Music Group on their Warner Bros./Sire Records/Rhino Records labels in DualDisc format, with five bonus tracks on the CD side ("Love → Building on Fire," "I Wish You Wouldn't Say That," "Psycho Killer (Acoustic version)," "I Feel It in My Heart," and "Sugar on My Tongue.") The DVD-A side includes both stereo and 5.1 surround high resolution (96 kHz/24bit) mixes, as well as a Dolby Digital version and videos of the band performing "Pulled Up" and "I Feel It in My Heart."

David Byrne does Psycho Killer by himself, with the help of a Ghetto Blaster:

Sunday, September 23, 2007

381. John Martyn - One World (1977)
















Track Listing


1. Dealer
2. One World
3. Smiling Stranger
4. Big Muff
5. Couldn't Love You Anymore
6. Certain Surprise
7. Dancing
8. Small Hours

Review

John Martyn has another album on the list after Solid Air, unfortunately this isn't as good as that one. Martyn deviates from his folksier stuff into a more poppy territory. Don't get me wrong, this is still beautiful music, few people can make music as beautiful as Martyn, but it just isn't the same thing.

There is more of a world-music vibe here, this is reflected in the title of the album as well as in the music, this is no bad thing per se, but I feel like he is moving away from his bigger strengths.

John Martyn is a great artist, with some very beautiful songs here, there is an ambience of late night music which is quite languid and satisfying, the title track is a good example of this, so even if this is not Solid Air it is still worth listening to if oyu liked that album.

Track Highlights

1. One World
2. Small Hours
3. Dancing
4. Certain Surprise

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This album is one of John Martyn's more experimental works. Trippy surreal atmospheres, reggaeesque rhythms and jazzy vibes. Well known and appreciated for the interesting collaborations, including Lee Perry on "Big Muff", and Steve Winwood's keyboards especially in "Small Hours" and "Dealer". "Small Hours" was later reworked by Martyn into the track "Anna" as the haunting backdrop for Esben Storm's 1978 Australian film production of In search of Anna. This version of "Anna" also appears on Martyn's live album Live At The Bottom Line, New York, 1983.

One World:

Saturday, September 22, 2007

380. Wire - Pink Flag (1977)
















Track Listing

1. Reuters
2. Field Day For The Sundays
3. Three Girl Rhumba
4. Ex Lion Tamer
5. Lowdown
6. Start To Move
7. Brazil
8. It's So Obvious
9. Surgeon's Girl
10. Pink Flag
11. Commercial
12. Straight Line
13. 106 Beats That
14. Mr Suit
15. Strange
16. Fragile
17. Mannequin
18. Different To Me
19. Champs
20. Feeling Called Love
21. 12XU

Review

This is possibly one of the most interesting punk albums to ever cross this list. Wire are what you might call art-school Punks, the song construction is more interesting, the lyrics are smarter and the concept is better than most other punk bands. And it just sounds so modern.

There are 21 tracks here for what is an half an hour album, some of the songs don't even go over 30 seconds, but none of them really feel unfinished. They are just perfect snippets of punk. Even with all their arty sensibility they never compromise on rage or noise, this is probably then noisiest album on the list until now, the title track is a good example of this.

The variety in the tracks here is as impressive as anything else. There is plenty to like, dislike or feel cold about, there is just so much here in such a short space, but all songs feel startlingly modern, and that might be why Wire are given a lot more credit today than when they came out. They are a well of influence that has been well used by some great bands. Listen to this.

We are going through a great, great patch right now.

Track Highlights

1. Strange
2. Three Girl Rhumba
3. 12XU
4. Lowdown

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album's wide-ranging influence is exemplified in the number of bands that have covered songs from it. R.E.M.'s version of "Strange" from its 1987 release, "Document," might be the most well-known. Other notable tracks include Minor Threat's blistering version of "12XU" found on the 1982 Dischord compilation "Flex Your Head," and fIREHOSE's version of "Mannequin," which appeared on its "Live Totem Pole" EP in 1992. Elastica also used a riff similar to that of "Three Girl Rhumba" for their song "Connection." The New Bomb Turks covered "Mr. Suit" on their 1993 album Destroy Oh Boy! and noticeably slowed it down.

Mike Watt and The Missingmen cover Three Girl Rhumba and Ex-Lion Tamer:

Friday, September 21, 2007

379. Steely Dan - Aja (1977)
















Track Listing


1. Black Cow
2. Aja
3. Deacon Blues
4. Peg
5. Home At Last
6. I Got The News
7. Josie

Review

This is a hard album to categorise, it is most certainly jazz, but it is also so pop oriented that it is hard to put it in one place. It is definitely more jazzy than previous Steely Dan efforts, it is more complex music but that doesn't mean any more challenging. If there is one good thing about Steely Dan it's the fact that they manage to make pretty complex music that is immediately accessible even if you are not getting all the nuances of it, at the first, second or third time you listen to it.

I really don't know yet 100% what to make of this album, I know I like it and I know it has been one of those subtle albums that creeps up on you. The first time you hear it you don't think much of it, but as time goes on it starts seeping in. Like a good wine.

What I also know is that the music is very pretty and extremely well played, having Wayne Shorter on the sax probably helps. This is the best kind of Jazz pop that money can buy, it isn't pretentious but it is interesting and complex. So recommended.


Track Highlights

1. Deacon Blue
2. Black Cow
3. Aja
4. Home At Last

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

In 2003, the album was ranked number 145 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The album is considered to be quite ambitious and sophisticated. The eight minute-long title track features complex jazz-based changes and a solo by renowned saxophonist Wayne Shorter, as well as dextrous drum work by drummer Steve Gadd -- especially at the end of the tune.

Aja is also the subject of one of the Classic Albums series of documentaries about the making of famous albums. The documentary includes interviews with Becker & Fagen (among others) plus live in the studio versions of songs from the album and the opportunity to hear some of the rejected (but not credited to protect the egos of the guilty) guitar solos for "Peg" before Jay Graydon produced the satisfactory take.

Anatomy of Deacon Blue:

Thursday, September 20, 2007

378. David Bowie - Low (1977)
















Track Listing


1. Speed of Life
2. Breaking Glass
3. What in the World
4. Sound and Vision
5. Always Crashing in the Same Car
6. Be My Wife
7. New Career in a New Town
8. Warszawa
9. Art Decade
10. Weeping Wall
11. Subterraneans

Review

Pitchfork Media recently voted this the best album of the 1970's, and even though I probably wouldn't go as far as that I would go pretty close to it. This is one of my favourite albums of all time and if you have been following this list you have to think that for me a mix of Eno and Bowie would always be a bit orgasmic.

So what are probably my two favourite single artists of all time get together to make some albums, and the first thing they come out with is this little piece called Low. The first half of it is full of some of the most interesting pop tracks ever committed to vinyl, by themselves these tracks would already get a 10 rating, particularly Sound And Vision, but then you turn to the other side and the Eno bit comes in stronger with strong input from Bowie in some amazing ambient tracks with only indiscernible lyrics.

This album is inventing all kinds of stuff, it is no wonder that Joy Division were originally called Warszawa as a tribute to that track there are the birth-pangs here of new-wave, post-punk, synth-pop but done with such avant-garde artistry that it was never surpassed. Eno and Bowie would go on to make two other great albums but none better than Low.

Track Highlights

1. Sound And Vision
2. Weeping Wall
3. Warszawa
4. Be My Wife

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

ow earned mixed reviews on its initial release. It was a financial success, peaking at #2 on the UK charts and #11 in the U.S.. "Sound and Vision" and "Be My Wife" were released as singles; the former reached #3 in the UK.

Low has risen to the top of many critics' "best album" lists. It was rated the #1 album of the 1970s by Pitchfork Media. In 2000 Q placed it at number 14 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 249 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Philip Glass based his 1992 classical album Low Symphony on Low, with Bowie and Eno both assisting in its creation. "Bowi", an EP by Nick Lowe, was named in response to Low.

The influence of Low spans many genres that would come to prominence in following years such as Post-punk, New Wave and Industrial. Not only was it an influence on these styles, but the fact that an artist of Bowie's prominence had experimented with these styles made other proponents of the genres more respectable. Trent Reznor would later claim Low to be one of his influences while creating The Downward Spiral. As late as 2000, Radiohead looked to be attempting a similar concept and sound with their album Kid A.

Sound And Vision:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

377. The Clash - The Clash (1977)

















Track Listing


1. Janie Jones
2. Remote Control
3. I'm So Bored With The USA
4. White Riot
5. Hate And War
6. What's My Name
7. Deny
8. London's Burning
9. Career Opportunities
10. Cheat
11. Protex Blue
12. Police And Thieves
13. 48 Hours
14. Garage Land

Review

More substantial than Sex Pistols or Ramones in terms of content, and less frilly than the Stranglers, The Clash are pure punk (if such a thing exists) with a message. The message might be in hindsight slightly immature 'smash the system' gibberish, but it least it is there.

Another good thing about The Clash is their pronounced West Indies influence, there is always an element of Ska, Reggae or Rocksteady to their tracks, even if not obvious at first, therefore it is only natural that the longest track in the album by far is a cover of Lee Perry's Police and Thieves and it really doesn't sound as if it doesn't belong in the album.

Of course the best thing about The Clash, however, is the rage behind the delivery which is mixed with some quite talented melodies quite well executed. The Clash are never as chaotic as the Pistols even tough they might seem at the edge of collapsing there is always something there propping up the tunes. Another thing I found interesting about listening to The Clash, at a personal level, was how much Portuguese Rock bands of the early 80's were influenced by them. All music in the early 80's in Portugal was either Ska or stuff which was heavy Ska and sounded like The Clash, maybe that's why I like them so much.

Track Highlights

1. Janie Jones
2. Police & Thieves
3. Hate & War
4. White Riot

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

* The version of "White Riot" featured here was not recorded for the album. Instead they used the original demo version, recorded at Beaconsfield Studios before the band signed to CBS.

* "I'm So Bored with the U.S.A." was developed from a Mick Jones song, entitled "I'm So Bored With You". The intro is borrowed from "Pretty Vacant" by the Sex Pistols.

* "Protex Blue", sung by Mick Jones, is about a 1970s brand of condom. The song ends with the shouted phrase "Johnny Johnny!", "johnny" being a British slang term for a condom.

* "Police And Thieves" was added to the album when the band realised just how short the tracklist was. Another cover the band toyed with at these sessions was Bob Marley's "Dancing Shoes".

* Lee Perry (original composer of "Police and Thieves") heard the album whilst in London in 1976 and played it to Bob Marley, who in turn mentioned The Clash on his own track "Punky Reggae party".

* "Garageland" was written in response to Charles Shaar Murray's damning review of the band's early appearance at the Sex Pistols Screen on the Green concert - "The Clash are the kind of garage band who should be returned to the garage immediately, preferably with the engine running". It was the final track recorded for the album.

* In 2000 Q magazine placed The Clash at number 48 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

Police & Thieves:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

376. The Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus (1977)
















Track Listing


1. Sometimes
2. Goodbye Toulouse
3. London Lady
4. Princess Of The Streets
5. Hangin' Around
6. Peaches
7. Get A Grip (On Yourself)
8. Ugly
9. Down In The Sewer

Review

This is a great album, we are going through a golden period in music now, we have all the punk and affiliates coming up, The Stranglers are a case of music which is actually not as simple to categorize as you would at first imagine. Yes, they insert themselves into the whole punk scene but they are actually a bit beyond that and often sound more post-punk than punk. This comes about due to the heavy use of keyboards and the fact that they can actually play their instruments pretty well.

The keyboardist has often been compared with Ray Manzarek of the Doors and this is no hyperbole, there are big elements of that type of psychedelia here, mainly on the keyboards married to the whole punk attitude and vocal delivery.

Another big point in favour of The Stranglers is the fact that they don't take themselves too seriously, maybe it is because they are older than the average punk band (the drummer, Jet Black, was around 40 by the time this came out) but they are indeed funny. Peaches is a great example of what could almost be considered a novelty song, except for the fact that it is so well done, with a driving bass chord which is one of the best ever. A great punk album by an underrated band.

Track Highlights

1. Peaches
2. Goodbye Toulouse
3. Sometimes
4. Down In The Sewer

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The band's name was printed as "The Stranglers IV" on the sleeve. The album was originally to be entitled "Dead on Arrival" but was changed at the last minute. It was one of the highest-selling albums of the punk era in Britain. Some websites incorrectly list the album as IV by a band called Rattus Norvegicus.

Peaches in '77:

Monday, September 17, 2007

375. Muddy Waters - Hard Again (1977)
















Track Listing

1. Mannish Boy
2. Bus Driver
3. I Want to Be Loved
4. Jealous Hearted Man
5. I Can't Be Satisfied
6. Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock & Roll
7. Deep Down in Florida
8. Crosseyed Cat
9. Little Girl

Review

After a pretty disappointing decade Muddy Waters comes back, and he is indeed hard again. Muddy Waters is probably my favourite blues player, but he did have a pretty dismal bunch of years in the late 60's and early 70's, but he really redeems himself with this album.

This album is dirty blues, and even tough Muddy doesn't play his guitar there is still plenty of good musicians around. Muddy's voice is as gritty as ever and fortunately there is quite a bit of studio chatter around him, making it sound like they are all having a lot of fun, and that is what you want from a Blues album, people who are loving the music they are making.

This sounds real, not manufactured or poppy in any way, it is gritty dirty blues with a proper stomp to them. Even if, like most blues the signatures are instantly recognisable and there is nothing particularly new or innovative here this is a pretty perfect Blues album, it is just doing it right, not being fancy or innovative, just doing it right.

Track Highlights


1. Mannish Boy
2. Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock & Roll
3. Crosseyed Cat
4. Jealous Hearted Man

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

His influence is almost incalculable, over a variety of music genres: blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, folk, jazz, and country. Waters also helped Chuck Berry get his first record contract.

His 1958 tour of England marked possibly the first time amplified, modern urban blues was heard there, although on his first tour he was the only one amplified. His backing was provided by Englishman Chris Barber's trad jazz group. (One critic retreated to the restroom to write his review because he found the band so loud.)

The Rolling Stones named themselves after Waters' 1950 song, "Rollin' Stone," (also known as "Catfish Blues," which Jimi Hendrix covered as well). Cream covered his song "Rollin' and Tumblin'" on their 1966 debut album Fresh Cream. The song was also adapted by Bob Dylan in the album "Modern Times." One of Led Zeppelin's biggest hits, "Whole Lotta Love", is based upon the Muddy Waters hit, "You Need Love," which was written by Willie Dixon. Dixon wrote some of Muddy Waters' most famous songs, including "I Just Want to Make Love to You" (a big radio hit for the '70s rock band Foghat), "Hoochie Coochie Man," made famous by The Allman Brothers Band and "I'm Ready." Angus Young of the rock group AC/DC has cited Waters as one of his influences. His songs sometimes appear in long-time fan Martin Scorsese's movies, including The Color of Money, Casino, as well as Goodfellas. Waters's 1970s recording of his mid-'50s hit "Mannish Boy" (a/k/a "I'm A Man") was used memorably in the hit film "Risky Business".

Other songs for which Muddy Waters is known include "Long Distance Call", "Rock Me", and the blues anthem "Got My Mojo Working".

Mannish Boy:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

374. Weather Report - Heavy Weather (1977)

















Track Listing


1. Birdland
2. Remark You Made
3. Teen Town
4. Harlequin
5. Rumba Mama
6. Palladium
7. Juggler
8. Havona

Review

Weather Report comes into the list at a timely occasion seeing as Joe Zwainul died just some days ago on the 11th of September. That said this isn't really going to be a eulogy of what was a great keyboardist. And it isn't going to be a eulogy because this album didn't do anything for me.

The playing is very competent throughout of course, but the music itself leaves me cold. It runs the gamut from hotel lobby to mildly interesting but never really does anything to wake me up. This album has the exact opposite problem of ELO and Billy Joel, it is very good and competent but it is also dull an not entertaining in the least.

That said, fusion jazz is really not my thing at all, I find that it always sounds a bit cheap and I much prefer the things that have been fused to be their own separate worlds. I prefer Jazz by itself, and I prefer rock music by itself. Zwainul was unfortunately opening the doors here for many a porn film soft-jazz soundtrack with synths. I am sorry but I just think my life is too short for this album, it is competent and all, but unexciting.

Track Highlights

1. Birdland
2. Rumba Mama
3. Palladium
4. Havona

Final Grade

6/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Featuring their classic jazz standard "Birdland", the album is one of the best-sellers in the Columbia jazz catalog. Heavy Weather is considered a landmark album in the jazz-rock or fusion movement of the 1970s. Its opening track, "Birdland", was a significant commercial success, something not typical of instrumental music. Additionally, the album was a breakout recording for Pastorius, virtually turning him into a household name. His track "Teen Town" and inspired performances reinforced his self-proclaimed status as "the Greatest Bass Player in the World".

Birdland:

373. Electric Light Orchestra - Out Of The Blue (1977)
















Track Listing


1. Turn To Stone
2. It's Over
3. Sweet Talkin' Woman
4. Across The Border
5. Night In The City
6. Starlight
7. Jungle
8. Believe Me Now
9. Steppin' Out
10. Standin' In The Rain (Concerto For A Rainy Day)
11. Big Wheels
12. Summer And Lightning
13. Mr Blue Sky
14. Sweet Is The Night
15. Whale
16. Birmingham Blues
17. Wild West Hero

Review

ELO bring us a strange album, it is at the same time a little bit of Beatles and Beach Boys, but also Bee Gees and Queen, but with vocoders. So just like the bands that influenced them there are good and bad things. The Abbey Road type influence together with Beach Boys harmonies is quite good, but the tacky showmanship of Queen with the disco antics of the Bee Gees kind of fuck it up in the end making the album hang slightly on the tacky side.

Still this is one of those phenomena like Billy Joel's album, it is fun throughout and even tough it is a double album it doesn't feel stretched. The compositions use something in the area of 7,546,181 instruments each which is fun, the semi robotic attempts with vocoders give it a sheen of kitsch which is also good and the songs are catchy enough to make you pay attention.

ELO does fall in that camp of people who would like to be the new Mozarts and Dylans of this world but fail, there is ambition completely unrealised, but fun. So good album overall and Mr. Blue Sky and Sweet Talking Woman are great songs.

Track Highlights


1. Mr. Blue Sky
2. Sweet Talking Woman
3. Steppin' Out
4. It's Over

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:


* JTLA 823 L2 which is featured on the shuttle arriving at the space station is the original catalog numbers for the album Out of the Blue

* A sixth single was released from the album in February 2007, "Latitude 88 North" written in 1977 and previously incomplete and left off the track list.

* The inclement weather effects heard on "Concerto for a Rainy Day" were real and recorded by Jeff Lynne during a very rainy summer in Munich 1977.

* Instrumental song "The Whale" was composed by Lynne after watching a documentary about the slaughter of whales.

* The title of "Birmingham Blues" is a pun based on Jeff Lynne's home Football Team Birmingham City FC who's nickname are "The Blues".

* Cellist Melvyn Gale played piano on the track "Wild West Hero".

* Tarzan can be heard on the track "Jungle" voiced by Jeff Lynne.

* At the conclusion of "Mr. Blue Sky" a heavily vocoded voice says "Please turn me over." This occurred at the end of side three of the vinyl record, asking the listener to flip to side four.

* It has been noted that every song on the album has the word "Blue" in it at least once. This relates to not only the title of the album, but also the mood of most of the songs.

* The string riff in Birmingham Blues is borrowed from George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue.

Puppet sings Mr. Blue Sky:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

372. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus (1977)

















Track Listing


1. Natural Mystic
2. So Much Things To Say
3. Guiltiness
4. Heathen
5. Exodus
6. Jammin'
7. Waiting In Vain
8. Turn Your Lights Down Low
9. Three Little Birds
10. One Love/People Get Ready

Review

If you don't know at least half the tracks in this album you've been living under a rock for the past 30 years. This is probably Marley's most famous album and for good reason. He doesn't put a foot wrong here, it is an infectious piece of Reggae and sounds almost like a Bob Marley greatest hits album.

Of course some could say that his is produced for a European/ North-American audience and tailored to their tastes, but this is not a fair assessment. Marley was as influenced by the music scene as anyone else, he didn't live in a cave and just because he was Jamaican it doesn't mean that he owed anyone some kind of primeval music. Marley makes Reggae into some perfect pop tracks.

Of course other people did it after him, and the words UB40 come to mind, but obviously they never reached the level of quality that you hear here. This is the founding Daddy of the popularisation of Reggae around the world developing his skill. And the political message is still there as is the whole Rastafarian outlook. An essential album.

Track Highlights


1. Three Little Birds
2. Waiting In Vain
3. Exodus
4. One Love/People Get Ready

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Much of Exodus was recorded in London, while Marley recuperated from an assassination attempt. It is widely considered to be one of Marley's best albums.

"Jamming," "Waiting in Vain" and "One Love/People Get Ready" were all huge international hits. Exodus peaked at #20 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart, and #15 on the Black Albums chart. Other stand-outs include "Natural Mystic" and "The Heathen," which excel both musically and lyrically.

In 1998, TIME magazine named Exodus the best music album of the 20th century. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 26th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 169 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time

The 80's visually interprets Marley for America with this video for Three Little Birds... what's with the hula girls? And it is clearly America because the girl is trying to bounce a football (yes football not soccer ball or whatever you heathens call it):

Friday, September 14, 2007

371. Billy Joel - The Stranger (1977)
















Track Listing

1. Moving Out
2. Just The Way You Are
3. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
4. Vienna
5. Stranger
6. Only The Good Die Young
7. She's Always A Woman
8. Get It Right The First Time
9. Everybody Has A Dream

Review

Imagine Meat Loaf and Rufus Wainwright had a bastard love-child who did Broadway shows. If you can then you are not far off the content of this album. I can really see a lot of people loving this album, and I can see it being a guilty pleasure of people who should know better.

Joel is infectious, he is fun and his songs have all the catchiness of said Broadway shows. This is not to say that just like those shows it isn't a bit crap. It is. Joel lyrics have all the emotional maturity of a 12 year old kid with a severe case of misogyny, his songs are sometime trite but never unexciting.

IF there is one good thing that can be said about this album is that it is never boring, either you are marveling at the over-the-top that Scenes from An Italian Restaurant is, or being offended by the fact that he doesn't like clever women in Just The Way You Are, or equating women with bitches in She's Always A Woman, you are never left indifferent. This is a good thing, but it sometimes comes about due to bad reasons, Joel's incompetence as a writer mainly. Still a good bit of fun by someone who would have loved to be a good composer and has pretentions to do it but in the end fails miserably, yet entertainingly.

Track Highlights


1. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)
2. Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
3. Only The Good Die Young
4. The Stranger

Final Grade


7/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Singles released from the album include "Just the Way You Are" (which won the Grammy for Record of the Year), the acoustic ballad "She's Always A Woman," the mildly controversial "Only the Good Die Young," and "Movin' Out (Anthony's Song)," which later lent its title to Movin' Out, an acclaimed hit Broadway musical based on Billy Joel's songs.

Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) at the Old Grey Whistle Test:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

370. Kraftwerk - Trans-Europa Express (1977)



















Track Listing

1. Europa Endlos
2. Spiegelsaal
3. Schaufensterpuppen
4. Trans Europa Express
5. Metall Auf Metall
6. Abzug
7. Franz Schubert
8. Endlos Endlos

Review

I am making a slight adjustment to the 1001 albums list by reviewing this album in its German version rather than in the English version. Kraftwerk are German after all and the songs were thought of in German and they sound better in German. Actually the robotic industrial sound of Kraftwerk's music works much better with the German language, and what you lose from not understanding the lyrics is highly repaid by the alien feeling that you get from it. The same will happen with Man-Machine when we get there.

This is a great album, if Autobahn was more abstract and instrumental Trans-Europa Express is much more accessible but in no way worse. There is an almost pop (as much as any Kraftwerk can be pop) feel to the first half of the album and in the second half there is a kind of suite taking a train journey as a theme, much like the Autobahn was the theme of that album.

The music is astonishing, it shouldn't work as well as it does, it could have sounded like Jean-Michel Jarre, but there is an hypnotic quality to this beyond the faculties of any other electronic performers. This albums transports you somewhere, I don't know where but it is weird and wonderful. Not many albums do this and therefore this is something to be treasured. This is Kraftwerk at their peak, but there are more Kraftwerk goodies to come on the list.

Track Highlight

1. Trans Europa Express
2. Schaufensterpuppen
3. Metall Auf Metall
4. Spiegelsaal

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The title track in particular was an impressive fusion of electronic percussion rhythms and very strong melody, tied together with a lyrical concept. (Tracing its development through live bootlegs, it appears to have ultimately derived from "Ruckzuck", which opened the original Kraftwerk album.) The concept behind this track harks back to 1974's Autobahn, which recreated a journey on the German motorway network: Trans-Europe Express was intended to evoke a trip on one of the TEE rail services that were operating at the time of its writing.

‘The culture of Mitteleuropa was cut off in the Thirties, and many of the intellectuals went to the USA or France, or they were eliminated. We [Kraftwerk] are picking it up again where it left off, continuing this culture of the Thirties, and we are doing it spiritually.’

— Ralf Hütter


Schaufensterpuppen:



Bill Bailey tribute:

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

369. Brian Eno - Before And After Science (1977)
















Track Listing


1. No One Receiving
2. Backwater
3. Kurt's Rejoinder
4. Energy Fools The Magician
5. King's Lead Hat
6. Here He Comes
7. Julie With...
8. By This River
9. Through Hollow Lands
10. Spider And I

Review

Here we start a new year, a great year full of interesting pop, punk and other music. This album definitely fits in "other". It is very hard for me to decide on a favourite Brian Eno album, I love them all so much, or at least the ones that are here on the list plus a couple, that I really don't know what my favourite is. This album probably does have the best balance of my favourite elements of Eno, it has the great mellow ambient music as well as his more outrageous pop.

On the realm of outrageous pop you have the amazing King's Lead Hat, a non-stop tribute to Talking Heads who he was producing at the time, on the other spectrum you have two amazing pop-ambient tracks in By This River and Spider And I. All these songs are perfection, but so is the rest of the album.

There is no failure here, there is no track beneath the level of genius and this is how you want your Eno. Doing something new and different but at the same time totally exhilarating. This album is probably the best introduction you can have to Eno, if you like the first half go get Here Come The Warm Jets or Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy, if you like the second half get Discreet Music, Another Green World or Music For Airports and his other ambient compositions. The thing is Eno is an expert on both forms and it is a shame that this is his last album with actual lyrics until his most recent album which really isn't up to this standard.

Track Highlight

1. By This River
2. Spider And I
3. King's Lead Hat
4. Kurt's Rejoinder

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:


* The song "Kurt's Rejoinder" features a sample of Dada artist Kurt Schwitters performing his Ursonate.

* "King's Lead Hat" is an anagram of Talking Heads, and the song is indeed a Talking Heads pastiche. Eno's intention was to record the song with members of the band but that could not be arranged. It was covered by Ultravox as a live B-side on the 12" version of their single "Passing Strangers" in 1980, and by The Dirtbombs as a limited-edition bonus track on their album Dangerous Magical Noise in 2003.

* "Through Hollow Lands" is dedicated to Harold Budd. Various internet sites, including Fred Frith's own discography page claim that co-musician 'Shirley Williams' on this track is a pseudonym of Robert Wyatt. In fact, Wyatt himself admitted to as much on 2003's BBC Radio 2 documentary "A Quantity of Stuff - The Brian Eno Story".

* The song "By This River" features in the Italian film The Son's Room and the Mexican film Y Tu Mama Tambien.

* Martin Gore of Depeche Mode covered "By This River" in his solo album Counterfeit² in 2003.

* Supposedly 109 tracks were recorded for the album, the majority of which remain unheard.

By This River: