Monday, November 12, 2012

My Favorite Dozen CD's Of All Time

...cos it's my blog and I can. This is a list of my own personal favorites, not an objective piece of journalism. Bosco is in charge of that stuff. I'm old, but not quite as old as this list might make you think; I came to several of these after the fact.

1. New York Tendaberry--Laura Nyro. Pure poetry, purely original, and full of a striking passion. As soon as I discovered her, I wanted to be her. There is something of Laura Nyro in almost everything I write. She showed me what was possible. Plus, she lived with a female partner later on, and that just endeared her to me even more. She is missed.

2. Red Dirt Girl/Wrecking Ball--Emmylou Harris. I put these together because they were issued consecutively, and I love them both more than I can say. I bought Wrecking Ball right when it came out. I did the same with Red Dirt Girl, then it sat in my cd carousel for a decade before i got it out and discovered what I had been missing. 

3. Song For  Seagull--Joni Mitchell. I think this was her first major release, and it is still my favorite. It's the folkie Joni, and full of soul, longing, and spirit. "My gentle relations/ have names they must call me/ for loving the freedom/ of all flying things". Oh, do I relate to that.

4. Famous Blue Raincoat--Jennifer Warnes. Here, Jennifer Warnes lends her voice--which is everything Leonard Cohen's is not--to the songs of Leonard Cohen. The combination is astonishing.

5. Cheap Thrills--Big Brother & The Holding Company. It's Janis. Need I say more?

6. It's A Beautiful Day--It's A Beautiful Day. Why wasn't I in San Francisco during the Summer of Love? Maybe because I was in grade school in Michigan. I was introduced to this music, which includes "White Bird", one rainy Sunday afternoon in the late 70s, at a friend's house. I left with borrowed copies of this, and Joni Mitchell's "For The Roses." That was a good day!

7. Wild Heart--Stevie Nicks. The Gypsy in me just loves Stevie Nicks, whose cool voice and rock n roll love songs captured my imagination and still do.

8. Fit To Be Tied--Joan Jett. This is a "best of" collection, and it really is. Joan isn't complicated. She just f*cking rocks. I love rock n roll...especially when Joan sings it. Oh, and she's "family", too.

9. It Ain't Easy--John Baldry. Long John Baldry was a big tall Englishman given to wearing big hats, making him seem like a giant. He was never a giant in terms of sales, but he helped Rod Stewart and Elton John (who takes the "John" part of his name from John Baldry) to get started, and he could belt out Brit Blues like nobody's business. This was out of print for many years, but has finally been reissued on cd.

10. Revolver--The Beatles. My favorite Beatles album. Issued just before Sgt. Pepper, you can see it coming, here. The reissue includes some cool songs like "Dr. Robert" and "And Your Bird Can Sing."

11. Person To Person--Tim Hardin. Tim Hardin was a drug-addicted, vain, impossible nutjob who hated performing publicly, or having anyone else perform his songs. He was also, for a short while, one of the most gifted and unique singer/songwriters ever. He wrote "If I Were A Carpenter" and "Reason To Believe." 

12. Mosaique--The Gypsy Kings. I can't understand a word, but I play the snot out of this cd, all the time. It combines Latin and Gypsy music with a pop sensibility, and has energy to spare.

That's my list. What's yours?


William A. Sigler said...

Sympatico on all counts. Red Dirt Girl? Check. Person-to-Person? Check. It's a Beautiful Day? Check. New York Tendaberry? Triple Check.

Here are a few more I'd put in that category:

Astral Weeks by Van Morrison
Hejira by Joni Mitchell
GP/Grievous Angel by Gram Parsons
Live at the Old Quarter by Townes Van Zandt
Imperial Bedroom by Elvis Costello and the Attractions
Foreign Affairs by Tom Waits
Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
A Tramp Shining/The Yard Went On Forever by Richard Harris
Revival by Gillian Welch
Sublime by Sublime
Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen
Katy Lied by Steely Dan

And I can't not mention:
Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan
Let It Bleed by the Rolling Stones
Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols

Fireblossom said...

William, I love your list. Highway 61 Revisited is astonishing. I almost put it on my list, and also Time Out of Mind.

Few people remember that Richard Harris could really sing a ballad.

And yeah, Katy Lied is a classic, one of my all time favorites, also. I love "Dr. Wu".

There are a couple on your list that I am not familiar with. Thanks for the tips!

hedgewitch said...

What a fun post, Shay! I will have to cogitate. I am so much less a music listener now than I was, because of my husband's lack of any musical interest, and many of my favorites have changed with age--but I do love almost the entirety of your list.
Mine would go something like this(and I cheated by adding multiple titles!):

1. Live Rust, Neil Young
2. Blonde on Blonde, Blood on the Tracks,Street Legal, Dylan
3. Pieces of the Sky, Luxury Liner, Emmy Lou Harris
4. Heart Like a Wheel, Linda Ronstadt
5. Greatest Hits, Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band (I have vinyl, don't know if its on CD)
6. Music from Big Pink, The Band
7. Cold on the Shoulder, Gordon Lightfoot
8. Blue, Joni Mitchell
9. Eat A Peach,Live at Fillmore East, Allman Brothers
10. Too Stuffed to Jump, Amazing Rhythm Aces (vinyl)
11. Couldn't Stand the Weather, Stevie Ray Vaughan
12. No Security, The Rolling Stones(basically a live greatest post-80's hits)but anything of theirs, really--Goat's Head Soup, 12 by 5, Exile on Main St. ad infinitum

And millions more, but you have to stop somewhere. Thanks for letting me play the music game!

Anonymous said...

I love that you did this; I can't wait to listen to all this new-to-me music. The way you feel about Laura is the way I feel about Sarah McLachlan and also Mazzy Star.

Cloudia said...

much overlap.
Perhaps we'll be in the same
senior muck-rakers home and can spend many happy hours together listening to such gems. . . . and drooling. . . .

Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

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Sioux said...

"Court and Spark" by Joni Mitchell. "Blue," too. Elton John's "Yellowbrick Road" would be up there. Janis and John Mellencamp. Jefferson Airplane's "Baron von Tollboth" for just one song (not for the lyrics but for Gracie Slick's voice). Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust." Simon and Garfunkle's "Wednesday Morning 3 A.M." I am sure I am missing many of my favorites. My favorite songs would be easier, because sometimes I fall for a single and not the whole album.

Oooh--Richie Havens. Cat Stevens---"Catch Bull at Four" and "Tea for the Tillerman" were played until grooves got dug into them. And Carol King's "Tapestry" and James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James."

I've got to stop here, or I'll go on and on and on...

HermanTurnip said...

Great list! There are more than a few here that I haven't listened to. Will be checking them out tonight!

...and props for the inclusion of Revolver. That album was part of an incredible 3-album run for the Beatles. Some would say 4 with the inclusion of Rubber Soul, but I'm not quite sold on that.

Lynn said...

I have so many I don't where to start, but I thought about you when I saw this just now:

cinderkeys said...

I'm sure I'm leaving some good ones out of consideration, but off the top of my head:

Abbey Road, the Beatles
John Barleycorn Must Die, Traffic
90125, Yes
Wild, Erasure
Nomads, Indians, Saints, the Indigo Girls
Sheryl Crow
Whatever and Ever, Amen, Ben Folds Five
White Ladder, David Gray
Our Endless Numbered Days, Iron and Wine
Eye to the Telescope, KT Tunstall
Megalithic Symphony, AWOLNATION
Highways and Hiking Shoes, Cinder Bridge

The last one is my band. Hope that's not cheating, but if you can't record your own favorite albums, why even be in a band? :)

Mama Zen said...

I love this list! What about some Doors?

Anonymous said...

you'se got good taste in music, girl! i shall be checking out the new-to-me ones!