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My updates were actually on track to be regular and something happened on the way to the forum…

That would be Merle Haggard.  Damn you Merle!!!  This is part 3 of a darn many chapters in my epic journey through the 500 Albums of All Time according to Rolling Stone Magazine.

A lot has happened; let me get going from where I left off:

#485 – Vitalogy by Pearl Jam. I have never been a fan of Pearl Jam, mainly because of Eddie Vedder.  The music is generally good and the musicality is generally spot on.  He’s just annoying.  BUT… this album was actually good.  I wouldn’t say great, but I won’t kick it out.  I don’t own it, but I would.  “Better Man” was a great song and truly, there wasn’t any real weak links that I remember. I dig it!

#484 – All the Young Dudes by Mott the Hoople. I’ve not had a lot of context of Ian Hunter other than he wrote “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” and sang on Freddie Mercury’s tribute show.  I knew he was with Mott the Hoople.  I was neither looking forward to nor dreading this album.  I said to myself, “Self (sometimes I really do call myself that), this is a classic album and people talk about it all the time, let’s see what happens.”  I won’t say that I was overly impressed, but did find it quite interesting.  I have never been a fan of Lou Reed which will come later in the list but the version of “Sweet Jane” is quite vanilla compared to the Velvet Underground version.  I’m a fan of Bowie so I was intrigued on his production and yes, he penned the title track after they turned down “Suffragette City.”  Not a bad album at all.  I’d listen to it again, but I’d not rush to do so.  I dug it, but eh…

#483 – Entertainment by Gang of Four. THIS is punk I can get behind.  It’s just fun.  Is that the intention?  I don’t think so, but it certainly is.  To me, and this is only MY opinion, most punk is scattered and disjointed, which I get, is the point; nonconformity at its best!  It is however, usually not for me.  I do feel on this album they wanted to be that way and it just wouldn’t happen.  Fun. I’d own it! I don’t know why things are now based on owning and listening again, but it’s worked its way into my blog, lol.  My rules as I come up with them, I guess, lol. Oh, and I DIG it.

#482 – Guitar Town by Steve Earle.  Ok, Eugene, I am sure you’re wanting to know about this one. The ONLY exposure to Mr. Earle I’d ever had was, of course, “Copperhead Road.”  I was delighted that there was no inclusion of that song on this album as I want to put my face through a plate glass window every time I hear it.  This album did not make me feel that way.  Did I think it was wonderful?  No. Did I find it entertaining?  Yes.  It’s good 70/80s Country Rock that was well above my expectations.  I wouldn’t turn it off, but not interested in owning it.  Dug.

#481 – Voodoo by D’Angelo.  Boring. Slow jams are great, usually, and while the musicality is entertaining, they were in abundance.  I never got what was supposed to be happening.  It was like music was just… there.  I didn’t get a lot of substance from it.  Did not dig.

#480 – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx by Raekwon.  My mother always said if I couldn’t say anything nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all.  Done, “son.”

#479 – Maggot Brain by Funkadelic. Eddie Hazel is a genius!  George Clinton is a genius! This album was right on and far out from note #1.  The Parliament vocal work is wonderful.  Hit me more Billy Bass! LSD laced lyrics, open head ideas and execution. Yummy! SO… yeah I dig it.  I would own it.  I want to own it.  I want to hear it on vinyl.  DUG!

#478 – All Time Greatest Hits by Loretta Lynn.  Ok.  I have to say this.  I believe live albums and greatest hits albums should be excluded from this list.  No exceptions, no matter how much I like them.  Greatest hits are someone else’s idea of what the best songs were.  And, yes, being in the record industry (artist) in the past, I know that the producer will generally take the collection of best songs recorded to put into a collection or “album.” This should not be here, but that being said, it wasn’t bad.  I’ve never really cared one way or another about country music and this IS country music.  Georgia Florida Line or whatever they call it and those like it are “settling pop wannabes.” No offense is intended to fans of those artists, just my opinion.  It did take me back a bit to my childhood when my father would listen to nothing but.  Well written, mostly clean fun and the not-so-hidden feminism that exudes from this Matriarch of C&W is worth a good listen. Dug.

#477 – Down Every Road by Merle Haggard.  Oh, the bane of my existence.  Not really.  The fact that it was back-to-back with the other classic country (see #478) was a bit to take at one time.  On top of that fact, this was a 4-disc (100 songs) collection, which as I said earlier, should NOT be here.  Rhapsody, the music service I subscribe to and which makes it possible for me to listen to full albums at a time, did not have this available.  So I had to go to Amazon and find the disc’s track listing and manually insert all 100 songs (actually only about 96, I had to go to YouTube for 4 songs that couldn’t be found on Rhapsody) into my playlist.  So what I did was split it into 4 different listens – one for each disc.  I listen in about 4 different places so while one computer had this lined up, I continued the listening journey on other computers.  This did hold me up since I wanted to do a full review.  Ok, to make a short story longer, this, too, was reminiscent of my childhood; not necessarily in a good way, but definitely not in a bad way.  I recognized, as I did with Loretta, many of the songs.  Catchy, if not sometimes depressing, little ditties which lend to the all-encompassing moniker and genre called, “Tear in my Beer” music.  “Okie from Muskogee,” “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” and “I Wonder If They Think of Me” are just a few gems in this long trek of an album that I really remember.  At times, I’ll admit I wanted to just skip and I had several people who know me come into the office to stare confused at why this was coming from speakers that were close to my ears. I personally know someone named Irma Jackson, too. Weird.  Overall, I liked it, but again, it shouldn’t have been on here.  Dug.

#476 – Life After Death by Notorious B.I.G.  I put that it’s by Biggie, but is it really?  I can find that Biggie is only on about half of this record.  The other half is someone else doing all the work and him taking credit for it.  But really, what is he taking credit for? Many… MANY of the songs “feature” this person or that person. Almost a shame to call it his. There’s 24 tracks on this record and I don’t think there was one single track without the “N” word in it.  Look, I know I’m white.  I may have said the word before, but DAMN! I can’t stand to hear it, especially repeatedly and abundantly.  It made it difficult to listen to and I certainly didn’t enjoy it.  Artistic or creative license and what have you, I don’t care.  It was horrible and disgusting to listen to.  Hated it. F-

#475 – Armed Forces by Elvis Costello & The Attractions.  After the audible debacle that was #476, it was good to get back to music that didn’t make me want to lose my lunch.  He born Declan MacManus, which I think is a much more impressive and cool name, has always been in my ears as one who changes his sound often and that includes vocal styles.  He can sound like Elvis Costello in one instance and a whole different Elvis Costello in the next.  I’ll never consider myself a connoisseur of his music or claim to really know much about him.  I have three EC albums, one being a greatest hits – and that doesn’t count, remember? – and am happy with two of them.  So to compare this to other things he’s done and where he stood in his life and career at the time would be pointless and lying.  I will say, however, that “Accidents Will Happen” and “(What’s So Funny ’bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding” are two of my faves from EC.  I’d add this to my EC collection and I really dug it!

#474 –Próxima Estación: Esperanza by Manu Chao.  Um… I don’t get it.  I’m not knocking it, I just didn’t get it.  I heard some good musicianship but I just couldn’t feel it.  Sorry.

#473 – The Smiths by The Smiths.  I have always poked at The Smiths and especially Morrissey, mainly to aggravate the Near Mrs (get it).  She told me as a caveat, “this isn’t their best album.”  To this I replied, “there’s a good one?”  And then, I’m smacked hard, upon my face and torso with extreme prejudice.  Not really.  This wasn’t bad.  I didn’t hate it.  It’s Morrissey in his usual moaning mood that is what makes him unique and, I’ll admit, somewhat cool.  Even if that’s not what he wanted.  Life in Manchester really took its toll on him and the band, or so it seems.  His tongue-in-cheek disdain for just about everything is offset by awesome music by Johnny Marr and pals.  And if you didn’t know, some of the keyboards were played by Paul Carrack.  I enjoyed listening to it and would own it.  Shhh, don’t tell The BCPF.

#472 – Faith by George Michael.  No matter what you think/feel about his personal life, stance, views, etc., the man can write! His first full-length foray after the break up of Wham!, Faith is an album that I certainly already had, loved, and fell in love with, again.  “I Want Your Sex,” “Father Figure,” “One More Try,” “Faith,” and “Monkey” were all chart toppers. The songs that didn’t make it on the charts were quite listenable as well and my favorite song on the whole album, “Kissing a Fool,” is one that at the time I just thought cool, then others did covers, notably Michael Buble, and the coolness went through the roof.  I love standard jazz-style songs like this.  One of my top 30 albums of all time, this is just good stuff start to finish.  DUG in every way.

#471 – I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight by Richard & Linda Thompson. Whoa! This is some haunting stuff.  Not saying it is my favorite, but I can see where some of this would lead to stuff that BCPF started digging years later.  Someone refers to it as wrist-slitting music in one review I read.  That’s what I refer to a lot of stuff that BCPF listens to. I can hear some similarities.  I have to get her to listen to it, now.  Richard is renown in the spectrum of folk/alt-folk world.  I don’t know how long they stayed married but I don’t think it was long.  What little time they did make music, was decent stuff.  I get chills listening to “The Great Valerio.” Some of it is quite Celtic in nature, at least in my ears.  Dug.

I’m sorry this is so long and I’m also sorry it took so long.  But don’t blame me, blame it on the Okie!

Until next time, same blog channel at SOME blog time…  Scorp out!!