After a number of good, bad and ugly last segment (mostly good, though) of the Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All-Time, I’m ready to get some good stuff. Let’s see what what we have!
#290 – Call Me by Al Green. Let me say, first of all… “I’m So Lonely I Could Cry” by Hank Williams. A great song in itself, but to hear Al’s soulful velveteen voice sing it, it’s quite an awesome treat! “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” has a naughty groove and I’ve always liked the tune. It’s a shoulder sway waiting to happen. Al Green has always had a certain style and this is fast inlaid in the soul genre. When I think of soul, I think James Brown and then I think Al Green. I may be way off on that, but that’s how it is in my mind. Love that stuff. I’ll say it’s almost perfect in length, too. I know I want to get my money’s worth on an album but sometimes there is just too much or more than needs to be there. This comes in right about 35 minutes. To me, that’s right at perfect. It can get you where you’re going without a long drive in the country. T’is a good album, this. Dug!
#289 – Something Else by the Kinks by The Kinks. While never truly been that familiar with them, I’ve always been appreciative of what The Kinks brought to music. I think the Davies bros are a great team. This seems a bit heavy on the Beyond the Valley of the Dolls psychedelia and I like it. Other than “Death of a Clown,” I’m digging it. “Death…” was originally released, I believe, as a Dave Davies solo effort and then ended up on this album. I could be wrong there, but I’m sure Mr. Bumgardner will correct me if I’m incorrect. I just didn’t care for that song. Everything else is pretty cool. It’s not something that I’d listen to a lot of, but I am enjoying this one. Dug!
#288 – Anthem of the Sun by The Grateful Dead. There are times when I believe I really need some dope to understand some stuff. I’ve said that many times before. This is one of those times. It’s decent enough but I am not high enough to “get it.” So far, “New Potato Caboose” is a pretty good song. Spacey; not a bad thing. Overall, though, I have never gotten into, liked nor cared for jam bands. And don’t say their fans followed them around for the love of their music. Their music made a good backdrop for the shloads of illicit wonderment that they consumed and that’s all it was. I know a few GD songs and none of these rank on the care list. There are moments where it sounds like even they fell asleep in the middle. Not a fan.
#287 – Los Angeles by X. Now, punk isn’t my thing, either but this is good to get the taste of The Grateful Dead out of my mouth. That was awful. While this is punk, I’m okay with it. Let me say that the title song, I absolutely LOVE!! There was nothing about this that I didn’t like. I’ll admit that most of it was background, but whilst saying that, I did listen and found myself bouncing my head and really enjoying myself. This isn’t “offensive” to the ears (to steal a phrase from Eugene about pickles). I’ve been a fan of all the “X” I’ve heard. I’d listen to this over and over. Rock and roll you bastardos!!! Dug!
#286 – I’m Still in Love with You by Al Green. Is this the first time I’ve gotten the same artist more than once in the same segment? I’ll have to go back and look. I know it comes again a few times in future segments. Other than “Oh, Pretty Woman,” the Roy Orbison cover, there’s nothing that really captures me on this album. I”m not saying it’s not good. It is. But, what is better about this album than Call Me, the entry at #290? What puts this one over that one? I think Call Me is a better album, really. Does anyone know if Al Green had dentures? There’s a certain whistling sound that comes from his mouth when he sings that it reminds me of someone with dentures. It’s neither here nor there, just wondering. Like I said, it’s a good album but I think it’s misplaced on the list. It should have a lower (toward the #500 spot) number, in my opinion. Dug.
#285 – Music of My Mind by Stevie Wonder. Hard to believe this is 1972. It sounds more modern than that. At least mid-80s, to me. It’s every bit Stevie as you’d expect from the later eras. I am a fan of “I Love Every Little Thing About You.” That’s a great tune. The sweet food references at the end of that song is a nice touch, too. A good segue into “Sweet Little Girl.” Some humor in those songs as well. Another remarkable thing that many people may or may not know: as with many of Stevie’s albums, he played most of the instruments himself (not guitar) including drums, harmonica, and bass parts (via Moog). Stevie is a great songwriter and this is a showcase to his abilities as to that and the musicianship. He’s amazing, truly. The range of songs from the rockin’ to the beautifully written testaments of love reside on this album. Case in point to the latter: “Happier Than the Morning Sun.” The use of synthesizers and vocal effects on this album, again, is ahead of their times and again, it seems like this should have been in later periods. The keys work on “Keep on Running” is more like the former descriptor, rockin’! A great album front to back and I dug it!!
#284 – The Cars by The Cars. I know some people say that The Cars are boring live. That may be true, but I love listening to them. I have Heartbeat City on CD and vinyl. This, their debut, features a lot of Cars staples such as “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” “Just What I Needed,” “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight,” “Bye Bye Love” and “Moving in Stereo.” Anyone want to guess what I think of when I hear “Moving in Stereo?” Anyone? Anyone? We’ll come back to that. Ric Ocasek, for an ugly dude married a very beautiful woman in Paulina Porizkova but he’s a great songwriter as is Ben Orr. Orr is a very underrated but talented bass player. In fact, he sings one of my favorite Cars songs, “Drive” from Heartbeat as well as two of the better songs from this album, “Just What I Needed” and the afore-lamented “Moving in Stereo.” Speaking of which, did you guess what it is I think of when I hear that song? That song is what is playing when Phoebe Cates steps out of the pool and removes her top during the dream (or masturbation) scene from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Sigh… Phoebe Cates. This is a great New-Wave album and I love listening to it. I have to get this on vinyl. Probably my fave on this segment, at least so far and I whole-heartily recommend listening to it. It will put a huge smile on your face! DUG!!
#283 – Can’t Get Enough by Barry White. Oh, the confusion that is Barry White. Why confusion you ask? He was a big, not-so-attractive man that so happened to have a sexy, velvety voice and the ladies went soppy over that in a heartbeat. I have to admit that I can relate. I am a big, not-so-attractive man with a sexy, velvety voice and well the ladies love me. So maybe I’m not so confused after all? I can dig it. I also have to admit that while listening to this album, I found myself in the corner of The Less Desirables studio making out with myself. It was that sexy. I may have to have that red chair cleaned professionally, now. I don’t even wear panties and I threw some at the studio monitors. Ok, I have to wipe the drool from my lips. This really got me going. I don’t know how I feel about the ten minutes worth of “I Can’t Believe You Love Me,” but everything else on this album is frickin’ fantastic! “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” and “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” are, of course, the highlights but again, the sheer sexiness of this album (even with that epic middle) overcomes all the woes in the world. I feel comforted like a little baby swaddled in three cotton blankies. Can you tell I dug it?! Now I have to go smoke a cigarette.
#282 – Folk Singer by Muddy Waters. I should have stayed out smoking that cigarette while this played. I can’t tell when one song ends and the next begins, except for the silence in between. I really, really, really loathe this stuff. Just it playing in the background slowed down my production. I couldn’t get anything done, it was a distraction and not a good one. I don’t get the appeal of this at all. I just kept watching to see how much longer until it’s over. I’m not even going to give it anymore of my writing time. Blech.
#281 – My Life by Mary J. Blige. No matter whether I like this or not, it is 1000% better than the last entry. That being said, why must we endure the “N” word like it’s nothing!? I don’t care about the “art” of it in this case. The rest of the album is pretty good. MJ’s voice is powerful, rich and beautiful! She’s all about self-awareness and talks about the ups and downs, good and bad, pain and pleasure. She’s almost as sexy to listen to as Barry White. Almost. She spends the album trying to find herself and working through some personal struggles. I think she got through it. It’s worth a listen but I don’t know that I’d want to listen to it again. Dug.
This segment had some really good stuff. I loved The Cars album, Stevie, Kinks, X, two Al Green albums. But, I had to deal with Muddy Waters and the Grateful-frickin-Dead. Those were true buzzkills. If I could erase them both from the list, it would be a better list. So, here’s to the next segment and farewell to a decent one this time.
What do you think of these reviews? Do you agree or think I’m nuts? Or do you agree with me because I am nuts? Let me know. Drop me a line on your favorite social media of choice (or here) and let me know.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“I don’t mind you coming here and wasting all my time.
‘Cause when you’re standing oh so near, I kinda lose my mind” – “Just What I Needed” (Ocasek) by The Cars