Bob Marley and the Wailers, Buffalo Springfield, Elvis Presley, Fleetwood Mac, Madonna, Peter Gabriel, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums, Sly and the Family Stone, The Stooges, Willie Nelson
Wow, it’s been a long while since I’ve posted a Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums of All Time entry. About a month, I think. Business has really picked up so, whilst that is a good thing, it’s cramping my music listening style. But, I’ll take the picked up biz over the free time, any day. Anywhat! Last segment was pretty right on, so let’s hope this one is. Let’s hit it!
#190 – From Elvis in Memphis by Elvis Presley. I’ve never been a big Elvis fan, at all. I do, however, appreciate his contributions to the overall canon of music history. He’s influential in many of those that I listen to and their mentors, as well. He helped bring legitimacy to rock and roll and show that a white boy could actually sing the soul, the blues and the gospel and gain respect for doing so. Speaking of which, this album shows a lot of that latter point. Elvis had been throwing down some soundtrack albums in the few years prior to this (1969) to fulfill his obligation to Paramount Pictures for allowing him to make horrendous movies. There’s plenty of the blues and gospel on here with a lot of soul aspects thrown in. There’s even some rock happening. “I’m Movin’ On” is an example of such an amalgamation: country rock rhythms with the feeling of soul and gospel choirs. It’s a thorough representation, I think. The first part of the album, to me, started a bit slow (not the tempo, just the pace of the album) but at the point of the aforementioned song, it picks up. “Power of Love,” whilst a blues song, it rocks and pretty hard for The King. I love the aggressiveness of that song and the strong rhythmic punches it throws. Elvis’ history comes to life in “Gentle on my Mind.” The lone hit on this album was “In the Ghetto,” although one of my favorite Elvis songs, if I had any, is “Suspicious Minds,” and that song was recorded during the sessions but released independent of the album. And “In the Ghetto” reminds me of Taylor Hicks from back in the days when I watched that ridiculous program, American Idol. I liked this album, and I will admit I was surprised to say so. I’m saying yes, to Elvis’ comeback record and I dig.
#189 – Happy Trails by Quicksilver Messenger Service. If you could see my face right now, it would read: “what the (expletive) is this (expletive)!?!?” “Side One” of this is all a jam-bandy mishmash of takes on Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” It’s a live recording with tunes like: “Who Do You Love? (Part One),” followed by “When You Love” (guitar), “Where You Love” (drums), “How You Love” (guitar) “Which Do You Love” (bass) and “Who Do You Love (Part Two).” Each are given writing credits to the individuals that solo in that section. That’s what the parenthetical descriptions are about. I’m not going to lie, the players do a fabulous job with their parts, but jeez, it went on forever. “Side Two” was also a fine time to find something else to do whilst it played. I read the first four chapters of War and Peace whilst this album played. I’m kidding! You know I don’t read, Dear Reader! C’mon! I just have little tolerance for jam bands and this didn’t help that stance. A watched pot never boils. A watched elapsed time doesn’t reach the end of a frickin’ album, either. I wanted it to be over so badly. Eventually it was. I was quite disappointed that this was on the list, much less in the top 200!? I was glad to tell it, “Happy trails!” Ugh!
#188 – Buffalo Springfield Again by Buffalo Springfield. After the last album, I was glad to hear Neil Young sing, and we’ve been over how I feel about that most of the time. I almost kissed my speakers. And, hey! A song that was over in less than three minutes. The time didn’t matter so much as it (“Mr. Soul”) was a good song, they got to the point and we moved on. “Everydays” is a great jazz tune. I really enjoyed listening to that. Seems the regular bass player, Bruce Palmer was absent because he’d been busted for drugs, and the replacement, Jim Fielder, really rocked the thunderstick in that song. This album is a headphone-listeners dream. Sound traveled the fantastic panning highway throughout. It was subtle at times and out front at others. I really noticed it on “Expecting to Fly.” Granted, that song only features Young. The rest of the band was absent and it relied heavily on orchestration, but I like orchestration. “Sad Memory” is chilling but beautiful. “Good Time Boy” throws it back to the late 1960s and the Stax sound. What do you know? The Memphis Horns was most likely the only musicians to actually play on that track. Even Dewey Martin, the drummer of Buffalo Springfield, and the singer of the song, can’t say for sure if he played drums on it or not. “Rock & Roll Woman” could possibly be the first collaboration between Stephen Stills and David Crosby, but that can’t be affirmed. “Broken Arrow” is a broken-up song. It’s at six minutes and goes about ninety seconds before it switches to another song fragment. While I did like the song’s components, it was a bit disjointed and hard to follow. Overall, I’m giving this album a great big DUG! I am not sure, however, if that’s because it was really that great or that it wasn’t Quicksilver Messenger Service.
#187 – So by Peter Gabriel. Caveat here… this is my all-time favorite album. It also features my all-time favorite tune, “Sledgehammer.” Also, this album isn’t available on Rhapsody, but I am an Amazon Prime customer and have been since it started. This was the first time that I used Prime Music and it’s awesome! I have the album on CD (two versions, the original release and the original concept) and vinyl (the 25th anniversary edition). Let’s say that I LOVE this album. I’m working (read: chipping away at) on Vagabond Saints Society to do this album front to back with me doing the PG parts. The only part that I don’t really care for is “We Do What We’re Told (Milgrams 37)” and that’s just because there’s not a lot to it. It was recorded for Melt, also known as Peter Gabriel (3). It’s an interlude, really. And, it’s only lately that I’ve grown fond of “This is the Picture (Excellent Birds).” That tune has some weird timings and I think that really it was thrown together. I know, for a fact, that it was decided just in the last 48 hours before submission to the record company to even include it. It was written with Laurie Anderson and was on an album of hers in 1984. If I ever get to do this with VSS, then I guarantee that it will be a visual show. I even have my Kate Bush picked out (and she agreed). Now, who that will be, you’d have to wait to see if we do it. You won’t be disappointed. Anywhat! To give this a dug or twenty dugs wouldn’t do it justice about how I feel about this album. If you want to know more about my thoughts and feelings about it, hit me up. I can talk about it for sure. My only regret about this album is its placement. To me, and yes, I’m biased, it should at least be in the top twenty if not fifteen. But that’s just me. At least it’s not Quicksilver Messenger Service.
#186 – Fresh by Sly and the Family Stone. I’ve gotten into the funk, slightly, since I started this RS Top 500 thingy. I can tell that Prince was influenced by Sly, I can hear a lot of him in this album. I especially hear it in “Let Me Have It All.” The bass work on “Frisky” (Sly) is fantastic. In fact, the bass duties, minus a few guest or session players, is Sly on the entire album. Regarded as one of the top funk albums of all time, I don’t know how to respond to that. I have started appreciating it more, but not claiming to know a lot about it. The cover of “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)” was great. It was easy to listen to. However, nothing really stood out as great on here other than some musicianship. But, because it was a good album, I’m going to give it a “dug.” And, it’s not Quicksilver Messenger Service.
#185 – The Stooges by The Stooges. This seems like heavy dirty pop for 1969 but, there ain’t nuttin’ wrong with that! “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “1969” are that way at least. “We Will Fall” made me feel like I was tripping on acid and I’ve never even done an illegal substance. Again, nuttin’ wrong with that. The chanting and droning notes would go great with some lava lamps, green-tinted sunglasses, bell bottoms and hashish (I guess). Ten minutes of it is a bit much but I still dig it. I don’t know why when I’ve always thought of Iggy Pop, I thought of bad singing and just outright cutting himself. He may have become that but he could sing back here in 1969. The one from last segment (the follow up to this album, Fun House) was that way, too. Sadly, Iggy’s the only one that is still alive from The Stooges. I dug it. And you know what else? It’s not Quicksilver Messenger Service.
#184 – The Immaculate Collection by Madonna. I own this, I’ll say that. It’s a great greatest hits album of the Queen of Pop, but a greatest hits album nonetheless. And, yes, it’s not QMS.
#183 – Red Headed Stranger by Willie Nelson. So the best I can figure about this album is that there’s an overall story about this “red headed stranger,” a cowboy or sorts, it seems, who thinks his wife is cheating on him, finds out that she is, kills her and her lover. He travels on to mourn the loss of his wife. He ends up killing another woman because she tried to steal his horse. He got off, of course because you can’t hang a man for killing a woman what was stealing his horse, I guess (that’s what the lyrics pretty much said). I think that horse belonged to his wife. As you’d guess, he falls in love with another woman and they live happily ever after or something like that. I’m not giving this facetious sounding review to be negative. There’s a lot of good instrumental interludes and storytelling here. There’s nostalgia to hearing Willie because Ma Père is a Willie fan and makes me think back to my childhood. Willie, like Neil Young, Lou Reed and especially Bob Dylan, aren’t the greatest singers but their stuff is full of emotion and conviction. There’s something endearing about that; warm, embracing. And it was short! Fifteen songs in just over thirty-three minutes. That’s where the instrumental interludes happened. Is this something that I’d want to hear a lot of? Not at all. I am, however, glad that I listened as it’s certainly one that I’d not get close to voluntarily. I dig it for what it is, though. Especially since it’s not Quicksilver Messenger Service.
#182 – Fleetwood Mac by Fleetwood Mac. The first with Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. And, it is just like you’d expect that era of songs to sound: Buckingham doing jangly pop, Christine McVie doing jazzy, sappy, laid-back softer stuff and Nicks doing some mysterious-sounding, ethereal sugar pop. Yep, that’s this. That’s not a bad thing. This is the album that set all that into motion, even though Rumours, the follow up album, is better known and probably the better album. It seems that while they let the lovers in the band they didn’t really feel easy with their songs. Yes, Lindsay started the album off with “Monday Morning” and each had three writing credits per with some extra vocals. But, out of the four singles released (“Warm Ways,” “Over My Head,” “Rhiannon” and “Say You Love Me”) three were McVie and one, “Rhiannon,” was Stevie. I think “Monday Morning” would have been a better choice than either “Warm Ways” or “Over My Head.” “Landslide” was released as a single twenty years later when the band stopped squabbling long enough to do a reunion tour and release an album commemorating it. I’ve always like McVie the least, but think she’s a great songwriter, even if I’m not the biggest fan of those songs. Like I said, Rumours was a better album, and her songs on that album were, to me, much better. I’m not saying these are bad, just not my faves. Give me Lindsay and Stevie first. Still, this is a good album. It’s not Quicksilver Messenger Service and I dug it.
#181 – Natty Dread by Bob Marley & The Wailers. This is the first without Peter Tosh or Bunny Wailer. Also, it’s the first that is credited to Bob Marley and the Wailers, not just The Wailers. And, then Bob’s wife, Rita gets to sing with the band. It’s not just her, though, she’s part of a group within the group called, I-Threes. The only song on the album (the official album) is “No Woman No Cry” which I had to find because for some reason, the version on Rhapsody left that out. Instead it put a bonus track on. Boo Rhapsody. Even though I’m coming around to the whole reggae thing, this still is a bit much for me. There was less of a pop vibe (Legends anyone?) and just reggae. I think it was fine for what it does, just didn’t thrill me and it became a little background music for other things that I was doing. So, really I don’t have much to say about his album other than: at least it’s not Quicksilver Messenger Service and meh.
So, methinks this a really good segment, n’est ce pas? I mean, my absolute favorite album of all time is on this piece. Plus, I only gave one meh, there was one greatest hits and then something else I can’t quite remember or put my finger upon. Oh well. No matter how much of the bad stuff would have been on here, So would have saved the day. I do love that album so. I’m thinking that the next segment most likely won’t have Quicksilver Messenger Service so it will at least be that good, right?
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Show me round your fruit cage, ‘cos I will be your honey bee. Open up your fruit cage, where the fruit is as sweet as can be. I want to be your sledgehammer.” – “Sledgehammer” (Gabriel)