So, I’m doing this new thing. Yes, I gave out on the lists that I was going to listen to and I am still going to do vinyl albums that I’m listening to but I’ve called on my Facebook friends to give me five or six of their “must hear” albums. I’ve gotten quite a few entries, too. I figure I’ll do them by whoever sent them to me. I’m only reviewing things that weren’t on the RS list when I went through that.
The first one to give me a list was my buddy, Dale. So, here ya go, Dale. My take on your list (these are in no particular order):
- The Dirty Boogie by Brian Setzer Orchestra. I love Brian Setzer. I didn’t always. I
liked some Stray Cats stuff, definitely. It took me a while to get into his rockabilly stuff. But as I progressed I got more into the big band/swing music, not just him but the whole genre. I love, too that he can take the blues aspect of stuff that I generally don’t care for and hide it, seamlessly in the swing grooves. Yes, I understand that blues is the basis of a lot of the stuff that I listen to. I can recognize it and acknowledge it and even like it. I think Brian Setzer stands above his swing contemporaries, Squirrel Nut Zippers (I know that’s sacrilege around here) and Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, even though I do enjoy them, too. My least favorite song on the album is still a song that I like. That would be “Jump Jive an’ Wail” originally done by the late, great Louis Prima. I really dig the duet with Gwen Stefani, “You’re the Boss.” And, I like the revamp of “Rock this Town” but I like the Stray Cats version better. Overall, I really liked hearing this album and would welcome more Setzer into my listening life.
- Force It by UFO. Eugene introduced me to some UFO during his “Eugeology” list. A 20-year old Michael Schenker on this, writing good rocking songs and wailing on the guitar. Eddie Trunk gets on my nerves a lot but I know why he slobbers all over Mr. Schenker. Is the best? Nah, but he rocks and at so young an age. The album cover from Hipgnosis would be enough for my younger self to do nothing but stare. There are great rocking tunes and ballads as well. “High Flyer” is a really great song as is the opening tune, “Let It Roll” and “Love Lost Love.” Nothing bad to say about this record at all. I love Phil Mogg’s voice, too. Pete Way is a great bass player and as I said in the review for Strangers in the Night, his runs have a presence and are tasteful. I liked it a lot and I think Eugene would be proud of me for saying so, eh, Eug?
- The Very Best of Otis Redding, Vol. 1 by Otis Redding. In the RS list, I left out the compilations. As long as they don’t get out of hand, I’ll allow them on this list. Otis has a great voice and there are some great songs on here. And, as I talked about in the RS list, a lot, song-length can be important. I don’t like a lot of long songs, especially those that are long for the sake of being long. I think that’s my biggest problem with some prog rock. But, these songs are mostly under three minutes long and they get their point across. Lots of soul and expression, here. And, another beautiful thing is that he wrote or co-wrote most of the tunes himself. Some of my faves are his version of “Satisfaction,” “Mr. Pitiful,” “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song).”
Good stuff, here.
- Still Alive and Well by Johnny Winter. Yeah, right off the bat, I’m getting that bluesy thing that I really don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s very good at what he’s doing, I just don’t care about it. There’s a couple of Stones songs on there but that doesn’t really help. Then again, I’m not much on the Stones anyway. Produced by Rick Derringer and does have Todd Rundgren on it, too. Plus, it has a tune written by Dan Hartman. I’m just not much on it. Sorry, Dale.
- Rampant by Nazareth. I had to go looking for this one. None of my streaming services had it so I had to go to YouTube. The first two
songs are good, but I really, really like “Loved and Lost” and “Shanghai’d in Shanghai.” Dan McCafferty’s voice is awesome on the soulful “Loved and Lost” and the whole song has a bit of a mystique to it that whisps you away as you listen. And “Shanghai’d” has Sweet-like qualities in its harmonies. I dig it. “Jet Lag,” however, loses me. I hate that boogie blues stuff. The rest of the album is okay but it doesn’t really move me. But, those two songs were really good. Great work from the bass player, Pete Agnew, who is the only remaining founding member and is the father of the current drummer for the band. I’d go with “meh.”
- Making Movies by Dire Straits. I have gotten to where I can just sit and listen to Dire Straits, no matter the album. I love the “Rollergirl” story. I hear there’s a video but I think it was before my MTV days. I’ll go back and watch the video on YouTube or something. Usually, when I say that an album became background noise I mean
it in a bad way. But, for this album and really any Dire Straits album, it’s actually what I’d look for to play in the background for stuff that I’m doing otherwise. There’s enough story to really bring you in when you pay attention but the music is ethereal and genuine enough to be a soundtrack for a good writing session or meditation. This is a really good collection from Mark Knopfler. “Expresso Love” is pretty righteous, too. The keyboard/piano work of Roy Bittan is sprinkled all over this album. He’s really great with tasteful ivory work. He’s really good. The whole thing is solid and I hate that it took me so long to really, really get into Dire Straits. I really dug this.
- Dale also included Kick Out the Jams by MC5, but I had already listened to that on the RS List. If you’d like to revisit what I wrote you can do that HERE.
So, now, a month or three since I asked for suggestions, I finally got through one. I started right away, but it’s just taken a while with my vinyl listening, podcasting, personal appearances, and cooking. None of which I’d trade, but I am glad to finally get one of these out.
And, I want to thank Dale for the list. I’m proud of myself in the fact that I gave it all a true shot and that I actually found some stuff that I liked and reaffirmed some stuff that I thought I would. Overall, a good list Dale. All this from my very warped sense of “good…” but I digress! Thanks again.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“Well, this cat’s on a hot tin roof. Drinkin’ that whiskey, 96 proof. Don’t need no doctor, don’t feel no pain. My legs are just two steps ahead of my brain.” – “This Cat’s on a Hot Tin Roof” (Setzer)