I have recently “rediscovered” my vinyl collection. This causes my brain to revisit the idea of Essential Albums. Certainly there are others that deserve to be in this list, but for tonight, this is Jamey’s suggestions to you for unbelievably good listening.
`10. Chicago: Chicago Transit Authority. From the opening song “Beginnings” through side 4’s “Liberation” the stage is set for what this band would be all about until Mr. Kath passed from the scene. Blood, Sweat, and Tears is great Jazz/Fusion, but Chicago truly took Rock and Jazz and “jammed” them together for some tremendously memorable music.
9. Jefferson Airplane: After Bathing At Baxters. Probably not of The Airplane’s most remembered works, but it truly is one of their greatest. Presented in suites, the music is challenging to the traditional Rock listener, and yet engaging.
8. Moody Blues: In Search of The Lost Chord. Not usually listed as THE best, but certainly respected. In my book this absolutely is their best album. We get a great send off with “Departure”, ride a see-saw, go into the mind of Timothy Leary, and journey through a house with four doors, and that’s just side one!! Side two kicks in, and then we get to hear my favorite Moody, Mike Pinder!!
7. The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out. This NOT an album for the average Joe. If you like your music in 4/4 or 3/ 4 time, then Time Out will drive you crazy. One starting in 9/8 with 4/4 in the middle (Blue Ronda ala Turk), the 5/4 of Take Five, and even one song, Three to Get Ready, that alternates 3/4 and 4/4 every two measure. Some of the best recorded Jazz ever!!
6. The Pink Floyd: Piper At The Gates of Dawn. Notice my use of THE in the group’s name. That’s what they were called in those days. I love Psychedelia, and this is the genre at it’s best. Syd Barrett is running the show at this point, and the “trip” we take on this album is magical. Go find me an album today that that takes you through space, introduces you to a Gnome, and a black and green scarecrow!!
5. Woodstock: In recent years there have been various releases of the famous three days of Peace, Love, and Music, but the best is the original three album release. There’s a great “volume 2” album as well, but stick with the original. Listen to every second, every word, and every song, and stay away from the brown acid!!
4. The Beach Boys: Smile. Finally I can put this in my top ten with its release this year. Finally! Don’t get the full “Sessions” box, just buy the album Smile. Psychedelic Americana at it’s finest. Oh wait! It’s the only Psychedelic Americana album. The album has Heroes and Villains, Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow (of Chicago Fire fame), we get good vibes, and we’re even encouraged to eat our vegetables. Can it get any better than this?
3. Frank Sinatra: Only The Lonely. Ever have one of those times in your life you just want to wallow in the mire of being lonely? Frank made this just for you and for those times. Pour up your gin and tonic, put the stylus in the grooves, dim the lights, sit in your recliner, and totally depress yourself!!!!! It’s fantastic!!
2. The Beatles; Revolver. That’s right Revolver, and not the Pepper thing. One caveat here. It has to be the monophonic mix, to truly appreciate the album. It has such a great mix of music and lyrics, and then Lennon moves us into “the rest of the 60s” with Tomorrow Never Knows. It’s this song that totally makes my case for listening to the mono version. Get this one!!
1. The Who: Live At Leeds (Deluxe Version). Unfortunately most people’s exposure to The Who come from their studio work. That’s NOT The Who. THIS is The Who. A complete concert, INCLUDING TOMMY, and if you want to know Rock at it’s finest this is it. Keith Moon and John Entwistle make this performance. The Who “live” was always an event, and this album proves it.