Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental amanuensis Fah Lo Suee and I are off to my old elementary school in Teaneck, New Jersey, which I will be encasing, a la Christo, in triple-ply tin foil to ward off President Scary Black Guy's brainwashing rays during Tuesday's Education speech.
Please -- can't we all just think of the children?
So posting by moi will more than likely be sporadic for a little while.
But in the meantime, here's another little project for us all:
Best or Worst Post-Elvis Rock or Pop Concept Album!!!
Self-explanatory, I think, but for purposes of clarity, when I use the term "concept album" I simply mean a record in which some overarching theme, however tenuous, is discernible. As a result no arbitrary rules this time, although I should think you'd be embarassed to nominate a generic greatest hits package.
And my totally top of my head Top Six is:
6. Marty Robbins -- Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs
From 1959, a genuine crossover classic; "El Paso" (you can download the full-length version from the CD reissue at the link above) is the best known cut, but the whole album works. That's Robbins on the cover, BTW, and in case you didn't notice he's doing Richard Boone as Palladin from Have Gun, Will Travel.
5. The Turtles -- Present the Battle of the Bands
The concept here is that the Turtles play each cut in a different style, from surf to country to hard rock, in post Sgt. Pepper guise as other bands. It's not really pursued all that rigorously, but since it features "Elenore" and the above gorgeous take on the early Byrds outtake "You Showed Me," I've always cut them a little slack.
4. Godfrey Daniel -- Take a Sad Song
An absolutely astounding record, sung and played by two staff engineers at Atlantic in 1970 under the W.C. Fields-ian pseudonym. The concept: Then contemporary rock songs done in a variety of earlier styles, like a Billy Eckstein version of "Them Changes" or a doo-wop/Del Shannon "Woodstock." Hilarious, brilliant stuff, and alas not in print at the moment (I tried to find a downloadable version online to no avail). You can, however, listen to samples from all twelve cuts over here.
3. Garth Brooks -- ...in the Life of Chris Gaines
Brooks in his bizarre incarnation as a supposedly legendary 90s alt-rocker. I don't care if the damn thing sold two million copies -- it's a prime contender for biggest What the Fuck Was He Thinking? album in music history.
2. Hal Wilner et al -- Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music From Vintage Disney Films
Click the link to hear (or download) Tom Waits doing the scariest version of "Heigh Ho" imaginable. My favorite cut from what remains my favorite of the several terrific theme albums masterminded by Wilner.
And the most memorable for whatever reason High Concept rock or pop album obviously is --
1. The Paragons and The Jesters -- The Paragons Meet the Jesters
The very first (after the fact) thematic rock compilation (1959), and thanks to the brilliantly art-directed leather bar juvenile delinquent cover photo -- let's face it, Lou Reed based an entire esthetic on it -- still one of the most iconic.
Alrighty then -- and who would your choices be?
[h/t Joy Brodsky Thurston]
(Shameless Blogwhore: My parallel Cinema Listomania -- theme: best screen performance by a an actual real (non-animated) animal -- is now up over at Box Office. As always, if you could see your way to going over there and leaving a snarky comment, I'd be your best friend.)