Friday, May 31, 2024

The Greatest Weekend Listomania of All Times: Special "I've Wanted to Do This For Years and Years" Edition

Okay, as you may have heard, Apple Music has just posted a list of what are supposed to be the Best Albums Ever Made.

To predictable outrage from the sort of people that take this kind of online shit seriously and should know better. Myself included.

In the Apple Top Ten?

Six words. Lauryn. Hill. Frank. Ocean. Kendrick. Lamar.

I mean, gimme a fucking break.

Seriously, look I know, these lists are nothing but clickbait, and this one is no more ridiculous than any other one. And yeah, it's a generation gap thing, and there's no accounting for taste, and fuck you boomers, and blah blah blah.

That said, there actually are, objectively, records that should be on a list like the above, and I happen to be an expert in this regard.

So here they are, in this blog's traditional Weekend Listomania form, and after you've perused them you can nominate your own, which I will doubtless have nothing but justified scorn for, you morons.

To wit:

All-Time Best Post-WWII Records Ever Recorded -- In Any Genre!!!

As you can see, there are no arbitrary rules. Oh wait -- fuck that laissez-faire shit. hiphop/indie rock/Phillip Glass or Steve Reich-ian Minimalist shit/Taylor Swift albums -- or anything from the 21st century -- need apply. Because obviously all of that sucks*.

On the other hand: If you want to nominate a dopey novelty single, go for it. What the hell do I care?

Okay -- and my totally top of my head Top Ten is...

[*The following list is only partially meant tongue-in-cheek. Just so we're clear. -- S.S.]

10. Miles Davis/Gil Evans -- Sketches of Spain (Columbia, 1960)

Ahh, Miles. If ever a dude bopped in from an alternate universe, it was him.

9. The Firesign Theater -- Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers (Columbia, 1970)

The Beatles of comedy? Uh, yeah. This album is that good.

8. Alex North -- Spartacus (The Sound Track Album) (Decca, 1960)

Have I mentioned that Alex North may have been one of the greatest American composers of the second half of the 20th Century? And if you don't believe it, dig the Spartacus main title above.

7. Nervous Norvus -- Transfusion (Dot, 1956)

Rockabilly meets the Age of Anxiety and then they all go to Golden Corral for lunch.

6. Marty Robbins -- Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (Columbia, 1959)

For the proto-leather bar album cover alone, although the uncut version of "El Paso" is also great when you want to signal your party guests to go home.

5. Bidu Sayao and Heitor Villa-Lobos -- Bachianas Brasileira No. 5/Cantilena (Columbia, 1952)

A chick singer, a small string section and a haunting melody. This is the hit that every bad prog band has been chasing since forever. And please -- don't give me any of that Joan Baez shit because I don't want to hear about it.

I should add that I actually had the original LP version. Love that album sleeve.

And if memory serves it was a ten-inch, if you'll pardon the expression. Heh.

4. Dennis Brain and the Philharmonia Orchestra with Herbert Von Karajan -- Mozart Horn Concertos (EMI, 1953)

Hey -- apart from the fact that his playing (and not just of Mozart) was virtuosic and meltingly gorgeous, his last name was actually freaking Brain. Sheesh. There isn't a rock star ever who wouldn't have killed to be able to pull that off.

3. The Singing Dogs -- Jingle Bells (RCA, 1955)

Inter-species music making. Obviously, it doesn't get any better.

2. B. B. King -- Live at the Regal (ABC, 1964)

Everybody, by which I mean rock critics, agrees this is the greatest blues album ever made, and yet none of them (including me) has ever bothered to listen to it. How cool is that?

And the most significant thing ever recorded down through the echoing corridors of time and even into the far distant future (if any) unmistakably is...

1. Tonio K. -- Life in the Foodchain (Columbia, 1978)

C'mon -- like you (and especially long-time readers) didn't see that coming FROM A MILE AWAY DOWN BROADWAY?

Alrighty then -- what would YOUR choices be? (Don't worry -- they can't possibly be sillier than the some of the ones on the Apple list).

And have the most transplendent weekend in world history, everybody!!!


Anonymous said...

The Harder They Come soundtrack
The Golden Hits of Lesley Gore
Introducing Eddy & The Falcons by Wizzard
Local Hero soundtrack by Mark Knopfler

Sal Nunziato said...

"Everybody, by which I mean rock critics, agrees this is the greatest blues album ever made, and yet none of them (including me) has ever actually heard it. How cool is that?"

Ok, I spewed coffee! Thank you.

I nomimate the greatest power pop record of all time:


Anonymous said...

Life in the Foodchain is definitely number 1

and I'll throw in Morphine - Cure For Pain

- Paul in DK

mistah charley, sb, ma, phd, jsps said...

1/as an impressionable junior high student, i bought an lp of tchaikovsky's piano concerto no. 2 [not the better known no. 1] by russian-american-british shura cherkassky - it was wonderful

there's a biography of the pianist calling him 'the piano's last czar':

"Shura Cherkassky's life story, like his piano playing, is provocative and captivating. At his death in 1995, Cherkassky was considered one of history's greatest pianists, as well as the last direct link to the Romantic piano tradition of Chopin, Liszt, and Anton Rubinstein.

Cherkassky's story merits telling not only for his musical achievements but also for the inspiration he provided by demonstrating tenacity, integrity, common sense, and uncommon courage."

2/joan baez's album entirely of dylan songs "any day now" is also a sentimental favorite - i gave it to my father, back in the day, and he liked it too

the one time i saw her in concert she sang 'diamonds and rust', her own song about dylan - when she did one verse in a parody of his vocal style we all laughed

in my opinion, joni mitchell is right about dylan - his name is fake, his voice is fake

some of his songs are really good, though

edward said...

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone

steve simels said...

May I just second The Harder They Come soundtrack?

Thank you.

steve simels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pete said...

Music From Big Pink - an outlier in the Band's catalogue and in many ways the great lost Dylan album

JS Bach: The Goldberg Variations. Glenn Gould, piano - either version; I will also accept his Well-Tempered Clavier

Louis Armstrong: Complete Hot Fives and Hot Sevens - and you thought MC5 made revolutionary music?

Any of four or five Beatles albums

Love: Forever Canges

Aretha Franklin: 30 Greatest Hits - Jerry Wexler says in his memoir that he only worked with three true geniuses in his career, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, and Aretha

And following hard on the heels of Live at the Regal in the race to be the best blues album ever made: Robert Johnson's King of the Delta Blues Singers, Bessie Smith's Empty Bed Blues, and Ray Charles's Genius Sings the Blues

pete said...

Okay so I missed the memo about "post-WWII." But in the Johnson, Smith, and Armstrong collections the music may have been recorded before WWII but the collections themselves were released after. And I'd like to extend this technicality to one other compilation: Harry's Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music

M_Sharp said...

"Transfusion" is unbeatable, but "Trashpickin'" by Ben Vaughn is way up there.

steve simels said...

The whole concept of "album" is pretty much a post-war thing, coinciding with the advent of the LP, i.e. 33&1/3rpm record in 1948.

There were albums on 78s, but conceptually not really,

Remind me to reminisce here latr on my history with 78s, particularly the ones released in the late 40s of the music of Nikolai Medtner, on EMI, but financed by the Mahrajah of Mysore. it's one of the most incredible stories in music history.

Anonymous said...

Ella Live In Berlin.

Alzo said...

Yes, The Harder They Come LP is in the Pantheon. Also...

Beatles: Revolver LP
Rolling Stones: Let it Bleed LP
Ramones: Rocket to Russia LP
The Clash: London Calling LP
Mott the Hoople: All the Young Dudes LP
Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited LP
The Kinks: Arthur LP
Toots & the Maytals: Funky Kingston LP
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols LP
Dwight Twilley Band: I'm On Fire
The Move: Do Ya
Badfinger: Baby Blue
James Brown: Sex Machine
The Chords: Maybe Tomorrow
Something Happens: Hello Hello Hello Hello
Deep Purple: Highway Star
Golden Earring: Radar Love
Velvet Underground: What Goes On
Booker T & the MGs: Green Onions
CCR: Fortunate Son
Don McLean: Vincent

Roger said...

Yo-Yo Ma: Bach - The Unaccompanied Cello Suites

Anonymous said...

Steely Dan -Pretzel Logic
Kinks - Face to Face
U2- Achtung Baby

Anonymous said...

Ten of the greatest? All genres? I can’t do that. But I’ll break the genres down and throw some noodles. Perhaps drop an anecdote or two.

I have a lot of “important” records that I seldom listen to. And when I do, I find a lot of them a chore. So they’re not included. I’m going with what’s fun and what moves me.

Non-Beatles Rock / Pop

Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (US version) – His best. No Noel Redding bullshit. 100% choice.

Got this the day it came out. I’d already seen him twice and owned the “Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze" singles. Saw him in person at Monterey and we were so close to the stage that one of the guys I knew from a San Bernadino garage band got a chunk of Jimi’s guitar. Seriously. The guy was from The Light. They had a double-sided Number One hit in Berdoo shortly after the festival - “Back Up/Musical Box”. That chunk is now in the Hendrix Museum (or whatever they call it) in Seattle.

Purple Haze was Number One in San Francisco. Only hit #65 nationally. The song got inside the Top Ten in Berdoo. Shortly after, a concert venue called the Purple Haze opened in Riverside with the Electric Prunes headlining.

I got this album at Gillette’s Records, a great local mom & pop in Riverside. The guy that ran it was pretty old. I’m guessing he was in his early sixties but he was young at heart. I actually went roller skating with the old bastard a few times. He picked his hippie customers’ brains when it came to buying for the store.

A few weeks after I bought the album, I got the import “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” / “STP LSD” single. Mr. Gillette started stocking imports the year before. This was because in the spring of 1966, I told Gillette (Doug) that I had hitchhiked all the way to Lewin’s Record Paradise in Hollywood to get the UK Stones Aftermath. Turned out the US version wouldn’t be released for two months. Both Berdoo stations were playing the shit out of the import the minute they got their hands on it. Fuck, I thought “Under My Thumb” and “Out of Time” were singles they got played so much. And there were scads of requests for “Goin’ Home.” Naturally, both stations falsely claimed it as an “exclusive.” Anyway, Gillette saw an opportunity and pounced on it. He sold his imports for a reasonable price unlike the “whore house” sums that Lewin’s demanded. Plus, he scored the Aussie “Fortune Teller” 45 before anyone else. That single was huge on SoCal playlists in 1966. Every local garage band did it. “It’s Not Easy,” was also a garage biggie in our neck of the woods. Since I brought it up in this sidetrack, let me give Aftermath a place on the list too.

Kinks – Muswell Hillbillies – Everybody knows how good this is. Their last really, really great album. Got a story but it’ll wait. It involves the album, a home invasion, a Dr. of Theology, a roast in the oven, some heroin and a white satin bikini. Too complicated for now. Besides, my piece of shit keyboard is messing up. So I better hurry before it totally craps out.


Anonymous said...

Mott the Hoople – Mott – part of a sane revolution

Sweet – Desolation Boulevard (US version) – had some rollicking parties with this one. Explosively fun! None of that "Fire in the Hole" bullshit wannabe crap :)

Led Zeppelin IV – 8-song masterpiece with interesting song structures and stellar production

Beach Boys – Pet Sounds – don’t talk put your head on my shoulder, come close, close your eyes and be still

Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers – and Joe Dallesandro to boot

Love – Da Capo (Side One) (someone already picked Forever Changes) (this side is perfect)

The Band – The Band (1969) (better than Big Pink)

Drive-by Truckers – The Dirty South along with DVD Live at the 40 Watt (great concept album - the live DVD makes Neil Young and Crazy Horse look like pussies - shake the house – the three singer/guitarist/songwriter line-up with Isbell, Cooley and Hood. IMO they haven’t been the same since Isbell left .

Bowie – Station to Station - just the right mix of art and commerce

New York Dolls - I had a guy quit dating me because of this album

Moby Grape - so much talent - such great looks - one of the few times I saw them was when they opened for the Jimmy Page Yardbirds in Santa Monica. The Grape did practically the whole debut. Also on the bill were West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, Strawberry Alarm Clock and Captain Beefheart. Looks good on paper but the sound for these bands was dreadful.

Spirit - charting their own path

Roxy Music - Stranded (best album and cover)

Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones, Now

Neil Young – Rust Never Sleeps - before the studio Rust Never Sleeps, there was the double live bootleg Rust Never Sleeps recorded at the Forum and released by Vicki Vinyl. Both records are great with the concert previewing the studio stuff in very raw performances.


Anonymous said...

Non-Beatles Rock / Pop Multi LP

Allman Brothers Band At Fillmore East
Rolling Stones – Exile on Main Street
Todd Rundgren – Something / Anything?
Stevie Wonder – Songs In the Key of Life
Kinks – Kink Kronikles
David Bowie – Live at the Santa Monica Civic
David Bowie – “Ziggy Stardust” the Motion Picture
Neil Young - Decade
Derek & the Dominos – Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs
Prince – Sign o’ the Times
Joe Cocker – Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Black Crowes - Southern Harmony & Musical Companion
Rolling Stones – Brussels Affair
Jimi Hendrix Experience – Electric Ladyland
The Band – Rock of Ages
Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti
Amon Duul II – Tanz Der Lemminge

McCoy Tyner – The Real McCoy
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue
Miles Davis – The Birth of Cool
Mose Allison Sings (Prestige comp)
John Coltrane – A Love Supreme
Mahavishnu Orchestra – The Inner Mounting Flame
McCoy Tyner - Revelations
Bill Evans at the Village Vanguard
Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil
Tony Williams Lifetime – Emergency
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew
Jan Garbarek – Afric Pepperbird
Billie Holiday at Jazz at the Philharmonic
Thelonious Monk – Brilliant Corners


C'mon Wagner and Mahler



GLLinMO said...

Need more live music albums. A great live album both enhances the studio work, and provides more feeling.

Lots of good live stuff. Keeping in the powerpop vein, I nominate Don Dixon. Live, Chi Town Budget Show. Backed by the Woods. Great music. All that was missing was Marti.

PS- Tonio K is never far from my turntable.