1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die

175. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory (1970)

Label – Fantasy
Producer – John Fogerty
Art Direction – Bob Fogerty
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 42:40

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one

    "Ramble Tamble" – 7:09
    "Before You Accuse Me" (Ellas McDaniel) – 3:24
    "Travelin' Band" – 2:07
    "Ooby Dooby" (Wade Moore, Dick Penner) – 2:05
    "Lookin' Out My Back Door" – 2:31
    "Run Through the Jungle" – 3:09

Side two

    "Up Around the Bend" – 2:40
    "My Baby Left Me" (Arthur Crudup) – 2:17
    "Who'll Stop the Rain" – 2:28
    "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong) – 11:05
   "Long as I Can See the Light" – 3:33

What a fantastic record. “Cosmo's Factory” was the fifth studio album by Creedence Clearwater Revival, and it is the first of the 1001 reviews from the 1970’s. The sound of the record is what hits you first. It could have been recorded yesterday it sounds that good. Then the hits just keep coming. "Travelin' Band," a flat out rocker with a blistering  horn section, "Up Around the Bend" is a another, the eerie guitar sounds of "Run Through the Jungle", the almost ballad "Who'll Stop the Rain", the bouncy shuffle of "Lookin' out My Back Door," and the cherry on top is "Long as I Can See the Light” complete with a soulful, laid-back groove. A little something for everyone. What’s not to like!!
There are several cover songs on the record of which while most are ok, there is the meandering jam that brings CCR's version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" to 11 minutes. It gets tedious.
In 2003, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Cosmo's Factory 265 on its list of 500 Greatest Albums. When the album was released it became a world-wide hit, topping the album charts in six countries. The album was certified 4 times platinum with sales of over four million units sold.
It is HIGHLY recommended.

You can play "Cosmo's Factory" HERE. (A free Spotify account is required).
174. Frank Zappa - Hot Rats (1969)

Label – Bizarre/Reprise
Producer – Frank Zappa
Art Direction – Cal Schenkel
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 47:05

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one  
1. "Peaches en Regalia" 3:38  
2. "Willie the Pimp" 9:25
3. "Son of Mr. Green Genes" 8:58

Side two
1. "Little Umbrellas" 3:09
2. "The Gumbo Variations" 12:55
3. "It Must Be a Camel" 5:15

“Hot Rats” is the second solo album by Frank Zappa after he disbanded the Mothers of Invention. It was released in October 1969. It is the last album of the 1001 to be released in the 1960’s To be honest, when I saw this was the selection of the day I as bummed out, knowing the previous Zappa records reviewed here were tedious listening at best. That’s what makes this such a fun endeavor however, because along the way you run into so pleasant surprises. This would be one of them.
Five of the six songs on the record are instrumental ("Willie the Pimp" features a short vocal by Captain Beefheart). Gone are the wild meanderings of Mr. Zappa and they are replaced with a focused, jazz-heavy, extensive soloing record. And make no mistake – love him or hate him, Frank could flat out PLAY the guitar! . "Willie the Pimp" (a blues –rock tune), "Son of Mr. Green Genes" (featuring both intricate horn charts and extended guitar solo sections), and "The Gumbo Variations" (complete with a tenor saxophone and violin solos) are showcases for his powerful and unconventional solo guitar performances and flat out jam!
The song "Peaches en Regalia" is widely recognized as a modern jazz fusion standard and is one of Zappa's best known tunes and became a concert staple of his for decades to come.
In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition, the album came #13 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". It is surprisingly HIGHLY recommended.

(“Hot Rats” is not available on Spotify)
173. Alexander Spence - Oar (1969)

Label – Columbia Producer – Alexander Spence
Art Direction – Lloyd Ziff
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 44:03

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side One
"Little Hands" – 3:44  
"Cripple Creek" – 2:16
"Diana" – 3:32
 "Margaret/Tiger Rug" – 2:17  
"Weighted Down (The Prison Song)" – 6:27
"War in Peace" – 4:05

Side Two  
"Broken Heart" – 3:29
 "All Come to Meet Her" – 2:04
 "Books of Moses" – 2:42
 "Dixie Peach Promenade (Yin for Yang)" – 2:53
"Lawrence of Euphoria" – 1:31
 "Grey/Afro" – 9:38

“Oar” is a 1969 album by the late Alexander “Skip” Spence. It is Spence's only solo album, and he plays all of the instruments. His claim to fame is being a one time member of Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Moby Grape. In June of 1968, Spence was admitted into the Psychiatric Ward of New York's Bellevue Hospital for a 6 month stint Bellevue following a delusion-driven attempt to attack Moby Grape bandmates Don Stevenson and Jerry Miller with a fire axe!! Oddly, it also signaled the beginning of his most prolific writing cycle. This is a strange record. The songs are pleasant enough – quiet, stark production, interesting lyrics – but his vocals are so bad it was tough to listen to the entire thing. Not an easy listen! Some of the more straightforward songs such as the love ballad "Broken Heart" or "Cripple Creek" are easily the stand out tracks, while the rest are full of unusual chord sequences and lyrical meanderings which make the record sound like it’s teetering on going out of control. Likely it all made perfect sense in his own head. Legend has it that Spence said that the sessions were intended by him to only be a demo, which he gave to his producer David Rubinson to get ideas on how to flesh out the tracks with full production, and instead the demo recordings were submitted for released by Columbia Records. When first released, the record was not promoted by Columbia Records and it was at the time the lowest-selling album in Columbia Records history, and was deleted from the Columbia catalogue within a year of its release. It is not recommended.
Listen to the record "Oar" here!


172. The Stooges - The Stooges (1969)

Label – Elektra
Producer – John Cale
Art Direction – William S. Harvey
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 34:33

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side A
969" – 4:05
"I Wanna Be Your Dog" – 3:09
"We Will Fall" – 10:18

Side B
"No Fun" – 5:14
"Real Cool Time" – 2:29
"Ann" – 2:59
"Not Right" – 2:51
"Little Doll" – 3:20

What a fun record. Never taking themselves too seriously, the Stooges unleashed this record on the world in August of 1969, and I’m sure listeners were wondering – what the hell is this!! The ragged fury of the guitar runs, the brutal drum pounding and the fierce solid bass thumps anchor the record allowing front man Iggy Pop to lay his vocals on the listener in a in your face manor from start to finish.
One this is for sure – you either like the Stooges – or you don’t! . The record is widely considered as one of the best punk albums of all time, and I would agree with that assessment.
The record peaked at number 106 on the Billboard album charts. Two songs, "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and "1969", were released as singles. In 2003, the album was ranked number 185 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.The same magazine included "1969" in their "100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time" list.
In March 2005, Q magazine placed "I Wanna Be Your Dog" at number 13 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks.
It is highly recommended.

171. Scott Walker - Scott 4 (1969)

Label – Philips
Producer – John Franz
Art Direction – John Constable
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 32:26

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one
1. "The Seventh Seal" 4:58
2. "On Your Own Again" 1:48
3. "The World's Strongest Man" 2:21
4. "Angels of Ashes" 4:22
5. "Boy Child" 3:38

Side two
1. "Hero of the War" 2:29
2. "The Old Man's Back Again (Dedicated to the Neo-Stalinist Regime)" 3:43
3. "Duchess" 2:51
4. "Get Behind Me" 3:14
5. "Rhymes of Goodbye" 3:04

“Scott 4” is actually Scott Walker's fifth solo album, and is the second one reviewed in the “1001” records. While I enjoyed the first record by him, this one just never did catch fire and I felt I was listening to a bad Tom Jones record. The things I liked about his other record are all missing here. The over the top production is gone in favor of a stripped-down approach. The great cover versions of Jacques Brel songs are gone replaced by all original material which frankly just isn’t that good.
The one standout track "The Seventh Seal" – is based upon the classic film by Ingmar Bergman and is easily the finest track on the record.
The record failed to chart, and I can easily see why. The main question is why was this selected as one of the 1001 Records?? It is not recommended.

170. Fairport Convention - Liege & Lief (1969)

Label – Island
Producer – Joe Boyd
Art Direction – R. Nicol; Fairpoint
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 41:01

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one

"Come All Ye" (Sandy Denny, Ashley Hutchings) - 4:55
"Reynardine" (traditional, arranged by Fairport) - 4:33
"Matty Groves" (trad., arr. Fairport) - 8:08
"Farewell, Farewell"[14] (Richard Thompson) - 2:38

Side two

"The Deserter" (trad., arr. Fairport) - 4:10
Medley (trad., arr. Dave Swarbrick) - 4:00
"The Lark in the Morning"
"Rakish Paddy"
"Foxhunters' Jig"
"Toss the Feathers"
"Tam Lin" (trad., arr. Swarbrick) - 7:20
"Crazy Man Michael" (Thompson, Swarbrick) - 4:35

Second Fairport Convention record reviewed – and the other one was just 7 reviews ago – and their fourth overall release. This record is considered to be THE definitive British folk-rock album. Again – I am not a big fan of folk music, and while pleasant enough, this record did not do much for me. I will say that I did like it better than “Unhalfbricking” however.
Sandy Denny’s vocals are very strong on this record and she is singing with great confidence which to me really makes the record as good as it is.
It was interesting to learn that the record was recorded shortly after a tour bus crash claimed the lives of original Fairport drummer Martin Lamble and Richard Thompson's girlfriend. Maybe that’s why all but 2 of the tracks are covers versus original compositions.
The record was moderately successful, peaking at number 17 on the British charts. In an audience vote at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2006, the album was voted Most Influential Folk Album of All Time. It is recommended with caution.

169. Leonard Cohen - Songs From A Room (1969)

Label - Columbia
Producer - Bob Johnson
Art Direction - Uncredited
Nationality - Canada
Running Time - 33:51

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one
"Bird on the Wire" – 3:28
"Story of Isaac" – 3:38
"A Bunch of Lonesome Heroes" – 3:18
"The Partisan" – 3:29
"Seems So Long Ago, Nancy" – 3:41
Side two
"The Old Revolution" – 4:50
"The Butcher" – 3:22
"You Know Who I Am" – 3:32
"Lady Midnight" – 3:01
"Tonight Will Be Fine" – 3:53

This is Leonard Cohen's second album – and second one reviewed for the 1001 albums. This record to me was a lot like the first one to me. I didn’t NOT like it, but his “vocals” have a lot to be desired. His song writing – or perhaps more fitting would be to call it his “poem writings set to music” are mostly fine, and really are the only reason to give this record a listen. Better yet – just get the lyric sheet and enjoy that – as it would be much better than the “songs” themselves.
The production is also kinda odd at times full of accent’s that just seem randomly thrown in. (Perhaps that IS the desired effect – I’m not too sure!). There is a harp that splashes into several tracks – kinda jolting. There is some interesting uses of an organ - and then there are some synthesizer runs that too seem just random and out of place and serve no purpose to enhance the tracks.
When released in 1969 it reached #63 on the Billboard list and #2 at UK charts. It is not recommended.

168. King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King (1969)

Label – Island
Producer – King Crimson
Art Direction – Barry Godber
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 44:01

Track Listing

Side one
"21st Century Schizoid Man" (Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield) – 7:21
including "Mirrors"
"I Talk to the Wind" (McDonald, Sinfield) – 6:05
"Epitaph" (Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield) – 8:47
including "March for No Reason" and "Tomorrow and Tomorrow"

Side two
"Moonchild" (Fripp, McDonald, Lake, Giles, Sinfield) – 12:13
including "The Dream" and "The Illusion"
"The Court of the Crimson King" (McDonald, Sinfield) – 9:25
including "The Return of the Fire Witch" and "The Dance of the Puppets"

“In the Court of the Crimson King” is the 1969 debut album by the British progressive rock group King Crimson. The album really consists of only five long songs, but additional titles were given to sub-sections of the songs to ensure that the group received the full amount of song writing royalties from their music publisher and record company making the record seem to have 12 songs! Since this album was recorded new rules have become standard in the music publishing business which take into account the length of the songs as well as the number of titles on an album.
The album was produced by the band themselves after initial sessions with The Moody Blues producer Tony Clarke failed to produce any spark. Unofficially it is generally considered to be Greg Lake that actually did most of the production work on the album, along with Robert Fripp.
This falls into the category of a band that I have always kinda known about but never actually heard. The album itself is a roller coaster ride. Loud passages followed by quieter moments dominate. The standout tracks are the classic and often covered "21st Century Schizoid Man." and the ballad "I Talk to the Wind." The title track, "In the Court of the Crimson King," completes the disc in grandiose fashion. While I didn’t love the record, I did not despise it either. It is however not something I would put on for repeated listening.
The iconic cover are was done by Barry Godber who died in February 1970 of a heart attack, shortly after the album's release. It would be his only painting.
The album reached #5 on the British charts, and is certified gold in the United States, and it is generally viewed as one of the strongest of the progressive rock genre.
In the Q & Mojo Classic Special Edition “The Story of Prog Rock”, the album came #4 in its list of "40 Cosmic Rock Albums". It was named as one of Classic Rock magazine's "50 Albums That Built Prog Rock"
It is recommended – with caution.


167. The Kinks - Arthur - Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire (1969)

Label – Pye
Producer – Ray Davies
Art Direction – The Kinks and Bob Laurie
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 47:43

Track Listing

Side 1

"Victoria" – 3:40
"Yes Sir, No Sir" – 3:46
"Some Mother's Son" – 3:25
"Drivin'" – 3:21
"Brainwashed" – 2:34
"Australia" – 6:46

Side 2

"Shangri-La" – 5:20
"Mr. Churchill Says" – 4:42
"She's Bought a Hat Like Princess Marina" – 3:07
"Young and Innocent Days" – 3:21
"Nothing to Say" – 3:08
"Arthur" – 5:27

“Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)” is the seventh studio album by English rock band The Kinks, and it was released in October 1969.

It is a concept album that originally was to be the soundtrack to a Granada Television play but the program was cancelled and never produced. The story revolves around Arthur Morgan, a carpet-layer, who was based on part by Ray Davies' brother-in-law Arthur Anning.

What a great record this is. The music is remarkable. This is an edgy and harder-rocking record with many great tracks. "Shangri-La" moves from English folk to hard rock, "Drivin'" has a nice lazy feel to it, "Young and Innocent Days" is a tender ballad, "Some Mother's Son" is an antiwar song, and "Victoria" and "Arthur" both just rock! The album has been called “one of the most effective concept albums in rock history, as well as one of the best and most influential British pop records of its era”, and it is hard to disagree with that statement. I personally have grown a new appreciation for the Kings in the records I have heard for the 1001 reviews. They were quite simply a great band.

The album, although not very successful commercially, was a return to the charts in the US for The Kinks with the lead single from the record, "Victoria", peaking at number 62. The album itself reached number 50 on the Record World charts, and number 105 on Billboard, their highest position since 1965. It failed to chart in Britain. The tracks "Drivin'" and "Shangri-La", were released as singles in the UK, but failed to chart. The album was critically acclaimed at the time of release, especially in the US rock press, but reception in the UK was not as warm, although reviews were still generally positive. Switch magazine included Arthur on their "100 Best Albums of the 20th Century" in 1999, and in 2003 Mojo featured the album on their list of the "Top 50 Most Eccentric Albums".

It is highly recommended.

166. The Grateful Dead - Live/Dead (1969)

Label – Warner Brothers
Producer – Betty Cantor and Bob Mattews
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 75:07

Track Listing

Side one
"Dark Star" (Garcia, Hart, Kreutzmann, Lesh, McKernan, Weir, Robert Hunter) – 23:18
Side two
"St. Stephen" (Garcia, Lesh, Hunter) – 6:31
"The Eleven" (Lesh, Hunter) – 9:18
Side three
"Turn On Your Love Light" (Joseph Scott, Deadric Malone) – 15:05
Side four
"Death Don't Have No Mercy" (Reverend Gary Davis) – 10:28
"Feedback" (Constanten, Garcia, Hart, Kreutzman, Lesh, McKernan, Weir) – 7:49
"And We Bid You Goodnight" (Traditional, arr. by Grateful Dead) – 0:35

This is the only Grateful Dead record on the 1001 list. It was their fourth release and was also their first live album released by the San Francisco-based band, something that soon became to define who the band were.
Admittedly I am not a big fan of the Dead, but I did enjoy listening to this record.
Unlike in later years, in early 1969 the Dead's set lists varied very little, but rather then presenting one concert, the record was recorded over a series of live concerts to pick out the best performances. The sidelong epic and future Deadhead anthem "Dark Star" is the standout track with the band improvising widely within the songs' simple framework. It also became the cornerstone of what the band are ultimately know for, being a jam band. With no boundaries of a short, self-contained pop song they were free to experiment as much as they liked. The same is true of the seven remaining titles on Live/Dead. Each one has a basic structure, with lots of room for the band to play whatever comes to mind.
The second ‘record’ begins with a cover of "(Turn on Your) Lovelight," which is another standout tracks.
The album was a financial success for the band in the eyes of their label, Warner Brothers even though on the cover art the word "Dead" fills the back cover, but the top part of the word "Dead" spells "acid", which later pressings removed.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 244 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time
As it is a faithfully aural snapshot of what the Grateful Dead were all about, “Live/Dead” is recommended.

165. Isaac Hayes - Hot Buttered Soul (1969)

Label – Stax
Producer – Al Bell, Allen Jones and Marvell Thomas
Art Direction – Honeya Thompson
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 45:24

Track Listing

Side one

"Walk On By" (Burt Bacharach, Hal David) – 12:03
"Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" (Isaac Hayes, Alvertis Isbell) – 9:38

Side two

"One Woman" (Charles Chalmers, Sandra Rhodes) – 5:10
"By the Time I Get to Phoenix" (Jimmy Webb) – 18:42

“Hot Buttered Soul” was Isaac Hayes' second record. Released in 1969, it is firmly planted as a landmark release in soul music, as it set the precedent for how soul would evolve in the early '70s and beyond.
There are only 4 songs on the record, therefore each track is an epic. The album begins with a cover of the Bacharach/David track "Walk On By." Second is "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic", (how do you SAY that??) which is a uptempo funky song complete with wah-wah guitars and rollicking rolling pianos. "One Woman", the shortest track at just over five minutes, is followed by an extended version of the Jimmy Webb country classic “By the Time I Get to Phoenix". Not that it’s really recognizable. It has an 8 minute spoken introduction, then the song slowly builds to a climax of horns, strings, organs and vocals. I personally would have preferred more focused tracks than the meandering lengthy ones as you easily find your mind drifting away from the music.
Isaac Hayes did record some better records; (“Black Moses”, “Shaft”) but “Hot Buttered Soul” is that seminal record that soul music needed to set the standards.
It is recommended.

164. Youngbloods – Elephant Mountain (1969)

Label – RCA
Producer – Bob Cullen and Charles E. Daniels
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 39:07

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one
"Darkness, Darkness" – 3:51
"Smug" – 2:13
"On Sir Francis Drake" – 6:44
"Sunlight" – 3:07
"Double Sunlight" – 0:41
"Beautiful" – 3:49
"Turn It Over" – 0:15
Side two
"Rain Song (Don't Let the Rain Bring You Down)" – 3:13
"Trillium" – 3:08
"Quicksand" – 2:41
"Black Mountain Breakdown" – 0:40
"Sham" – 2:44
"Ride the Wind" – 6:37

What an interesting listen! “Elephant Mountain” was the Youngbloods' third record.
It’s actually kind of hard to classify this record. It’s edgy and electric, it’s jazzy, it’s folky, and it’s really good!

The Youngbloods are one of those bands that I always though of as a ‘one hit wonder’ band with "Get Together", as that is all I have ever heard by them, so what a treat this record turned out to be. It DOES have some bits of filler. There are disposable short snippets and vignettes sprinkled throughout the record that help fill up the album, but there are some fine tracks on here. "Darkness, Darkness", "Sunlight", "Ride the Wind," "Smug" and "Beautiful" are all good listening! (“Darkness, Darkness” by the way I was familiar with as Robert Plant covered this track on his “Dreamland” record in 2002). "Trillium" is a jam that shows the band's improvisational interaction. "Sham" is a straightforward rocker and "Ride the Wind" has a slightly Latin-flavored melody to it. There is a lot going on in a mere 39 minutes!

It is highly recommended.

163. Fairport Convention - Unhalfbricking (1969)

Label – Island
Producer – Joe Boyd, Simon Nicol & Fairport Convention
Art Direction – Diogenic Attempts
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 39:45

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one
"Genesis Hall" (Richard Thompson) – 3:41
"Si Tu Dois Partir" (Bob Dylan) – 2:25
"Autopsy" (Sandy Denny) – 4:27
"A Sailor's Life" (traditional, arranged by Denny, Thompson, Simon Nicol, Ashley Hutchings, Martin Lamble) – 11:20

Side two
"Cajun Woman" (Thompson) – 2:45
"Who Knows Where the Time Goes?" (Denny) – 5:13
"Percy's Song" (Dylan) – 6:55
"Million Dollar Bash" (Dylan) – 2:56

“Unhalfbricking” was the third album by the British folk rock band Fairport Convention, and it was released in 1969. This is another one of those bands that I see mentioned from time to time – mainly because Richard Thompson was a member who went onto greater things – but a band that I had never really heard before. Maybe even ever! I’m not a huge fan of folk rock, so I really didn’t care a whole lot for it, but I didn’t hate it either.

It’s kind of an odd mixture with obscure American folk-rock songs, some original material, and three at the time unreleased Bob Dylan songs. Pleasant enough, but not too memorable. Their 11-minute take on the traditional song "A Sailor's Life," is pretty remarkable, and I learned it was recorded in just one take. That song alone is considered pivotal in the development of English folk rock music.
The album reaching number 12 in the UK album chart, and the single release, "Si Tu Dois Partir", achieved number 21 in the UK singles chart.
In 2004 Q magazine placed “Unhalfbricking” at number 41 in its list of the 50 Greatest British Albums Ever, and in the same year The Observer, describing it as "a thoroughly English masterpiece",listed it at number 27 in its Top 100 British Albums. The track, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?”, was voted "Favourite Folk Track Of All Time" by listeners in the Radio 2 Folk Awards 2007.
It is recommended with caution

162. Chicago - Chicago Transit Authority (1969)

Label – Columbia
Producer – James William Guercio
Art Direction – Maria Villar
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 76:30

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Side one
1. "Introduction" (Terry Kath) – 6:35
2. "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" (Robert Lamm) – 4:35
3. "Beginnings" (Robert Lamm) – 7:54
Side two
4. "Questions 67 and 68" (Robert Lamm) – 5:03
5. "Listen" (Robert Lamm) – 3:22
6. "Poem 58" (Robert Lamm) – 8:35
Side three
7. "Free Form Guitar" (Terry Kath) – 6:47
8. "South California Purples" (Robert Lamm) – 6:11
9. "I'm a Man" (Steve Winwood/James Miller) – 7:43
Side four
10. "Prologue" (James William Guercio) – 0:58
11. "Someday" (James Pankow/Robert Lamm) – 4:11
12. "Liberation" (James Pankow) – 14:38

This is the debut record by Chicago – or as they were known at the time – the Chicago Transit Authority. (sometimes informally referred to simply as "CTA"). It is a double album which is rare for a debut release. By today’s standards the material would fit nicely on 1 CD – but a debut record with enough material to fill out a double-disc affair is just unheard of these days. In fact seeing as the band had no track record, their label – Columbia, only agreed to the double lp if the group would take a royalty cut.

I am of course familiar with Chicago and their ‘hits’, but past that I have not heard anything by them. This is an interesting record that actually sounds like it could have been made by two entirely different bands.

On the one hand there is a rock & roll quartet pounding out heavy guitar wailing rock and roll, and then there is the brass trio that augment the pop tracks with as jazz fusion rock. The rock tracks were a surprise as this is not what you think of when you think of Chicago. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed the material from this record that scored in the singles charts the most. Songs such as "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?," "Beginnings," "Questions 67 and 68," and the only cover on the project, Steve Winwood's "I'm a Man", it’s what feels right and comfortable for Chicago. Special mention goes out to “Poem 58” which has an exceptional lead guitar solo.

The record is not without it’s faults however. The 15-plus minute free for all "Liberation" and the meandering experimental avant-garde "Free Form Guitar" – which is exactly as the title suggests, left a lot to be desired.

Upon it’s release the record became an immediate hit, reaching #17 in the US and #9 in the UK. Oddly, the songs from the record that were released as singles initially failed to produce any hits. It wasn’t until the success of some of their later albums later in 1970 and 1971, did they prove to be hits! The album itself stayed on the charts for a then-record 171 weeks, and was certified gold , and has since gone double platinum. It is the only record by Chicago on the 1001 list.
It is recommended.

161. Sly Tim Buckley - Happy Sad (1969)

Label – Elektra
Producer – Zal Yanovsky and Jerry Yester
Art Direction – William S. Harvey
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 44:43

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Strange Feeling
2. Buzzin' Fly
3. Love From Room 109 At The Islander
4. Dream Letter
5. Gypsy Woman
6. Sing A Song For You

“Happy Sad” is the third album by singer-songwriter Tim Buckley and the second on in the 1001 list. It is a very low key, quiet record. It has almost an Unplugged feeling about it. I didn’t like this record as much as I did the previous on (“Goodbye And Hello”) but it’s also a different type of record. This is more of a mellow almost jazzy Tim Buckley that reminded me more of Fred Neil then it did Tim’s other works.
There are only 6 tracks, but several are really lengthy and that’s the appeal of some of the tracks. They are acoustic based, intense, complex songs that build up over the course of the tracks. Sparse minimal production – one could say UNDER production by Zal Yanovsky and Jerry Yester adds to the intoxicating mood. The tracks just suck you in.
“Happy Sad” was released at the height of his popularity, and was therefore his highest charting album, reaching #81 in the US Pop albums chart.
It is recommended.

160. Sly and The Family Stone - Stand! (1969)

Label – Epic
Producer – Sly Stone
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 41:40

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Stand!
2. Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey
3. I Want To Take You Higher
4. Somebody's Watching You
5. Sing A Simple Song
6. Everyday People
7. Sex Machine
8. You Can Make It If You Try

“Stand!” was the 4rth studio record by Sly & the Family Stone, and is easily the crown achievement in his recorded works. I had never heard this record before, but of course had heard the ‘big three’ tracks on the record – “Stand!”; “I Want To Take You Higher” and “Everyday People” – which was a number-one hit single in the United States by the time of the album's release. Those songs are so ingrained in the musical landscape it’s hard to judge the songs around it, but overall I liked the record. The ‘big three’ are the best tracks, and “Sing A Simple Song” is also a great track. Sadly, the other half of the record is not so great. The jam tracks ("Don't Call Me Nigger, Whitey," "Sex Machine") are overblown, guideless and dated, but they are nestled in between such fantastic tracks that it hardly seems to matter. The music is infectious, powerful and the harmonies are outstanding.
The record went on to sell over three million copies, reaching number thirteen on the Billboard 200 and became one of the most successful albums of the 1960s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 118 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is recommended.

159. The Temptations - Cloud Nine (1969)

Label – Motown
Producer – Norman Whitfield
Art Direction – Ken Kim
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 34:41

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Cloud 9
2. I Heard It Through The Grapevine
3. Runaway Child Running Wild
4. Love Is A Hurtin' Thing
5. Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)
6. Why Did She Have To Leave Me (Why Did She Have To Go)
7. I Need Your Lovin'
8. Don't Let Him Take Your Love From Me
9. I Gotta Find A Way (To Get You Back)
10. Gonna Keep On Tryin' Till I Win Your Love

I admit, never been much of a Temptations fan, and other then the ‘classic’ tracks by them I am not familiar with any other of their recorded output. This record couldn’t be more different than the last several records reviewed. (Led Zeppelin, MC5).
I went in expecting to hear a great soul record, but turns out, this is the record that they decided to change up their sound, and entered what is reffered to as their “psychedelic soul" period.
I was not blown away by this record, but I didn’t despise it either. It lays somewhere in between. What’s good is REALLY good (Hey Girl) and what’s bad is REALLY bad (Love Is A Hurtin’ Thing).
You can tell right from the start of the title track, complete with a funky soul and it’s psychedelic frenzy this was going to be very different than what I had expected. I can only imagine it did the same to their fans back in 1969 when the record was first released.
There is a nine minute track (Run Away Child, Running Wild) that while has a nice groove, went on way too long.
Not surprisingly, the best tracks – the already mentioned “Hey Girl” along with “ I Need Your Lovin’” – are in the classic ‘business as usual’ Temptations style. It these wildly different styles of music that make this an uneven effort and the record has an odd flow about it.
It was well received, and the album went to number four on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart and the group received their first Grammy Award in 1969. "Cloud Nine" was a number six hit on the US pop singles chart, and a number two hit on the US R&B singles chart, and won Motown Records its first Grammy Award, for Best Rhythm & Blues Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental. The album's second single, and edited version of "Run Away Child, Running Wild", was a number-one hit on the US R&B singles chart, and a number six hit on the US pop chart.

It is recommended, with caution.

158. MC5 - Kick Out The Jams (1969)

Label – Elektra
Producer – Bruce Botnick and Jac Holzman
Art Direction – William S. Harvey
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 36:17

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Ramblin' Rose
2. Kick Out The Jams
3. Come Together
4. Rocket Reducer No 62
5. Borderline
6. Motor City Is Burning
7. I Want You Right Now
8. Starship

“Kick Out the Jams” is the debut album by Detroit’s MC5. The decision was made that a studio record could not adequately capture there sound and energy, so it was recorded live at Detroit's Grande Ballroom over two nights of Halloween 1968.
This is in all actually a tedious record to listen to. First of all Brother J.C. Crawford's rambling introductions while entertaining to a point, get old quickly and Rob Tyner's ‘singing’ voice has a lot to be desired. Their material also isn’t that great and the playing is ragged, many times out of tune and really rough. That said, this record is more about attitude and power – easily ranks up there as likely the most energetic live album ever made, refuses to be played quietly and simply MUST be heard.
There is of course the classic "Kick Out the Jams" with the controversial opening “kick out the jams mother f%$kers” that garnered most of the attention upon release, and actually cause the record to be banned from many retail stores, and eventually led to the band being dropped by Elektra records. This track is their lasting statement, and has inspired a ton of cover versions over the years. (Blue Öyster Cult’s version on their 1978 live album ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ comes immediately to mind).
The LP peaked at #30 on the Billboard album charts with and edited version of the title track peaking at #82 in the Hot 100. In 2003, the album was ranked number 294 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. (Funnily enough, original Rolling Stone legendary reviewer Lester Bangs didn’t like the record at all calling it "ridiculous, overbearing, and pretentious") In March 2005, Q magazine placed the song "Kick Out the Jams" at number 39 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks. The same track was named the 65th-best hard rock song of all time by VH1.
It is recommended – with caution.

157. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II (1969)

Label – Atlantic
Producer – Jimmy Page
Art Direction – David Juniper
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 41:21

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Whole Lotta Love
2. What Is And What Should Never Be
3. Lemon Song
4. Thank You
5. Heartbreaker
6. Livin' Lovin' Maid (She's Just a Woman)
7. Ramble On
8. Moby Dick
9. Bring It On Home

This was Led Zeppelin’s second album unleashed onto the world in October of 1969. Proof positive that the debut record was no fluke, they upped the anti with this effort big time. Chock full of blues and folk music, it also highlights the band's changing musical style of blues-derived material mixed in with guitar power riffage based songs. It is commonly know as the heaviest of all of Led Zeppelin’s records. The overall sound of the album IS heavy and hard, brutal, direct and to the point.
It was quickly recorded in between bouts of touring in the US and UK. Most of the tracks are re-worked blues and rock tracks that were being featured in the bands live set lists.
The songs "Whole Lotta Love," "The Lemon Song," and "Bring It on Home" are all rooted in classic blues songs.
Upon release, the album was a HUGE seller and reached number one in both the United Kingdom and United States. On 15 November 1999, it was certified 12x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for sales in excess of 12 million copies. "Whole Lotta Love" was released as a single and reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1970.
Since it was released, “Led Zeppelin II” has been acknowledged as one of the most influential albums in all of rock music. .In 1989, Spin magazine ranked the album number 5 on its list of The 25 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2000, Q magazine placed Led Zeppelin II at number 37 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 75 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is of course HIGHLY recommended.

156. The Band - The Band (1969)

Label – Capitol
Producer – The Band and John Simon
Art Direction – Bob Cato
Nationality – Canada / USA
Running Time – 43:54

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Across The Great Divide
2. Rag Mama Rag
3. Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
4. When You Awake
5. Up On Cripple Creek
6. Whispering Pines
7. Jemima Surrender
8. Rockin' Chair
9. Lookout Cleveland
10. Jawbone
11. Unfaithful Servant
12. King Harvest (Has Surely Come)

“The Band” is the second record by the group The Band, and was released in late September of 1969. It is also known as the “The Brown Album”, in the spirit of the Beatles' The White Album. Like their debut record, this is a fine record. This one however reveals how the group were gelling as a musical unit, and with writing – or co-writing all 12 songs, Robbie Robertson established himself as a song writing force to be dealt with. His songs tell the stories based on a variety of different types of people. On "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)" it’s the story of a union worker, on "Rockin' Chair" it’s a retired sailor, and of course, Virgil Cane – a Confederate civil war observer in "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
Like it’s predecessor, the musical arrangements here are delivered in a loose yet structured, confident style, which lends to a appeal of the music. It makes you believe that The Band lived the life that their music canvas paints, and that they are from 19th century rural Southern life, although the members are Canadian..
When released, “The Band” peaked at #9 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. The album includes many of The Band's best-known and critically acclaimed songs. The singles released from the lp - "Rag Mama Rag" and "Up on Cripple Creek" - peaked on the Pop Singles chart at #57 and #25 respectively. Although not picked as a single, "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", has become a classic. Rolling Stone named it the 245th greatest song of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 45 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 1998 Q magazine readers voted The Band the 76th greatest album of all time. TIME magazine included it in their unranked 2006 list of the 100 greatest albums. In 2009, the album was preserved into the National Recording Registry because the album was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important, and/or informs or reflects life in the United States."
It is highly recommended.

155. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969)

Label – Atlantic
Producer – Jimmy Page
Art Direction – George Hardie
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 44:46

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Good Times Bad Times
2. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
3. You Shook Me
4. Dazed And Confused
5. Your Time Is Gonna Come
6. Black Mountain Side
7. Communication Breakdown
8. I Can't Quit You Baby
9. How Many More Times

At true classic. This is of course Led Zeppelin’s debut record released in early January 1969. It is widely regarded as marking a significant turning point in the evolution of what we now consider hard rock and heavy metal. To me, it’s actually more like an incredible blending of blues and rock.
“Led Zeppelin 1” (as it is generally called) is an lp consisting of powerful guitar riffs from Jimmy Page with a backdrop of simple, memorable songs belted out by Robert Plant and held together by the pounding drum and bass rhythms of John Bonham and John Paul Jones respectively. There is however an emphasis on subtlety. Not a barrage of guitar fills and a wall of noise, it’s more like a painted masterpiece with subtle shading and textures, filling the music canvas - but leaving spaces that are filled with alternating tempos and multi-layered stereo panning passages.
All of the tracks here could be labeled as ‘stand out’ tracks, and the record plays like a ‘best of’! There is the extended psychedelic blues of "Dazed and Confused," "You Shook Me," and "I Can't Quit You Baby", the acoustic driven "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" which shifts from folk to rock. "Good Times Bad Times" and "How Many More Times" have groovy, bluesy shuffles with the latter turning out into a full blown jam that I dare you to sit still through! Then there’s "Your Time Is Gonna Come", almost what could be considered a anthem rocker with a sing along chorus, and "Communication Breakdown" a balls out wild rocker. And this is their debut record!
The album was very commercially successful. Within two months of its release the album had reached Billboard's Top 10. It stayed on the Billboard chart for 73 weeks and held a 79-week run on the British charts.
In 2003, VH1 named “Led Zeppelin” the 44th greatest album of all time, while Rolling Stone ranked it 29th on the magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is HIGHLY recommended.

154.Quicksilver Messenger Service - Happy Trails (1969)

Label – Capitol
Producer – Uncredited
Art Direction – George Hunter
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 50:08

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Who Do You Love
2. When You Love
3. Where You Love
4. How Do You Love
5. Which Do You Love
6. Who Do You Love
7. Mona
8. Maiden Of The Cancer Moon
9. Calvary
10. Happy Trails

“Happy Trails” was the second album of the band Quicksilver Messenger Service, and turned out to be the last one with all the original band members. This falls under the category ‘band I had heard of, but never had listened to any of their music before’. What a JAMMING record this was!! I enjoyed this record immensely, and played it several times in a row!
The album, which was recorded live recorded at the Fillmore East and at the Fillmore West, is basically just two songs, Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?" and "Mona," with extended jam sections each given a specific track name. The first ‘side’ is "Who Do You Love?" split into an beginning and ending segment, with four distinct sections for the respective band members to show their stuff. ‘Side’ two - "Mona" and its companion piece "Calvary," continue in the same fashion. It all comes to a crashing end with a brief cover of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans' "Happy Trails," – which lends the album it’s title!
The playing is just top notch and it’s easy to see why QMS was considered the equals of Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead in the early beginnings of the psychedelic music genre coming out of the Bay area in the late 60’s. Although ultimately not as commercially successful as those bands, this record proves that they were, for a time, their equals.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 189 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is HIGHLY recommended.

153. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground (1969) (Third Album)

Label – MGM
Producer – The Velvet Underground
Art Direction – Dick Smith
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 43:59

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Candy Says
2. What Goes On
3. Some Kinda Love
4. Pale Blue Eyes
5. Jesus
6. Beginning To See The Light
7. I'm Set Free
8. That's The Story Of My Life
9. The Murder Mystery
10. After Hours

I must admit, when I saw this record getting closer and closer I was really dreading listening to it. After all, the previous two Velvet Underground records are just dreadful, and I really expected the same with this one. I was VERY surprised. That said – it’s still not a very good record, it’s just not downright awful like the previous ones. Those records tested the boundaries of how much out of tune noise/music could be committed to tape in what has been described as a drug fueled speed party, where as this record – the third album by the group - is really pretty sparse and – well – quiet.
Most of this is likely due to the departure of John Cale who spearheaded the earlier records with Andy Warhol’s strong influence, and here Lou Reed takes over as the main band contributor. There are actually some SONGS on this record with melodies with "Pale Blue Eyes," and "That’s The Story Of My Life" standing out. There is still some really bad tracks here, "The Murder Mystery" - an 8 minute piece that mixes and matches four separate poetic narratives. Just dreadful and tedious listening.
In 2003, for reasons lost on me, the album was ranked number 314 on Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list.
Again – I didn’t loath this record as I did their others, which was very surprising, and compared to those records this is a masterpiece – but I do NOT recommend it.

#152. Elvis Presley - From Elvis in Memphis (1969)

Label – RCA
Producer – Chips Moman
Art Direction – Jacqueline Murphy
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 37:08

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Wearin' That Loved On Look
2. Only The Strong Survive
3. I'll Hold You In My Heart (Till I Can Hold You In My Arms)
4. Long Black Limousine
5. It Keeps Right On Hurtin'
6. I'm Movin' On
7. Power Of My Love
8. Gentle On My Mind
9. After Loving You
10. True Love Travels On A Gravel Road
11. Any Day Now
12. In The Ghetto

This is perhaps Elvis at his finest! (it is at least on par with his RCA debut LP from early 1956). When “From Elvis in Memphis” was released in June 1969. it was the thirty-fifth album by Elvis Presley, released on RCA!! To be fair – the last six years he had been making dreadful soundtrack albums and thankfully - none of this record resembled any of that less than stellar material the King had been cutting.
Relying only on producer Chips Moman to shape the project, and recording at American Sound Studio in Memphis, the results were stunning, and what resulted is one of the greatest soul albums ever recorded. There are some shifts into country, pop, and blues as well, but Elvis delivers the material with a fire that had been missing since he was drafted into the Army. It didn’t hurt that he's backed by the best playing and backup singing of the era.
These sessions were very productive and non album tracks produced include the singles "Don't Cry Daddy," "Kentucky Rain" and the smash "Suspicious Minds".
The single that was on the record - "In the Ghetto," released as the lead single two months before the album hit the stores, went to #3 on the singles chart, his first top ten single since 1965.
The record when releases peaked at #13 on the Billboard 200, and has been certified a gold album by the RIAA. In 2003, the album was ranked number 190 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is HIGHLY recommended.

#151. Dusty Springfield - Dusty In Memphis (1969)
Label – Phillips
Producer – Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin and Jerry Wexler
Art Direction – Haig Adishian
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 33:31

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Just A Little Lovin'
2. So Much Love
3. Son Of A Preacher Man
4. I Don't Want To Hear It Anymore
5. Don't Forget About Me
6. Breakfast In Bed
7. Just One Smile
8. The Windmills Of Your Mind
9. In The Land Of Make Believe
10. No Easy Way Down
11. I Can't Make It Alone

This is a fine record. This is one of those records that I always read about, and how it was a classic. Sometimes when I actually get around to listening to some of these ‘classics’ I wonder if memories distort or inflate the quality of recordings that have for one reason or another been labeled “classics”. In the case they are warranted. This set has definitive numbers in "Son of a Preacher Man," "Breakfast in Bed," and "Just a Little Lovin'" , but I enjoyed the entire record. It's truly a disc deserving of its classic status.
At the time Dusty Springfield was hoping to give her career a much needed boost, and although she had sung R&B tracks before, this was her first released of an entire album solely of R&B songs. “Dusty in Memphis” was produced by legendary producers Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd. With that stable of producers who at the time had their pick of material from the top writers of the day, and the use of the finest session musicians in the Memphis area, it was hard not miss with this lp.
The standout track of the album is of course "Son of a Preacher Man". Released as a single, it reached #10 in the United Kingdom, United States and internationally. The Billboard year end chart placed the single at #96. It placed #77 among The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years by the writers of the Rolling Stone magazine in 1987, and #43 of the Greatest Singles of All Time by the writers of New Musical Express in 2002.
“Dusty In Memphis” is frequently included in lists of the greatest albums of all time, and is highly recommended.

150. Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left (1969)
Label – Hannibal
Producer – Joe Boyd
Art Direction – Cally
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 41:41
Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Time Has Told Me
2. River Man
3. Three Hours
4. Day Is Done
5. Way To Blue
6. Cello Song
7. Thoughts Of Mary Jane
8. Man In A Shed
9. Fruit Tree
10. Saturday Sun
The story behind this record was sadly more interesting than the record itself. “Five Leaves Left” was the first of only three albums recorded by British folk musician Nick Drake. For musical backing Drake was accompanied by members of the folk Fairport Convention and Pentangle. Even with the folk credentials, this record failed miserably when it was released.
To me, the record was ok – but nothing exciting, and mid way through I was actually quite bored with it. . Understatement is the key to his songs, and his vocals have a weariness about them and grew tiresome as well.
The album was poorly marketed and supported when it was released. Reviews were few and lukewarm. It sold very poorly – only 5000 copies or so. In fact, none of the three albums he recorded sold more than 5,000 copies on their initial release. Drake's work has gradually achieved wider notice and recognition and he now ranks among the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years. “Cello Song” from this record was used in a car commercial in the late 90’s, and consequently Nick Drake sold more records in a few weeks then he had in the previous 30 years!
Five Leaves Left was ranked 85th in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 283 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. NME ranked #74 in NME's list of the 'Greatest Albums Of All Time.' Q Magazine ranked it one of the best Folk Albums of All Time.
I do not however recommend it.

149. Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed (1969)
Label – Decca
Producer – Jimmy Miller
Art Direction – Robert Brownjohn and Victor Kahn
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 43:26

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Gimme Shelter
2. Love In Vain
3. Country Honk
4. Live With Me
5. Let It Bleed
6. Midnight Rambler
7. You Got The Silver
8. Monkey Man
9. You Can’t Always Get What You Want

This is an awesome record. “Let It Bleed”, is the eighth studio record by The Rolling Stones, and recorded and released while the band was in transition from Brian Jones (he plays on 2 tracks, autoharp on "You Got the Silver" and percussion on "Midnight Rambler" – and died several months before its release) to replacement guitarist Mick Taylor (who also plays on just two songs, "Country Honk" and "Live With Me"). It has a great sound and a great vibe about it. It’s dark, slightly demonic, rocking, sexual. It’s the Rolling Stones in the midst of their most creative peak.
The album contains many songs that rank among their very best. “Gimme Shelter," (with that “shimmering” guitar line) “Midnight Rambler" (has the harmonica EVER been used better in rock and roll?) and the stunning "You Can't Always Get What You Want," (complete with horns and the children’s choir!), the record is like a greatest hits. Some tracks that were not hits such as "You Got the Silver" (Keith Richards' first solo lead vocal – he had shared vocal duties with Mick Jagger on "Connection", "Something Happened to Me Yesterday", and "Salt of the Earth") and the cover of Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain," are just as good! Acoustic down-home blues. Just fantastic.
It’s not all as great. There is some filler. "Monkey Man" and a countrified remake of "Honky Tonk Woman" titled "Country Honk" are forgettable.
The album has been called “a great summing up of the dark underbelly of the 1960s” and is the second of the Stones' run of four studio LPs that are generally regarded as among their greatest achievements artistically. (The other three albums are Beggars Banquet (1968), Sticky Fingers (1971), and Exile on Main Street (1972). Released in December, it reached #1 in the UK and #3 in the US, where it eventually went double platinum. In 1998 Q magazine readers voted it 69th greatest album of all time, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at #28 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001, the TV network VH1 placed it at #24 on their best album survey. In 2003, it was listed as #32 on the List of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Even the cover is iconic, and was among the ten chosen by the Royal Mail for a set of "Classic Album Cover" postage stamps issued in January 2010.
It is HIGHLY recommended.

148. Pentangle - Basket Of Light (1969)
Label – Transatlantic
Producer – Shel Talmy
Art Direction – Diogenic Attempts
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 41:04

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Light Flight
2. Once I Had A Sweetheart
3. Springtime Promises
4. Lyke Wake Dirge
5. Train Song
6. Hunting Song
7. Sally Go Round The Roses
8. Cuckoo
9. House Carpenter

Here is one of those bands that I had never heard of before, so didn’t know what to expect when I began playing, which can be exciting. Turns out they do traditional folk music. Not very exciting. Also there was actually very little to be found on the internet about this record.
Upon release this record did reach the Top Five in the U.K. largely on the basis of the single "Light Flight" (which made it to a respectable #43 in the charts) which was being used at the time as the theme from BBC1's first color drama series “Take Three Girls”.
It’s just not my kind of music, and I did not enjoy listening to this record one bit. No doubt these folks are talented and masters of their respective instruments, and if you like traditional folk music, you might wanna give it a listen, I however do NOT recommend this record.

147. Bee Gees - Odessa (1969)
Label – Polydor
Producer – Robert Stigwood
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – Australia/UK
Running Time – 63:36

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Odessa (City On The Black Sea)
2. You'll Never See My Face Again
3. Black Diamond
4. Marley Purt Drive
5. Edison
6. Melody Fair
7. Suddenly
8. Whisper Whisper
9. Lamplight
10. Sound Of Love
11. Give Your Best
12. Seven Seas Symphony
13. I Laugh In Your Face
14. Never Say Never Again
15. First Of May
16. British Opera

“Odessa” is the Bee Gees seventh album, and their first released as a double LP. What an interesting listen. Those looking for the 1970’s disco Bee Gees need to look elsewhere, this is the 1960’s rock Bee Gees.
By 1968 when recording commenced, the Bee Gee’s had already been a group for almost 6 years and the cracks began to show within the group. Brother Robin felt that manager and producer Robert Stigwood had begun to favour Brother Barry as the ‘frontman’ of the group, and when the record was finally completed, Stigwood chose a Barry track as the lead single (“First of May”) as opposed to the Robin led "Lamplight". This was the final straw which led to Robin Gibb leaving the group in late 1968 before the lp was released. (He would of course rejoin the group several years later).
Initially the idea was to record a concept record based on the mythical loss of HMS Veronica in 1899. Working with the title of “Masterpeace” and then “The American Opera” it eventually evolved into the double-album “Odessa”. While a few tracks retain the initial concept (such as “Edison” and the title track) most racks have little if anything to do with the concept and the record does not tell any story of any kind.
Many critics felt this was the best Bee Gees record of the 60’s, and it’s a fine record with its rocking title track, the country-flavored "Marley Purt Drive" and "Give Your Best", plus some ballads such as "Melody Fair" and "First Of May" which was the only single from the album. (It was a minor hit.) The group members disagree (mostly for personal reasons I would assume) and have called the record a ‘disaster’ and ‘over-bloated’ with three heavily orchestrated instrumentals, (it was later reissued in 1976 as an edited single-disc album) and was a record their manager and the record label wanted them to do, rather then the record they would have liked to made. In fact, as the seventh album in four years – Barry Gibb stated the band actually would have preferred to just take a break – which they did for a year and a half after recording “Odessa”.
The album was originally packaged in a red flocked felt cover with gold lettering on front and back and an elaborate background painting for the gatefold interior. Due to the high cost of production, as well as allergic reactions among workers during assembly, this design was discontinued.
It is recommended.

146. Miles Davis - In A Silent Way (1969)
Label – Columbia
Producer – Teo Macero
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 37:55

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Shhh/Peaceful
2. In A Silent Way/It's About That Time

Anyone who follows my reviews knows, I’m not a very big jazz music fan, and every jazz record I’ve reviewed I had never heard before. That said – this is the third Miles Davis record in the 1001 list, and after really enjoying the first two I was actually looking forward to this one. Maybe that’s where I went wrong.
This recording sounded to me very disjointed, unfocused and at times almost unbearable to listen to. It ended up being one of those records where I’m thinking man I wish this one would end. Never a good sign. I always read up on the record I’m listening to, as I like to see who played on them, get little tidbits to share here, and to find out chart performances, etc. This time out it helped me understand just WHY the recording seemed disjointed and unfocused. “In A Silent Way” was actually one long recording session (February 18, 1969) and then producer Teo Macero, selected certain bits at random to produce the album! It shows. There is no melodies to follow, not even a melodic frame. There are only vamps and extended meandering solos, with the grooves layered on top of one another in disconnected passages. Gone are the smooth sounds of “Birth of Cool” that’s for sure.
For those interested, In 2001 the complete sessions were eventually released. The recording began Miles Davis’ "electric"period, and “In a Silent Way” has been regarded by many as Davis's first fusion recording. When released critics didn’t know what to make of it, but time has treated it well as now it is regarded as one of Davis's greatest and most influential works. I would disagree. I don’t claim to know jazz – but I know what I like and this is not it.
It is not recommended.

145. The Who - Tommy (1969)
Label – Track
Producer – Kit Lambert
Art Direction – Mike Innerneny
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 75:03

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Overture
2. It's A Boy
3. 1921
4. Amazing Journey
5. Sparks
6. Eyesight To The Blind (The Hawker)
7. Christmas
8. Cousin Kevin
9. Acid Queen
10. Underture
11. Do You Think It's Alright
12. Fiddle About
13. Pinball Wizard
14. There's A Doctor
15. Go To The Mirror
16. Tommy Can You Hear Me
17. Smash The Mirror
18. Sensation
19. Miracle Cure
20. Sally Simpson
21. I'm Free
22. Welcome
23. Tommy's Holiday Camp
24. We're Not Gonna Take It

“Tommy” is the fourth album by the English rock band The Who, and it was a double album telling a VERY loose story about a "deaf, dumb, and blind boy" who eventually becomes the leader of a religious movement and becomes the messiah. Simple enough right? This was also the first record be touted as a “rock opera” and is still considered by many to be Pete Townshend’s masterpiece.
I do however have my reservations about the record. True – as a whole it is an astonishing work, and certainly in 1969 when it was released to the world, nothing like it had ever been heard before – and for that alone it deserves it’s lofty status in rock and roll history. True – the record has some fantastic tracks including "I'm Free," "Pinball Wizard," "Sally Simpson," "Pinball Wizard," and "We're Not Gonna Take It," but for the most part, the record is bogged down with filler tracks that exist merely to advance the story line. A story line that isn’t the greatest to begin with. There are also several instrumentals which while some are good (particularly the dramatic 10 minute epic “Underture ) do nothing to tell the story of Tommy.
The record upon it’s release was hailed as a breakthrough, but it’s critical standing has diminished somewhat in the passing decades mainly from the shortcomings I mentioned above, but also because of some of Townshend’s other works that have followed and greatly surpassed this one. Still this stepping stone was needed and deserves it place in history.
In 1998 it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for "historical, artistic and significant" value. It has sold over 20 million copies worldwide. In 2003, the album was ranked number 96 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was ranked number 90 on VH1's 100 Greatest Albums of Rock & Roll. NME named it the 16th on "NME Writers All Time Top 100" in 1974.Q ranked it 9th on their list of "The Music That Changed The World: Part One 1954-1969" in 2004
It is recommended.

144. The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)
Label – Apple
Producer – George Martin
Art Direction – Ian MacMillian
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 47:36

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Come Together
2. Something
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
4. Oh! Darling
5. Octopus's Garden
6. I Want You (She's So Heavy)
7. Here Comes the Sun
8. Because
9. You Never Give Me Your Money
10. Sun King
11. Mean Mr. Mustard
12. Polythene Pam
13. She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
14. Golden Slumbers
15. Carry That Weight
16. The End
17. Her Majesty

Simply fantastic.
This is the Beatles final studio recordings. (“Let It Be” was the last to be released). Gone were the psychedelic sounds and experimentation of “Sgt Pepper” and the disjointed solo recordings on the White Album. “Abbey Road” was a BAND work with some of the finest music that has ever been recorded. PERIOD.
The story goes, Paul McCartney envisioned a record which each song flowed directly into the next. However, John Lennon wanted a regular type of record. A compromise was reached and side one features regular ‘songs’, while side two is mostly one piece of work with song fragments pieced together to make one longer track. The results are a masterpiece.
There is a lot to love here. From perhaps the greatest harmonies to ever be recorded ("Because"), to crunching heavy guitars ("The End," "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," "Come Together") to the emergence of George Harrison as a songwriter to be reckoned with! ("Here Comes the Sun" and "Something,") the Beatles produced their finest work. Sadly it was to be their last as the band was barely operating as a functioning unit at the time.
Rolling Stone magazine named it the 14th greatest album of all time. In the UK the album debuted straight at number 1 and stayed for 17 weeks In all it spent 92 weeks inside the UK Top 75, and 16 years later on 31 October 1987, when it was released for the first time on CD, it reached number 30!! In the UK Abbey Road was the best-selling album of 1969 and the fourth best-selling of the entire 1960s, and the eighth best-selling album of 1970. In the US it spent 11 weeks at the top, and spent a total of 129 weeks in the Billboard 200, re-entering the chart at number 69 on 14 November 1987 when it was released for the first time on CD. It was the 4th best-selling album of 1970 in the US and is now certified 12x platinum by the RIAA. In 1997, Abbey Road was named the 12th greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM; it received the same ranking in a 1998 poll of Q magazine readers. In 2000, Q placed it at number 17 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 8th greatest album ever, and, in December 2003, it was named the 14th best album by Rolling Stone. In 2006, the album was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time. In 2006, it was rated as Australia's fourth favourite album on My Favourite Album, a television special done by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Oh - and it is recommended!!

143. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Green River (1969)
Label – Fantasy
Producer – John Fogerty
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 29:20

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Green River
2. Commotion
3. Tombstone Shadow
4. Wrote a Song for Everyone
5. Bad Moon Rising
6. Lodi
7. Cross-Tie Walker
8. Sinister Purpose
9. Night Time Is the Right Time

“Green River” is CCR's third album. It features two of the band's most well-known songs, “Bad Moon Rising” and the title track, but there is a bunch more that deserves a listen. The difference between this and their first two records is John Fogerty coming into his own as a song writer. Gone are the longer five plus minute jams, replaced with creative well crafted radio friendly length rock songs.
There is a somewhat sinister theme to the record. Not just in the track “Sinister Purpose” but in the lyrics sprinkled through out album. Makes on wonder what was on Fogerty’s mind as he penned the tracks. "Bad Moon Rising" for instance features the lines "Hope you've got your things together/Hope you're quite prepared to die" along with “don’t go out tonight, it’s bound to take your life”. All in the confines of a catchy rock song. In “Lodi” another classic track, the theme is someone looking to spend out the rest of his life in a dead end town. (A town by the way he had never visited – just liked the sound of the name!)
Don’t get me wrong, for all its sinister ‘darkness’ the record is upbeat and CCR rock’s hard on many of the tracks.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 95 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album was the band's second album to go platinum and would go on to multi-platinum status. It is highly recommended.

142. Johnny Cash - At San Quentin (1969)

Johnny Cash - At San Quentin (1969)
Label – Columbia
Producer – Bob Johnson
Art Direction – Henry Fox
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 36:47

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
Wanted Man
Wreck of the Old 97
I Walk the Line
Darling Companion
Starkville City Jail
San Quentin
San Quentin
A Boy Named Sue
(There'll Be) Peace in the Valley
Folsom Prison Blues

“At San Quentin” is a recording of a live concert given by Johnny Cash to the inmates of San Quentin State Prison and is the other one of Johnny Cash’s prison recordings. The previous one (already reviewed here) was the highly successful “At Folsom Prison” album, so I’m sure it seemed like a no brainer to give it another shot to see if lightning would strike twice. Times were different this time around though. Cash’s long time guitarist Luther Perkins had passed, plus with the “At Folsom Prison” being such a smash success he was at arguably at the peak of his career. His personal life was at the brink of collapse, and he was again stepping into the unknown confines of a prison full of murder’s and thief’s. Perhaps that’s why this performance captured live on February 24, 1969 is Johnny Cash at his wildest and rawest.
Covers of the Lovin' Spoonful ("Darlin' Companion") and Bob Dylan (“Wanted Man”) are nestled in between tracks like "A Boy Named Sue," with Cash’s performance making the Shel Silverstein composition come alive and take a darker tone than the ‘cute’ lyrics might otherwise have been. He sounds that way throughout the record, and it’s brimming with excitement.
While I listened to the original 1969 version of the record, there was a 2000 re-release which added previously unreleased bonus tracks (doubling the album's length), and again in 2006 as a 3 disc set with a DVD! I’m sure they would further help make a case that this is the best Johnny Cash album ever. The album was nominated for a number of Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year and won Best Male Country Vocal Performance for "A Boy Named Sue".
It is recommended.

141. The Flying Burrito Brothers - Gilded Palace Of Sin

Label – A&M
Producer – The Burritos, Henry Lewy and Larry Marks
Art Direction – Tom Wilkes
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 37:02

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Christine's Tune
2. Sin City
3. Do Right Woman Do Right Man
4. Dark End Of The Street
5. My Uncle
6. Wheels
7. Juanita
8. Hot Burrito No 1
9. Hot Burrito No 2
10. Do You Know How It Feels
11. Hippie Boy

Chris Hillman and Gram Parsons left the Byrds and formed the Flying Burrito Brothers. “The Gilded Palace of Sin” , their first album, picks up where they had left off on the Byrds’ record “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo”. It has been called the “finest and most influential albums the genre would ever produce”. That said, I just couldn’t get into the record that much. That’s not to say that I didn’t like it – just not something that makes me want to go back for another listen any time soon. That’s not to say that this record wasn’t incredibly influencial in that it help create the country/rock genre. While it barely registered on the pop culture radar in 1969, literally dozens of bands (the Eagles most notable among them) would find their inspiration from this record and go on to far greater success. The movement in mainstream country music was clearly influenced by Parsons and Hillman with artists like Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Randy Travis steering country music back away from easy-listening pop and closer to Parsons' vision of "Cosmic American Music."
As I mentioned, “The Gilded Palace of Sin” was not a commercial success – and to date, the RIAA has not even certified it gold. However, its impact on popular music has grown exponentially over the years. The most visible example of this is perhaps The Eagles, who took the innovations of Sweetheart of the Rodeo and The Gilded Palace of Sin into MOR territory, yielding financially lucrative results. During the 1980s, the New Traditionalist movement in mainstream country music was clearly influenced by Parsons and The Gilded Palace of Sin, with artists like Travis Tritt, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, and Randy Travis steering country music back away from easy-listening pop and closer to Country/Rock.
For many years, the album was oddly never re-issued in its entirety on compact disc in the United States. In 2000 this finally changed. In 2003 the album was ranked number 192 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is recommended with caution.

140. Blood, Sweat & Tears - Blood Sweat & Tears (1969)

Label – Columbia
Producer – James William Guercio
Art Direction – John Berg
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 45:26

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie
2. Smiling Phases
3. Sometimes In Winter
4. More And More
5. And When I Die
6. God Bless The Child
7. Spinning Wheel
8. You've Made Me So Very Happy
9. Blues
10. Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie (2)

An interesting record! I had of course heard all of the hits that were lifted from this record – but must admit to having heard very little else from this group. This self titled album is actually the second release by the group (the first being “Child Is Father to the Man”) and is easily the finest moment of their career. The album contain three songs that neared the top of the charts as singles -- "Happy," "Spinning Wheel," and "And When I Die" -- but the whole album, including an stunning arrangement of "God Bless the Child" and a cover (if you can call this total reworking a cover!) of Traffic's "Smiling Phases," was simply a wonderful listen, but one that I have read they sadly never came close to equaling. One thing that helps this record is the layering of sound made possible by new technological standards emerging at the time, and this album was among the very first 16-track recordings released to the public
It was a huge commercial success, rising to the top of the U.S. charts for seven weeks and yielding three successive Top 5 singles. It received a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1970 and has been certified quadruple platinum by the RIAA with sales of more than four million units in the U.S. The accolades however didn’t last long as the band embarked on a United States Department of State-sponsored tour of Eastern Europe. This was seen as a voluntary association with the government which was extremely unpopular at the time, and the band was ridiculed for it and never recovered.
It is highly recommended.

139. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Crosby, Stills & Nash (1969)

Label – Atlantic
Producer – Crosby, Stills & Nash
Art Direction – Gary Burden
Nationality – US/UK
Running Time – 40:52

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
2. Marrakesh Express
3. Guinnevere
4. You Don’t Have To Cry
5. Pre-Road Downs
6. Wooden Ships
7. Lady Of The Island
8. Helplessly Hoping
9. Long Time Gone
10. 49 Bye-Byes

This is the first release by Crosby, Stills & Nash. Already well know in the industry for their contributions to other bands, this release rocketed them to superstardom. It’s also the best record they would ever do. That of course is only a matter of opinion, but they never re-created the magic found on this first release.
Some of their best know works can be found right here. The hit "Marrakesh Express”, "Wooden Ships," “Guinnevere”, Steven Stills' "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," and David Crosby's "Long Time Gone". These five tracks alone – half the songs - make this a must hear record.
Two of those tracks became Top 40 hits, "Marrakesh Express" and "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," which peaked respectively at #28 the week of August 23, 1969, and at #21 the week of October 25, 1969, on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The album itself peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 259 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Just a great listen and it is highly recommended.

138. Creedence Clearwater Revival - Bayou Country (1969)

Label – Fantasy
Producer – John Fogerty
Art Direction – Basul Parik
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 34:05

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Born on the Bayou
2. Bootleg
3. Graveyard Train
4. Good Golly Miss Molly
5. Penthouse Pauper
6. Proud Mary
7. Keep on Chooglin'

Now this is some great music!!! “Bayou Country” is the second album by Creedence Clearwater Revival and it’s great from start to finish. Starting out with the dark, swampy "Born on the Bayou," the track sets the tone for the record. The ominous "Graveyard Train", the rocked up cover of "Good Golly Miss Molly" to the epic "Keep on Chooglin'," which grooves on for nearly eight minutes. To top it off there is one of the all time classics "Proud Mary." It’s no wonder that this was CCR's first album to be certified Platinum, and would go on to multi-platinum status. It reached number 7 on the US pop albums chart. The single "Proud Mary/Born on the Bayou" was also the band's first gold single reaching number 2 in the charts.
Not much else to add but listen to this record. Today.
It is highly recommended!!

137. Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band - Trout Mask Replica (1969)

Label – Straight
Producer – Frank Zappa
Art Direction – Cal Schenkel
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 77:38

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. "Frownland" – 1:41
2. "The Dust Blows Forward 'n the Dust Blows Back" – 1:53
3. "Dachau Blues" – 2:21
4. "Ella Guru" – 2:26
5. "Hair Pie: Bake 1" – 4:58
6. "Moonlight on Vermont" – 3:59
7. "Pachuco Cadaver" – 4:40
8. "Bills Corpse" – 1:48
9. "Sweet Sweet Bulbs" – 2:21
10. "Neon Meate Dream of a Octafish" – 2:25
11. "China Pig" – 4:02
12. "My Human Gets Me Blues" – 2:46
13. "Dali's Car" – 1:26
14. "Hair Pie: Bake 2" – 2:23
15. "Pena" – 2:33
16. "Well" – 2:07
17. "When Big Joan Sets Up" – 5:18
18. "Fallin' Ditch" – 2:08
19. "Sugar 'n Spikes" – 2:30
20. "Ant Man Bee" – 3:57
21. "Orange Claw Hammer" – 3:34
22. "Wild Life" – 3:09
23. "She's Too Much for My Mirror" – 1:40
24. "Hobo Chang Ba" – 2:02
25. "The Blimp (mousetrapreplica)" – 2:04
26. "Steal Softly thru Snow" – 2:18
27. "Old Fart at Play" – 1:51
28. "Veteran's Day Poppy" – 4:31

The best thing about this record – a double album no less – was when it was over. Easily the worst record of the 137 that I have played so far. After having reviewed Captain Beefheart’s “Safe As Milk” at #81 and coming away liking it, I was looking forward to their third record “Trout Mask Replica”, as it is considered Captain Beefheart's masterpiece. What a letdown! Not surprisingly taking control of the proceedings was producer Frank Zappa. In reading background on this record I found out that Beefheart and his Magic Band rehearsed the material for this 28-song double album for over a year!! How one can rehearse something to be THIS bad is beyond my comprehension.
The music – if it can be called that – ranges from stabs at R&B, blues, and garage rock to free jazz and avant-garde experimentalism. Sometimes there was actually a melody with jagged, dual-guitar parts; stuttering, complicated rhythmic interaction all of these elements mixed in seemingly at random, making absolutely the worst noise possible. Topped off by with Beefheart’s groans and poetry read in a growl.
The record is regarded as an important work of experimental music and a major influence in alternative rock. Yeah, whatever – it’s awful! It reached 21 in the UK charts. It ranked fifty-eighth on Rolling Stone's 2003 list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
It is NOT recommended!

136. Neil Young With Crazy Horse - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

Label – Reprise
Producer – David Briggs and Neil Young
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 40:29

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Cinnamon Girl
2. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
3. Round And Round
4. Down By The River
5. Losing End (When You're On)
6. Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)
7. Cowgirl In The Sand

With this record we venture into the year 1969. This was Neil Young’s second solo album and marked the debut of his backing band Crazy Horse. They are the trio of Danny Whitten (guitar), Ralph Molina (drums), and Billy Talbot (bass) that Young had plucked from the struggling local Los Angeles group the Rockets.
With the new backing band in place, Young quickly recorded this record that featured loose, guitar-heavy rock songs — "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River," and "Cowgirl in the Sand" — that helped to redefined him as less of a folk artist and more like a rock & roll artist, otherwise known as the grandfather of grunge. Those final two ("River" and "Cowgirl") were each in the nine-to-ten-minute range and the band gets to stretch out it’s playing chops.
When this record appeared in May 1969 it becoming a moderate hit. ( Neil Young's joining Crosby, Stills & Nash the month after its release didn't hurt either I’m sure.) A year and a half after its release, it became a gold album, and it has since gone platinum. 40+ years later, Neil is still playing this sort of music with Crazy Horse, with many bands (Pearl Jam among them) clearly influenced by it.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 208 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is highly recommended.

135. Mothers Of Invention - We're Only In It For The Money (1968)

Label – Verve
Producer – Frank Zappa
Art Direction – Cal Schenkel
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 39:04
Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Are You Hung Up
2. Who Needs The Peace Corps
3. Concentration Moon
4. Mom And Dad
5. Bow Tie Daddy
6. Harry You're A Beast
7. What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body
8. Absolutely Free
9. Flower Punk
10. Hot Poop
11. Nasal Retentive Caliope Music
12. Mother People

Another record by Mr Frank Zappa. As I mentioned the other day about the Van Morrison record, perhaps Frank Zappa’s music falls under that category of me just not “getting it.” That said, I know what I like, I know what I feel is good music, and the out of tune ramblings and ever changing rhythms of this music just isn’t very good. So does that mean I don’t get it?? Perhaps it does.
“We're Only in It for the Money” is a experimental rock satirical piece. The album satirizes many aspects of 1960s culture, lampooning the hippies, the conservative establishment, and everything in between. Essentially it is broken up into two halves. The first “side” devoted to satire, and the second “side” to presenting alternatives. The instruments and most of the vocals have been manipulated to produce odd textures and cartoon type voices. The songs are abbreviated, segue into others through edited snippets of music and dialogue, or are broken into fragments by more snippets, consistently interrupting the album's continuity. In short – it’s a mess! Nothing really stood out to me to ever want to hear again, therefore I did not select any tracks as standing out.
First released in 1968 on Verve Records, it was re-released by Rykodisc in 1986 with newly recorded bass and percussion tracks. Parts censored from the original release were also restored. However, subsequent fan demand for the original Verve recording led to its restoration on Rykodisc's 1995 releases and onwards.
The front cover Zappa originally intended to use for the album mimics the cover of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Zappa's record company decided to put the Sgt. Pepper parody on the inside and a picture of the band on the outside. CD’s featured the original photo restored to the front cover.
The album peaked at number thirty on the Billboard 200. The album was included in Q magazine's list of the "Best Psychedelic Albums of All Time." In 2003, the album was ranked number 296 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2005, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
It is not recommended.

134. The Beatles - The Beatles (aka White Album) (1968)

Label – Apple
Producer – George Martin
Art Direction – Richard Hamilton
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 93:43

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

Disc: 1
1. Back In The U.S.S.R.
2. Dear Prudence
3. Glass Onion
4. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
5. Wild Honey Pie
6. The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill
7. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
8. Happiness Is A Warm Gun
9. Martha My Dear
10. Im So Tired
11. Blackbird
12. Piggies
13. Rocky Raccoon
14. Don't Pass Me By
15. Why Don't We Do It In The Road
16. I Will
17. Julia

Disc: 2
1. Birthday
2. Yer Blues
3. Mother Nature's Son
4. Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me & My Monkey
5. Sexy Sadie
6. Helter Skelter
7. Long Long Long
8. Revolution 1
9. Honey Pie
10. Savoy Truffle
11. Cry Baby Cry
12. Revolution 9
13. Good Night

‘The Beatles’ by the Beatles. Just another in a series of masterpieces by the Beatles. It was their ninth official British album and the fifteenth American album by The Beatles, and it was a double album. It is commonly known as “The White Album” as it has no photo or writing of any kind on the sleeve other than the band's name on its plain white sleeve. It was also the first released by their own record label, Apple.
The Beatles was written and recorded directly after visiting the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India and the group had a wealth of material to record, hence the double record. Unlike their last studio record, “Sgt Pepper’s”, gone was the experimentation that defined that record, and here was the Beatles essentially stripped bare. Each song has a life of it’s own.
John and Paul take center stage throughout the record. There is the rocking "Back in the U.S.S.R." and the bluesy "Yer Blues", each delivered as straight ahead rockers, but each writer, essentially working alone now, turn in very true to their personality tracks.
John Lennon contributed two of his best ballads with "Dear Prudence" and "Julia", he moved into the avante garde with "Revolution 9", turns on the crooner for Ringo's closing track "Good Night". pokes some fun of the Beatles with "Glass Onion" and tops it off with the classic "Cry Baby Cry."
Paul McCartney doesn't branch out as far yet his songs touch several musical genres. Music hall romp on "Honey Pie," country on "Rocky Raccoon," the Jamaican ska bounciness of "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," and heavy metal with "Helter Skelter."
Clearly John and Paul are the driving force but it's clear from "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," (with Eric Clapton on lead guitar) the soul of "Savoy Truffle," the spooky "Long, Long, Long," and the humor of "Piggies" that George Harrison was developing into a songwriter who rivaled his bandmates. Even Ringo turns in his first original track "Don't Pass Me By." On their own each song would fit nicely on a solo record by all four, yet somehow it all makes sense and the Beatles (against producer George Martin’s wishes who wanted a singe record) delivered two albums worth of new classics.
When release in late 1968, the record received mixed reviews but of course reached the #1 spot on the charts in the United Kingdom and United States almost immediately. “The Beatles” is regarded as one of the greatest albums in rock history. In 2003, the album was ranked number 10 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time".
It is HIGHLY recommended.

133. The Byrds - Sweetheart Of The Rodeo (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Gary Usher
Art Direction – Butler Advertising; Geller
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 31:52

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
2. I Am A Pilgrim
3. Christian Life
4. You Don't Miss Your Water
5. You're Still On My Mind
6. Pretty Boy Floyd
7. Hickory Wind
8. One Hundred Years From Now
9. Blue Canadian Rockies
10. Life In Prison
11. Nothing Was Delivered

“Sweetheart of the Rodeo” was the sixth album by The Byrds and with the departure of David Crosby and the addition of country-rock pioneer Gram Parsons, it was one of the first major country-rock albums by an established act and was a radical departure from the psychedelic rock of the band's previous records. In fact – it doesn’t even sound like the same band! Even though Gram Parsons only joined the band as a pianist and new guitarist, his influence overtook Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman and they followed his lead with the sound of the record.
In fact, the only two original songs on the album were both written by Parsons - the beautiful "Hickory Wind" and "One Hundred Years from Now". The rest of the tracks are covers of Merle Haggard, the Louvin Brothers, Woody Guthrie and of course - a pair of Bob Dylan tunes. The record is a nice laid back listen and I enjoyed it very much.
Not surprisingly tension developed quickly between Parsons and the rest of the band and some of Parsons' vocals were re-recorded - partly due to legal complications - but by the time the album was released in August, Parsons had already left the band. (Note: Parson’s original vocals were released on a CD re-issue of the record)
Once released, the record only reached #77 on the Billboard Top LPs chart, and it actually failed to chart in the UK. There were two singles released, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", which achieved modest success, and "I Am a Pilgrim", which failed to chart. The album did received mostly positive reviews at the time, but the radical departure in the band’s sound alienated much of its pop/rock fans. Despite all that, today the record is considered to be one of the most influential country-rock albums of all time.
In 2003, the album was ranked #117 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, and Stylus Magazine named it their 175th favorite album of all time in the same year.
It is recommended.

132. Van Morrison - Astral Weeks (1968)

Label – Warner Brothers
Producer – Lewis Merenstein
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality –UK
Running Time – 46:50

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Astral Weeks
2. Beside You
3. Sweet Thing
4. Cyprus Avenue
5. Young Lovers Do
6. Madame George
7. Ballerina
8. Slim Slow Rider

Van Morrison’s “Astral Weeks” was his second record and is generally considered one of the best albums in pop music history. I’m the first to admit, I’m just not a big fan of Morrison’s – and I do not see what the excitement is over this record. That’s it exactly – there is nothing to get excited about in the music. In fact it is rather bland and dare I say boring. Cue up the readers saying “you just don’t get it, you have no idea what your talking about” – all of which may be true – but I know what I like – and this just doesn’t do it for me!
It’s not a rock & roll album at all. It’s a mixture of folk, blues, jazz, and classical music, and on tracks like "Madame George" it just fails to go anywhere and just drags on and on. I kept waiting for something, anything remotely exciting to happen musically so I could justify all the critics' raves that I’ve read, but it never materialized. Some of the lyrics are pretty poetic (sometimes to the point of just plain gibberish) but it is definitely a depressing and un-pleasant work.
The record received critical acclaim immediately upon its first release and subsequently has been placed on numerous widely-circulated lists of best albums of all time. The 1995 MOJO list of 100 Best Albums, ranked it as #2, and it received the #19 ranking on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003. The Times magazine listed it at #3 of The Times All Time Top 100 Albums. A separate readers' poll published in January 1996 placed the record at #5 behind three Beatles albums and the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. In 1997, it came in at the 9th greatest album of all time in a "Music of the Millennium" poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998, Q magazine readers placed it at #52, and in 2000 the same magazine placed it at #6 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 1999 “Astral Weeks” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The TV network VH1 named it the 40th greatest album ever in 2003. It was listed among the All-Time 100 albums by CNNTime magazine in November 2006. In 2009, it was voted #6 on the list of The 100 Greatest Singer-Songwriter Albums of All Time by the editors at Amazon.com. In December 2009, it was voted the top Irish album of all time by a poll of leading Irish musicians taken by Hot Press magazine. Whew. Some list there. Oddly it never really sold that well and it took 33 years for it finally to achieved gold status which it did in 2001.
I do not recommend it

131. The Zombies - Odessey and Oracle (1968)

Label – CBS
Producer – The Zombies
Art Direction – Terry Quick
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 33:31

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Care Of Cell 44
2. Rose For Emily
3. Maybe After He's Gone
4. Beechwood Park
5. Brief Candles
6. Hung Up On A Dream
7. Changes
8. I Want Her She Wants Me
9. This Will Be Our Year
10. Butcher's Tale (Western Front 1914)
11. Friends Of Mine
12. Time Of The Season

What a great record. Sadly the Zombies record “Odessey and Oracle” was all but overlooked completely in England and in the US, against label resistance, it was released in America. It was destined to become a “lost” classic until a strange thing happened. . Two singles, “Care Of Cell 44” and “Friends Of Mine”, had been released to total indifference to push the album, but it wasn’t until the single "Time of the Season," was released (a label executives insisted it was a hit) and it topped the charts nearly two years after it was recorded!!
By then, the group had long disbanded. But this record was recorded by the band knowing it would be their final release. They had worked hard for three years only to see the quality of their live shows suffer and the hits had long stopped coming. They decided to split, but they recorded one last record and broke up before the record had even reached the store shelves. While their first albums included several cover versions, “Odessey and Oracle” consisted entirely of original compositions by the group's two main songwriters, Rod Argent and Chris White.
I knew of them from their two massive hits – “She’s Not There” and “Time of The Season” but really that’s all I had ever heard by them, so this record was a pleasant surprise. Not that the entire album is full of coulda been hits, but it's all consistently interesting and very good listening, and superior to most other psychedelic albums that I have been listening to lately.
The famous misspelling of "odyssey" in the title was the result of a mistake by the designer of the LP cover Terry Quick. The band tried to cover this up at the time of release by claiming the misspelling was intentional.
In 2003, Rolling Stone placed the record in 80th place on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In addition it has appeared on a number of greatest albums lists. Stylus magazine selected it as the 196th on their 101-200 Favorite Albums List. The Guardian placed it 77th on their Top 100 Albums That Don’t Appear In All The Other Top 100 Albums Of All Time. Mojo magazine named it the 97th greatest album ever made. It placed 32nd on NME's list and 51st on Q magazine's list of the greatest British albums ever. It consistently ranks in the top 50 on the constantly changing Rate Your Music greatest ever albums list.
It is highly recommended.

130. Scott Walker - Scott 2 (1968)

Label – Phillips
Producer – John Franz and Peter J Olliff
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 43:47

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Jackie
2. Best Of Both Worlds
3. Black Sheep Boy
4. Amourous Humphrey Plugg
5. Next
6. Girls From The Streets
7. Plastic Palace People
8. Wait Until Dark
9. Girls And The Dogs
10. Windows Of The World
11. Bridge
12. Come Next Spring

I had never heard of Scott Walker before playing this record. Turns out he was originally in a 60’s band called the ‘Walker Brothers’ and they had a number of top ten albums and singles including number 1 chart hits "Make It Easy on Yourself" and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" – neither of which I can recall ever hearing!
As the album title might suggest, this was Walker's second album and was his biggest commercial success, where it actually reached number one in Britain for 18 weeks! It is considered by many to be his greatest artistic triumph. At the peak of this fame in 1969, he had his own British TV series, Scott, featuring solo Walker performances of ballads, big band standards and introductions of his own and Jacques Brel compositions.
Best way to describe him is a crooner. Think Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or even Neil Diamond. They all came to mind as I listened to this record. On the surface it’s ok enough, but then as I listened closer the humor in the lyrics made me really like this record. Complete with Burt Bacharach, Tim Hardin, and his main influence Jacques Brel (who is covered three times on this record) the production is over-the-top, with schmaltzy orchestral arrangements, it’s easy to miss what is going on lyrically. Tracks about prostitutes, homosexuality, brothels and ganaria!
The Brel tune "Next" with its not-so-hidden hints of homosexuality and abuse. Another Brel tune, "The Girl and the Dogs," with it’s jaded view of romance comparing girls to dogs. The album included his first Top 20 U.K. hit, "Jackie" who he sings about "in a stupid ass way"! That over-the-top show ballad production did get overbearing and by the last few tracks I was ready for the record to be over.
It is recommended with caution.

129. Caetano Veloso - Caetano Veloso (1968)

Label – Phillips
Producer – Caetano Veloso
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – Brazil
Running Time – 34:04

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Tropicália
2. Clarice
3. No Dia Em Que Eu Vim-me Embora
4. Alegria, Alegria
5. Onde Andarás
6. Anunciação
7. Superbacana
8. Paisagem Util
9. Clara
10. Soy Loco Por Tí, América
11. Ave Maria
12. Eles

We were on such a great roll of some fantastic albums, and then this. Just not my cup of tea at all. Caetano Veloso is a self titled album released in Brazil in 1968. There are not any tracks sung in English, and was really rough to sit all of the way through. Knowing Portuguese helps a lot I’m sure.
I’m sure if you are into this type of music, this is probably one of the best as I read it had 3 chart topping tracks, and Rolling Stone Brazil named it the 37th best Brazilian music album of all time. It attained little commercial success outside of Brazil. Not too much more I can say about this record.
I cannot recommend it.

128. Jeff Beck - Truth (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Mickie Most
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 40:50

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Shapes Of Things
2. Let Me Love You
3. Morning Dew
4. You Shook Me
5. Ol' Man River
6. Greensleeves
7. Rock My Plimsoul
8. Beck's Bolero
9. Blues Deluxe
10. I Ain't Superstitious

What a great record. This is another one of those records that I first discovered during my high school days. “Truth” was the first ‘solo’ album by Jeff Beck and his backing group. And what a backing group. Vocals by the still virtually unknown Rod Stewart, Ron Wood on bass and Mickey Waller on drums, as well as Beck himself on guitar. At the time of it’s release it did get some great reviews, but is now widely regarded as one of the first heavy metal albums, and it IS heavy with a nice blending of hard rock and blues.
The record opens using Beck’s old Yardbirds hit "Shapes of Things" but it is a totally re-worked version of the track. Other highlights are versions of Willie Dixon's "You Shook Me" and "I Ain't Superstitious"; a interesting version of Jerome Kern's "Ol' Man River" given a slow electric blues treatment, and the delicate solo acoustic version of "Greensleeves". Guests include both guitarist Jimmy Page and bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones on "Beck's Bolero".
The album did really well for an ‘unknown’ band reaching number 15 in America.
It is highly recommended.

127. The Band - Music From Big Pink (1968)

Label – Capitol
Producer – John Simon
Art Direction – Milton Glaser – Painting by Bob Dylan
Nationality – Canada / USA
Running Time – 42:00

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Tears Of Rage
2. To Kingdom Come
3. In A Station
4. Caledonian Mission
5. The Weight
6. We Can Talk
7. Long Black Veil
8. Chest Fever
9. Lonesome Suzie
10. This Wheel's On Fire
11. I Shall Be Released

Famous for being Bob Dylan’s backing band and time spent at a shared house in upstate New York recording what would become “The Basement Tapes”, the first release by The Band came as a surprise. On the surface the album has a laid back feel to it like the tapes were rolling and captured some great jam sessions made up right then and there. It’s on closer inspection that that the quality of the playing, the arrangements and the lyrics begin to sink in. All of the members shine on this record. That tenor haunting fragile voice of Richard Manuel gives the record an almost scary tinge to it, where as Rick Danko and Levon Helm’s vocals are strong, ragged and rustic. It’s all held together by Garth Hudson's organ and Robbie Robertson's inventive guitar passes. Having been associated with Dylan it’s not surprising that it features three songs he has a writing credit on. He also painted the cover art for the record. However the groups "The Weight" became a minor singles chart entry, and this record established the group as one who stood on their own as well. Over time, “Music from Big Pink” has come to be regarded as a benchmark in the history of rock. At the time, "The Weight" peaked at #63 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart (North America). The album peaked at #30 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in 1968, and then recharted as a #8 hit on the Top Internet Albums chart in 2000. In 2003, the album was ranked number 34 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is highly recommended.

126. The Small Faces - Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (1968)

Label – Immediate
Producer – Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott
Art Direction – Ronnie Lane
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 38:27
Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Ogden's Nut Gone Flake
2. Afterglow Of Your Love
3. Long Agos And Worlds Apart
4. Rene
5. Song Of A Baker
6. Lazy Sunday
7. Happiness Stan
8. Rollin' Over
9. Hungry Intruder
10. Journey
11. Mad John
12. Happy Days Toy Town

“Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake” was a concept album by the English rock band Small Faces. Coming after the success of "Itchycoo Park" this album was a mix of all the popular albums being released at the time. It’s a variety show, it’s a storytellers album and it’s a actor/performer piece. The Small Faces tried a little bit of all of these approaches on this record. Side one's material would not have been out of place on any other Small Faces release, and it is top notch. "Afterglow (Of Your Love)", "Rene", "Song of a Baker." and "Lazy Sunday," are all guitar crunching bass and drum pounding anthems the Small Faces were known for. Side two – the story side - is more elaborate, with overdubbed harps and light orchestration here and there, all linked by a narration about a character called "Happiness Stan." The core of the sound is still the pounding beats on tracks like "Rollin' Over".
This was a very enjoyable album to listen to and it’s not surprising that the record went to number one spot on the U.K. charts for six weeks in 1968. Although the core of the group would go on to greater success as simply the Faces – this was the Small Faces crowning achievement. The album was originally released on vinyl in a circular novelty package of a metal replica of a giant tobacco tin inside which was a poster created with 6 connected paper circles with pictures of the band members. The title and the design of the distinctive packaging was a parody of Ogdens' Nut-brown Flake, a brand of tobacco which was produced in Liverpool from 1899. In 2000 Q magazine placed Ogden's Nut Gone Flake at number 59 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever
It is recommended.

125. Simon and Garfunkel - Bookends (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Art Garfunkel, Roy Halee, Paul Simon
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 28:55

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Bookends Theme
2. Save The Life Of My Child
3. America
4. Overs
5. Voice Of Old People
6. Old Friends
7. Bookends Theme
8. Fakin' It
9. Punky's Dilemma
10. Mrs Robinson
11. Hazy Shade Of Winter
12. At The Zoo

Simon and Garfunkel just made great music. Period. “Bookends” was a ‘kinda’ concept album, with the first side following the views of ageing, while the second side contained what were essentially throw away songs from “The Graduate” soundtrack. It all starts with the most minimal of openings with the theme, an acoustic guitar stating itself slowly and plaintively before erupting into a big sound of synthesizers that is "Save the Life of My Child." The classic "America" is next The song is a message of hope as two people travel the American landscape searching for America until it dawns on them that everyone else on the freeway is doing the same thing! The final three tracks, "Mrs. Robinson," (the theme song for the film The Graduate) "A Hazy Shade of Winter," and "At the Zoo," are all just top notch Paul Simon classics.
“Bookends” was a #1 hit on Billboard's Pop Albums chart, as well as in the UK. Four singles charted: "A Hazy Shade of Winter," "At the Zoo," "Fakin' It" and "Mrs. Robinson," which peaked at #13, #16 and #23 and #1, respectively. Interestingly, the song “America” was released as a single in 1972, to coincide with the album “Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits”, and eventually hit #97 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 2003, the TV network VH1 named the record the 93rd greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 233 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is HIGHLY recommended.

124. The Pretty Things - S. F. Sorrow (1968)

Label – EMI
Producer – Norman Smith
Art Direction – Phil May
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 37:54

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. SF Sorrow Is Born
2. Bracelets Of Fingers
3. She Says Good Morning
4. Private Sorrow
5. Balloon Burning
6. Death
7. Baron Saturday
8. Journey
9. I See You
10. Well Of Destiny
11. Trust
12. Old Man Going
13. Loneliest Person

What an interesting record. Here is another one of those groups that I had heard of – just never heard any of their music before. In this case it the British band The Pretty Things. This is a concept album. For those unfamiliar, it tells the story of "S.F. Sorrow," a sort of British Everyman from birth through love, war, tragedy, madness, and the disillusionment of old age. One of the first rock concept albums, S.F. Sorrow was based on a short story by singer-guitarist Phil May. Although the album is also a ‘Rock Opera’, it has been stated by The Who that it had no major influence on Pete Townshend and his writing of their album Tommy although there are some similarities. “S.F. Sorrow's” narrative is different than others in the Rock Opera/Concept Album genre: while Tommy and Pink Floyd's The Wall relay their concept through the lyrics of their songs, The Pretty Things tell the bulk of the story through small paragraph-like chapters which were printed between each song's lyrics in the liner notes of the LP. Another reason to miss vinyl records!
The album was produced by Norman "Hurricane" Smith, who had engineered the earlier Beatles recordings including “Sgt Pepper’s”.
This is a really good record, but it never stood a chance really. It was released the same week as The Beatles' "White Album", The Rolling Stones' "Beggars Banquet" and The Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society." Making things worse, the album was barely promoted by EMI. It is recommended.

123. Iron Butterfly - In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968)

Label – Atco
Producer – Jim Hilton
Art Direction – Loring Eutemey
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 36:00

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Most Anything You Want
2. Flowers And Beads
3. My Mirage
4. Termination
5. Are You Happy
6. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

This is the second record by Iron Butterfly, and to be honest, the only one I have ever heard by them. I remember buying this record as a teenager in high school. With its endless, droning minor-key riff and mumbled vocals, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" is easily the most recognized and celebrated song of the acid rock era. Legend has it that the song was actually titled "In the Garden of Eden" but when recording the band was so stoned lead singer Doug Ingle couldn’t pronounce the words correctly and hence it became the classic we know today. The track rambles on for a full 17 minutes which seems like an eternity. I do like the track, but must admit that I like the trimmed down version much better.
The other tracks on the record are also pretty heavy with lots of organ work in them, but I enjoyed listening to it again after all of these years. The entire record still stands as the group's definitive album, and the one that best represents them and the times it was recorded and released in.
The LP peaked at #4 on the Billboard charts and was given the distinction of being the first album to be awarded platinum status when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) began that achievement level in 1976. Today it is a multi-platinum album with sales of over 25 million copies. It was also Atlantic Records' biggest selling album until it was surpassed by Led Zeppelin IV. It is recommended.

122. Dr. John, The Nighttripper - Gris-Gris (1968)

Label – Atlantic
Producer – Harold Battiste
Art Direction – Marvin Israel
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 33:12

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
2. Danse Kalinda Ba Doom
3. Mama Roux
4. Danse Fambeaux
5. Croker Courtbullion
6. Jump Sturdy
7. Walk On Gilded Splinters

This is the debut album by Mac Rebennack – aka Dr John (named after a black man named Dr. John Montaine, who claimed to be an African potentate). I was looking forward to listening to this record as when I hear his name I think “oh yeah I like Dr John” but in truth, save for a few tracks I haven’t heard very much of his music. The musical style of “Gris-Gris” is a hybrid of New Orleans rhythm and blues and psychedelic rock. That said – the R&B style tracks are really good, while the psychedelic rock tracks have much to be desired. He has that great rasping, bluesy vocals, and has soulful backup singers, as well as spooky melodies on flute, sax, and clarinet, not to mention odd Middle Eastern-like chanting and mandolin runs! Yeah it’s that kind of record! Label exectuve Ahmet Ertegun was reluctant to release the record at first, famously exclaiming "How can we market this boogaloo crap?" He was in part right as the record failed to chart in the United Kingdom or the United States, and it wasn’t until it was re-issued on compact disc decades later that it was to receive much greater praise from modern critics, including being listed at #143 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
While I do recommend this record, proceed with caution.

121. The United States Of America - The United States Of America (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – David Rubison
Art Direction – Eric Schon
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 37:07

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. The American Metaphysical Circus
2. Hard Coming Love
3. Cloud Song
4. The Garden Of Earthly Delights
5. I Won’t Leave My Wooden-Wife For You, Sugar
6. Where Is Yesterday
7. Coming Down
8. Love Song For The Dead Ché
9. Stranded In Time
10. The American Way Of Love

This is a self titled debut album released in 1968 by The United States of America – their one and only album and it received positive reviews on its release. I had actually never heard of this group nor had heard any of their music. And I still wish that I never had. This album was just dreadful. Featuring no guitars and just synthesizers, the music is like a bad acid trip. Although I suppose at the time if you were on acid this was probably a pretty decent record. Think Velvet Underground – just nowhere near as good – and I can’t stand Velvet Underground!! Think about it - the group’s leader was a member of the communist party - in a group called The United States of America getting a recording contract and having a record released. Only in the sixties!!
To be fair, I just don't care for this type of music and only the track "Coming Down" held my interest for very long.
Somehow the album spent nine weeks on the charts in the United States, peaking at number 181 on the Billboard album charts in May 1968. For reasons unknown, the album has been re-issued several times and continues to receive critical acclaim decades after its original release. It is however not recommended.

120. Big Brother and The Holding Company- Cheap Thrills (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – John Simon
Art Direction – Robert Crumb
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 36:54

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Combination Of The Two
2. I Need A Man To Love
3. Summertime
4. Piece Of My Heart
5. Turtle Blues
6. Oh Sweet Mary
7. Ball And Chain

Cheap Thrills is the second album from Big Brother and the Holding Company and their last album with Janis Joplin as primary lead vocalist. Big Brother had obtained a good amount of attention directly after their 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival, put out a reasonably successful debut and based on that success had been signed to Columbia Records. There was a delay in releasing the record as the band was still under contract to Mainstream Records.
The record itself featured three cover songs "Summertime," "Piece of My Heart," and the nearly ten-minute "Ball and Chain". Easily the greatest white female rock singer of the 1960s, Janis Joplin was also a great blues singer, making these covers her own with her wailing, raspy, supercharged emotional delivery.
Initially, the album was to be called Sex, Dope and Cheap Thrills, but the title was not received well by Columbia Records. Also not well received was the band's original cover idea, a picture of the group naked in bed together, which was vetoed by the record company. Instead the cover was drawn by underground cartoonist Robert Crumb. The cover was originally meant to be the record's back picture but the band did not like Crumb's original front drawing. It has however become iconic and is number nine on Rolling Stone's list of one hundred greatest album covers of all time!
The album was released in the summer of 1968 and reached number one on the Billboard charts in its eighth week in October. It kept the number one spot for eight (nonconsecutive) weeks while the single, "Piece of My Heart," also became a huge hit. By the end of the year it was the most successful album of 1968, having sold nearly a million copies. The success was short-lived however, as Janis Joplin left the group for a solo career in December, 1968. In 2003, the album was ranked number 338 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. They previously ranked it #50 on their Top 100 Albums of the Past 20 Years list in 1987. It is often regarded as one of the key recordings of the late 1960s.
It is highly recommended.

119. The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)

The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers (1968)
Label – Columbia
Producer – Gary Usher
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 28:25

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Artificial Energy
2. Goin' Back
3. Natural Harmony
4. Draft Morning
5. Wasn't Born To Follow
6. Get To You
7. Change Is Now
8. Old John Robertson
9. Tribal Gathering
10. Dolphin's Smile
11. Space Odyssey

This is the Byrds' fifth album released in January of 1968. Other than the “hits”, before listening to the 1001 list I had never heard a single Byrds record, this is the fourth one of theirs on the list. And “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” is a good one. Also I never knew much about the Byrds history so reading up about each album has been fun as well.
The sessions for this record came during the middle of internal turmoil that found the Byrds reduced to a duo by the time the record was completed! Roger McGuinn, and Chris Hillman remained in the group while David Crosby and Michael Clarke left the band. Additionally, original band member, Gene Clark, who had left the band in early 1966, rejoined for three weeks during the album's recording, before leaving again. Fortunately that doesn’t transpire to the music.
The group continued to grow and take more chances with their music to be more than the guitar jangle and harmonies that made them so famous.
The record has spacey arrangements on songs like "Natural Harmony" and the use of electronic phasing on the Goffin & King penned "Wasn't Born to Follow". Then there is the eerie backdrop for "Space Odyssey" which by the way is a musical retelling of Arthur C. Clarke's short story "The Sentinel" (which was the inspiration for Stanley Kubrick's film “2001: A Space Odyssey”).
The songs are linked with segues and fades so it feels like one long piece of music but that’s not to mistake this as a concept record because it is not. "Goin' Back" (which was also written by Goffin & King) was an excellent cover complete with the expected 12-string guitar fills all over it that it very surprising that it was not a big hit, and "Tribal Gathering" uses their trademark harmonies most effectively. Topping it all off is "Draft Morning" a subtle track about the horrors of the Vietnam War and the pleasant "Old John Robertson" which is mostly country-rock.
Over the years, “The Notorious Byrd Brothers” has gained in reputation and is often considered the group's best work. The album reached #47 on the Billboard 200 album chart, and reached #12 in the United Kingdom. The single "Goin' Back" reached #89 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2003, the album was ranked number 171 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is highly recommended.

118. Blue Cheer - Vincebus Eruptum (1968)

Label – Polygram
Producer – Eric Albronda and Abe “Voco” Kosh
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 32:06

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Summertime Blues
2. Rock Me Baby
3. Doctor Please
4. Out Of Focus
5. Parchment Farm
6. Second Time Around

Now this is some heavy Rock & roll. When Blue Cheer emerged from San Francisco onto the national rock scene in 1968 with this their debut album, “Vincebus Eruptum”, their claim to fame became being known as the first genuine heavy metal band, but that in itself doesn't quite describe this loud and in your face “assault”. Perhaps it’s best to call them pioneers of heavy metal music. This album is crushingly forceful, and is widely accepted to be their best. To be honest a lot of the records “sounds” reminded me a lot of some of the early Jimi Hendrix records. There is even a much slower take on “Rock Me Baby” that Hendrix performed at Monterey Pop.
For a trio they have a huge sound. Paul Whaley's drumming combined with Dickie Peterson's bass lines laid out a thick rhythm for guitarist Leigh Stephens to lay down his massive noise.
From the opening frantic version of Eddie Cochran's "Summertime Blues" (which became a hit single), to the drug lyric influence “Doctor Please”, right down to the final punches of "Parchment Farm" and "Second Time Around," this record is just good rock and roll!! Maybe best described as Bluesey Metal! They definitely opened the door for bands like Led Zeppelin to come roaring through.
As mentioned a cover of “Summertime Blues" peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and #3 on the Canadian RPM magazine charts. It was their only such hit. The album peaked at #11 on the Billboard 200 chart.
It is recommended.

117. Aretha Franklin - Lady Soul (1968)

Label – Atlantic
Producer – Jerry Wexler
Art Direction – Loring Eutemey
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 25:39

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Chain Of Fools
2. Money Won't Change You
3. People Get Ready
4. Niki Hoeky
5. You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman
6. Since You've Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby)
7. Good To Me As I Am To You
8. Come Back Baby
9. Groovin'
10. Ain't No Way

This was Aretha Franklin’s third – and perhaps finest – record. Her first record (reviewed previously) sizzled and her second kinda fizzled, but this set released on January 22, 1968 proved that Aretha Franklin was no one hit wonder.The material is very strong, a nice blend of established covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music of the time.
There are the classics - the opener, "Chain of Fools," which became the biggest hit, (with backing vocals provided by the Sweet Impressions – who would soon become part of Elvis Presley’s touring band.) and the record’s showpiece "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," a song which was written expressly for her by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It is still to this day one of the landmark performances in pop music.
Franklin’s covers of heavyweights James Brown ("Money Won't Change You") and the Impressions ("People Get Ready,") are also top notch.
On the strength of three hit singles, (each which reached the pop Top Ten), “Lady Soul” became Aretha Franklin's second gold LP and remained on the charts for over a year, and firmly established her as THE Queen of Soul. The record peaked at #1, #2 and #3 on Billboard's Black Albums, Pop Albums and Jazz Albums charts respectively. The single "Ain't No Way" peaked at #9 on the Black Singles chart, and #16 on the Pop Singles chart. "Chain of Fools" (#2 Pop), and (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman (#8 Pop), and "(Sweet Sweet Baby) Since You've Been Gone" (#5 Pop).
In 2003 the TV network VH1 named “Lady Soul” the 41st greatest album of all time. It is number 84 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is recommended.

116. Laura Nyro - Eli And The 13th Confession (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Charlie Calello and Laura Nyro
Art Direction – Bob Cato
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 46:15

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Luckie
2. Lu
3. Sweet Blindness
4. Poverty Train
5. Lonely Women
6. Eli's Comin'
7. Timer
8. Stoned Soul Picnic
9. Emmie
10. Woman's Blues
11. Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)
12. December's Boudoir
13. Confession

I had never even heard of Laura Nyro until I picked up this book and saw she had an album listed, so definitely had never heard any of her music. A quick read about her career and it is obvious that she peaked early, and “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession” - her second album, is considered by most to be her best. I also learned that this record contains the original versions of three songs that were big hits for other artists: "Sweet Blindness" and "Stoned Soul Picnic" (covered by the 5th Dimension), and "Eli's Comin'" (done by of course Three Dog Night). Who knew!
The album is a concept record following the journey of a girl from childhood into womanhood. The first songs feature the innocence of youth, the middle songs about experimentation with drugs and sex, and the last section about being a strong adult woman. The album was her first chart entry, reaching #189 on the Billboard 200, when it was known as "Pop Albums."
That said the record is a pleasant listen, but does get tiring. I found myself hoping for the last 3 or 4 songs that each of them was the last one!! The arrangements are nice with some good brass, and her piano playing is nice, but it just got old fast. She does mix up the styles a bit. From jazz to rock to pop. Think Tori Amos and Kate Bush. There can be no doubt that those ladies were influenced by Nyro. If you are fans of them – or any of the other female singer-songwriters, you will love this record. I however did not and do not recommend it.

115. Johnny Cash - Live At Folsom Prison (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Bob Johnson
Art Direction – Jim Marshall
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 44:49

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Folsom Prison Blues
2. Busted*
3. Dark As The Dungeon
4. I Still Miss Someone
5. Cocaine Blues
6. 25 Minutes To Go
7. Orange Blossom Special
8. The Long Black Veil
9. Send A Picture Of Mother
10. The Wall
11. Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog
12. Flushed From The Bathroom Of Your Heart
13. Joe Bean*
14. Jackson (with June Carter)
15. Give My Love To Rose (with June Carter)
16. I Got Stripes
17. The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer*
18. Green, Green Grass Of Home
19. Greystone Chapel

(* not part of original album, but part of the restored full concert CD)

I am not a Johnny Cash fan by any stretch of the imagination – but I knew full well before listening to this record that it is the stuff of legend. Cash performed two shows at Folsom State Prison in Folsom, California on January 13, 1968, and it is then when he became the ‘man in black’. When the recording of that event “At Folsom Prison” was released in May of 1968, it became his defining moment. His choice of songs is inspired and he truly tailored the set to his audience. Tables full of murderers and thief’s all serving time in Folsom prison. Throughout the record Cash delivers sparse arrangements of haunting songs of crime, sadness and serving time in jail. With the song selections it’s easy to write off the entire thing as “gloomy” but with Johnny Cash’s vocals you believe the songs he’s singing and the record has an air of excitement to it as you feel that he relates to the prisoners as much as he is entertaining them. I listened to the expanded 1999 edition that added three bonus tracks to the original 16-track record. There is also a more complete 3 cd version release that came out in 2008 - containing both concerts uncut and remastered.
Despite very little initial investment by Columbia, the album was a huge hit in the United States, reaching number one on the country charts and the top 15 of the national album chart. It received generally good reviews upon its release and has since been considered one of the greatest albums of all time. The single lifted from the record, a live version of "Folsom Prison Blues", suffered a setback when Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968. Radio stations ceased playing the single due to the macabre line: "I shot a man in Reno/Just to watch him die". Columbia remixed the single with the line removed - despite protest from Cash and the single was edited and re-released. The new version became a success, hitting number one on the country charts and the top forty on the national charts. By August 1968, Folsom had shipped over 300,000 copies; two months later it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for shipping over 500,000.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 88 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Also that year, it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. Country Music Television named it the third greatest album in country music in 2006. Blender listed the album as the 63rd greatest American album of all time and as one of the "500 CDs You Must Own". In 2006, Time listed it among the 100 greatest albums of all time.
It is recommended.

114. Leonard Cohen - The Songs Of Leonard Cohen (1968)

Label – Columbia
Producer – John Simon
Art Direction – Machine
Nationality – Canada
Running Time – 38:05

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Suzanne
2. Master Song
3. Winter Lady
4. Stranger Song
5. Sisters Of Mercy
6. So Long Marianne
7. Hey That's No Way To Say Goodbye
8. Stories Of The Street
9. Teachers
10. One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong

This is one of those artists who I had of course always heard OF – just had never HEARD. It’s not that I totally disliked it either. I’m just not that impressed with it either. I can definitely see how at the time of its release, with Dylan riding high and producing fine “songs” which were more poetic in their approach than being traditional lyrics, that Leonard Cohen would venture from his established "serious" literature as an author and poet and take a stab at music. That being said, his voice just isn’t that strong, and while the “lyrics” are constructed in an artsy way like portraits of a world full of love, lust, rage, compassion and betrayal, I think I’d much rather read them in a book than hear them put to music. I read that producer John Simon added the “polish” to Cohen's songs with his additional arrangements after Cohen wanted no other accompaniment other than his guitar. (One Dylan is enough Leonard!!) but to me that’s what actually make the record more accessible and give the tracks a greater strength.
There was some success in the United States and far better in Europe, reaching #83 on the Billboard chart but achieving gold status only in 1989! while it reached #13 in UK and spent nearly a year and a half in the UK album charts. Again – not too bad but I personally wouldn’t recommend it

113. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Electric Ladyland (1968)

Label – Reprise
Producer – Jimi Hendrix
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality – Uk / USA
Running Time – 75:47

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. ...And The Gods Made Love
2. Have You Ever Been (To Electric Ladyland)
3. Crosstown traffic
4. Voodoo Chile
5. Little miss strange
6. Long hot summer night
7. Come on (let the good times roll)
8. Gypsy eyes
9. Burning of the midnight lamp
10. Rainy day dream away
11. 1983 (a merman I should turn to be)
12. Moon turn the tides...gently gently away
13. Still raining, still dreaming
14. House burning down
15. All along the watchtower
16. Voodoo Child (slight return)

This was Jimi Hendrix's third and unfortunately final album with the original Experience and it found him taking his funk and psychedelic sounds to the absolute limit. Released in September of 1968 the finished product is not only one of the best rock albums of the era, but is perhaps Hendrix's only true representation of how he heard the music in his head. Special mention should also go out to engineer Eddie Kramer for transferring Jimi’s ideas onto to tape for all of us to enjoy. It is also the last of Hendrix's studio albums to be professionally produced under his own supervision. After Electric Ladyland, Hendrix spent the remaining two years of his life attempting to organize a new band and recording a breadth of new songs.
The highlights definitely speak for themselves: "Crosstown Traffic," his interpretation of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," (which Dylan himself has called THE definitive version) "Burning of the Midnight Lamp," the spacy "1983...(A Merman I Should Turn to Be)," and "Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)," – all simply fantastic.
Electric Ladyland was first released in the U.S. in September 1968 and became a massive hit; it was Hendrix's only #1 album. The UK edition reached #6 upon its release amid considerable controversy. The original UK album cover was controversial because it had nude women on the front face. It was later replaced by a front cover made with Jimi Hendrix's face on it. A letter Hendrix wrote to Reprise described exactly what he wanted for the cover, but it was ignored. The company Experience Hendrix, which owns the rights to the album and most of Hendrix's catalogue, has stated that the original UK nudes cover will not be used any longer, since Hendrix himself did not like it; nonetheless Hendrix's own choice, a Linda Eastman photo, is still ignored!!
In 2003, the album was ranked number 54 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2005 Q magazine readers voted Electric Ladyland the 38th greatest album of all time; in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 72. Also, The Source magazine ranked it #40 on their Critics Top 100 Black Music Albums of All Time list in 2006. It is HIGHLY recommended.

112. Os Mutantes - Os Mutantes

Label – Polydor
Producer – Manoel Barenbein
Art Direction – Pedroy
Nationality – Brazil
Running Time – 35:59

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Panis Et Circensis
2. A Minha Menina
3. O Relogio
4. Adeus Maria Fulo
5. Baby
6. Senhor F
7. Bat Macumba
8. Le Premier Bonheur Du Jour
9. Trem Fantasma
10. Tempo Perdido (Once Was A Time I Thought)
11. Ave Genghis Khan

So I have read that this – Os Mutantes debut album, is far and away their best. If that is the case, I don’t EVER want to hear any of their other works. Os Mutantes were at the forefront of Brazilian music at the time and their music is described as “a wildly inventive trip that assimilates orchestral pop, whimsical psychedelia, musique concrète, found-sound environments” it’s actually best described as just dreadful. To be fair, I know little to nothing about Brazilian music and I’m sure this is just not my cup of tea as well and pop/rock music listeners are sure to have a hard time finding the hooks in the songs because of the big emphasis on rhythm that is put onto the tracks through Samba drums.
There's just a lot of weirdness going on and it’s just not very well done. There is also the element of weirdness for the non-Portuguese Speaking audience, because I can't understand the lyrics at all. My understanding is that they actually are little more than drug-addled phrases used primarily for their sound than any actual meaning. .
Although they met with limited success during their own time, many contemporary underground or independent bands in the United States and Europe cite Os Mutantes as a major influence. Kurt Cobain publicly requested a reunion tour from the trio in 1993. Talking Heads frontman David Byrne has worked to publish and promote the group's back catalog through his own Luaka Bop label.
This debut record appears at number 9 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 greatest Brazilian albums of all time- but it is however not recommended.

111. Ravi Shankar - The Sounds Of India

Label – Columbia
Producer – Uncredited
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – India
Running Time – 53:40

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Introduction to Indian Music
2. Dâdrâ
3. Maru Bihag
4. Bhimpalasi
5. Sindhi-Bhairavi

An interesting record to say the least . It is one of Ravi Shankar’s earliest works and was created specifically for the “West”. The record is an attempt to teach those that were curious “western listeners” about the beauty – if not the complexity - of Indian music and basically tried to tell the listener what is going on!
There are four ‘ragas’ performed, Maru-Bihag, Bhimpalasi, Sindhi-Bhairavi, and Pancham-se-Gara, which is played during the piece titled "Dadra," which is actually a ‘tala’. Confused? Well, throughout the album there are short lessons in the forms and techniques given by Shankar himself before the various pieces are then performed. If you are looking for a pure Indian music record, you should then perhaps pass no this one. This is more of a historical document of both Shankar's amazing abilities, as well as his love of spreading the word for his music and teaching others. If you were thinking of delving into some of Ravi’s other works – this may be the best place to start just to help you understand what is going on in the music. This music is popular in the “West” mainly because Ravi Shankar taught George Harrison and, mainly through the Beatles, brought Indian Music to the West. And by all accounts Shankar is definitely the master of ragas, his technical prowess and improvisational capacity is astounding.
The first track is composed of Ravi Shankar explaining the music, and at the beggining of each track he gives a little introduction of what each track is and how it is structured. Not terribly entertaining, but educational. For that reason alone it is recommended.

110. The Kinks - The Village Green Preservation Society (1968)

Label – Pye
Producer – Ray Davies
Art Direction – John Prosser / Barrie Wertzell
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 38:46

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. The Village Green Preservation Society
2. Do You Remember Walter
3. Picture Book
4. Johnny Thunder
5. Last Of The Steam Powered Trains
6. Big Sky
7. Sitting By The Riverside
8. Animal Farm
9. Village Green
10. Starstruck
11. Phenominal Cat
12. All Of My Friends Were There
13. Wicked Annabella
14. Monica
15. People Take Pictures Of Each Other

The lp that followed up the Kink’s “Something Else” was “The Village Green Preservation Society” - a concept album – longing for the passing of old-fashioned English traditions. Ray Davies creates a series of stories, sketches, and characters about a picturesque England that never really was. This is a lovely album! I never really have given the Kinks much thought more than the big hit singles that they produced, but this album, the previously mentioned “Something Else” which was a great record, and "Face To Face" really have me thinking about taking another look at their recorded works and delving into them a bit more.
Originally conceived to be a two-record set with 20 tracks (but Pye Records rejected this plan) the 15 tracks take the listener into a lazy rhythms and sensibilities type feel, and although really there is a theme of loss and regret running through the record it feels like a hazy nice dream. The bluesy shuffle of "Last of the Steam-Powered Trains" is the closest the album comes to ‘real’ rock & roll but it is a great record even though the album is so calm. Their are endless layers of musical and lyrical innovation on “The Village Green Preservation Society” to hold your interest and make you want to play it again and again.
By the way – the track “Picture Book” was used in a series of HP commercials a few years ago, so that’s why that one sounded really familiar to me!! "Starstruck" was released as a single in the US and Europe, but it did not chart. The record remained out of print for years, but today this album is reported to be the best-selling non-compilation album in the Kinks' catalogue!! Ray Davies has referred to it as the "most successful flop of all time". It is HIGHLY recommended.

109. The Incredible String Band - The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter (1968)

Label – Elektra
Producer – Joe Boyd
Art Direction – Osisis
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 48:51

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Koeeoaddi There
2. Minotaur's Song
3. Witches Hat
4. Very Cellular Song
5. Mercy I Cry City
6. Waltz of the New Moon
7. Water Song
8. Three Is a Green Crown
9. Swift as the Wind
10. Nightfall

“The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter” is considered the Incredible String Band's most ambitious album, and the most important by critics. If this is a fair and accurate statement, I’d hate to have to sit through any of their other works. This record is absolutely dreadful. Just a sprawling, nerve grating lack of focus record that I could not WAIT until it was over. I was left wondering if I could have that 49 minutes of my life back somehow? Any record that has you thinking “oh dear god will this ever end?” is not a good record.
It’s lyrics promote ideas such as vegetarianism, communal living, and eastern mysticism. Hippie music for sure. Somehow the album was a major commercial success, staying in the UK charts for 27 weeks and peaked at #5. People in the United States are obviously smarter and it struggled to #161 on the Billboard 200. It is not recommended. No way no how.

108. Traffic - Traffic (1968)

Label – island
Producer – Jimmy Miller
Art Direction –Jim Capaldi
Nationality –UK
Running Time –40:42

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. You Can All Join In
2. Pearly Queen
3. Don't Be Sad
4. Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring
5. Feelin' Alright
6. Vagabond Virgin
7. (Roamin' Thru The Gloamin' With) 40 000 Headmen
8. Crying To Be Heard
9. No Time To Live
10. Means To An End

This is a interesting record from a band with interesting story. After dispensing with Dave Mason of his services in December 1967, the remaining members of Traffic had to reinstate him back into the group in the spring of 1968 as they struggled to write enough material for their upcoming second album simply known as “Traffic”. The result is a record that is basically divided between Dave Mason's catchy folkish-rock compositions and then by Steve Winwood's compelling rock jams. Mason's material was the most appealing both initially and eventually: the lead-off track, a jaunty effort called "You Can All Join In," became a European hit, and "Feelin' Alright?" turned out to be the only real standard to emerge from the album - but then only after it started earning cover versions notably the one by Joe Cocker. It was a short lived reunion as for the second time in two albums, Mason found himself dismissed from the group just as an LP to which he'd made a major contribution to was hitting the stores. But then again, only a few months after this record was released, the band itself split up. (they did re-group in 1970 however). The record did earn them their second consecutive Top Ten ranking in the U.K. and it reached the Top 20 in the U.S.
It is recommended.

107. Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet (1968)

Label – Decca
Producer – Jimmy Miller
Art Direction –Tom Wilkes
Nationality –UK
Running Time –39:43

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Sympathy For The Devil
2. No Expectations
3. Dear Doctor
4. Parachute Woman
5. Jigsaw Puzzle
6. Street Fighting Man
7. Prodigal Son
8. Stray Cat Blues
9. Factory Girl
10. Salt Of The Earth

To me this is where the Rolling Stones really began to find themselves and began producing some of their finest music. It’s no coincidence that this happened when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards asserted themselves and took over the band from it’s founder Brian Jones. While he is on this record, his contributions were minimal at best. Stripping away the most recent psychedelic experimentation that all bands were doing at the time, The Stones decided to return to their blues roots and the result is this one of their most celebrated albums, and is considered one of their landmark achievements. What’s not to love. The sparse production by Jimmy Miller lets the songs and performances stand on their own. There is a strong acoustic Delta blues flavor that matches the material, particularly "Salt of the Earth" and "No Expectations," which features some beautiful slide guitar work. The performances are laid back and comfortable and you could almost picture them on your front porch sipping cider and playing the blues – and they sound so good they could have been recorded yesterday.
Of course rock & roll was not forgotten, and the mega smash "Street Fighting Man," - a reflection of the political turbulence of 1968 – was and is still one of their most innovative singles. Perhaps the best know track by the Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil," complete with its fire-dancing guitar licks, and leering Jagger vocals, African pounding rhythms, and those satanic lyrics, this track was truly an image-defining epic. To be sure, “Beggars Banquet” is one of the top blues-based rock records of all time. Period.
There was some controversy over the cover however. Both Decca Records in England and London Records rejected the planned cover design - a graffiti-covered lavatory, (pictured above) which caused the band to delay the release of the the album. The Rolling Stones eventually gave in, and the record was released initially with a simple imitation invitation card cover. (pictured on the left). By 1984, all releases began using the original cover art.
Critics considered the LP as a return to form, and it was also a clear commercial success, reaching #3 in the UK and #5 in the US on the way to platinum status.
Also of note, in 2002 for the CD reissue of “Beggars Banquet” featured a new remaster of the record. This release corrected an important flaw in the original album by restoring each song to its proper, slightly faster speed. Due to an error in the mastering, “Beggars Banquet” was heard for over thirty years at a slower speed than it was recorded. This had the effect of altering not only the tempo of each song, but the song's key as well. These differences were subtle but important, and the remastered version is about 30 seconds shorter than the original release.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 57 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In the same year the TV network VH1 named Beggars Banquet the 67th greatest album of all time. It is of course HIGHLY recommended.

106. Aretha Franklin - I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You (1967)

Label – Atlantic
Producer – Jerry Wexler
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 32:51

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Respect
2. Drown In My Own Tears
3. I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
4. Soul Serenade
5. Don't Let Me Lose This Dream
6. Try It Baby
7. Dr Feelgood
8. Good Times
9. Do Right Woman Do Right Man
10. Save Me
11. Change Is Gonna Come

The Queen Of Soul – Aretha Franklin. What a fantastic, soulful record. The inclusion of "Respect" which is her best know work and one of the greatest singles in pop music history, is enough to warrant a listen to “I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You” and give the record classic status, but this Aretha's Atlantic label debut is just a great piece of work from start to finish. With a fantastic Muscle Shoals backing band and great material to work with this record catapulted Aretha to the Queen of Soul. Granted, I haven’t heard a lot of her works – but this is easily the strongest record of her career with great vocal performances from her. There is of course “Respect” and the title track which is the records other best-known song, but there is much more here than that. A great cover of Ray Charles' "Drown in My Own Tears" and two covers of Sam Cooke - "Good Times" and "A Change Is Gonna Come" are as good as the originals. Truly a soul classic record.
"Respect" is one of several songs considered to have defined the 1960s. It has appeared in dozens of films, and still receives consistent play on oldies radio stations. In the 1970s, Franklin's version of the song came to exemplify the feminist movement. Although she had numerous hits after "Respect", and several before its release, the song has became Franklin's signature song and her best-known recording. This album was ranked eighty-third in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All-Time in 2002. Two years later, "Respect" was fifth in the magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time. The song "Respect" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list. It is highly recommended.

105. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Axis: Bold As Love (1967)

Label – Reprise
Producer – Chas Chandler
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality – UK/USA
Running Time – 38:49

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold

1. EXP
2. Up From The Skies
3. Spanish Castle Magic
4. Wait Until Tomorrow
5. Ain't No Tellin'
6. Little Wing
7. If 6 Was 9
8. You've Got Me Floating
9. Castles Made Of Sand
10. She's So Fine
11. One Rainy Wish
12. Little Miss Lover
13. Bold As Love

This was Jimi Hendrix's second album and even though it followed his groundbreaking debut effort and would ultimately be (unfairly) compared with that record, this is a solid collection of great tunes and a true band effort. There is great interactive playing between Hendrix, Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell. Selecting the hot producer of the time - Chas Chandler to record the album was also a great choice, as he allows Hendrix to stretched further musically than he did on his first album, and the sound and feel of the recordings are just fantastic. There are the rockers like "You Got Me Floating," "Up from the Skies," and "Little Miss Lover," but to me, it’s the beautiful ballads "Little Wing," "Castles Made of Sand," "One Rainy Wish," and the title track that are just remarkable.
Many of the album’s tracks were composed and recorded with studio recording techniques in mind, and therefore very little of this record was rarely if ever played live. Upon it’s release it shot up the charts and reached #5 in the UK and later, #3 in the US. The album was recorded to fulfill the band's contract, which stated that they must produce two albums in 1967, but it was not released in the USA until 1968 due to fears that it might curb the sales of the first album which was still selling briskly. Legend has it that just before the album's completion, Hendrix left the master tapes of side 1 in a taxi. They were never found again, and thus the A-side had to be mixed again quickly.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 82 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is HIGHLY recommended.

104. Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat (1967)

Label – Verve
Producer – Tom Wilson
Art Direction – Andy Warhol
Nationality –UK/USA
Running Time – 38:55

Track Listing

1. White Light White Heat
2. Gift
3. Lady Godiva's Operation
4. Here She Comes Now
5. I Heard Her Call My Name
6. Sister Ray
Oh my. Here we have another record by the Velvet Underground. And yes it is just as bad as the first. “White Light/White Heat” was a no-holds-barred assault on music. Recorded this time out without the input of either Nico or Andy Warhol (who did do the artwork) the record is the purest and rawest document of the main Velvet Underground lineup of Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker, but the music is TOO tough and just TOO abrasive. It incudes songs about the endorsement of amphetamines and an epic noise jam "Sister Ray" This is just 17 minutes of pure torture that no one should ever subject themselves too. Legend has it that track was recorded in 1 take. I’m not surprised. A lot of the record is just noise, and that does not make good music. Period.
The album briefly appeared on the Billboard 200, although only peaking at number 199. In 2003, the album was ranked number 292 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, however it is definitely not recommended.

103. Shivkumar Sharma, Brijbushan Kabra and Hariprasad Chaurasia - Call Of The Valley (1967)

Label – EMI Hemisphere
Producer – G.N. Joshi
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality –India
Running Time – 39:06

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Ahir Bhairav/Nat Bhairav
2. Rag Piloo
3. Bhoop
4. Rag Des
5. Rag Pahadi

Here we have an interesting record, one of Indian music by artists Shivkumar Sharma, guitarist Brijbhushan Kabra, and flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia titled “Call of the Valley”. In 1967, the concept behind this album was as revolutionary as much as it was traditional. It is conceived as a suite, and they used their instruments to tell the story of a day in the life of a shepherd in Kashmir using Indian ragas associated with various times of the day to advance the story. The use of acoustic guitar alongside the Indian instruments was considered a breakthrough and made it appeal to more people at the time. Name dropping of the record by George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, David Crosby and Roger McGuinn at the time didn’t hurt either!! It has been stated, if the newcomer buys only one Indian music recording, it should be “Call of the Valley.”
I’ve never been a huge Indian music fan – but have heard my share of it thanks to Mr Harrison – especially from Ravi Shankar. This doesn’t seem to be to different from his works, and while not an earth shattering piece of music, it was very pleasant and I did enjoy listening to it. And never once thought – man I wish this would end!! I found it quite accessible and beautifully performed. Recommended.

102. Loretta Lynn - Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind) (1967)

Label – Decca
Producer – Owen Bradley
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 30:14

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1 Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)
2 I Really Don't Want to Know
3 Tommorow Never Comes
4 There Goes My Everything
5 The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight
6 Saint to Sinner
7 The Devil Gets His Dues
8 I Can't Keep Away from You
9 I'm Living in Two Worlds
10 Get What 'Cha Got and Go
11 Making Plans
12 I Got Caught

Admittedly I am not a huge country music fan – and I like old country music a lot less than new country music being released these days. So it was really pretty hard to get though this album. I totally understand that Loretta Lynn is considered one of the best country & western artists, but it’s just not my cup of tea. This was her seventh studio record and it does contain two of her defining songs – the title track (which reached #1 – her first) and the cynical "I Got Caught". I do like that fact that while there are cover songs on here – notably Ernest Tubb’s "The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight" – that Loretta Lynn for the most part penned most of her own songs. A true all around artist. There are some nice lead guitar/pedal steel interchanges that run through this album that made my ears perk up, but that’s about it.
The album became the first album by a female Country singer to be certified "Gold" by the RIAA, meaning the album has sold 500,000 copies or more. The album peaked at #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, her second album to do so. It also peaked at #80 on the Billboard 200. It is however not recommended.

101. The Electric Prunes - I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (1967)

Label – Reprise
Producer – David Hassinger
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 29:15

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
2. Bangles
3. Onie
4. Are You Lovin' Me More (But Enjoy It Less)
5. Train For Tomorrow
6. Sold To The Highest Bidder
7. Get Me To The World On Time
8. About A Quarter To Nine
9. King Is In The Counting House
10. Luvin'
11. Try Me On For Size
12. Toonerville Trolley
Here again is one of those bands that I have heard of but never heard before. This is the Electric Prunes debut album which kick off with their first (and their biggest) hit single. Sadly the title track “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)” is the highlight of the record, and it never reaches that high point again. While it’s not really bad – it just sounds like a 60’s garage band who got a recording contract and were allowed to release an album. The other single from the record, "Get Me to the World on Time" is pretty good, but the other tracks don’t really distinguish themselves and are basically just filler. Again – I didn’t hate the record it’s just for the most part every song sounds the same. Strange guitar sounds punctuating a psychedelic soundscape. Ok for a while but never really goes anywhere and I was hoping they would branch out with some experimentation along these lines but they never do. What a shame. Not recommended.

100. The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced (1967)

Label – Reprise
Producer – Chas Chandler
Art Direction – Bruce Fleming
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 40:07

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Foxy Lady
2. Manic Depression
3. Red House
4. Can You See Me
5. Love Or Confusion
6. I Don't Live Today
7. May This Be Love
8. Fire
9. Third Stone From The Sun
10. Remember
11. Are You Experienced

With this record we break into the 100’s on our list. Only 901 to go!! And what better way to break the hundred mark than with Jimi Hendrix and truly one of the finest albums ever released. Easily one of the most incredible debuts in rock and roll history. Seemingly out of nowhere there was Jimi Hendrix with is mind blowing guitar work and his cutting edge brand of rock and roll, blues, pop, and soul all rolled into one. His guitar work captured everyone’s attention, but without great songs that wouldn’t have been enough. Fortunately the material is excellent. There are the rock staples "Foxy Lady," "Manic Depression," "Purple Haze," “Hey Joe”. An instrumental jam "Third Stone From the Sun", blues at it’s finest "Red House", a ballad "The Wind Cries Mary". Just top notch stuff!!
It’s easy to focus on Jimi but drummer Mitch Mitchell and bassist Noel Redding’s contributions to the Experience cannot be underestimated. They truly were a power trio. While personally I think Hendrix made some higher quality music in the last year of his life there is no denying this first release is his masterpiece. True to the times - the British and American versions of the album differed substantially when they were initially released in 1967 but CD reissues do everyone a favor by gathering all of the material from the two records in one place, adding the few B-sides from the early singles as well and makes for the complete ‘experience’. While the track listing above reflects the US release – I did listen to the complete sessions CD version.
The TV channel VH1 named it the fifth greatest album of all time in 2001. In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #15 on it’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list having been ranked as number 5 in their twentieth anniversary listing The Best Albums of the Last Twenty Years published in 1987. In 2005 it was selected for permanent preservation in the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in the United States.
Highly recommended.

99. Merle Haggard - I'm A Lonesome Fugitive

Label – Capitol
Producer – Ken Nelson
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time –25:14

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. I'm A Lonesome Fugitive
2. All Of Me Belongs To You
3. House Of Memories
4. Life In A Prison
5. Whatever Happened To Me
6. Drink Up And Be Somebody
7. Someone Told My Story
8. If You Want To Be My Woman
9. Mary's Mine
10. Skid Row
11. My Rough And Rowdy Ways
12. Mixed Up Mess Of A Heart

Out of the blue we have a country record! And it’s actually a pretty good one. It’s more of a country-rock record then an all out country one. The amazing thing that stood out when I played this early Merle Haggard album is how much current star Alan Jackson sounds like Merle in his younger days. I actually did a double look at the display to make sure it was actually Merle Haggard that was playing!! This is on of Haggard’s early Capitol album and it contains the haunting "House of Memories" and also a nod to his country roots with a cover of "Rough and Rowdy Ways," the Jimmie Rodgers classic. The album is very short and maybe that is a good thing. Right as I was thinking to myself – ok I’ve enjoyed this up until now – but I am getting that “wish this was over” feeling – it WAS!! So it left me totally fulfilled. Short and sweet and packed with some decent sounding tunes, which was a pleasant surprise. So – surprisingly - It is recommended!

98. Donovan - Sunshine Superman (1967)

Label – Pye
Producer – Mickie Most
Art Direction – Dick Smith
Nationality – USA
Running Time –49:26

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Sunshine Superman
2. Legend Of A Girl Child Linda
3. Three Kingfishers
4. Ferris Wheel
5. Bert's Blues
6. Season Of The Witch
7. The Trip
8. Guinevere
9. The Fat Angel
10. Celeste

An interesting album. Of course I have heard of Donovan and heard some of his music – but this is the first record of his I have ever heard. It kicks off with his mega hit – the title track “Sunshine Superman” just a great tune. It’s the two “side” openers, "Sunshine Superman" and "Season of the Witch," that are easily the highlights of the album. It’s the rest of the record that leaves me head scratching. The rest of the album is filled with lengthy, abstract, repetitive folk jams, that are actually pleasant enough, but lack any real punch. I read one review where they called the record a “perfect for lazy summer afternoons” listen. That’s pretty accurate, but with tracks such as "Legend of a Girl Child Linda" it plods along for nearly seven minutes not going anywhere. "Guinevere," is nice with it’s Indian backing of sitar and tabla and "Three King Fishers," and "Ferris Wheel" are pretty good – but I couldn’t help but feel empty as the record ended. Thinking I was cheated somehow. Some of songs that sound good on their own – like the hits on the radio, but overall it’s not a terribly bad record, just not a consistently good one.
Note this record appeared in two different versions, one in America and another almost 16 months later in England. (Donovan was fighting to be released from his contract with Pye Records in England.) The 1001 book lists the albums origins in the UK – but uses the US cover art and mentions songs that were on the US not UK version. It is the US version that I played and reviewed here.
This one is a toss up. I recommend SOME of the record, but not all. Listen with caution.

97. The Kinks - Something Else By The Kinks (1967)

Label – Pye
Producer – Ray Davies and Shel Talmy
Art Direction – Pye Records Studios
Nationality –UK
Running Time –36:26

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. David Watts
2. Death Of A Clown
3. Two Sisters
4. No Return
5. Harry Rag
6. Tin Soldier Man
7. Situation Vacant
8. Love Me Till The Sun Shines
9. Lazy Old Sun
10. Afternoon Tea
11. Funny Face
12. End Of The Season
13. Waterloo Sunset

Now this was a great record!! 13 classic British pop songs from the Kinks. The Kinks never rock very hard on the album, preferring acoustic ballads, music hall numbers, and tempered R&B to full-out guitar attacks. Part of the album's power lies in its calm music, since it provides an elegant support for Davies' character portraits. From the stomp of "David Watts" to "Waterloo Sunset," there is really not a weak track on the record. "Two Sisters," "End of the Season," the rolling "Lazy Old Sun," and "Situation Vacant" -- are all just great tracks. “Something Else” is a fascinating album with the emergence of Dave Davies as a truly talented songwriter. These are not your standard songs trying to be hit singles. In fact, the album title may come from Davies' appeal to the Kinks' management in the summer of 1967 that he wanted to do "something else" besides writing hit singles. It also marks the final involvement of American producer Shel Talmy in the Kinks' 1960s studio recordings, and from this point on Ray Davies would assume recording production credits.
The album sold poorly in the UK, and not to be outdone, it also sold poorly in the United States. The record does have a strong British theme and also the group was still the subject of a U.S. ban on live and television performances. Critics at the time mainly gave the record very positive reviews. Many years on in 2003, the album was ranked number 288 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, finally getting some overdue recognition. It is HIGHLY recommended.

96. Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow (1967)

Label – RCA
Producer – Rick Jarrard
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 33:40

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. She Has Funny Cars
2. Somebody to Love
3. My Best Friend
4. Today
5. Comin’ Back to Me
6. 3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds
7. D. C. B. A.—25
8. How Do You Feel
9. Embryonic Journey
10. White Rabbit
11. Plastic Fantastic Lover

This was the second album by Jefferson Airplane, and the first to feature Grace Slick. By all accounts this was the groundbreaking moment that one can point to as the defining piece of folk-rock-based psychedelia. Sure there were other bands who were doing the same type thing (most notably the Grateful Dead) but more than just a local success, “Surrealistic Pillow” actually rode the pop charts for most of 1967 and resided beside other records of the year by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Suddenly this music was taken seriously. Many years on this is still their defining work. It does feature their Top Ten singles "White Rabbit" (#8) and "Somebody to Love" (#5) but there is also the nice acoustic "Embryonic Journey" as well which is equally as good. Actually, for the most part, the rest of the record is actually nothing like the two hits. I was unaware until reading about this records that Jerry Garcia (serving as spiritual and musical advisor and guitarist) was involved with the making of the album. The songs are straightforward and rock. In stark contrast to the excessive experimentation (musical and chemical) that affected the group’s ability to do a straightforward song on later recordings. They never made a better album.
“Surrealistic Pillow” peaked at #3 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart. In 2003, the album was ranked number 146 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time." It is recommended.

95. The Young Rascals - Groovin' (1967)

Label – Atlantic
Producer – Tom Dowd / Arif Mardin / Young Rascals
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 34:44

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Girl Like You
2. Find Somebody
3. I'm So Happy Now
4. Sueño
5. How Can I Be Sure
6. Groovin'
7. If You Knew
8. I Don't Love You Anymore
9. You Better Run
10. Place in the Sun
11. It's Love

The Young Rascals best record. The album was a huge seller thanks to the title track, which is the group's signature tune (#1 one on the pop charts, #3 on R&B), but there is more to the record than just "Groovin'". The record has a garage band feel about it with a dash of psychedelia thrown in, including fuzztone guitars and downright catchy lyrics and choruses and just feel good music. "How Can I Be Sure" is the another song that sounded familiar to me but tracks I had never heard before such as "I'm So Happy Now," leave you compelled to tap your feet and bob your head. Which is what I think good music should do. Make you physically MOVE. "You Better Run" is another track that I was familiar with, but more so due to the cover versions by Pat Benatar and KISS member Peter Criss. It is a good track and a great piece of rock & roll. There is also a really good cover of the Motown track, "A Place in the Sun".
This was the last album on which the band was billed as "The Young Rascals"; by their next album they would be credited as simply "The Rascals" – and never reached the popularity they achieved with this record.
I was lucky enough to have seen Felix Cavaliere in 1995 when he toured with Ringo Starr and his vocals that night were just amazing!
This record is recommended.

94. The Byrds - Younger Than Yesterday (1967)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Gary Usher
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 28:27

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. So You Want To Be A Rock 'N' Roll Star
2. Have You Seen Her Face
3. C.T.A.-102
4. Renaissance Fair
5. Time Between
6. Everybody's Been Burned
7. Thoughts And Words
8. Mind Gardens
9. My Back Pages
10. The Girl With No Name
11. Why

This record by the Byrds was their 4rth and in some ways overlooked when it was initially released and began the end of the Byrds and started their commercial downslide. That’s a shame as this is a really decent record that I enjoyed very much.
"So You Want to Be a Rock & Roll Star" was a terrific single (charting at #29) and "My Back Pages," was also a small hit (#30) and was a Bob Dylan cover track – but what Byrds record would have been complete without a Dylan cover! This would be the final time the band cracked the top 40.
It’s a very short record – just over 28 minutes and it goes by very fast. "Thoughts and Words," “Renaissance Fair," "Have You Seen Her Face," and "Time Between" are all easily among the best songs the Byrds ever recorded. Not all is great however. "Everybody's Been Burned" is a pretty good David Crosby track, but "Mind Gardens" isn’t that good and neither is “CTA-102”. But those don’t detract to much from the overall record.
Despite the album's moderate chart performance (it peaked at #24 in the Billboard charts), its critical stature has grown substantially over the years. In 2003, the album was ranked number 124 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is recommended.

93. The Doors - The Doors (1967)

Label – Elektra
Producer – Paul A. Rothchild
Art Direction – William S. Harvey
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 43:25

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Break On Through
2. Soul Kitchen
3. Crystal Ship
4. Twentieth Century Fox
5. Alabama Song (Whiskey Bar)
6. Light My Fire
7. Back Door Man
8. I Looked At You
9. End Of The Night
10. Take It As It Comes
11. The End

This is the birth of Rock Theater. No one was better at this than Jim Morrison and the Doors, and this is a not only a incredible debut album, (and perhaps one of the best debuts in rock history period) this is nothing short of a music masterpiece. And anyone who know me, knows that I do not throw that tag around loosely.
The Doors music is hard to classify. Yes they are a rock band, but they sprinkle their work with blues, with classical, with jazz, and Jim Morrison’s lyrics are more poetry then typical lyrics. There is the sparseness to their music that actually expands the tracks leaving open spaces for Jim Morrison to fill with his aura. Very lean, “spider” type guitar sounds and those organ riffs interweave between the pounding snare hits – all create a menacing atmosphere for Morrison's yelping vocals and poetry readings. It was "Light My Fire" the topped the charts in 1967 - and it did established the group as stars – but that is also one of the weakest tracks on the record. To me the rest of the album is what is impressive, including some of the best songs they would record. "The Crystal Ship," is an overlooked track with a incredible Morrison vocal, a vibe driven "End of the Night," the stomp rocker "Soul Kitchen" and of course the album closer “The End”. This 11 minute track is the group at its best. From start to finish, there is really very little here that can be criticized negatively. When the album was released, the tracks "Break on Through (To the Other Side)" and "The End" were both released censored. During "Break on Through" the part where Jim Morrison sings "She gets, she gets" was originally recorded as "She gets high." The interlude singing part near the end of "The End" was censored and taken out. It included Jim using the word ‘fuck’ over and over. Subsequent releases of the album have both of the original parts intact and is the preferred version.
This record is generally thought of as the band's best work. In 1998 Q magazine readers voted “The Doors” the 93rd greatest album of all time. In 2003 VH1 placed it at number 60. Also in 2003, the album was ranked number 42 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is HIGHLY recommended.

92. Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim - Frank Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim (1967)

Label – Reprise
Producer – Sonny Burke
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 28:34

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Girl From Ipanema
2. Dindi
3. Change Partners
4. Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars
5. Meditations
6. If You Never Come To Me
7. How Insensitive
8. Concentrate On You
9. Baubles Bangles And Beads
10. Once I Loved

I’m not a big Frank Sinatra fan. I’m not a big bossa nova fan. So I really had no idea what to expect from a Frank Sinatra bossa nova record. I’ve reviewed a few and it’s just not my kind of music. I’m sure I am much more tolerant now than I would have been even 5 short years ago and totally dismissed all of them without giving them a chance.
I try to think about the artists and the recordings in the context of the times they were recorded and released. So it’s 1967, and bossa nova had become quite popular in the US with jazz and pop audiences, so it’s no wonder Frank Sinatra decided to team up with the leading bossa nova composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. He brought in arranger Claus Ogerman and went to work. The trio concentrated mainly on Jobim original titles, but did add a few ‘American’ classics as well (most notably -- "Baubles, Bangles and Beads") and re-arranged them to suit the bossa nova theme of the record.
The record is actually a low key affair, and not as ‘bouncy’ as I was thinking it might be for bossa nova Latin music. Sinatra is – well Sinatra. Relaxed and forceful for sure – but I have never considered him a great singer, but he’s not terrible either. Brass, percussion, soft strings, and a sweet sounding guitar makes the music ‘pleasant’ to listen to, but there us no fire or excitement to the tracks whatsoever.
Perhaps that ‘pleasantness’ would be expanded on with time and repeated listenings that one doesn’t get with just one listen, but it really became only background music for me, and my mind would often wonder to other thoughts while playing – so obviously didn’t keep my attention.
At the Grammy Awards of 1968 Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim was nominated for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and while not especially bad – I would not recommend it.

91. Velvet Underground - Velvet Underground And Nico

Label – Verve
Producer – Andy Warhol and Tom Wilson
Art Direction – Andy Warhol
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 48:34

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Sunday Morning
2. I'm Waiting For The Man
3. Femme Fatale
4. Venus In Furs
5. Run Run Run
6. All Tomorrow's Parties
7. Heroin
8. There She Goes Again
9. I'll Be Your Mirror
10. Black Angel's Death Song
11. European Son

When your are playing a record, and you shout out “for the love of god will this crap ever end?” – your listening to a really bad album. That is exactly what I screamed out around track 9 of this record as it played. The fact that I read where this is considered to be one of the most influential records ever made – makes me question everyone’s sanity. This is just a bad record. Dreadful. Awful.
It reportedly took over a decade for the album's sales to crack six figures. I feel sorry for those record buyers.
Recorded in 1966 during Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable multimedia event tour, “The Velvet Underground & Nico” is full of out of tune ramblings, disjointed melodies, bad lyrics and out of tune singing on EVERY single song. The album I reviewed of Nico’s and this record are equally as bad. By the way – this record features Nico as well!! Doing some reading on the record I came across this statement: “While the significance of Nico's contributions have been debated over the years, and if Andy Warhol's presence as ‘producer’ was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances.” Interesting – but what a shame it sucks so bad.
Though largely ignored upon release, (it’s chart peak was at #171) for some reason that I will NEVER understand the record has since become one of the most influential and critically acclaimed rock albums in history. It appears at number 13 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time as well as being added to the 2006 National Recording Registry by the Librarian of Congress. In April 2003, Spin put the album at the number one spot of their "Top Fifteen Most Influential Albums of All Time" list (though the list excluded albums by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis and The Rolling Stones). In 1997, Velvet Underground & Nico was named the 22nd greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In his 1995 book, "The Alternative Music Almanac", Alan Cross placed the album in the #1 spot on the list of '10 Classic Alternative Albums'. In 2006, Q magazine readers voted it into 42nd place in the "2006 Q Magazine Readers' 100 Greatest Albums Ever" poll, while The Observer placed it at number 1 in a list of "50 Albums That Changed Music" in the July of that year. Also in 2006, the album was chosen by TIME magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time. It is, however, not recommended as it is just terrible.

90. The Who - The Who Sell Out (1967)

Label – Track
Producer – Kit Lambert
Art Direction – David King and Roger Law
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 39:26

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Armenia City In The Sky
2. Heinz Baked Beans/More Music (Jingle)
3. Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand/Premier Drums/Radio London (jingles)
4. Odorono/Radio London (jingle)
5. Tattoo/Radio London (Church Of Your Choice Jingle)
6. Our Love Was
7. I Can See For Miles/Charles Atlas (Jingle)
8. I Can't Reach You
9. Medac
10. Relax
11. Silas Stingy
12. Sunrise
13. Rael 1

This the Who’s third release is an interesting album and lays down the foundation of the Who as we think of them today. Pete Townshend has said that the “Who Sell Out” is a concept album paying tribute to pirate radio stations. It’s not a ‘concept piece’ as we generally think of when we thing of Townshends later works (Tommy; Quadrophenia, etc) as there is not a story being told here - but the addition of fake jingles and commercials which link the songs gives the record an overall common ‘theme’.
If you overlook those jingles (not that they are bad or anything like that) this is a great set of songs and a great record overall. "I Can See for Miles", "Armenia City in the Sky" and “Tattoo" are all just excellent tracks. To cap off the record is "Rael" which is a mini-opera, with some music themes that would reappeared as part of “Tommy”.
The album's release was not surprisingly followed by a handful of lawsuits - due to the mention of real-world products in the fake commercials - and on the album’s cover art. They were also sued by the makers of the real Radio London jingles claiming The Who used them without permission.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 113 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. While not the version reviewed here – I advise you to seek out the CD reissue of the record which adds some alternate versions as well as some unused jingles. It is recommended.

89. Pink Floyd - The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967)

Label –Columbia
Producer – Norman Smith
Art Direction – Syd Barrett
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 41:52

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Astronomy Domine
2. Lucifer Sam
3. Matilda Mother
4. Flaming
5. Pow R Toc H
6. Take Up Thy Stethoscope And Walk
7. Interstellar Overdrive
8. Gnome
9. Chapter 24
10. Scarecrow
11. Bike

I really like Pink Floyd. They are easily in the list of my top 10 favorite bands of all time. What a shame this – their debut album - is just not very good. Indeed – the Pink Floyd that I’m referring to would be the group AFTER Syd Barrett lost his mind and was replaced by David Gilmour. We can thank Syd for putting the band together if nothing else – but the Floyd would not make great music until he was long gone from the group. This record DOES capture the psychedelic mood of the 60’s pretty well, but it’s just to ‘out there’ as it were. The lp title was taken from Syd Barrett's favorite children's book, “The Wind in the Willows”, and Barrett’s lyrics are indeed childlike, but more accurately LSD influenced.
I have played this record a handful of times over the years since I got it as a teenager and thought perhaps a new current listen to the record and my changing music tastes may have altered my opinion of the record. But not really. "Astronomy Domine" and "Interstellar Overdrive" are really the only tracks that I really enjoyed – and I really believe that is due to later versions of the songs that I have listened to which makes they more familiar to me. As an interesting side note. the album was produced by Norman Smith, an EMI staff member who had previously engineered all of The Beatles recordings up to 1965's Rubber Soul.
I have always held the opinion that Syd Barrett has always been somewhat overrated. His story is no doubt a sad one, but his Floyd work as well as his solo released are pretty much un-listenable. Regardless of my opinion, the record has been called one of the most influential records ever made. It reached #6 on the UK charts. In the U.S. it reached #131 on the Billboard charts. In 1999 Rolling Stone Magazine called it - "the golden achievement of Syd Barrett". Q Magazine described the album as "indispensable", and included it in their best psychedelic albums of all time. It was also ranked 40th in Mojo magazines, The 50 Most Out There Albums of all Time. In 2000 Q magazine ranked it at number 55 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 347 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
Regardless of all of that - I cannot however recommend it.

88. Cream - Disraeli Gears (1967)

Label – Polydor
Producer – Felix Pappalardi
Art Direction – Martin Sharp
Nationality – UK
Running Time – 33:30

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Strange Brew
2. Sunshine Of Your Love
3. World Of Pain
4. Dance The Night Away
5. Blue Condition
6. Tales Of Brave Ulysses
7. Swlabr
8. We're Going Wrong
9. Outside Woman Blues
10. Take It Back
11. Mother's Lament

Just a fantastic album – and most likely Cream’s best. Teamed up with producer Felix Pappalardi – this is Cream’s second record. It’s less blues and more psychedelic oriented than their debut lp - but it does show them as a truly massive, innovative power trio. The record contains the classics "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love," as well as the epic “Tales of Brave Ulysses." These tracks alone make this record a classic.
There are some interesting tracks suck as "Swlabr," and the schoolboy singalong "Monther's Lament," yet make no mistake, Cream is a heavy rock trio and “Disraeli Gears” is a great heavy rock album of the '60s – once again affirming that Eric Clapton was really a guitar genius. Clapton, Ginger Baker, and Jack Bruce all contributed songs to the record with the help of lyricist Pete Brown and Pappalardi.
The record upon it’s release reached #5 on the UK album chart, and it was also a massive seller in the US reaching #4 on the American charts. In 2003 the album was ranked number 112 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. VH1 also named it their 87th greatest album of all time the same year.
It is highly recommended.

87. Love - Forever Changes (1967)

Label – Elektra
Producer – Arthur Lee / Bruce Botnick
Art Direction –William S. Harvey / Bob Pepper
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 42:52

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Alone Again Or
2. House Is Not A Motel
3. Andmoreagain
4. Daily Planet
5. Old Man
6. Red Telephone
7. Maybe The People Would Be The Times
8. Live And Let Live
9. Good Humor Man He Sees Everything Like This
10. Bummer In The Summer
11. You Set The Scene

Another really good album. I have liked both albums by Love that have been on the 1001 list. When “Forever Changes” was released in 1967 it only made only a minor dent on the charts, rising only to #154 on the Billboard charts. (It did however reach the Top 30 in Britain.) But time has treated it well – and is often considered as one of the finest and most haunting albums to come out of the Summer of Love. The first thing that stuck our to me was the sound. This record just has a great sound to it. There are nice, sharp electric guitars on the tunes "A House Is Not a Motel" and "Live and Let Live," but most of the record is built around interwoven acoustic guitars with strings and horns punctuating the melodies. “Forever Changes” is most probably Love's masterpiece. The songs are simply good! The songs at time do sound dated – mainly with some topics of the era in which it was recorded - but not so much that you can’t enjoy them. Studio musicians performed nearly all of the tracks due to the regular line-up's alleged ‘inability to function’.
The album was the first to be produced by Arthur Lee, with assistance from Bruce Botnick. Originally, the album was to be produced by Botnick and Neil Young, but Young bowed out due to his commitments to Buffalo Springfield. However, Young did stick with the album project long enough to arrange the track "The Daily Planet" – one of the standout tracks on the record.
It’s enduring impact cannot be denied. The most notable praise came in 2003 from the British magazine, NME, who rated “Forever Changes” #6 on their list of greatest albums of all time!! In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Forever Changes the 82nd greatest album of all time. In Joe S. Harrington's “Top 100 Albums” it comes in at #69. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it 40th in its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time in the December 11, 2003 issue. Mojo magazine ranked it the second greatest psychedelic album of all time, while in 1995 it made #11 in Mojo's list of the 100 Greatest Albums Ever Made. It ranked 83rd in a 2005 survey held by British television's Channel 4 to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time. Finally – “Forever Changes” was praised by the British Parliament in 2002 as being one of the Greatest Albums of All Time.

86. Tim Buckley - Goodbye and Hello (1967)

Label – Elektra
Producer – Jerry Yester
Art Direction –William S. Harvey / Guy Webster
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 42:41

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. No Man Can Find The War
2. Carnival Song
3. Pleasant Street
4. Hallucinations
5. I Never Asked To Be Your Mountain
6. Once I Was
7. Phantasmagoria In Two
8. Knight-Errant
9. Goodbye And Hello
10. Morning Glory

I enjoyed this record as well. It is often chosen as THE Tim Buckley musical statement in his canon, and “Goodbye and Hello” is indeed a really good album. Tim stated that it was inspired by the Beatles “Sgt Pepper's” experimentation spirit, and this helped him bring his musical vision onto the recordings. There are some fine songs here - particularly "Once I Was" and "Pleasant Street."
His voice can be a bit tiresome – but that is just a minor issue overall. This album should have made him a star but only peaked at #171 on Billboard. It made Tim re-think his music and he never delivered an album again as focused and as good as this one. Sadly, on June 28, 1975 after returning from the last show of a tour in Dallas he overdosed and died. Tim Buckley was 28.

85. The Monkees - Headquarters (1967)

Label – RCA
Producer – Douglas Farthing Hatfield
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 36:14

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. You Told Me
2. I'll Spend My Life With You
3. Forget That Girl
4. Band 6
5. You Just May Be The One
6. Shades Of Gray
7. I Can't Get Her Off My Mind
8. For Pete's Sake
9. Mr. Webster
10. Sunny Girlfriend
11. Zilch
12. No Time
13. Early Morning Blues And Greens
14. Randy Scouse Git

The only Monkees record on the 1001 list. And it is a pretty good one. After several albums on which the band had little to no involvement beyond providing vocals and a couple of Mike Nesmith written songs, the group decided to take control of their recording destiny. Legend has it that a huge fight that ended with a well-timed fist through the wall of a hotel suite and many arguments (or negotiations) the groups music supervisor Don Kirschner was out - and the band was allowed to hit the studio by themselves. With producer Chip Douglas, the band spent some time learning just how to be a rock band. So this – the Monkees first REAL album turned out to be a energetic, exciting, and rather impressive record. First off – “Headquarters” does NOT contain any of the group's biggest hits, but it does contain some of their best songs, specifically Nesmith's "You Just May Be the One," and "For Pete's Sake," which became the closing music for the credits to the second season of the Monkees TV show. Tracks like "I'll Spend My Life with You," the ballad "Shades of Gray," and even the showtune style Davy Jones track "I Can't Get Her Off My Mind" all work well. They DO benefit from the simple arrangements and stark production. No doubt because the band really was learning as they went. “Headquarters” doesn't show the band to be musical geniuses by any stretch, but it did prove they were legitimate musicians.
Along with the follow up “Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.” , “Headquarters” constitutes what both critics and supporters alike believe to be the ultimate Monkees recordings. “Headquarters” sold nearly two million copies immediately upon its release. It charted at the number one position in the United States. It stayed at that position for only one week, when it was replaced by The Beatles' “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.” It then began a run of 11 consecutive weeks at the #2 position as “Sgt. Pepper's”remained at #1. It is recommended.

84. The Beau Brummels - Triangle (1967)

Label – Warner Brothers
Producer – Lenny Waronker
Art Direction – Ed Thrasher
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 26:08

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Are You Happy
2. Only Dreaming Now
3. Painter Of Women
4. The Keeper Of Time
5. It Won't Get Better
6. Nine Pound Hammer
7. Magic Hollow
8. And I've Seen Her
9. Triangle
10. The Wolf Of Velvet Fortune
11. Old Kentucky Home

Another enjoyable record and one that is considered the jewel in the Beau Brummels' recordings crown. Not having heard any of their music before I didn’t really know what to expect. I read that ‘Triangle’ was an departure from the band's earlier hit-making formula sound. The band's signature style - folk, country swing, and Brit-pop - are still heard on the record. Like many other albums of the summer of 1967, this record gets lost in the aura of the Beatles “Sgt. Pepper.” Any other time and it might have gotten more notice and critical praise when it was released. , The tracks on ‘Triangle’ are all loosely tied together by a simular theme - a dream cycle. Not that this is a concept album – because it is not. (though to call Triangle a concept album might be overstating the case). "Magic Hollow," with a delicate harpsichord is the records highlight – but issued as a single it barely made the charts. The album's first five or six songs are just a great listen. Basically ignored this is a fine record which deserves to be heard by a wider audience.
Interestingly, the group took its name from a 19th Century English dandy, Beau Brummell. Also they figured that since the record buying public was looking for Beatles records, having a name that naturally followed Beatles alphabetically would be a good move. They also began wearing British-influenced clothing and for many years they were often mistaken for an English band.
It is recommended.

83. Love - Da Capo (1967)

Label – Elektra
Producer – Paul Rothchild
Art Direction – William S. Harvey
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 36:16

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Stephanie Knows Who
2. Orange Skies
3. Que Vida
4. Seven And Seven Is
5. Castle
6. She Comes In Colours
7. Revelation

This was the second release by Love. They were discovered by Elektra records who caught their act opening for the Doors and they were both soon signed by the label. This record was produced by longtime Doors producer Paul Rothchild.
This is again one of those albums where truly they are a tale of two sides and makes you miss the lp. ‘Side 1’ consists of six songs and are a great body of work, highlighted by a pre-punk rock track "Seven & Seven Is" which by the way was Love’s only hit single. Also of note is the track "She Comes in Colors," (which I read when looking up information on this record was reportedly the inspiration for the Rolling Stones' track "She's a Rainbow").
Sadly - it's only half a good record as ‘Side 2’ consists of only 1 track. The 19 minute jam titled "Revelation." This is just a dreadful and it keeps “Da Capo” from being a classic 60’s record.
Many blame producer Paul Rothchild for failing to capture the group's live energy and limiting the record by including the long track – widely criticized as being just plain bad.
Though "Seven and Seven Is" had been a minor hit for the group, the album was a comparative flop peaking at #80. ‘Side 1’ is recommended. ‘Side 2’ is not.

82. Moby Grape - Moby Grape (1967)

Label – Columbia
Producer – David Robinson
Art Direction –Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 33:11

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Hey Grandma
2. Mr Blues
3. Fall On You
4. 8.05
5. Come In The Morning
6. Omaha
7. Naked If I Want To
8. Someday
9. Ain't No Use
10. Sitting By The Window
11. Changes
12. Lazy Me
13. Indifference

Heard of – but never HEARD them. Knew about but never KNEW about them. This is a pretty good record – and their story is pretty wild as well. Turns out that Moby Grape's career was a long, series of minor disasters, in which nearly anything that could have gone for a band, did go wrong. (such as: extremely poor handling by their record company, a wide variety of legal problems, a terrible deal with their manager, the standard creative and personal differences among the band members, and then there is the tragic breakdown of guitarist and songwriter Skip Spence). But even despite all of this, their self-titled debut album was easily their defining achievement. “Moby Grape” has been sited as many as one of the finest - perhaps THE finest record to come out of the 1960’s San Francisco psychedelic scene. And it is a fine record. With great songs and fresh ideas the songs are sharp and to the point. They avoid the typical psychedelic standards - long, unfocused jams, self-indulgent philosophy, attempts to sonically re-create the sound of an acid trip. None of that is here. Instead, Moby Grape built their sound around the guitar work and the crystal clear harmonies. There are several tracks - "Omaha," "Fall on You," "Hey Grandma," and "8:05" that definitely sound like obvious radio hits - and well might have been if Columbia hadn't released them as singles all AT THE SAME TIME. In a move that can make no rational sense – Columbia chose to release ten of the thirteen songs as singles which easily not only diluted the power of the individual songs – but the entire album at the time as well.
But time has been extremely kind to this record. “Moby Grape” is fresh sounding today as I’m sure it was upon it’s initial release. Fate prevented the group from building on these recordings and history will always remember the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane as being more ‘important’, but truth be told - neither of those groups ever made an album I think is as good as this one is.
The cover features one of the members giving the finger. It was banned in some places because of this.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 121 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It is recommended.

81. Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - Safe As Milk (1967)

Label – Buddah
Producer – Bob Kransnow and Richard Perry
Art Direction – Tom Wilkes
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 35:40

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Sure Nuff 'n' Yes I Do
2. Zig Zag Wanderer
3. Call On Me
4. Dropout Boogie
5. I'm Glad
6. Electricity
7. Yellow Brick Road
8. Abba Zaba
9. Plastic Factory
10. Where There's A Woman
11. Grown So Ugly
12. Autumn's Child

An interesting record. Following in the acts I had heard of but never actually HEARD before – Captain Beefheart's first proper studio album might have been called ‘Safe As Milk’ but it was anything but safe!! Featuring a 20 year old Ry Cooder on guitar, it’s hard to pin down exactly what type of music this actually is!! It’s blues-rock with jagged, fractured rhythms, soulful, twisting vocals and doo wop, soul, straight blues, and folk-rock. And that really doesn’t accurately describe it!!
"Zig Zag Wanderer," "Call on Me," and "Yellow Brick Road" are perhaps the most accessible riff-driven songs on the record, but there is plenty of experimentation on tracks like "Electricity" and "Abba Zaba." Reading up about Captain Beefheart it appears that this record is perhaps his ‘tamest’ but also features many of the features—such as surreal lyrics and odd time signatures—that would later become trademarks of Beefheart's music. (There is another Captain Beefheart record in the 1001 list – so I get the feeling I am going to get to find out).
The record did not achieve popular success on its release, failing to chart in either the United States, where none of Beefheart's albums would ever enter the top 100, or in the United Kingdom. It is a interesting album and one you should give a listen to.
It is recommended.

80. Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield Again (1967)

Label – Atco
Producer – Buffalo Springfield and Jack Nitzche
Art Direction – Loring Eutemey
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 33:10

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Mr Soul
2. Child's Claim To Fame
3. Everydays
4. Expecting To Fly
5. Bluebird
6. Hung Upside Down
7. Sad Memory
8. Good Time Boy
9. Rock 'n' Roll Woman
10. Broken Arrow

This is another one of those bands that I feel like I should know more about than I do – and I should have heard this record before now! I of course knew ABOUT them but had no clue their story. And an interesting story it is.
Personnel problems saw Bruce Palmer and Neil Young in and out of the group, so Buffalo Springfield's second album ‘Buffalo Springfield Again’ was not the unified release that their debut album was. And yet - it doesn't really suffer because of that. In fact – this record stands as their greatest triumph. Stephen Stills' "Bluebird" and "Rock & Roll Woman" are bold rockers that one thinks should have been big hits (they did manage to be small ones); even the non-single contributions "Hung Upside Down" and the jazzy "Everydays" are just fine songs. Neil Young contributed "Mr. Soul," "Expecting to Fly" and "Broken Arrow," all three are great tracks with layered psychedelic textures throughout. Richie Furay (who had not written any of the songs on the debut and would go on to form Poco) wrote three songs but only "A Child's Claim to Fame," is really worth mentioning. So it is a uneven record that due to the conflicts doesn’t feature the entire band on many of the tracks (a number of Los Angeles session players are featured – including future Elvis Presley guitarist James Burton), but the high points are great AND plentiful enough that this is a good record and is highly recommended. In 2003, the album was ranked number 188 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

79. Country Joe And The Fish - Electric Music For The Mind And Body (1967)

Label – Vanguard
Producer – Samuel Charters
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality –USA
Running Time – 44:03

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Flying High
2. Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
3. Death Sound Blues
4. Porpoise Mouth
5. Section 43
6. Super Bird
7. Sad And Lonely Times
8. Love
9. Bass Strings
10. Masked Marauder
11. Grace

My only exposure to Country Joe and the Fish was their appearance at Woodstock and the famous ‘fish cheer’. You know the one. “Gimme an F” – yeah – that one. So this record and the story of Country Joe and the Fish was all new to me. This is their full-length debut and my my - it is really pretty good. A very big surprise.
It’s definitely different – that’s for sure. It is perhaps one of the most important and enduring records of the psychedelic era – with the band's swirl of distorted guitar and organ at its most inventive. This songs are downright fun and delightful. In fact, you could say they are witty. The tracks range in mood from good-times to the apocalypse! All with soaring guitar and keyboard excursions ("Flying High," "Section 43," "Bass Strings," "The Masked Marauder"), there is the group's folk roots ("Sad and Lonely Times"), an ode to Grace Slick ("Grace"), and in-your-face politics ("Superbird"). Where else will you hear an album that advises Lyndon Johnson to "drop some acid"!
In reading about the band – I found out an interesting tidbit about their name. Country Joe & the Fish was a compromise name. Quoting Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong about a revolutionary resembling "the fish who swim in the sea of the people". Based on this quote they were named "Country Mao & the Fish." Instead, they used "Country Joe" as a reference to lead singer Joe McDonald. But also Joseph Stalin -- "Country Joe" was a nickname for the Soviet dictator!! Who knew!
The record is fun – and recommended!

78. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

Label – Parlophone
Producer – George Martin
Art Direction – Peter Blake
Nationality –UK
Running Time –39:50

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
2. With A Little Help From My Friends
3. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4. Getting Better
5. Fixing A Hole
6. She's Leaving Home
7. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite
8. Within You Without You
9. When I'm Sixty Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Day In The Life
AH - the payoff after having to suffer through 3 terrible records in a row! The Beatles ‘Sgt Pepper’s’ lp. With ‘Revolver’ the Beatles had made great strides forward reaching new levels of sophistication and experimentation in their recordings. ‘Sgt. Pepper’ is the culmination of all of that groundwork. Some say this was the Beatles at their finest, their peak – and it was downhill from here. To some extend that is true. This really was the last full band effort, as from here on out each Beatle took over working on their own and the others would become basically session men.
This is without a doubt a fantastic record, and probably the most famous album ever released. What can be said about the songs that hasn’t been said many times over. They are fantastic. The styles are diverse from track to track, yet not once does it sound forced. Even with the vaudevillian sounding "When I'm Sixty Four” following "Within You Without You". It SEEMS like a logical progression and how it provides a gateway to the chiming guitars of "Lovely Rita." Just great stuff. McCartney dominates the album in terms of compositions, and for setting the tone of the album. In comparison, Lennon's contributions seem fewer but are stunning. "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" remains one of the greatest tracks ever recorded, and IS psychedelia on record. His "A Day in the Life," is a haunting track weaving a story and also skillfully blends a part of an unfinished McCartney track into the bridge section. And I have to mention "With a Little Help From My Friends". It is the ideal Ringo tune which has become his signature tune.
I do feel that there are better Beatles albums than this one (I actually do like ‘Revolver’ better), but none are as historically important as this one. After ‘Sgt. Pepper’ there were no longer any rules.
In the UK it debuted at #8 before the album was even released and the next week peaked at #1 where it stayed for 23 consecutive weeks. Eventually it spent more weeks at the top, including the competitive Christmas week. When the CD edition was released in 1987, it made #3. In June 1992, the CD was re-promoted to commemorate its 25th Anniversary, and charted at #6. In 2007, commemorating 40 years of its release, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ again re-entered the charts at #47 in the UK. In all, the album spent a total of 201 weeks on the UK charts. The album won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, the first rock album to do so, and Best Contemporary Album in 1968. In the U.S. sales for the album totaled 11 million units, with 30 million worldwide.
It has been on many lists of the best rock albums. In 1987 Rolling Stone named ‘Sgt. Pepper’ the greatest album of the last twenty years. In 1997 ‘Sgt. Pepper’ was named the number 1 greatest album of all time in a 'Music of the Millennium' poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number 7, while in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 10. In 2003, the album was ranked number 1 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2006, the album was chosen by Time Magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time. In 2002, Q magazine placed it at number 13 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. WHEW…
Oh yeah - it is HIGHLY recommended.

77. Nico - Chelsea Girl (1967)

Label – Polydor
Producer – Tom Wilson
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – Germany
Running Time – 45:36

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Fairest Of The Seasons
2. These Days
3. Little Sister
4. Winter Song
5. It Was A Pleasure Then
6. Chelsea Girl
7. I'll Keep It With Mine
8. Somewhere There's A Feather
9. Wrap Your Troubles In Dreams (And Dream Your Troubles Away)
10. Eulogy To Lenny Bruce

I wonder if I am being punished? 3 albums in a row that were just downright dreadful. During this stretch I asked myself several times – “am I sure I can handle this?” I DO wish I could have the almost 46 minutes back that it took to listen to tis awful record. “Chelsea Girl” was the first long-player from the German-born Christa Päffgen – otherwise known as Nico. Her name was only familiar to me because of it’s association with her involvement with the Velvet Underground.
The band for the record is full of well known names - Jackson Browne, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison and John Cale, but they do not save the record from being bad.
Nico cannot sing. The songs are aimless, and pointless. I could not wait until this record was over. There is an almost unrecognizable reworking of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine." At the center of the record there is the extended "It Was a Pleasure Then" and the title track that follows. Perhaps the worse music I have ever heard in my life. I wish I was kidding.
I try to be fair when reviewing these records – especially the ones that I have never heard before – but this one no one needs to ever hear. Please avoid it at all costs. Musically, “Chelsea Girl” is best described as a cross between chamber folk and Sixties pop. The musical backing is relatively simple, consisting of one or two guitars or, alternatively, a keyboard instrument. There are no drums or bass instruments. Adding to the chamber folk feel of the music is the strings and flute arrangement superimposed over the initial recordings by producer Tom Wilson and arranger Larry Fallon without involving or consulting Nico. Nico was dissatisfied with the finished product. She had wanted more guitars plus bass and drums, but it was vetoed by the production team. Of the superimposed arrangements, she said she could live with the strings, but the flutes rendered the album unlistenable to her. See - even the artists knows this is unlistenable! And as if you didn’t know already – it is definitely not recommended.

76. Astrud Gilberto - Beach Samba (1967)

Label – Verve
Producer – Creed Taylor
Art Direction – David Krieger
Nationality – Brazil
Running Time – 38:58

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Stay
2. Misty Roses
3. Face I Love
4. Banda (Parade)
5. Oba, Oba
6. Canoeiro
7. I Had the Craziest Dream
8. Bossa Na Praia (Beach Samba)
9. My Foolish Heart
10. Dia das Rosas (I Think of You)
11. You Didn't Have to Be So Nice
12. Não Bate O Coração

We definitely have hit a lull with back to back albums that are just dreadful – and really hard to get through. I have admitted that this isn’t my type of music in the past so I’m really not the one who should be reviewing it, but this record just isn’t any good. Even some of the things I read about the records seem to point this out as being one of Gilberto's less impressive outings, so how it made the list I will never know. All one has to do is listen to the military march track “A Banda (Parade)," or the incredibly bad duet between Gilberto and her six-year-old son on a cover of the Lovin' Spoonful's "You Didn't Have to Be So Nice."
Again, I am no fan of Brazilian music, but I cannot recommend this.

75. Nina Simone - Wild Is The Wind (1966)

Label – Phillips
Producer – Various
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality – USA
Running Time – 39:07

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. I Love Your Lovin' Ways
2. Four Women
3. What More Can I Say
4. Lilac Wine
5. That's All I Ask
6. Break Down And Let It All Out
7. Why Keep On Breaking My Heart
8. Wild Is The Wind
9. Black Is The Colour Of My True Love's Hair
10. If I Should Lose You
11. Either Way I Lose

This is one of those artists that I had heard of but never heard their music, nor did I know anything about. As I looked her and this record up I found out that this album was apparently leftovers from sessions for Nina Simone's four previous albums on the Philips record label. I haven’t heard those records, but this one isn’t very good – so maybe these tracks should have been left unreleased. The selections are diverse, ranging from jazz ballads to traditional folk tunes to calypso.
To me – the problem isn’t the songs themselves – it is her voice. It is just terrible – and actually became quite aggravating by the time I finished the record. As always – perhaps it’s just me and my own personal tastes, as every article I read touted her with the ‘best and most expressive voices in the history of the 20th century’. Again – perhaps that’s on her other records – but not this one!
This is the one and only Nina Simone record on the 1001 list so I won’t judge her entire career based on this one record. Perhaps someday I should seek out a ‘best of’ compilation and see how that stacks up against these recordings.
The only song I was familiar with was “Wild is The Wind” as David Bowie did a cover version of it in the 70’s. A GREAT version I might ad.
It is not recommended.

74. The Yardbirds - The Yardbirds (a.k.a. Roger The Engineer) (1966)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Paul Samwell-Smith, Simon Napier-Bell
Art Direction – Chris Dreja
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 33:10

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Lost Woman
2. Over, Under, Sideways, Down
3. The Nazz Are Blue
4. I Can't Make Your Way
5. Rack My Mind
6. Farewell
7. Hot House Of Omagarashid
8. Jeff's Boogie
9. He's Always There
10. Turn Into Earth
11. What Do You Want
12. Ever Since The World Began
13. Psycho Dasies

This was – oddly – the first Yardbirds album. Up until tis point they had been a singles band. In America, this was their THIRD record. As the Amercian companies gathered all the singles, B sides and some session tracks and made their own ‘albums’. But this is the first the record the group recorded with a long play record release in mind. Gone was guitar god Eric Clapton, and in his place stepped Jeff Beck, and immediately the Yardbirds began to change their sound. Expanding their blues-rock sound into wild sonic psychedelic, Indian music, and avant-garde white noise. Unfortunately, the record isn’t as great as that sounds. “The Yardbirds” featured all original material, and despite a handful of brilliant moments, it falls short of expectations. I’m not sure if it’s because they were reluctant to totally leave their blues roots behind or simply because they couldn’t write a full records worth of original material. It’s not that it is a bad record – but it’s great moments ("Lost Woman," "Over, Under Sideways, Down," "Jeff’s Boogie” ) make the rest really pale in comparison. The result is an unfocused record that shifts wildly between great and merely adequate.
The album is officially titled “The Yardbirds”. In the US and France they chose to call it “Over Under Sideways Down” because of the single riding the charts. Over the years it was called “Roger The Engineer”, a title based on the drawing on its front cover, a cartoon of the record's engineer Roger Cameron by band member Chris Dreja. The name has stuck and it is semi-officially now titled “The Yardbirds – aka –Roger The Engineer”
In 2003, the album was ranked number 349 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Jeff Beck's experimentation with guitar distortion (the ‘birth’ of heavy metal?) and the few standout tracks make the record recommended.

73. John Mayall's Bluesbreakers - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers With Eric Clapton (1966)

Label – Decca
Producer – Mike Vernon
Art Direction – Decca Publicity Art Department
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 37:06

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. All Your Love
2. Hideaway
3. Little Girl
4. Another Man
5. Double Crossin' Time
6. What'd I Say
7. Key To Love
8. Parchman Farm
9. Have You Heard
10. Rambling On My Mind
11. Stepping Out
12. It Ain't Right

Now THIS is a great album!! “Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton” was Clapton's first real album as a blues guitarist. It is also considered by many to be THE seminal blues album of the 1960s, the best British blues album EVER, and the best LP ever recorded by John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. High praise? Perhaps – but well founded.
This was Clapton’s transition record between leaving the Yardbirds and forming Cream. While this may seem like a one off hurried affair when you look at the body of work Eric Clapton stuck in between those famous bands – but this was actually the culmination of a full year of playing and living with John Mayall, with the record capturing what was very close to the group's stage performances at the time
Giving credit where it is due – the producer - Mike Vernon and Mayall himself knew they had hit a sound that was working and once they entered the studio let the purity and simplicity of the songs transfer to the record, and didn’t really try to ‘produce’ the record – but let the songs produce themselves. Other producers of this era tended to ‘overproduce’ the blues and basically sanitize it for release.
This is a great band. Future Fleetwood Mac pop/rock superstar John McVie and drummer Hughie Flint provide a rock-hard rhythm section, Mayall's organ playing, vocalizing, and second guitar, and of course Clapton himself. His guitar naturally dominates most of this record, and he can also be heard taking his first lead vocal on “Rambling On My Mind”. But make no mistake the ‘cradle’ laid down by McVie and Flint are just as intense and give Clapton something special to solo over with each track. With this record the phrase “Clapton Is God” was born. Whatever one might say about Clapton, his guitar playing was phenomenal.
This record is often referred to as ‘The Beano’ album - because the photograph on the album cover shows Clapton reading “The Beano” a well-known British children's comic.
Much of the album is composed of blues standards by long-established blues artists such as Otis Rush, Freddie King and Robert Johnson, as well as a few originals. Clapton left the Bluesbreakers only months after this album was made, but it was still a huge step forward for his playing as far as improvisation and guitar tone – all of which he would explore with Cream in the coming months.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 195 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Everyone should own this record! It is HIGHLY recommended.

72. The 13th Floor Elevators - Psychadelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators (1966)

Label – International Artists
Producer – Lelan Rogers
Art Direction – John Cleveland
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 35:43

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. You're Gonna Miss Me
2. Rollercoaster
3. Splash 1
4. Reverberation (Doubt)
5. Don't Fall Down
6. Fire Engine
7. Thru The Rhythm
8. You Don't Know
9. Kingdom Of Heaven
10. Monkey Island
11. Tried To Hide

I admit, as I have had to several times already reviewing these records, I had never heard of much less heard the 13th Floor Elevators. Believe me, I hadn’t missed anything. A track or two of inventive psychedelic rock is one thing. A whole record that seemed WAY longer than 35 minutes is just way WAY too much!
This was the groups debut. There are just too many twists of the melodies and down right psychobabble lyrics make it sound like these are just acid trips set to music. And you know – that’s probably exactly what they were trying to achieve. The REAL birth of acid rock is in the grooves of this record. It’s just not any good. The mix is bad as well. The Elevators sound like they are at the bottom of a well for the whole album.
Singer Roky Erickson's vocals are strong and mixed up high in the mix, and one wonders what he could do with some real songs of substance instead of these non melodic pointless meanderings.
It is not recommended.

71. Simon and Garfunkel - Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme (1966)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Bob Johnson
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 28:30

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Scarborough Fair/Canticle
2. Patterns
3. Cloudy
4. Homeward Bound
5. Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine
6. 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
7. Dangling Conversation
8. Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall
9. Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert MacNamara'd Into Submission)
10. For Emily Whenever I May Find Her
11. Poem On The Underground Wall
12. 7 O'clock News/Silent Night

Just an absolutely stunning record. A true Simon & Garfunkel masterpiece. It also was the first time that the duo was in total control from the beginning to the end, right down to the mixing. Isn’t it funny how when you leave artists alone to make their music, the results are usually so much better then when executives get involved and tell them how THEY think a record should sound.
It took all of a few weeks to rush together the “Sounds of Silence” album early in 1966 – but with “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” Simon and Garfunkel took their time - about three months (an uncommonly long period in those days) but it gave them freedom to develop and shape the songs the way they wanted them.
The album opens with "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" which is a Paul Simon tune melded with a centuries-old English folk song. The effect mixes a hauntingly beautiful antique melody about love in a peaceful setting, with a message about war and death. Stunning. And Art Garfunkel’s voice is just so silky smooth!
Simon & Garfunkel were never really political but on this record they did bring the war of the times – the Vietnam war – to the subject matter of the record, but it’s the beautiful songs about the simple joys of living, like "Cloudy" and the bouncy "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)," that draw you in.
And oh – but the way, the album also includes the massive hit "Homeward Bound."
"7 O'Clock News/Silent Night," closes the set. It’s a conceptual work that was a comment on the state of the United States in 1966. It containes clips of a news broadcast about the Vietnam War. Based on the fact that the broadcast carries the news of the death of comedian Lenny Bruce that day, it can be dated from August 3, 1966. Looking back it dates the album somewhat, but also reminds you how far we have come since the 1960’s.
“Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” (Its name comes from the second line of the album's first track) peaked on the U.S. charts at #4. Oddly "Homeward Bound" was excluded from the album in the UK. In 2003, the album was ranked number 201 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
It is HIGHLY recommended.

70. The Rolling Stones - Aftermath (1966)

Label – Decca
Producer – Andrew Loog Oldham
Art Direction – Sandy Beach
Nationality - UK
Running Time –53:58

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Mother’s Little Helper
2. Stupid Girl
3. Lady Jane
4. Under My Thumb
5. Doncha Bother Me
6. Goin’ Home
7. Flight 505
8. High And Dry
9. Out Of Time
10. It’s Not Easy
11. I Am Waiting
12. Take It Or Leave It
13. Think
14. What To Do

This is the first record by The Rolling Stones that featured all-original material and no coves. It was also the turning point and defining moment which defined them as the bad boys of rock & roll.
Classics included the jazzy "Under My Thumb," where Brian Jones added exotic accents with his playing of the vibes. There is the delicate Elizabethan style ballad "Lady Jane," where a dulcimer can be heard. True – not all of the material is this good (“Stupid Girl” stands out with some downright bad lyrics – but there is a great tune underneath) but Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still finding their song writing footing. "Goin' Home," is an epic 11-minute blues jam that really goes nowhere. There is an overlooked Stones classic stuck in the last part of the record. The brooding and meditative "I Am Waiting." Just great stuff.
There has always been that standing argument about the greatness of the Beatles versus the Stones. No one need to look any further than the 1966 releases. The Beatles released ‘Revolver’ and the Stones ‘Aftermath’. While a good record, the Stones record is nowhere as fresh sounding or innovative in any way. Again – not saying it isn’t a good record as it IS – it’s just not GREAT.
One note of interest – the American version of this album has a slightly different set of tracks – most notably it included the hit single “Paint It Black”, but it is the fourteen-track UK version considered by many to be the definitive version. Issued between the non-LP single releases of "19th Nervous Breakdown" and "Paint It, Black", ‘Aftermath’ proved a big smash, spending eight weeks atop the UK charts.
It’s good stuff, It’s the Stones, It’s recommended.

69. The Mothers of Invention - Freak Out! (1966)

Label – Verve
Producer – Tom Wilson
Art Direction – Jack Anesh
Nationality -USA
Running Time – 60:05

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Hungry Freaks Daddy
2. I Ain't Got No Heart
3. Who Are The Brain Police
4. Go Cry On Somebody Else's Shoulder
5. Motherly Love
6. How Could I Be Such A Fool
7. Wowie Zowie
8. You Didn't Try To Call Me
9. Any Way The Wind Blows
10. I'm Not Satisfied
11. You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here
12. Trouble Everyday
13. Help I'm A Rock
14. It Can't Happen Here
15. Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet

One of the longest debuts in rock history, ‘Freak Out!’ lasts over an hour. Unfortunately I will never get that hour back to do something better with! It took four LP sides (but just 1 CD) to deconstruct rock conventions right and left with music inspired by avant-garde classical composers.
I admit – you either LIKE Frank Zappa or you don’t. Or as some might say - you either GET Franz Zappa or you don’t. I can say that Frank is a damn fine guitarist. Hands down. But his musical meanderings leave me feeling empty and wondering whatthe hell did I just listen too each time I play something by him.
Opening with the call to arms "Hungry Freaks, Daddy," ‘Freak Out!’ quickly posits the Mothers of Invention as the antithesis of teen-idol bands, often with sneering mockeries of the teen-romance songs. There are some hilarious lyrics sprinkled throughout that you can’t help but laugh at, but the shifting time signatures, and studio effects seem to just cover the lack of good songs!!
The pieces just meander nowhere and are truly embracing the acceptance of differences and free individual expression in music that Zappa would spend much of his career developing and exploring.
In 1999, it was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award and in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it among the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. In 2006, The MOFO Project/Object, an audio documentary on the making of the album, was released in honor of its 40th anniversary.
This is definitely not an album for every one. I like the IDEA of Frank Zappa. His amazing compositional talent and love for experimentation are unparalleled in music. It’s just not any good and is therefore not recommended.

68. Paul Revere And The Raiders - Midnight Ride (1966)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Terry Melcher
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality -USA
Running Time – 27:38

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Kicks
2. There's Always Tomorrow
3. Little Girl in the 4th Row
4. Ballad of a Useless Man
5. I'm Not Your Stepping Stone
6. There She Goes
7. All I Really Need Is You
8. Get It On
9. Louie, Go Home
10. Take a Look at Yourself
11. Melody for an Unknown Girl

Another one of those artists who I know of – know the hits – and very little else. ‘Midnight Ride’ was released at the peak of Paul Revere & the Raiders' musical history as a serious source of music. Almost all of the music on ‘Midnight Ride’ was written by the band members themselves. What had every indication of a band catching it’s stride, sadly was actually the end basically.
The group began to disintegrate after the release of this record with Drake Levin leaving the group in a dispute on whose material would make it onto albums and get released as singles - and leaving Mark Lindsay to helm the ship.
"Kicks" is still the coolest song here, and easily the most popular track they ever released (Billboard Pop Chart #4), "Kicks" became their best-known song, an anti-drug message written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, but it’s hard not to think of the group as American TV's clowns doing those dreadful dance steps in the old videos.
A very uneven effort but pleasant enough and I do recommend you give it a listen.

67. The Mamas And The Papas - If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears (1966)

Label – RCA
Producer – Lou Adler
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality -USA
Running Time – 34:10

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Monday Monday
2. Straight Shooter
3. Got A Feelin'
4. I Call Your Name
5. Do You Wanna Dance
6. Go Where You Wanna Go
7. California Dreamin'
8. Spanish Harlem
9. Somebody Groovy
10. Hey Girl
11. You Baby
12. In Crowd

Wow. What a change of pace this record was. Listening to the 1001 albums in a chronological order really lets you know how different some artists really were at the time these records were initially released. This is on of them. Can you imagine how in the spring of 1966 when ‘If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears’ was released how genuinely different and fresh to listeners it must have sounded! The record was released just as the single "California Dreaming" was climbing the charts with a bullet.
"Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin'" are familiar enough to anyone who's ever listened to the radio, as well as "Go Where You Wanna Go". But it’s the rest that is also mighty compelling and lets you know that the group was more then just the staple hit songs we’ve all come to associate them by.
The spacey "Got a Feelin'," the rocking tracks "Straight Shooter" and "Somebody Groovy," are worth mentioning. And then there is the torch song-style version of the Beatles track "I Call Your Name". Easily one of the best covers of a Beatles ever recorded, and one that brought a smile to my face.
The album wasn’t without a bit of controversy. All thanks to a toilet! The first cover pressings featured the group in a bathroom, sitting in a bathtub with a toilet in the corner. This cover was pulled from stores after the offending toilet was declared indecent. (the remaining covers featuring the toilet have since become collector's items.) A second album cover was then released with a scroll over the toilet listing the presence of "California Dreamin'" on the album. Two more songs were later added to the scroll/box over the toilet. Still later, a Gold Record Award blurb was added (in black) to the left of the group. Finally, a later album covers were released with a closely cropped shot of the band surrounded by a black border that removed any hint that the picture was taken in a bathroom.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 127 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, is a great listen and it is highly recommended.

66. The Kinks - Face To Face (1966)

Label – Pye
Producer – Shel Talmy
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality -UK
Running Time – 38:31

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Party Line
2. Rosie Won't You Please Come Home
3. Dandy
4. Too Much on My Mind
5. Session Man
6. Rainy Day in June
7. House in the Country
8. Holiday in Waikiki
9. Most Exclusive Residence for Sale
10. Fancy
11. Little Miss Queen of Darkness
12. You're Lookin' Fine
13. Sunny Afternoon
14. I'll Remember

Conceived as a loose concept album, The Kinks ‘Face to Face’ record shows Ray Davies fascination with English class and social structures. Each song creates a new and vivid character portrait of different classes and types of people. So while simular in theme – the songs can’t really be considered a story like say the Who’s “Tommy”. In its original inception, Ray Davies had wanted to join all the songs together with sound effects, but was forced to remove them by Pye Records before the album's release. Davies was also in conflict with Pye over the final album cover art, whose psychedelic theme he felt was inappropriate.
There are as many styles as there are songs on the record . The Hawaiian guitars of the rocker "Holiday in Waikiki," the Eastern droning of "Fancy," the dance music hall shuffle of "Dandy," the lazily sounding rolling "Sunny Afternoon." While not filled with the classic songs we’ve all come to know the Kinks by, this may be an their overlooked classic. It starts The Kinks move away from those hard-driving rock and roll riffs which had catapulted the group to international stardom. It is also the first Kinks album consisting entirely of Ray Davies compositions, and I enjoyed every minute of it.
The only down side, unlike some other 60’s classic albums, age has not treated this record very well and it DOES sound very dated. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended.

65. The Monks - Black Monk Time (1966)

Label – Polydor
Producer – Jimmy Bowen
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality -USA
Running Time – 28:01

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Monk Time
2. Shut Up
3. Boys Are Boys And Girls Are Choice
4. Higgle-Dy-Piggle-Dy
5. I Hate You
6. Oh How To Do Now
7. Complication
8. We Do Wie Du
9. Drunken Maria
10. Love Came Tumblin' Down
11. Blast Off
12. That's My Girl

This is the Monks' only album, and may be the first punk album ever made. Packed with anthems of angst such as "Shut Up," "I Hate You," "Complication," and "Drunken Maria." This is perhaps one of the strangest recordings ever made. It starts of great with “Monk Time” but it gets really old really fast and I found myself with each passing track hoping it was the last.
The Monks were formed in the early '60s by American G.I.s stationed in Germany. Little did they know that the furious, minimalist original music they were making anticipated the punk era. And their look matched. The Monks shaved the top of their heads and performed their songs in actual monks' clothing. They disbanded in 1967, but their album has gained a cult following among collectors, and has ironically made them much more popular and influential on an international level than they were during their lifetime.
Unfortunately it’s not very good and is not recommended.

64. Bob Dylan - Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Label – Columbia
Producer – Bob Johnston
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality -USA
Running Time – 71:00

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
2. Pledging My Time
3. Visions Of Johanna
4. One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)
5. I Want You
6. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again
7. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
8. Just Like A Woman
9. Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I'll Go Mine)
10. Temporary Like Achilles
11. Absolutely Sweet Marie
12. Fourth Time Around
13. Obviously Five Believers
14. Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands

Here we have a double lp by Bob Dylan. Thought to be the first rock double record. It does however fit nicely on 1 compact disc. Basically it picks up where his ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ left off. There are a lot of varying styles on this record, blending blues, country, rock, and folk into a new wilder sounding Dylan. He also had replacing the searing guitar of Michael Bloomfield with the powerful, weaving guitar of Robbie Robertson from the Band – or as they were called at the time the Hawks. ‘Blonde on Blonde’ is comprised of songs driven by Dylan’s witty wordplay but the music takes center stage with cutting guitar riffs, liquid organ riffs, crisp pianos, and even woozy brass bands on "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35".
To me this is Dylan at his best. He would never release a studio record that rocked this hard, or had such great energy ever again.
It has come to be regarded as one of Dylan's greatest achievements, and "one of the greatest rock & roll albums ever made". It also marked the end of an era for Dylan, who would soon be involved in a motorcycle accident (significantly changing his musical approach).
The record peaked at #9 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart in the US, eventually going double-platinum, while it reached #3 in the UK. It is ranked as the ninth greatest album of all time by both VH1 and Rolling Stone.
It is recommended.

63. The Byrds - Fifth Dimension (1966)

Label – Columbia
Producer – Jim Dickson and Allen Stanton
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality -USA
Running Time – 29:25

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. 5D Fifth Dimension
2. Wild Mountain Thyme
3. Mr Spaceman
4. I See You
5. What's Happening
6. I Come And Stand At Every Door
7. Eight Miles High
8. Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)
9. Captain Soul
10. John Riley
11. 242 Foxtrot (The Lear Jet Song)

This is a pretty uneven work by the Bryds, but on ‘Fifth Dimension’ its high points were as innovative as any other music being recorded in 1966. Yes, the arrangements still lean toward folk-rock, but they were branching out with this release. There are still some cover tracks, "Wild Mountain Thyme" and "John Riley" but there are – for the first time - no songs by Bob Dylan, whose songs had, along with Gene Clark’s songs, dominated earlier Byrds releases. Gene Clark had left the band by the time this album was released, but it’s still the original compositions here that are the real treat even though rest of the band scrambled to compensate for the loss of their main songwriter. (it is interestingly, however that this album contained fewer covers than either of their Clark-era albums did). With no Dylan covers and no Clark contributions beyond "Eight Miles High," Roger McGuinn and David Crosby stepped into the songwriting roles.
For the originals, they devised some of the first and best psychedelic rock, often drawing from the influence of Indian raga in the guitar arrangements. "Eight Miles High," with its out of this world lyrics, pumping bassline, and fractured guitar solo, was a Top 20 hit, and is truly one of the greatest singles of the '60s. They scored a minor hit with the title track and the country-rock-tinged "Mr. Spaceman" are among the best songs on the record. Also check out "I See You" which has a great 12-string psychedelic guitar solo.
On the downside the cover of "Hey Joe" (yes the Jimi Hendrix track) is just downright awful. There is another clunker called "What's Happening". These weak spots keep ‘Fifth Dimension’ from attaining truly classic status. It is very enjoyable listening, just an uneven one.
The album stayed on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart for 28 weeks, peaking at #24; it also reached #27 in the UK. The single "Eight Miles High," peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Two additional singles pulled from the album, "5D (Fifth Dimension)" and "Mr. Spaceman," peaked at #44 and #36 respectively.
It is recommended.

62. Fred Neil - Fred Neil (1966)

Label – Capitol
Producer – Nick Venet
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 37:56

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Dolphins
2. I've Got a Secret (Didn't We Shake Sugaree)
3. That's the Bag I'm In
4. Badi-Da
5. Faretheewell (Fred's Tune)
6. Everybody's Talkin'
7. Everything Happens
8. Sweet Cocaine
9. Green Rocky Road
10. Cynicrustpetefredjohn Raga

I must confess that I had never heard of Fred Neil before playing this – his second album. Fred Neil is an almost country album with tinges of electric folk-rock. And he sounds amazingly like Merle Haggard.
I was familiar with several of the tracks "Everybody's Talkin'”, "The Dolphins," and "That's the Bag I'm In" not because I had heard them by Fred Neil before but because of later cover versions of them by other artists. One of these cover versions was so popular that this record was re-released in 1969 under the title “Everybody's Talkin'” to capitalize on the international success of the new title track as performed by Harry Nilsson on the soundtrack to the movie ‘Midnight Cowboy’.
I enjoyed listening to it, but in truth – other than the songs that were later covered there isn’t a lot that makes the album stand out. I do recommend that you give it at least a listen.

61. The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds (1966)

Label – Capitol
Producer – Brian Wilson
Art Direction – George Jerman
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 36:19

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Wouldn't It Be Nice
2. You Still Believe
3. That's Not Me
4. Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)
5. I'm Waiting for the Day
6. Let's Go Away for Awhile
7. Sloop John B.
8. God Only Knows
9. I Know There's an Answer
10. Here Today
11. I Just Wan't Made for Times Like These
12. Pet Sounds
13. Caroline, No

To many, this is considered THE best Beach Boys album, and one of THE best records to come out of the 1960’s. The group reached a whole new level in terms of both composition and production, layering tracks upon tracks of vocals and instruments to create an almost ‘symphonic’ sound. Conventional keyboards and guitars were combined with orchestrated strings, bicycle bells, buzzing organs, harpsichords, flutes, theremin, Hawaiian-sounding string instruments, Coca-Cola cans, barking dogs, and more. Everything but the kitchen sink – which actually MAY be in there somewhere. The problem is – it’s just not very good!
Paul McCartney spoke often about the album's influence on The Beatles and how it led to their next masterpiece “Sgt. Peppers” and Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham even went as far as placing unsolicited advertisements lauding the album in British music papers. I’ve always thought perhaps it was the drugs they were doing as they listened to the record. No offense to Sir McCartney, but the record is just really hard to listen to.
There are the upper-register male vocals (especially by Brian and Carl Wilson) that defined the Beach Boys sound on the two standout tracks "Wouldn't It Be Nice," and "God Only Knows," but the rest of the album is just a mess. It’s disjointed, with no flow to the tracks. It's often said that this is more of a Brian Wilson solo record than a Beach Boys recording (and in fact session musicians played most of the parts). Not helping matters was that "Caroline, No," released as the first single from the record was credited to Brian Wilson solo, leading to speculation that Wilson was considering leaving the band. Brian was on the border of being labelled ‘crazy’ around this time. What others call an advance in recording and an artist stretching to create new and original sounds, I call just dreadful.
On the charts, “Caroline, No” reached #32 in the United States. "Sloop John B" was extremely successful, scoring a #3 hit in the U.S. and #2 in Great Britain. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" reached #8 in the U.S. Its flip side, "God Only Knows," was another #2 single in Britain, but reached only #39 in the States. The LP broke into the Top Ten in the U.S., belying its reputation as a commercial failure there. ‘Pet Sounds’ greatest success was in the UK, where it reached #2 in the LP charts. It failed to reach gold status on its initial release, which disappointed Brian deeply. It eventually went gold in 2000.
For all the things it WASN’T to me perhaps George Martin, the Beatles producer, sums it up the best when he said "Without ‘Pet Sounds’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ wouldn't have happened... Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds." That alone makes it’s existence ok – BUT I do not recommend it.

60. The Beatles - Revolver (1966)

Label – Parlophone
Producer – George Martin
Art Direction – Klaus Voorman
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 34:58

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Taxman
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. I'm only sleeping
4. Love you to
5. Here there and everywhere
6. Yellow submarine
7. She said she said
8. Good day sunshine
9. And your bird can sing
10. For no one
11. Dr Robert
12. I want to tell you
13. Got to get you into my life
14. Tomorrow never knows

Perfection. Plain and simple.
For the Beatles, there is everything that came before ‘Revolver’ and everything that came after. With this album all the rules were thrown out the window and the Beatles began exploring new sonic territory, mature lyrical subjects, and different styles of composition. And it was no longer the Lennon and McCartney show any longer either. George Harrison’s tracks, the cynical rocker "Taxman"; the powerful "I Want to Tell You" and of course "Love You To," (which was George's first and best foray into Indian music) were as good as anything John and Paul were writing.
John’s tracks were trippy kaleidoscopes of sound brought to life. The most straightforward number was "Doctor Robert," an ode to his drugdealer. Then there is "And Your Bird Can Sing" which is all but buried in a maze of multi-tracked guitars. Then there is his series of ‘bad trip’ songs. "She Said She Said"; the crawling "I'm Only Sleeping"; and "Tomorrow Never Knows," which can only be described as a sounds classic. John sings portions of the Tibetan Book of the Dead into a suspended microphone over Ringo's thundering, menacing drumbeats and layers of overdubbed, phased guitars and tape loops. Just light years ahead of it’s time.
McCartney's experiments were more formal when placed alongside Lennon's and Harrison's outright experimentations, but McCartney's songcraft became all the more impressive. “For No One”, “Got To Get You Into My Life” and the beautiful “Eleanor Rigby” are standouts. To top it off - Ringo was giving the charming child classic "Yellow Submarine" to sing.
The biggest achievement of the record is that the Beatles broke so much new stylistic ground on one record! The Beatles toured to support “Revolver” – but did not perform a single track from it as it was too difficult to reproduce live. Thankfully 8 of 14 tracks would be performed live by the solo Beatles over the years. John never did get a chance to tour - but you can be sure at some point he would have pulled out one of two of the tracks from “Revolver” for a set list.
In 1997, it was named the 3rd greatest album of all time in a Music of the Millennium poll conducted in the United Kingdom by HMV Group, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM. In 2006, Q magazine readers placed it at number 4, while in 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 1 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2001 VH1 named it the number 1 greatest album of all time, a position it also achieved in the Virgin All Time Top 1,000 Albums. In 2002, the readers of Rolling Stone ranked the album the greatest of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 3 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It was ranked 10th on Guitar World's (Readers Choice) Greatest 100 Guitar Albums Of All Time. In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.
The Beatles are ahead of their time in every single track here, Revolver is like nothing you've heard before and is HIGHLY recommended.

59. The Who - My Generation (1965)

Label – Brunswick
Producer – Shel Talmy
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 36:13

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Out In The Street
2. I Don't Mind
3. The Good's Gone
4. La La La Lies
5. Much Too Much
6. My Generation
7. The Kids Are Alright
8. Please, Please, Please
9. It's Not True
10. I'm A Man
11. A Legal Matter
12. The Ox

Another explosive debut, Surely the hardest ‘mod’ pop as they were calling it at the time – that had been recorded by anyone. The Who invented the noisier type of rock with this album. Pete Townshend's incredible chord crunches and control of the feedback and distortion jumps out of the speakers on "My Generation" and "Out in the Street"; Keith Moon attacks the drums with a uncontrolled lightning fast ruthless finesse. There are some "Maximum R&B" influenced James Brown covers, but it’s Townshend's original material with it’s power chords in "The Good's Gone," "Much Too Much," "La La La Lies," and especially "The Kids Are Alright" being some of the highlights. "The Ox" was instrumental mayhem that pushed the envelope of 1965 amplification with its guitar feedback and nonstop crashing drum rolls – and would be the nick-name that bassist John Entwistle would adopt. While they would go onto bigger and more ambitious projects – it’s fair to say that the Who never surpassed the pure energy level of this debut record.
The album was made immediately after The Who got their first singles on the charts and according to the booklet in the Deluxe Edition, it was later dismissed by the band as something of a rush job that did not accurately represent their stage performance of the time. On the other hand, critics often rate it as one of the best rock albums of all time: in 2003, the album was ranked number 236 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2004, the song My Generation was #11 in Rolling Stones Magazine's List of the 500 greatest songs of all time. In 2006, it was ranked #49 in NME's list of the 100 Greatest British Albums.
It Is highly recommended.

58. Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Label – Columbia
Producer –Bob Johnson
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 51:34

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Like A Rolling Stone
2. Tombstone Blues
3. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
4. From A Buick 6
5. Ballad Of A Thin Man
6. Queen Jane Approximately
7. Highway 61 Revisited
8. Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
9. Desolation Row

Basically picking up where the electric side of “Bringing It All Back Home” left off, Bob Dylan gathered a full straight ahead rock & roll band – which included guitarist Michael Bloomfield – for his next record “Highway 61 Revisited” . Right out the gate is a true Dylan classic epic "Like a Rolling Stone". What follows is a rapid fire assault through nine songs. They range from more traditional folk-rock on "Desolation Row", almost the blues on "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" to flat-out no holds barred garage band rock on "Tombstone Blues," "From a Buick 6" and the title track.
Many folk purists jumped ship with this record saying Dylan had ‘sold out. With other bands - like yesterday’s review of the Byrds - covering his songs with a rockier feel, it’s no surprise Dylan came to the natural conclusion that he could do the same.
Also with this album Dylan had not only completed the transformation of his sound from folk to rock, but his image was undergoing a major overhaul. When he ditched folk – he ditched that rambling troubadour image for a hippy. Sprinkled in the record are references to drugs and surreal ‘trippy’ images, that became Dylans 60’s trademarks.
In 1995 Highway 61 Revisited was named the fifth greatest album of all time in a poll conducted by Mojo Magazine. In 1998 Q magazine readers voted Highway 61 Revisited the 57th greatest album of all time; in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 22. Then in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine placed it fourth on its list of the greatest albums of all time and named "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Highway 61 Revisited" the first and 364th greatest songs respectively.
This is truly one of the great Dylan albums and is highly recommended.

57. The Byrds - Mr. Tambourine Man (1965)

Label – Columbia
Producer –Terry Melcher
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 30:45

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Mr Tambourine Man
2. I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better
3. Spanish Harlem Incident
4. You Won't Have To Cry
5. Here Without You
6. Bells Of Rhymney
7. All I Really Want To Do
8. I Knew I'd Want You
9. It's No Use
10. Don't Doubt Yourself Babe
11. Chimes Of Freedom
12. We'll Meet Again

Another great debut album. “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds was responsible for establishing folk-rock as a popular music form. It’s most defining sound being Roger McGuinn's very distinctive 12-string Rickenbacker ‘jangle’ and the band's great vocal harmonies of Gene Clark, McGuinn, and David Crosby. This "jingle-jangle" and smooth harmonies became the signature sound of the band.
The songs selection was a mix of originals and covers. They chose four Bob Dylan songs to cover – most notably the title cut and "All I Really Want to Do", a Pete Seeger track - "The Bells of Rhymney" and a Jackie DeShannon song "Don't Doubt Yourself, Babe". The originals while perhaps not as lyrically superior to the covers, are equally powerful musically. Gene Clark's tracks "I Knew I'd Want You," "I'll Feel a Whole Lot Better" stand our.
What this is actually is a very fun album. While The Byrds went on to write better music and to make some better albums, none of them had the impact of this one. It was also very popular. It peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart, staying on the charts for 38 weeks; it also went to #7 in Great Britain.
The album is recommended.

56. Bert Jansch - Bert Jansch (1965)

Label – Transatlantic
Producer – Bill Leader
Art Direction – Brian Shuel
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 39:25

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Strolling Down The Highway
2. Smokey River
3. Oh How Your Love Is Strong
4. I Have No Time
5. Finches
6. Veronica
7. Needle Of Death
8. Do You Hear Me Now
9. Rambling's Gonna Be The Death Of Me
10. Alice's Wonderland
11. Running From Home
12. Courting Blues
13. Casbah
14. Dreams Of Love
15. Angi

Pleasant enough, but gets quite boring. This record was taped with a portable tape recorder on a borrowed guitar in the kitchen of Bert Jansch’s London apartment. And it sounds like it. Again, the playing is pleasant enough and it’s not that it’s bad or anything, it just doesn’t have any impact on the listener and I was quite bored with it by the time the record was over.
Perhap’s Jansch's debut has been somewhat diminished by the passage of time, because in reading about it, turns out it was a vastly influential work. His acoustic picking to be sure is excellent, and specifically, Jimmy Page and Neil Young have gone on record as noting their influence to Jansch's early material.
He also was a songwriter. All but one of the 15 tracks on his debut was an original composition (the set closes with his excellent version of the instrumental "Angi," popularized by Paul Simon). Oddly, that instrumental is my favorite track on the record.
Another person heavily influenced by Bert Jansch was Donovan. He has covered a couple of early Jansch tunes, and even wrote a couple of songs directly inspired by the artist ("Bert's Blues" and "House of Jansch").
The other standout track to me is a rambling compositions the somber "Needle of Death" (about the heroin-induced death of one of his friends). Perhaps Neil Young’s “Needle and the Damage Done” was influenced by this track?
Again, the most impressive thing here is the guitar playing, perfect stuff, beautiful and pure. It just gets old after a while and the songs are not strong enough to make this less than boring and tough to get thorough.
I CAUTIOUSLY recommend this record. Mainly for its influences that it would have on other artists more so than for the music included.

55. The Beatles - Rubber Soul (1965)

Label – Parlophone
Producer – George Martin
Art Direction – Robert Freeman
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 35:50

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Drive My Car
2. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
3. You Won't See Me
4. Nowhere Man
5. Think For Yourself
6. Word
7. Michelle
8. What Goes On
9. Girl
10. I'm Looking Through You
11. In My Life
12. Wait
13. If I Needed Someone
14. Run For Your Life

Back to the Beatles. And again – all the tracks here could be listed at standout tracks as they are all that good!! While these are still mainly love songs on ‘Rubber Soul’, the lyrics of John Lennon and Paul McCartney had developed in terms of thoughtfulness, maturity, and downright complex structure. Musically also was a another step forward. With intricate almost folk-rock type arrangements that reflected the new influences of Bob Dylan and the 12 string sounds of the Byrds, the group began to expand the instrumental boundaries of the rock group, by introducing a sitar on "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)." There was also Greek inspired guitar passages on "Michelle" and also on "Girl." There is a nasty fuzz bass and guitar sound on George Harrison’s "Think for Yourself." George Martin even gets into the act by adding a piano recorded at regular speed then sped up to sound like a harpsichord on the instrumental break of "In My Life." Just innovations far ahead of anything else being released at the time.
For the Beatles ‘Rubber Soul’ is the big turning point from just straight rock music into something else truly original. The entire record became part of the music ‘package’ with the odd title and the innovative cover setting a mood before a single note is even heard.
Obviously HIGHLY recommended.

54. B. B. King - Live At The Regal (1965)

Label - ABC
Producer – Johnny Pate
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 34:46

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Everyday I Have The Blues
2. Sweet Little Angel
3. It's My Own Fault
4. How Blue Can You Get
5. Please Love Me
6. You Upset Me Baby
7. Worry Worry
8. Woke Up This Mornin'
9. You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now
10. Help The Poor

Good times blues in a live setting with B.B. King! Can it get any better than that! This is a great record. This recording captured at the Regal in Chicago is perhaps King at his best. With a nice horn section and rolling blues shuffles he treats the audience (which at some points shriek after he delivers each line) to a blistering set of some of his finest hits. The backing band is also razor-sharp which helps so much with blues artists who sets wildly very from performance to performance.
I’ve always seen and ‘elder’ King on TV and different places so I was a bit taken back as to how strong his voice was! Shifting between falsetto and his regular range with ease. One standout track is "How Blue Can You Get," where the ending just builds with excitement. Not surprisingly King’s guitar (dubbed ‘Lucille’) is all over this record, and his playing here is just top notch. According to a 2003 listing in Rolling Stone, B.B. King is the greatest living guitarist, and ranked 3rd among the "100 greatest guitarists of all time" (behind late Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman).
‘Live at the Regal’ is an absolutely necessary for fans of B.B. King or just blues music in general, and is highly recommended.

53. John Coltrane - A Love Supreme (1965)

Label - Impulse
Producer – Bob Thiele
Art Direction – George Gray
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 32:59

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Acknowledgement
2. Resolution
3. Pursuance
4. Psalm

This is another of those records that when you read about, you see phrases like “easily one of the most important records ever made”, and “It is almost impossible to imagine a world without A Love Supreme having been made, and it is equally impossible to imagine any jazz collection without it.” I don’t know about all of that – but this was a nice listen. John Coltrane's ‘A Love Supreme’ is considered to be his best studio outing. As I read about the album it is described as being “composed of four parts, each has a thematic progression leading to an understanding of spirituality through meditation.” I’ll just take their word for it.
It IS however very pleasing to listen to – doesn’t ramble on and on as I have come to find out most jazz records do – and at just over half an hour it was over actually pretty quickly so I didn’t begin to tire of it – which has happened with several jazz records I’ve listened to and they just turn into a laborious listen.
I really liked the opening track "Acknowledgement" the best - but there are only 4 tracks here and you can’t really fault any of them. ‘A Love Supreme’ is usually listed among the greatest jazz albums of all time and it was ranked at number 82 in a 2005 survey conducted by a British television channel to determine the 100 greatest albums of all time!!
It is recommended.

52. Beach Boys - The Beach Boys Today! (1965)

Label - Capitol
Producer – Brian Wilson
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 28:42

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Do You Wanna Dance
2. Good To My Baby
3. Don't Hurt My Little Sister
4. When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)
5. Help Me Ronda
6. Dance Dance Dance
7. Please Let Me Wonder
8. I'm So Young
9. Kiss Me Baby
10. She Knows Me Too Well
11. In The Back Of My Mind
12. Bull Session With Big Daddy

For whatever reason – I just never got into the Beach Boys. They just seemed to campy for me – like it wasn’t ‘serious’ music. Nothing about this record changed my mind about that.
Today! is the ninth studio album by The Beach Boys, and their first of THREE that they released in 1965. On December 23, 1964, Brian Wilson had a nervous breakdown and had officially ‘retired’ from performing with the band (which was only the beginning of his problems as it turned out) and instead would just concentrate on studio recording and production for the group. To me I suppose that did help SOME with this record, as it does have a consistent feel about it from start to finish and not just a lot of filler to put around their current surfer hit on the charts. Again – not saying that makes this a great album – or even good for that matter – just bearable. Too harsh? Maybe.
This is another of those records which makes you yearn for the return of actual vinyl records. This record was another set up in two ‘sides’. One side of up-beat songs and the second side of melancholic ballads.
There are some decent tracks. There is a nice cover of "Do You Wanna Dance" with Phil Spectorish type arrangements. "When I Grow Up" is really good – and the best track on the record. The other track that stood out is "Please Let Me Wonder" just a nice delicate track with heartbreaking melodies and the classic Beach Boys harmonies. This record does include "Help Me, Rhonda" – but it is an earlier (and slower) rendition to the familiar hit single which was included on their next album.
Today! was a #4 gold-selling smash in the US, and the following year it would reach #6 in the UK. So it sold a ton – but I still do not recommend it.

51. Otis Redding - Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965)

Label - Stax
Producer – Jim Stewart
Art Direction – Haig Adishian
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 32:54

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Ol' Man Trouble
2. Respect
3. Change Is Gonna Come
4. Down In The Alley
5. I've Been Loving You Too Long
6. Shake
7. My Girl
8. Wonderful World
9. Rock Me Baby
10. Satisfaction
11. You Don't Miss Your Water

Otis Redding is one of those artists that I had heard the ‘hits’ from, but not much else. Also – I didn’t know that much about him personally. I actually find it refreshing to run across an artist that I feel like I SHOULD know more about, yet don’t. This was Otis Redding's third album, and what most considered to be his first fully realized ALBUM. In an era when it was all about the 45 single record – and lp’s were an afterthought, this record finds Otis with his talent front and center, the records direction clear, and his confidence at an all time high. It’s no mistake that more than a quarter of this album is given over to Otis Redding's versions of songs by Sam Cooke, his idol, who had died the previous December. Two of them, "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "Shake," pop up on every anthology and hits package, but they shine better when set with the other soulful tracks on this record. especially "Wonderful World," which is seldom compiled elsewhere.
Also featured is the original “Respect” which became popular by Aretha Franklin.
It’s a shame Otis Redding died so young – age 26 - as it seems he never reached his full potential and was just finding his voice. I knew he had died – but never knew the story. He and six others were killed when the plane on which they were traveling crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin on December 10, 1967. Otis Redding's body was recovered when the lakebed was dragged and photos exist of his body being brought out of the water.
This is a very good album and recommended.

50. Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

Label - Columbia
Producer – Tom Wilson
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 47:21

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Subterranean Homesick Blues
2. She Belongs To Me
3. Maggie's Farm
4. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
5. Outlaw Blues
6. On The Road Again
7. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
8. Mr. Tambourine Man
9. Gates Of Eden
10. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
11. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

Now here is some Dylan that I CAN get into. Yes – his voice still has a lot to be desired – but with “Bringing It All Back Home” he begun moving past folk, and produced an album that he went electric on. The rollicking "Subterranean Homesick Blues," and "Maggie's Farm" are some of his best tracks he has ever recorded. Now for his faithful fold devoties – he did not leave them out and the ‘second side’ of the record is where the more traditional folk type songs are, highlighted by the classic “Mr Tambourine Man” and “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”. Side A and B are so different from each other they could almost be considered two different records. This is one of those records that makes you miss the old lp records – as it truly is a tale of two “sides” but now that is lost on todays compact disc and digital music world.
A really good album when it comes to Dylan’s vast recorded output – and recommended.

49. The Sonics - Here Are the Sonics (1965)

Label - Etiquette
Producer – Kent Morrell and John Ormsby
Art Direction – John Vlahovich
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 29:20

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Witch
2. Do You Love Me
3. Roll Over Beethoven
4. Boss Hoss
5. Dirty Robber
6. Have Love, Will Travel
7. Psycho
8. Money
9. Walkin' the Dog
10. Night Time Is the Right Time
11. Strychnine
12. Good Golly Miss Molly
13. Keep a Knockin'
14. Don't Believe in Christmas
15. Santa Claus
16. Village Idiot

Loud and in your face! The Sonics debut album when unleashed in 1965 the band pulled out all the stops. No pretty love songs, political songs or any kind of serious artistic statements. They wanted to rock hard, loud and nasty. And that is just what they did!
Lead singer Gerry Roslie screams his lungs out – doesn’t really sing, the drums thunder not always on time and the guitar sound is rugged and absolutely filthy. They really can’t play that well, and yet when you listen to the record you think – “wow 0 how great was that”?
Sadly there are only four original tunes on the album – and they are the ones that stand out - "The Witch", "Boss Hoss", "Psycho" and "Strychnine". While the remaining covers DO rock they do not hold up very well with ther tryuly original sound the Sonics were carving for themselves – and that hurts the quality of the overall album. The version of the record I listened to was a CD reissue containing three bonus tracks from which are pretty funny but do not add much to the overall record.
More than a decade before punk there were the Sonics. This record is the first in a long line of important music that originated in and around Seattle. It’s actually interesting to think what those who listened to this back in 1965 must have thought!!
Recommended – mainly for the 4 original songs.

48. Jerry Lee Lewis - Live at the Star Club, Hamburg (1965)

Label - Phillips
Producer – Siegfried E. Loch
Art Direction – Uncredited
Running Time – 37:48

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Mean Woman Blues
2. High School Confidential
3. Money
4. Matchbox
5. What'd I Say
6. Great Balls Of Fire
7. Good Golly Miss Molly
8. Lewis Boogie
9. Your Cheatin' Heart
10. Hound Dog
11. Long Tall Sally
12. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On
13. Down The Line

Now THIS is what rock and roll is all about! The performance captured on “Live at the Star Club, Hamburg” contains the very essence of rock & roll and Jerry Lee Lewis in all his rock and roll glory.
Oddly – when the concert that became this album was recorded - in the spring of 1964, his career was probably at its lowest point ever. His scandalous marriage to his teenage cousin had virtually blacklisted him in the U.S. – and by this time almost six years had past since his last real hit single. Worse yet for Jerry Lee, America had fallen in love with the Beatles and the British Invasion leaving him behind. How ironic it is that he wound up in the Beatles' old haunt of the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, in the spring of 1964!
It was actually quite interesting reading about this recording. Jerry Lee is backed by the Nashville Teens. They had been touring on and off with Jerry Lee and actually had been playing at the Star Club nightly for two weeks, but was only joined by the Killer (Jerry Lee’s nickname) for just this one night – and it was this night that was captured on this fantastic recording.
You’d never know he was at the lowest point in his career the performance was that good. One wonders if he was angry that night taking his aggression out on the piano, or maybe this is the way he sounded on an average night in 1964!! Whatever the reason “Live at the Star Club” is extraordinary.
He tears into "Mean Woman Blues" at a fast tempo and he never, ever lets go from that moment forward. He actually increases the tempo on each song! It is so relentless that you can't even appreciate how fast it is after the first couple of tracks, because you get used to the sound. He joins in with the audience chanting his name, sounds possessed, hitting the keys on the piano with a fierce force.
Is it a stretch to call this the greatest live album ever? Maybe. But it is damn close and one I recommend everyone seek out and play today as it truly has to be heard to be believed.
Absolutely HIGHLY recommended

47. Buck Owens and his Buckaroos - I've Got A Tiger By The Tail (1965)

Label - Capitol
Producer – Ken Nelson
Art Direction – Uncredited
Running Time – 28:19

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. I've Got a Tiger by the Tail
2. Trouble and Me
3. Let the Sad Times Roll On
4. Wham Bam
5. If You Fall Out of Love With Me
6. Fallin' for You
7. We're Gonna Let the Good Times Roll
8. Band Keeps Playin' On
9. Streets of Laredo
10. Cryin' Time
11. Maiden's Prayer
12. Memphis

I admit I am not a country music fan. And this is REALLY country!! Therefore this was a tough one to get through!
In reading up on Buck Owens, (and was surprised to find out he had passed. Don’t know why I though he was still alive – I just did. He passed in 2006) he had his decent share of country hits prior to the release of “I've Got a Tiger by the Tail” but the title track to the record was Owens' national breakthrough hit. Another standout track was the hit "Cryin' Time," later to be a crossover hit of its own when recorded by Ray Charles
Buck Owens signature sound is thanks to the guitar picking of Don Rich – and he is all over this album and even shares vocals on "Wham Bam" and a feature with Buck on a duet of Chuck Berry's "Memphis."
Also getting in on the act is Doyle Holly who handles the vocal chores on "Streets of Laredo,".
Buck Owens created the Bakersfield honky tonk sound with this record —a reference to Bakersfield, California, the city Owens called home and from which he drew inspiration for what he preferred to call "American Music, and he did eventually scored twenty one number one Billboard country hits so he was doing something people liked – but again – it’s just not my kind of music, so I’m really probably not the most qualified person to make a review of this album.
Not recommended.

46. The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones (1964)

Label - Decca
Producer – Andrew Loog Oldham
Art Direction – David Bailey
Nationality- UK
Running Time – 32:59

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Route 66
2. I Just Want To Make Love To You
3. Honest I Do
4. Mona (I Need You Baby)
5. Now I’ve Got A Witness
6. Little By Little
7. I’m A King Bee
8. Carol
9. Tell Me
10. Can I Get A Witness
11. You Can Make It If You Try
12. Walking The Dog

The debut album by The Rolling Stones, was released in the UK in April 1964. The US edition of the LP, with a slightly different track list, came out the following month, under the title “England's Newest Hit Makers – The Rolling Stones”.
Recorded over the course of five days in January and February 1964, the majority of the tracks reflect the band's love for authentic R&B material. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still very much fledging songwriters during early 1964 and therefore contributed only one original composition to their first album – “Tell Me (You're Coming Back)" – although two tracks are credited to "Nanker Phelge" - a name the band used for group compositions in their early days.
It’s was actually pretty hard for me to write the review for this record. I just never have been that thrilled with the early Rolling Stones albums. Now don’t get me wrong - it is a good album and there is definitely some good stuff to recommend. Just for ME it leaves me a feeling bit ‘under whelmed’ when I listen to it. Perhaps it’s because I know that there are some fantastic Stones albums looming in the near future (some we’ll get to review too!!) that leaves me with that under whelmed feeling.
Basically this is a blues record, and that IS a good thing, it’s just there is nothing particularly exciting about it. It IS the Stones and at some point you should listen to this record therefore it IS recommended.

45. Dusty Springfield - A Girl Called Dusty (1964)

Label - Philips
Producer – John Franz
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality- UK
Running Time –28:37

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Mama Said
2. You Don't Own Me
3. Do Re Mi
4. When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes
5. My Colouring Book
6. Mockingbird
7. Twenty Four Hours From Tulsa
8. Nothing
9. Anyone Who Had A Heart
10. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
11. Wishin' And Hopin'
12. Don't You Know

Another pleasant surprise. This 1964 album was the U.K. equivalent of the LP that Americans knew as “I Only Want to Be with You”. The record I actually listend to was a CD re-issued in 1997 under its original U.K. title with eight bonus tracks taken from her first two Eps - which never made it onto an album in England. I try to just listen to the albums as they were released – and not get involved with the bonus tracks and such – but in this case – I didn’t mind – as the music Dusty was producing was just down right good!
The bonus cuts – just for completeness sake - include an alternate mix of "I Only Want to Be with You" and covers such as "Everyday I Have to Cry," "Can I Get a Witness," (which the Rolling Stones were also covering at this time) "All Cried Out," "I Wish I'd Never Loved You," "Once Upon a Time," and "Summer Is Over." These tracks combined with the original album tracks such as Springfield's fantastic cover of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," make this just a well rounded release and one that I enjoyed from start to finish. If Dusty had never recorded another LP, she would still have been a legend just based on the contents of this one release.
“A Girl Called Dusty” surprised me as it is actually a very good soul album, and a lot of fun and is highly recommended.

44. Solomon Burke - Rock 'n' Soul (1964)

Label - Atlantic
Producer – Bert Berns
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality- USA
Running Time – 34:06

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)
2. Cry to Me
3. Won't You Give Him (One More Chance)
4. If You Need Me
5. Hard, Ain't It Hard
6. Can't Nobody Love You
7. Just Out of Reach
8. You're Good for Me
9. You Can't Love 'Em All
10. Someone to Love Me
11. Beautiful Brown Eyes
12. He'll Have to Go

Full disclosure – I had no clue who Solomon Burke was before I played this record. I am now a fan! Just a great record!! Burke moved to Atlantic Records in 1964 and ‘Rock And Soul’ was his first album for them and features no less then SEVEN bona fide hits as well as other tasty tracks done in an incredibly soulful, almost preacher like croon.
The records title refers to Burke's ranking at the time as the "King of Rock 'n' Soul" a label Burke embraced because of the connections of the musical styles of rock and roll and soul music.
As I mentined, the album contained SEVEN top 100 Billboard hits, including "Just Out of Reach (Of My Two Open Arms)", "Cry to Me", "Can't Nobody Love You", "If You Need Me", "You're Good For Me", "Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)", and his heartbreaking interpretation of "He'll Have to Go". To me – that’s amazing. But the tracks ARE that good.
A most pleasant surprise and a record I hope everyone would seek out to give as spin.
HIGHLY recommended.

43. Jacques Brel - A L'Olympia (1964)

Label - Barclay
Producer – Jean-Marie Guerin
Art Direction – Uncredited
Nationality- Belgium
Running Time – 47:56

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Amsterdam
2. Timides
3. Dernier Repas
4. Jardins de Casino
5. Vieux
6. Toros
7. Tango Funèbre
8. Plat Pays
9. Bonbons
10. Mathilde
11. Bigotes
12. Bourgeois
13. Jef
14. Suivant
15. Madeleine

This record is also known as “Enregistrement Public à l'Olympia 1964”. Jacques Brel's recordings have been released in many different permutations, in different countries, and on different formats. Furthermore, releases of Brel's recordings are sometimes known by different titles, and sometimes exist in different versions with the tracks arranged in different running orders – so it was tough to nail down a copy as described in the book.
Whatever title you’d like to call it – it’s simply dreadful. I try to keep an open mind when I play albums that I’m sure I will have zero interest in – and have been surprised by many already (mainly some of the jazz ones) but this record just seemed to go on and on and on. At almost 48 minutes it seemed twice as long.
Again – to be fair as I have mentioned in reviews before – there is not 1 word of English on this record which I’m sure has something to do with me not caring for it – but it’s actually more than that. Lackluster vocals and droning songs – I cannot imagine having to been sitting in the audience when this was recorded. On the vocals he sounds angry, outrages, determined and retarded (listen to ‘Bonbons’ and you will know what I am meaning!).
The standout track – ‘Amsterdam’ is the only one of these songs that I had ever heard of before as David Bowie did a English cover of it in the 70’s. Other than that just dreadful and NOT recommended.

42. The Beatles - Hard Day's Night (1964)

Label - Parlophone
Producer – George Martin
Art Direction – Robert Freeman
Nationality- UK
Running Time – 29:47

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. A Hard Day's Night
2. I Should Have Known Better
3. If I Fell
4. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You
5. And I Love Her
6. Tell Me Why
7. Can't Buy Me Love
8. Any Time At All
9. I'll Cry Instead
10. Things We Said Today
11. When I Get Home
12. You Can't Do That
13. I'll Be Back

What can I say. Another Beatles album. Absolutely fantastic. All tracks could be selected as standouts they are all THAT good!!!
Released at the height of Beatlmania 'A Hard Day's Night' was not only the soundtrack for the movie of the same name (perhaps the best rock and roll movie ever made), it was the first to be filled with nothing but Lennon-McCartney originals. This is the record that found the Beatles truly coming into their own as a band.
Decades after its original release, its infectious rhythms, bright guitars, and singalong melodies is still remarkably fresh. George Martins production puts air underneath the songs that makes them sound exciting and vital years after it was recorded. Even more impressive are the songs themselves. Lennon and McCartney have found a number of variations to the basic Merseybeat style that formed their earlier records. There is the smash hit McCartney classic “Can't Buy Me Love", the power of Lennon’s vocals on "Any Time at All" and the gentleness of it on "If I Fell". It's possible to hear both songwriters/singers developing their distinctive styles on the album.
John and Paul must have known how strong their material was and gave "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" to George – but oddly Ringo – who arguably is the star of the movie - didn't have a vocal.
In some ways this can be considered that last true BAND effort – as the distinctive styles of Lennon and McCartney started rising to the front following this record as they (for the most part)stopped collaborating on each others material.
Highly recommended

41. Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto – Getz / Gilberto (1963)

Label - Verve
Producer – Creed Taylor
Art Direction - Uncredited
Nationality – Brazil / USA
Running Time – 34:02

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Girl From Ipanema
2. Doralice
3. Para Machuchar Meu Coracao
4. Desafinado
5. Corcovado (Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars)
6. So Danco Samba
7. O Grande Amor
8. Vivo Sonhando (Dreamer)

Fresh from a holiday/medical break I’m back with some more reviews.
You learn a lot when you read about albums and artists that you never have heard of before. I did not know that this record was one of the biggest-selling jazz albums of all time, and considered to be bossa nova's finest moment! It does include one of the biggest smash hit singles in jazz history (and the ONLY track I had heard prior to spinning this record) "The Girl From Ipanema,". It’s a Jobim classic sung by João's wife, Astrud Gilberto, who as it turns out had never performed outside of her own home prior to the recording session!!
To ME – it’s really hard to distinguish one song from the other as they are all so close in style and feel and after a while it just became background music for my drive! And while pleasing in a way – that’s not a good statement to make about a record. To be fair, most of the lyrics are in Portuguese which I cannot understand a word of! The two tracks I listed in bold as standout tracks are the only ones with any English sung in them – which is probably why they stood out for me! So while frankly, there isn't much to really criticise here, I do not recommend it.

40. James Brown - Live at the Apollo (1963)
Label - King
Producer – James Brown
Art Direction - Dan Quest
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 31:33

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Introduction To James Brown
2. I'll Go Crazy
3. Try Me
4. Think
5. I Don't Mind
6. Lost Someone
7. Medley: Please, Please, Please/You've Got The Power/I Found Someone/Why Do You Do Me/I Want You So Bad/I Love You So Bad/I Love You, Yes I Do/Strange Things Happen/Bewildered/Please, Please, Please
8. Night Train

Mr James Brown. AKA - The hardest working man in showbiz! This recording at the famed Apollo theatre in New York is nothing short of an astonishing record. James is in top form as are his backing band the Flames.
In reading about the album (as I do with each record to learn more about each one) I was amazed to read that at the time King Records owner Syd Nathan flat out refused to fund this recording!! Too un-commercial. It will never sell. In his bravado style - Brown proceeded anyway, and paid for it out of his own pocket. His reasoning was that he had been out on the road night after night for a while, and he knew that the magic that was part of a James Brown show was something no studio record had ever caught. Hit follows hit without a pause — "I'll Go Crazy," "Try Me," "Think," "Please Please Please," "I Don't Mind," "Night Train," and more.
The reissue of this record is the one to get – as it is features the original audience track – not the one overdubbed at the time featuring POLITE clapping. This music is full of soul and the audience is as much a part of the recording as the band!
Highly recommended.

39. Mingus - The Black Saint And The Sinner Lady (1963)
Label – Impulse
Producer – Bob Thiele
Art Direction – Hollis King
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 39:25

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Solo Dancer
2. Duet Solo Dancers
3. Group Dancers
4. Trio And Group Dancers

So in reading up about this album I read the following line: “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady is one of the greatest achievements in orchestration by any composer in jazz history.” All I can say to that is - what the HELL were they listening to. This record is pure torture to listen to. Just dreadful. You may notice that no tracks are listed as standout tracks as I would not recommend anyone ever subject themselves to listening to ANY of this horrible record.
The liner notes, penned by his psychologist, should be your first clue as to how uneven a work this is. It’s desribed as “Charles Mingus consciously designed six-part ballet, an examination of his own tortured psyche also a conceptual piece about love and struggle.” The only thing that fits the music (and I use the term lightly here) is the word torture. “The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady” the first jazz album to rely on overdubbing technology. Unfortunately that is NOT a good statement. There is so much going on at times it’s hard to distinguish one instrument from another. Just dreadful. One reviewer wrote “Imagine free-jazz, now imagine it mixed with very slow, almost porn/gangster film like music and a dash of flamenco guitar.” Not as interesting as it sounds.
NOT recommended.

38. Sam Cooke - Live At The Harlem Square Club (1963)
Label - RCA
Producer – uncredited
Art Direction - uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 36:05

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Feel It
2. Chain Gang
3. Cupid
4. Medley: It's All Right/For Sentimental Reasons
5. Twistin' the Night Away
6. Somebody Have Mercy
7. Bring It on Home to Me
8. Nothing Can Change This Love
9. Having a Party

Sam Cooke is considered by music critics and fellow artists alike as the most important singer in soul music history. I’ve always KNOWN about Sam Cooke – but never really heard more than his greatest hits from time to time over the years. The title "the king of soul" is often over-used but Sam Cooke's legacy is undeniable. He had 29 Top 40 hits in the U.S. between 1957 and 1965. He is therefore seen by many as "the creator" of the genre. But for those like me who only knew Sam Cooke's music based on those hit singles, this disc will be nothing short of a revelation. This is the real Sam Cooke, doing a sweaty, raspy soulful set captured live in his prime at the Harlem Square Club in North Miami, FL, on Jan. 12, 1963
This recording and one at the Copa were both recorded for a live album to be released at the time. The more generic, more pleasing , more polished “Sam Cooke at the Copa” recording (in front of a mainly white audience) was chosen to be released – and this recording went unreleased for almost 22 years!
In many ways this record is superior to Sam Cooke's studio recordings, the way in which he feeds off the public's attention and love is amazing. His interaction with the public make them as much part of the album as Sam himself.
Highly recommended

37. Phil Spector - A Christmas Gift For You (1963)
Label - Philles
Producer – Phil Spector
Art Direction - uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 35:11

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. White Christmas - Darlene Love
2. Frosty The Snowman - Ronettes
3. The Bells of St. Mary's - Bob B. Soxx & The Blue Jeans
4. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Crystals
5. Sleigh Ride - Ronettes
6. Marshmallow World - Darlene Love
7. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Ronettes
8. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer - Crystals
9. Winter Wonderland - Darlene Love
10. Parade of the Wooden Soldiers - Crystals
11. Christmas - Baby Please Come Home - Darlene Love
12. Here Comes Santa Claus - Bob B Soxx & The Blue Jeans
13. Silent Night - Phil Spector & Artists

As fate would have it – I was able to listen to this Christmas record – the week before Christmas! Nice! Featuring Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" in its prime – it features his early stable of artists, the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love, and Bob B. Soxx & the Blue Jeans, they are all here.
In doing some reading about this record, it stands as arguably the greatest Christmas record ever to be made. Spector believed he could produce a record for the holidays that would capture not only the Christmas spirit, but at the same time be a pop masterpiece. He more or less succeeds with all the singers as they turned in some memorable performances – and as I mentioned – is considered the Christmas album by which all later holiday releases had to be judged.
On an interesting note – I read that Phil withdrew the album from release initially as it came out the week that John F. Kennedy was shot and he though it was in ‘poor taste’ to play this happy music while the country was in mourning. Kinda ironic that he may be an assassin himself now!!! The final track – Silent Night – features Spector's pleseant voice talking about love and harmony – actually pretty sad with hindsight.
Recommended for Christmas

36. Bob Dylan - The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (1963)
Label - Columbia
Producer – John Hammond
Art Direction - Uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 50:04

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold
1. Blowin' In The Wind
2. Girl From The North Country
3. Masters Of War
4. Down The Highway
5. Bob Dylan's Blues
6. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
7. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
8. Bob Dylan's Dream
9. Oxford Town
10. Talkin' World War III Blues
11. Corrina, Corrina
12. Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance
13. I Shall Be Free

And here we have a almost pure only guitar and vocal album by Bob Dylan. A guy, his guitar and a harmonica. Considered one of the great craftsmen of our time, it may be hard to estimate the importance of The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan record. It DID firmly established Dylan as an unparalleled songwriter. At the time, folk had been quite popular on college campuses and bohemian circles, but nobody had transcended the scene as Bob Dylan did with this record. There are a couple of covers ("Corrina Corrina" and "Honey Just Allow Me One More Chance") but it’s the originals here that everyone remembers. "Blowin' in the Wind," "Masters of War," and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" – all are staples in the Dylan canon. I’m not 100% sure – but this is probably the first album reviewed here where all but two songs are written by the performer. With the last entry by the Beatles and this one – it was truly the birth of the age of the singer-songwriter.
All of that said – this is actually a hard record to get through. Dylan can write a song like no other there is no denying that – but his vocals are just terrible in my humble opinion. Always have been. And his guitar and harmonica playing really aren’t that great either! Yet strangely though – it all works somehow. Perhaps it’s the craftsmanship of the songs that makes it all come together.
Oddly highly recommended.

35. The Beatles - With The Beatles (1963)
Label - Parlophone
Producer – George Martin
Art Direction – Robert Freeman
Nationality - UK
Running Time – 33:24

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)
1. It Won't Be Long
2. All I've Got To Do
3. All My Loving
4. Don't Bother Me
5. Little Child
6. Till There Was You
7. Please Mr Postman
8. Roll Over Beethoven
9. Hold Me Tight
10. You've Really Got A Hold On Me
11. I Wanna Be Your Man
12. Devil In Her Heart
13. Not A Second Time
14. Money

What can be said about the Beatles that has never been written before. Simply put – the greatest rock and roll group in history. Ever. Period.
I could select each track as a standout – as they are all just fantastic. There is an equal ratio of covers-to-originals, a familiar blend of girl group, Motown, R&B, pop, and rock, and a show tune thrown in for good measure. The Beatles could do it all. Straight ahead rock and roll, ("I Wanna Be Your Man") or twist it around with a little Latin lilt ("Little Child," easily one of their most underrated early rockers). John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote great ballads ("All I've Got to Do") and classic pop/rockers ("All My Loving"). Then there are the driving rockers ("It Won't Be Long") and melodic slower slower songs ("Not a Second Time"). Even George Harrison’s first song recorded ("Don't Bother Me”) is a standout!
The covers only pale slightly in comparison, (although "Devil in Her Heart" qualifies as a forgotten gem). With John’s vocals on "You Really Got a Hold on Me," this track is always an enjoyable performance.
It was clear that this record was head and shoulders above the music that was being released around the same time. The Beatles were rapidly turning into the icons they would become and the standard by which to measure all others from this point forward.
Highly recommended.

34. Ray Price - Night Life (1962)
Label - Koch
Producer – Frank Jones; Don Law
Art Direction – uncredited
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 37:36

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)
1. Introduction And Theme/Night Life
2. Lonely Street
3. Wild Side Of Life
4. Sittin' And Thinkin'
5. Twenty-Fourth Hour
6. Girl In The Night
7. Pride
8. There's No Fool Like A Young Fool
9. If She Could See Me Now
10. Bright Lights And Blonde Haired Women
11. Are You Sure
12. Let Me Talk To You

Something unexpected popped out when I played this album. I’m not a big country music fan (REAL country like this – not what passes as country music these days). And it WAS tough to get through this album. What surprised me is that this is a concept album. By Ray Price. In 1962. WHO KNEW! Certainly not me!
As I said – this is true classic country honky tonk music. Ray Price and his band – the Cherokee Cowboys were riding high when this record came out, and the toured regularly. His spoken word introduction lays out what is to come – songs about living in the night life – a side of life he saw on a regular basis. A life spent on the road full of hotels, bar rooms, one-night stands, heartache, and regrets.
Yet it’s not so much a story being told throughout the album as it is just a collection of simular themed tracks.
In reading about Ray Price I found that as the decade wore on, Price would go on to major superstardom as a mellow balladeer, (working with full string sections) which reached a more mass audience that most probably never even heard this music or his other honky tonk classics that preceded it. This album just may be Price's defining moment as an artist, but I just can’t get into the country of it.
Not recommended.

33. Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd - Jazz Samba (1962)
Label - Verve
Producer – Creed Taylor
Art Direction – Olga Albizu
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 33:08

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Desafinado
2. Samba Dees Days
3. O Pato
4. Samba Triste
5. Samba De Uma Nota Só
6. É Luxo Só
7. Bahia

This is the definitive bossa nova record. Calling it Jazz Samba is actually quite misleading as it is less jazz and not so much samba, it’s bossa nova in a Jazzy context setting. With that said – it is a thoroughly enjoyable record and a good album. For those (like me) who know nothing of Brazilian music – this would be a good starting point. No so much a true reflection of ‘typical’ Brazilian music (minus the flare and most of all lacking any lyrics so predominate in Brazilian music). But I’m sure that was the point to begin with the fact that this was the first full-fledged bossa nova album ever recorded by any American jazz musicians.
And it was successful too. It topped the LP charts and produced a pop chart hit single in "Desafinado." (who knew!!!) It was the true beginning of the bossa nova craze that swept the nation around this time.
If I had to use one word to describe this record it would be “graceful”. Again this one falls into the category as absolutely essential for any jazz collection.
Highly recommended.

32. Booker T. & the M.G.s - Green Onions (1962)
Label - Stax
Producer – Jim Stewart
Art Direction – Haig Adishian
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 34:55

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Green Onions
2. Rinky Dink
3. I Got A Woman
4. Mo' Onions
5. Twist And Shout
6. Behave Yourself
7. Stranger On The Shore
8. Lonely Avenue
9. One Who Really Loves You
10. You Can't Sit Down
11. Woman A Lover A Friend
12. Comin' Home Baby

I will admit – other than the track ‘Green Onions’ I was not familiar with any of the work of Booker T and the M.G.’s , nor familiar with any of the band members. After looking them up – I stand corrected. Turns out they were the house band at Stax Records in Memphis. Booker T Jones and Steve Cropper were the anchors and they can be heard on classic hits by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Carla Thomas, Albert King, and Sam & Dave, just to name a few examples. That alone would be enough of a resume, but on their own they were one of if not THE top instrumental outfits of the rock era, cutting classics like "Green Onions" – their first and biggest hit. So much so they’d have trouble recapturing its commercial success. That track kicks off this album – and the same can be said for this album as their career. “Green Onions” is a GREAT song – but they never capture that groove or feel again for the rest of the record.
For me personally, the organ sound in each song is just too much – even though at 35 minutes the record is pretty short – and mid way through I was really ready to stop it playing. Which is a shame. The second best track – “Mo’ Onions” – is simply that, more of “Green Onions”!! There is a cover of Smokey Robinson's "One Who Really Loves You," with a very nice lead performance by Jones on organ and Cropper’s guitar handling the choruses that was very nice, but the album is just to much filler around one great track.
Not recommended.

31. Ray Charles - Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (1962)
Label - ABC-Paramount
Producer – Sid Feller
Art Direction – Flynn / Viceroy
Nationality - USA
Running Time – 39:51

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Bye Bye Love
2. You Don't Know Me
3. Half as Much
4. I Love You So Much It Hurts
5. Just a Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long Way)
6. Born to Lose
7. Worried Mind
8. It Makes No Difference Now
9. You Win Again
10. Careless Love
11. I Can't Stop Loving You
12. Hey, Good Lookin'
Ray Charles was unhappy with Atlantic records and so he signed with ABC Paramount and took full advantage of his contract's "full artistic freedom clause" with this collection of revamped country classics on Modern Sounds in Country and Western. This was quite a gamble for Ray Charles and took plenty of guts not just for him, but for his new record label to release this record. Yet, this album featured Don Gibson's "I Can't Stop Loving You" and a Top Ten hit with a cover of Eddy Arnold's "You Don't Know Me," that helped this album remain at the top of the pop charts for nearly three months and more importantly brought Ray Charles international fame and made him a superstar. Charles’ covers of these songs actually have become the definitive versions of the tracks over the last 45 years.
It’s actually less country and more big band with a splash of gospel – with no steel guitars or fiddles – just lots of orchestral arrangements by Gerald Wilson. At times the tracks are overdone with orchestra and backing vocals which is a shame as they needn’t be. So while I prefer the ‘Genius of Ray Charles’ (reviewed earlier in this series) over this one as a definitive work of Ray Charles, this is still a good listen.
Highly recommended.

30. Bill Evans - Sunday At The Village Vanguard (1961)

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Gloria's Step (Take 2)
2. Gloria's Step (Take 3)
3. My Man's Gone Now
4. Solar
5. Alice In Wonderland (Take 2)
6. Alice In Wonderland (Take 1)
7. All Of You (Take 2)
8. All Of You (Take 3)
9. Jade Visions (Take 2)
10. Jade Visions (Take 1)

And yet another jazz album. This one I didn’t really care for that much. Sunday at the Village Vanguard is the initial volume of a huge recording session by the Bill Evans Trio recorded in June of 1961 at New York's Village Vanguard. This trio is widely regarded as his finest. Tragically, the bassist Scott LaFaro was killed in an automobile accident just ten days after this session was recorded!
If you were to want to get into Bill Evans I suppose this is a great place to begin with, but it doesn’t have that good ‘feel’ to the music that the jazz albums that I have been playing recently have had. It is a very demanding album to listen to and asks a lot of the listener – a commitment if you will – to understand the music and what’s going on. Sadly, the music just isn’t good enough to do that.
Not recommended

29. Muddy Waters - Muddy Waters at Newport (1960)

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold

1. I Got My Brand on You
2. (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man
3. Baby Please Don't Go
4. Soon Forgotten
5. Tiger in Your Tank
6. I Feel So Good
7. I've Got My Mojo Working
8. I've Got My Mojo Working, Pt. 2
9. Goodbye Newport Blues

A live blues recording. I was apprehensive when I started this record. Could they capture the thrill of a live blues setting on a festival recording. This is pretty impressive stuff – even 40-plus years down the line. The version I played is the March 2001 remastering from MCA. Reading about the transfer they used high-resolution digital audio, and brought up the bass overall and the details of just about every aspect of the playing, as well as moving Muddy's singing several layers forward in the mix, creating a vivid stage ambience, making you feel like you are there!
Muddy, with a band featuring Otis Spann, James Cotton, and guitarist Pat Hare, are a great unit playing awesome versions of "Got My Mojo Working," (with a reprised again in a short encore version), a version of "I've Got My Brand on You" that just smokes. With impressive versions of "Hoochie Coochie Man," Big Bill Broonzy's "Feel So Good," and "Tiger in Your Tank.", this record was a breakthrough moment in blues history, where the jazz audience at Newport opened its ears and embraced dirty Chicago blues.
Supposedly a film of this performance exits. Now THAT would be something to see!
Highly recommended

28. The Incredible Jimmy Smith - Back at the Chicken Shack (1960)

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Back At The Chicken Shack
2. When I Grow Too Old To Dream
3. Minor Chant
4. Messy Bessy
5. On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Another jazz album. Another cool one. It’s closer to funk than to jazz. Again -
I had never heard of Jimmy Smith until I went to play this record. Doing some research I found that he ruled the Hammond organ in the '50s and '60s. He is considered to be THE one who revolutionized the instrument, showing it could be creatively used in a jazz context and popularized it in the process. His Blue Note sessions from 1956 to 1963 (which includes this 1960’s release) were extremely influential and are considered classics in the jazz world.
I don’t know about all of that – but the music is – well – COOL. Recorded in 1960 with Kenny Burrell on guitar, Donald Bailey on drums, and Turrentine, the group is tight and as I say it’s ‘funky’ it’s ‘soul-jazz’ it’s ‘relaxed’. It’s a pleasure to listen to.

27. Everly Brothers - A Date With the Everly Brothers (1960)

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)

1. Made To Love
2. That's Just Too Much
3. Stick With Me Baby
4. Baby What You Want Me To Do
5. Sigh Cry Almost Die
6. Always It's You
7. Love Hurts
8. Lucille
9. So How Come
10. Donna Donna
11. Change Of Heart
12. Cathy's Clown

Just a fine album. Great material and some very fine songs on the Everly Brothers (Phil and Don) on their second Warner LP released in 1960. It includes one of their best known songs "Cathy's Clown". It also includes their rocking cover of Little Richard's "Lucille," "Love Hurts" (which preceded Roy Orbison's hit version and of course later hit by Nazareth in the 70's), and "So How Come" (covered by the Beatles in 1963 on the BBC). In fact - you can hear the influences that the Everly Brothers had on the Beatles listening to this album. There is a nice innocence to this music. It's like they want to break loose but keep it clean and close to the vest. The very thing that Beatles did with this material.
Some of the songs are written by one or both of the brothers: "Cathy's Clown", "Made To Love" (a hit for Eddie Hodges), "Sigh, Cry, Almost Die", and"That's Just Too Much" but most of the songs are written by Boudleaux Bryant and his wife Felice Bryant who wrote most of the hits for The Everly Brothers. Add in a an early Mel Tillis song, "Stick With Me Baby", and you have a collection of songs that while nonessential to collectors are very good examples of well crafted sometimes not often heard songs that are hard not to listen to and well worth the time.
Highly recommended.

26. Miriam Makeba - Miriam Makeba (1960)

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. The Retreat Song (Jikele Maweni)
2. Suliram
3. The Click Song
4. Umhome
5. Olilili
6. Lakutshn, Ilanga
7. Mbube
8. The Naughty Little Flea
9. Where Does It Lead?
10. Nomeva
11. House Of The Rising Sun
12. Saduva
13. One More Dance - Charles Coleman

I must admit, I had never heard of Miriam Makeba before hearing this album, and to tell you the truth, I was not looking forward to listening to it. While I was not overly impressed with the record, I was pleasantly surprised.
Miriam’s mentor was Harry Belafonte, who accompanies her on some of the tracks – and wrote the liner notes for the lp. No wonder RCA Victor Records snapped her up and recorded this her first album in May 1960. Clearly, the label was hoping to repeat the success of Harry Belafonte. "The Naughty Little Flea," sounds like a Belefonte number . She too turns in a version of "House of the Rising Sun.", but unlike the dismal treatment given to the track by Joan Baez – reviewed early this week – this isn’t half bad. Such familiar type English material offset the songs sung in her native South African tongue of Xhosa. (I had to look it up). Makeba has a smooth voice and she uses it to its limit with the different range of material she recorded. This ever includes “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” which is here called “Mbube” sung in the original language.
Again not overly impressed with the record – but can recommend it – with reservations

25. Elvis Presley - Elvis is Back! (1960)

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)
1. Make Me Know It
2. Fever
3. Girl Of My Best Friend
4. I Will Be Home Again
5. Dirty Dirty Feeling
6. Thrill Of Your Love
7. Soldier Boy
8. Such A Night
9. It Feels So Right
10. Girl Next Door
11. Like A Baby
12. Reconsider Baby

Fresh out of the Army Elvis Presley stepped into the studio looking to regain the status he had held before he left to serve our country. He turned in what may be his bet set of recordings of his entire career. I have always been fascinated with these sessions – 18 songs recorded in all with 12 selected for the album. . It's a slightly different Elvis here than the one who was drafted, still in fine voice yet slightly tamer. He jumps from style to style--from R&B (Such a Night) to pure pop (The Girl of My Best Friend) to doo-wop (Soldier Boy) to some of the hardest blues of his career (Reconsider Baby). He even makes transforms Peggy Lee’s "Fever" into his own. No hit singles, ("It's Now or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight" from these sessions were released as singles) just a great record and thankfully no indication of the "movie years" songs that was soon to follow. Highly recommended.
[Note - The 1999 remaster of this album features the complete sessions for a total of 18 songs, including the three singles and their B-sides from those sessions. I would seek this version out]

24. Joan Baez - Joan Baez (1960)

Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Silver Dagger
2. East Virginia
3. Fare Thee Well (Or Then Thousand Miles)
4. House Of The Rising Sun
5. All My Trials
6. Wildwood Flower
7. Donna Donna
8. John Riley
9. Rake and Rambling Boy
10. Little Moses
11. Mary Hamilton
12. Henry Martin
13. El Preso Numero Nueve

The female version of Bob Dylan. The main difference is Joan Baez didn’t write her own material, where as Dylan did. These are stark bare recordings of a young girl and her guitar letting the songs stand on their own merit – which they do for the most part. Unfortunately like Dylan – Joan cannot sing. Just 19 at the time she recorded the album, it was made up of mostly traditional songs. Including a dismal version "House of the Rising Sun". This record was difficult to get all the way through and I cannot recommend it.

23. Dave Brubeck - Time Out (1959)

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)

1. Blue Rondo A La Turk
2. Strange Meadow Lark
3. Take Five
4. Three To Get Ready
5. Kathy's Waltz
6. Everybody's Jumpin'
7. Pick Up Sticks

Another jazz album. Good thing that I’m liking the jazz albums that have been coming along as there have been quite a few. Considered Dave Brubeck's defining masterpiece, Time Out is said to be one of the most rhythmically innovative albums in all of jazz history! From what I read it is the the first jazz album to consciously explore time signatures outside of the standard 4/4 beat or 3/4 waltz time. It was considered a very risky move at the time. So much so the record company didn’t want to release it!
Time Out became an unexpectedly huge success, and you see it listed on all of the major ‘must have’ jazz lists – and is considered by many as one of the most popular jazz albums ever.
It is a nice listen and I can see where it belongs in even the most rudimentary jazz collection. Recommended.

22. Marty Robbins - Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (1959)

Track Listing

1. Big Iron
2. Cool Water
3. Billy The Kid
4. Hundred And Sixty Acres
5. They're Hanging Me Tonight
6. Strawberry Roan
7. El Paso
8. In The Valley
9. Master's Call
10. Running Gun
11. Little Green Valley
12. Utah Carol

Marty Robbins has a pretty smooth voice. Other than that it’s hard to say a lot good about this album. It’s not that I HATED it – it just seemed like it was the same song – over and over and over!! I read that it is the “single most influential album of Western songs in post-World War II American music”. That very well may be – but it’s just not my kinda thing. "El Paso" is a time worn classic that really just drags on and on. Actually kind of hard to believe radio would actually play such a long track in 1959! Not recommended.

21. Miles Davis - Kind of Blue (1959)

Track Lisiting (standout tracks in bold)

1. So What
2. Freddie Freeloader
3. Blue In Green
4. All Blues
5. Flamenco Sketches

This is a record generally considered as the definitive jazz album of all time. EVER. A universally acknowledged standard of jazz music excellence. And it truly is a ‘beautiful’ album to listen to. Each of the tracks (there are only 5) is simple, to the point. Each tune has a similar relaxed feel to it, and the music flows easily like a crisp stream on a cool winters day. The musicians read like a whose who of jazz greats: Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, etc.., how could they go wrong. Reading the liner notes one finds that the band never played any of the selections through prior to recording them. Miles provided the basic layouts for the songs and then the band just improvised. When researching a bit about the album a line that stood out was “if you don’t like ‘Kind of Blue’ – you don’t like jazz.” That DOES pretty much sum it up!
Highly recommended

20. Ray Charles - The Genius of Ray Charles (1959)

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold

1. Let The Good Times Roll
2. It Had To Be You
3. Alexander's Ragtime Band
4. Two Years Of Torture
5. When Your Lover Has Gone
6. Deed I Do
7. Just For A Thrill
8. You Won't Let Me Go
9. Tell Me You'll Wait For Me
10. Don't Let The Sun Catch You Cryin'
11. Am I Blue
12. Come Rain Or Come Shine

Just a fantastic listen. Ray Charles voice is heard throughout in peak performance. Giving soul to the fast tracks and ballads that just drips from the speakers! The ‘sides’ of the album feature songs in two distinct styles. Big Band arrangements (arranged by Quincy Jones) on one side, string orchestra arrangements on the other. No matter – whatever style he is playing – it is just so damn soulful! Released in 1959 – this to me could be the definition of the birth of soul music. Truly great tracks throughout and highly recommended.

19. Ella Fitzgerald - Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Songbook (1959)

Track Listing

1. Ambulatory Suite
2. Prelude
3. Sam And Delilah
4. But Not For Me
5. My One And Only
6. Let's Call The Whole Thing Off
7. I've Got Beginner's Luck
8. Oh Lady Be Good
9. Nice Work If You Can Get It
10. Things Are Looking Up
11. Just Another Rumba
12. How Long Has This Been Going On
13. It's Wonderful
14. Man I Love
15. That Certain Feeling
16. By Strauss
17. Someone To Watch Over Me
18. Real American Folk Song Is A Rag
19. Who Cares
20. Looking For A Boy
21. They All Laughed
22. My Cousin In Milwaukee
23. Somebody From Somewhere
24. Foggy Day
25. Clap Yo' Hands
26. For You For Me For Evermore
27. Stiff Upper Lip
28. Boy Wanted
29. Strike Up The Band
30. Soon
31. I've Got A Crush On You
32. Bidin' My Time
33. Aren't You Kind Of Glad We Did
34. Of Thee I Sing
35. Half Of It Dearie Blues
36. I Was Doing All Right
37. He Loves And She Loves
38. Love Is Sweeping The Country
39. Treat Me Rough
40. Love Is Here To Stay
41. Slap That Bass
42. Isn't It A Pity
43. Shall We Dance
44. Love Walked In
45. You've Got What Gets Me
46. They Can't Take That Away From Me
47. Embraceable You
48. I Can't Be Bothered Now
49. Boy What Love Has Done To Me
50. Fascinating Rhythm
51. Funny Face
52. Lorelei
53. Oh So Nice
54. Let's Kiss And Make Up
55. I Got Rhythm
56. Somebody Loves Me
57. Cheerful Little Earful

During the late '50s, Ella Fitzgerald continued her Song Book records with Sings the George and Ira Gershwin Song Book, featuring 57 songs written by George and Ira Gershwin. These songs are considered by many to be among Fitzgerald's very best.
Considered by many to be arguably the finest female jazz singer of all time (and she DOES have an incredibly smooth and soulful voice!!). That said….
WOW – what a incredibly LONG listen. Truly this is a case of too much of a good thing. Clocking in at a whopping 3 hours and 15 minutes this was a tough listen to a extreme novice jazz fan. As I only have select times of each day (to and from work) to actually LISTEN to each of these 1001 albums, (which is the point right? TO actually LISTEN to them), it took over a week to play the record.
Again – I loved her voice – and her interpretations are great – but by about track 25-30 I was really ready for this record to be over!! And I was only HALF WAY!!
So indeed – pretty long!
Her vocal deliveries are swinging, infectious, heartfelt and as a overview I would go so far as to say this is actually a great album – just overly long for the casual fan – and hard to really ‘connect’ with the music.

18. Sarah Vaughan - At Mister Kelly's (1958)

Track Listing

1. September In The Rain
2. Willow Weep For Me
3. Just One Of Those Things
4. Be Anything But Darling Be Mine
5. Thou Swell
6. Stairway To The Stars
7. Honeysuckle Rose
8. Just A Gigolo
9. How High The Moon
10. Dream
11. I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
12. It's Got To Be Love
13. Alone
14. If This Isn't Love
15. Embraceable You
16. Lucky In Love
17. Dancing In The Dark
18. Poor Butterfly
19. Sometimes I'm Happy
20. I Cover The Waterfront

Now this was a nice listen. This is what I had anticipated and had hoped for several albums ago with the Billie Holiday record. Smooth vocals, great arrangements and just a delight to listen to.
During the '50s, Sarah Vaughan spent most of her time recording songbook standards backed by large orchestras in huge arrangements, but on this night captured live at Mr Kelly’s in the heart of Chicago’s rush street café disctrict, she is backed by just a simple trio, and the recording finds her relaxed, and stretching out her vocals on a varied set list of late-night torch songs and ballads. The recording is great. The record I actually listened to was a 2001 re-release of the complete concert, and in this case, that is a good thing. It shows her playful side, messing up lyrics (even though the MC had told the audience prior to her taking the stage that Sarah would be using lyric sheets that night), not taking herself so serious, and having a great time performing. Her mood is infectious and even during the sad songs she sounds happy to be singing. Just a fine release and HIGHLY recommended.

17. Ramblin' Jack Elliott - Jack Takes the Floor (1958)

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)

1. San Francisco Bay Blues
2. Ol' Riley
3. The Boll Weevil
4. Bed Bug Blues
5. New York Town
6. Old Blue
7. Grey Goose
8. Mule Skinner Blues
9. East Texas Talking Blues
10. Cocaine
11. Dink's Song
12. Black Baby
13. Salty Dog

Ramblin' Jack Elliott is one of music's most influential people – yet many have never heard of him. He influenced everyone from Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead. (Elliott often performed opening sets for Jerry Garcia's solo bands and occasionally sat in with the Dead).
It’s apparent from the first few minutes of this record where Jack Elliott got the name ‘Ramblin’ from – as he sure can ramble!!!
This in essence could be a long lost Bob Dylan album – as the style and sound is the same. Bare recordings, not such great vocals, alone, with his guitar weaving stories for the listener. (in fact - Elliott joined Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue and was featured in Dylan's film Renaldo and Clara.)
There is some yodeling which can get on the nerves at times, but there is no denying that Jack Elliott has style. Which made this a fun album to listen to. Recommended.

16. Billie Holiday - Lady In Satin (1958)

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)

1. I'm a Fool to Want You
2. For Heaven's Sake
3. You Don't Know What Love Is
4. I Get Along Without You Very Well
5. For All We Know
6. Violets for Your Furs
7. You've Changed
8. It's Easy to Remember
9. But Beautiful
10. Glad to Be Unhappy
11. I'll Be Around

First off – as I have said in other reviews - I admit to be an extreme novice when it comes to jazz – so all of the jazz records I’ve been listening to have been a total learning experience for me. I knew very little about Billie Holiday, other than that the Diana Ross movie “Lady Sings The Blues” was loosely based on her Holiday’s life. I approached this record with some anticipation thinking this would be just a fantastic listen as I had always read where Billie Holliday was the voice all other jazz greats were compared too! I was severely disappointed.
I have since learned, that the hard life (including an 8 month prison run in 1947) and severe amount of drug usage had essentially left Billie’s voice completely shot by the time she recorded these sides. There is a unique bareness and honesty to the vocals – chock full of emotion, but her vocals are so bad it makes it very hard to listen to this album. I initially thought these were recordings of a 70-80 year old woman, and was surprised to read she was 43 when these were recorded! Her croaking voice is at times unbearable. Not surprisingly, she died just over a year after these recordings were released of heart and liver disease.
Not recommended.

15. Tito Puente - Dance Mania (1958)

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)

1. El Cayuco
2. Complicación
3. 3-D Mambo
4. Llego Mijan
5. Cuando Te Vea
6. Hong Kong Mambo
7. Mambo Gozón
8. Mi Chiquita Quiere Bembe
9. Varsity Drag {Mambo)
10. Estoy Siempre Junto a Ti
11. Agua Limpia Todo
12. Saca Tu Mujer

Dance Mania as I read is probably Tito Puente's best-known album. This reminded me a lot of the Machito album I just listened to. Another collection of mambo, congo cha cha cha tracks. It’s fun enough, and I didn’t hate… but again – this kind of music is just not my thing and I found myself really glad when it ended. If you like conga, cha cha cha music – it would be recommended – if not – pass on this one.

14. Little Richard - Here's Little Richard

Track Listing (standout tracks in bold)

1. Tutti Frutti
2. True Fine Mama
3. Can't Believe You Wanna Leave
4. Ready Teddy
5. Baby
6. Slippin' And Slidin'
7. Long Tall Sally
8. Miss Ann
9. Oh Why
10. Rip It Up
11. Jenny Jenny
12. She's Got It

What an album. It’s basically Little Richard’s greatest hits! With the most absurd yet recognizable line in rock n roll history “A wop bop a loo mop a lomp bomp bomp" the album kicks off of the great singers (or wailer perhaps) in rock history. Every song on this album is a classic, and time has treated it well. “Tutti Frutti," "Rip It Up" and "Long Tall Sally" still sound as incredible today as they had to have when they hit the airwaves way back when. This along with the Elvis and Buddy Holly records reviewed earlier are rock and roll 101. Excellent stuff and highly recommended!!


Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold

1. Wild Jungle
2. Congo Mulence
3. Kenya
4. Oyeme
5. Holiday
6. Cannonology
7. Frenzy
8. Blues A La Machito
9. Conversation
10. Tin Tin Deo
11. Minor Rama
12. Tururato

This would be the first time I have ever listened to a Afro-Cuban jazz album. While not something I see myself hurrying back to listen to – I did actually kinda enjoy it. The music on here reminds me of every dance/bar scenes in every 50’s movie I have ever seen. Not that that’s a bad thing – but is a nice analogy – as this is music that seems to fit nicely in the background. Not too flashy, solid beats and rhythms and you could dance to it if you are so inclined.
The arrangements are tight, full of percussion and horns, yet they are kinda cookie cutter music. One song does not really distinguish itself apart from another. Still – a ‘pleasant’ album to listen to so I would recommend it.


Track Listing

1. Move
2. Jeru
3. Moon Dreams
4. Venus De Milo
5. Budo
6. Deception
7. Godchild
8. Boplicity
9. Rocker
10. Israel
11. Rouge
12. Darn That Dream

Recorded over three sessions in 1949-50 (but not released until 1957) these sessions are what are considered the birth of cool jazz. Hence the title ‘Birth of Cool’.
What a wonderful album. Relaxed, subdued, melodic, just a delight to listen to. The performances are top notch and the tracks flow with a sublime easiness about them. The songs are fairly short and to the point (which I like) and never wander into unfocused jams as jazz tends to do. The last track – ‘Darn The Dream’ is a vocal track which is just awful – so do yourself a favor and skip that one.
I read that upon it’s release that this album was highly panned by critics. Obviously time and hindsight have treated it well. Perhaps this isn’t the best album Miles Davis made (Kind of Blue comes to mind) but the ‘coolness’ of the music makes this highly recommended listening.


Track Listing ( standout tracks are listed in bold

1. El Cumbanchero
2. Billumba/Palo Congo
3. Choferita/Plena
4. Asabache
5. Simba
6. Rhapsodia Del Maravilloso
7. Aggo Elegua
8. Tribilin Cantore

Now this is something completely different. An album of African oriented congo music.. I really didn’t know what to expect when I started this one. Suprisingly it was pretty infectious and I REALLY did enjoy this album. Just a fun listen! Full of singing and chanting and actually kinda jazzy in places. Primal music at what I would consider to be it’s finest. (Not that I have heard anything like it other than in a Tarzan movie!!).
This was very different indeed. Perhaps after the torture of playing the Thelonious Monk – this was such a breath of fresh air with it’s primal drum melodies. Recommended!!


Track Listing (standout tracks listed in bold)

1. Brilliant Corners
2. Ba-Lue Bolivar Ba-Lues-Are
3. Pannonica
4. I Surrender, Dear
5. Bemsha Swing

Brilliant Corners is a TERRIBLE album. Seriously – I hate to give bad reviews to anything – but this album is just plain BAD. I could not wait for this record to be over. Perhaps you noticed that I did not list any tracks in bold as they are all so bad I wouldn’t recommend you play any of them – nor will I ever again.
The tracks are so long, and at times so ‘abstract’ there is no cohesion to them and you feel lost during the entire album.
I suppose on this one, I just don’t GET IT – as there are names here that are all ‘saintly’ in the jazz world – Thelonious himself, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, etc.. so this is considered one of the best jazz albums ever! The alpha and omega of post-World War II American jazz.
But fresh off a listen to Count Basie – this just doesn’t compare to the way that lp’s music engages you!
Pass on this one…


Track Listing (standout tracks in bold
1. Kid From Red Bank
2. Duet
3. After Supper
4. Flight Of The Foo Birds
5. Double O
6. Teddy The Toad
7. Whirly Bird
8. Midnite Blue
9. Splanky
10. Fantail
11. Li'l Darlin'

Now this is a jazz album I really liked. Perhaps maybe not considered as ‘daring’ as what Duke Ellington had done at Newport in 1956, but this is big-band at it’s finest.
As I knew nothing about him at all, I did some reading about Count Basie and the recording of this album and discovered that the release of this album in late 1957 actually marked the beginning of a new phase in Count Basie's career. A new record company and a new big band sound. Recorded over two days of sessions the music at the time caught Basie’s core audience by surprise with it’s big band sound.
To me “Splanky” is just jazz at it’s finest. I don’t claim to be a jazz expert in anyway – but this just sounds to me what jazz SHOULD sound like!! Foot tapping, dance music all the way.


Track Listing – standout tracks in bold

1. Oh Boy
2. Not Fade Away
3. You've Got Love
4. Maybe Baby
5. It's Too Late
6. Tell Me How
7. That'll Be The Day
8. I'm Looking For Someone To Love
9. Empty Cup (And A Broken Date)
10. Send Me Some Lovin'
11. Last Night
12. Rock Me Baby

The debut album by Buddy Holly and the Crickets and sadly the only one featuring Buddy Holly that was released during his lifetime. It’s hard to really appreciate just how important this record is to the history of music. In just over 20 minutes you get the hits "That'll Be the Day" and "Oh, Boy!", classics like "Not Fade Away," "Maybe Baby," and "I'm Looking for Someone to Love." Those tracks alone rank near the best rock & roll songs of the 1950s. Perhaps EVER. They are prime examples that all you need is a great riff, a chorus that you can sing along with and you have the perfect rock and roll song.
In the history of rock and roll this ranks right up there with Elvis’ debut release. Without Elvis breaking down the barriers - there would have been no way for Buddy Holly to have gotten his music onto the radio and therefore no way the Beatles debut lp – heavy with Buddy Holly influences – ever gets made. This makes “Chirping’ one the most important lp’s ever made. Hands down!!


Track Listing (standout tracks in bold

1. You Make Me Feel So Young
2. It Happened in Monterey
3. You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me
4. You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me
5. Too Marvelous for Words
6. Old Devil Moon
7. Pennies from Heaven
8. Love Is Here to Stay
9. I've Got You Under My Skin
10. I Thought About You
11. We'll Be Together Again
12. Makin' Whoopee
13. Swingin' Down the Lane
14. Anything Goes
15. How About You?

1955's In the Wee Small Hours was ballad heavy and downright depressing - this is the exact opposite. The other side of the coin as it were.
Here - Sinatra and Nelson Riddle delivered a up-tempo collection consisting of pop standards, ranging from "You Make Me Feel So Young", "Pennies From Heaven" and "I've Got You Under My Skin."
Sinatra sings with force and joy. . The band swings hard and sets up a momentum from the first few notes and stays consistent throughout. In an era that was being taken over by Elvis and rock and roll – Frank still managed to stay at the top of his game for this album.
I really enjoyed it and it’s hard not to tap your foot along.


Track Listing (standout tracks in bold
Disc: 1
1. Star Spangled Banner
2. Father Norman O'conner Introduces
3. Black And Tan Fantasy
4. Duke Introduce Cook & Tune
5. Tea For Two
6. Talk About The Festival
7. Take The A Train
8. Duke Announces Strayborn's A Train & Nance/Duke Introduces
9. Part I -Festival Junction
10. Duke Announces Nance & Procope
11. Part Ii-Blues To Be There
12. Duke Announces Nance & Procope
13. Part Iii-Newport Up
14. Duke Announces Hamilton,Gonsalves & Terry/Duke Introduce Car
15. Sophisticated Lady
16. Duke Announces Grisson & Tune
17. Day In,Day Out
18. Duke Troduce Tune(S) And Paul Gonstaves Interludes
19. Diminuendo In Blue And Crescendo In Blue
20. Announcements,Pandemonium
21. Pause Track

Disc: 2
1. Duke Introduce Johnny Holges
2. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
3. Jeep's Blues
4. Duke Calms Crowd,Introduces Nace & Tune
5. Tulip Or Turnip
6. Riot Prevention
7. Skin Deep
8. Mood Indigo
9. Studio Concert
10. Father Norman O'connor Introduces Duke Eillington To
11. Part I- Festival Juncion
12. Duke Announces Soloists:Introduxe Part Ii
13. Part Ii-Blues To Be There
14. Duke Announces Nance & Procope,Introduces Part Iii
15. Part Iii-Newport Up
16. Duke Announces Hamilton,Gonsalves & Terry/Pause/Duke Introd
17. I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)
18. Jeep's Blues
19. Pause Track

This review is not actually of the album put out in 1956, but the 1999 complete concert re-issue. BUT this album is actually too much of a good thing. I had never really ever listened to Duke Ellington, and this forty tracks long "tour de force" is probably not the album you should start with!!
I DID like the album for about the 1st half - but then I had definately had enough.
I felt exhausted after the disc finished and need not to listen to Ellington for a LONG while. Now don't take that wrong, the band is amazing, it's a historical document and I do GET IT - it's just not for me.
Still, there are some really nice tracks here, and deserves a listen. But I should have listened to the way the album was released way back in the 50's. I would have definitely enjoyed it much more.


Track Listing - (standout tracks in bold)
1. Blueberry Hill
2. Honey Chile
3. What's the Reason (I'm Not Pleasing You?)
4. Blue Monday
5. So Long
6. La-La
7. Troubles of My Own
8. You Done Me Wrong
9. Reelin' and Rockin'
10. Fat Man's Hop
11. Poor Poor Me
12. Trust in Me

Fats Domino is an icon. And he has his own 'sound'. Still, this was not particularly an attention grabbing album. Although it has the classics "Blueberry Hill" and "Blue Monday" and a few other standout tracks it simply just seemed to plod along. Fats' great trademark piano playing comes through very nicely.
I suppose for whatever reason the music just didn't 'click' much with me. I totally recognize it's significance and superb quality - so I am probably just missing something. Again, it was 1956 and I can imagine how huge an impact this music was filling the airwaves causing parents to yell in terror!


Track Listing (standout tracks in bold
1. Just A Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody
2. (Nothing's Too Good) For My Baby
3. The Lip
4. Body And Soul
5. Oh Marie
6. Basin Street Blues/When It's Sleepy Time Down South
7. Jump, Jive An' Wail
8. Buona Sera
9. Night Train
10. I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You

What a fun album!!! This album makes your ass shake all the way through! Familiar songs were Just a Gigolo, (as covered note for note word for word by David Lee Roth) and Jump, Jive an' Wail, which was later covered by Brian Setzer. If you know those covers - well the rest of the album is pretty much in this same vein. Upbeat, happy, and makes you want to dance - if you do that kinda thing anyway.
This has an infectious quality to it that makes it VERY listenable.
I must admit, I had never heard of Louis Prima before listening to this album, which made this all the more such a pleasurable suprise.
While not the greatest vocalist in the world, Louis Prima is an entertainer getting the most out of his band on these tracks. It's raunchy mix of gibberish, sax turned up high in the mix, this rocked as hard as anything released at the time.


Track Listing: (standout tracks in bold
1. Kentucky
2. I'll Be All Smiles Tonight
3. Let Her Go, God Bless Her
4. What Is Home Without Love
5. Tiny Broken Heart
6. In the Pines
7. Alabama
8. Katie Dear
9. My Brother's Will
10. Knoxville Girl
11. Take the News to Mother
12. Mary of the Wild Moor

While definitely not my cup of tea, this is some collection of numbers that span the dark end of the emotional spectrum from nostalgia to heartbreak all the way into murder. While on the surface some of these songs may seem exaggerated, Charlie and Ira bring an honest sound to the tunes. It wouldn't be hard for an album like Tragic Songs of Life to seem either morbid or comical, instead, these are 12 stories of the tragedies that touch every life, and there's a compassion in their performances that's moving. That said - this was still a tough listen and hard to sit through all of as their voices tend to just grate on the nerves.


Track Listing: (standout tracks in bold)
1. Blue Suede Shoes
2. I’m Counting On You
3. I Got A Woman
4. One-Sided Love Affair
5. I Love You Because
6. Just Because
7. Tutti Frutti
8. Trying To Get You
9. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You)
10. I’ll Never Let You Go
11. Blue Moon
12. Money Honey
Quite simply - THE birth of rock and roll.
There was NOTHING in the history of popular music up to that time like Elvis Presley. In stark contrast to Frank Sinatra and the other crooners of the era - one can see how revolutionary these recordings actually were! This was as startling a debut record as any that has ever made, representing every side of Elvis' musical influences except gospel -- rockabilly, blues, R&B, country, and pop were all here in an explosive and seductive combination. Elvis Presley became the first rock & roll album to reach the number one spot on the national charts, and RCA's first million dollar-earning pop album. No doubt about it - this a great album!
In one lp pressing - music was changed FOREVER - and the statement "before Elvis there was no rock n roll" was born.
And is on display in the tracks on this album.

Track Listing: (standout tracks in bold)
1. In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning
2. Mood Indigo
3. Glad To Be Unhappy
4. I Get Along Without You Very Well
5. Deep in a Dream
6. I See Your Face Before Me
7. Can't We Be Friends?
8. When Your Lover Has Gone
9. What is This Thing Called Love
10. Last Night When We Were Young
11. I'll Be Around
12. Ill Wind
13. It Never Entered My Mind
14. Dancing On The Ceiling
15. I'll Never Be The Same
16. This Love of Mine

The first album to play in the epic 1001 albums is this low key Sinatra collection "In the Wee Small Hours" a collection of ballads arranged by Nelson Riddle. It's a blue, melancholy album, Sinatra sounds like a lonely, broken man. It truly is a depressing album. While admittedly not my kind of music for the most part - his singing is pretty good - and this is a good representation of the music that was put out in the 50's in the time "BE" - that being "before Elvis". In reading about the album I found that the sessions were a personal reflection of the heartbreak of his doomed love affair with actress Ava Gardner, and the standards that he sings form their own story when collected together.
After listening to this - it really does let you feel how shocking the arrival of Elvis onto the musical scene really was!

A couple years ago, I received this book as a gift. I am a music fan and an obsessive one when it comes to certain bands and artists. I have always wanted to expand my knowledge, my taste, and my collection. For a long while now, I have been pondering this book and the idea of listening to every single record in this book. I started collecting some of the ones I didn't have and decided I am going to do it at some point. Well as I'm not getting any younger - now is the time to give a go and listen to all 1001 records in their entirety!! Even the Eminem, Korn, Limp Bizkit records listed. Those just might kill me.
There are records in the book that I have heard bits of and maybe even most of the record but not the whole thing. In the book, there are several artists that I have always wanted to check out and hear but never got around to and many I have never even heard of!! I will go in order of the book - which is chronological by year - and I will try to give a brief review of each one.
I'm looking forward to it! Hope you enjoy the ride as well - and leave some comments along the way.