Saturday, December 30, 2006

That Time Again: What's on the Old CD-Player?

1. Eurythmics-Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1983: I really love the arrangements on this album, and Annie Lennox's voice is still incredible. Proof that white people have soul too.)

2. The Kinks--Greatest Hits (1964-1966, the Pye singles: While some of these are their best-songs, the Kinks had tons-more later. Ray and Dave Davies have plenty to be proud-of, just not the fist-fights onstage.)

3. David Lynch and John Neff--BlueBob (2001: Some of the songs on here are a little hokey, but Lynch and Neff play all the drums, keyboards, electronics, guitars and processing. Most of BlueBob is very unsettling, but I like music that scares me when the mood strikes. Some tracks were used as cues in Lynch's films. Very ambient in some places, unique.)

4. Tom Waits-Swordfishtrombones (1983: My step-father gave me a copy of this on-cassette in 1985--I hated it at first, but it grew on me. Nobody I knew had any idea who he was, and hated it when I played it for them. In a short-time, I began to love it, and have ever-since. This was the first LP Waits did with his new-direction into the history of American music. It's definitely a classic.)

5. Klaus Nomi-Klaus Nomi (1981: I remember this guy from the early-80s, and then I forgot about him for a long-time. Recently, a documentary called "The Nomi Song" reminded me of him, and how excellent his voice was! And man, was he weird. Nomi was one of the first celebrities to die of AIDS. This is his best of two-LPs. "The Cold Song" and "Keys of Life" are my favorites. Opera and pop, what a combination, but he pulled-it-off! Some of it is hilarious.)

6. Bebop Deluxe-Drastic Plastic (1977: These guys weren't necessarily punk, or straight-ahead rock. Bill Nelson used guitars and synthesizers together in a way that was pretty different for 77'. It's almost like Steve Miller if he was actually interesting, and Nelson and Bebop even used tape-loops and drum machines on such classics as "Electrical Language"when it was a rarity. Many rock fans of that period hated synths, and some still do, so this was a risky-venture. It just melds the best of electronics with the best of hard rock, and even with some rockabilly thrown-in. Post punk before punk, weird.)

7. Shuggie Otis--Inspiration Information (1971-1974/2001: David Byrne complied this from Shuggie's two albums, 'Freedom Flight' & 'Inspiration Information', and it's pretty good, but where are the rest of the tracks that were left-off? How about a new album Shuggie? Otis is a genius, and these songs prove it. He used drum machines and all kinds of studio-wizardry on these R&B classics, he plays everything on it. There are a few cuts that sound dead-on as the beginnings of drum-n-bass. Some of his guitar-playing here rivals Jimi. Small wonder that the Stones asked him to replace Mick Taylor. He wisely-declined, and naturally, both of his albums flopped. My favorite is "Aht Uh Mi Hed", "Inspiration Information" and "Strawberry Letter 23." All of it is a generation ahead of its time.)

8. Martin Denny-Primitiva (1958: A really
good one, though I love most everything Denny ever did. Great exotica, lounge music from the king of it.)

9. Blood, Sweat & Tears--Blood, Sweat & Tears (1969-"Spinning Wheel" is the GOP's and George W. Bush's song right-now. Ride the painted-pony, schmucks.)

10. Miles Davis-Bitches Brew (1969-70: My favorite of the electric-period, it still scares-me. Some of the best music ever written, and James Brown was an obvious influence on it. Classy.)

11. MC5-High Time (1971: the final studio-album of the MC5, it has some variety to it and some good rockers. A few songs I could do-without, but not bad for a band that was imploding and being harrassed by the FBI!)

12. Gary Numan-The Pleasure Principle (1979: I remember hearing "Cars" as a kid while playing in the street in-front of our house. I had already heard "Autobahn" when it was in the American Top-40, but this song jump-started my obession with electronic music. This is a great album because it's so deeply-cynical in its viewpoint. Most of it is about isolation, and society has finally caught-up with it. PKD post punk. I talked to Gary in 1998 in Chicago--about Philip K. Dick and the Gnostics [he didn't know who the Gnostics were]! His lyrics resemble the Gnostic-cosmology these days. Great guy, very friendly and gracious. His new album is also excellent.)