Thursday, May 17, 2018

#35 Bob Dylan "Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"

Disclaimer: Can't stand Bob Dylan. That being said, I can -appreciate- Dylan. His voice drives me nuts and every time I hear that damned harmonica, I want to rip it out of his hand and stomp on it. This doesn't mean I think he's bad, I just don't enjoy his music. That all being said, it was a really interesting contrast to put this album with the Beatles, back to back. Very different aesthetics coming out at the same time. I can certainly see why this is considered a classic. At 22, he managed to achieve quite a bit. Looking ahead, I can also see why people went crazy when he picked up an electric guitar. I'm not going to convert but I can see why this album is on the list.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

#34 The Beatles "With the Beatles"

Ok, I told myself I wasn't going to listen to any Beatles records in this list. Why? Because I've heard them all before SO many times. I don't think there is any other band that is more overplayed than the Beatles. But. But...I threw on "Meet the Beatles" because it was next on the list and I was instantly tapping my fingers and whistling along. Even if you don't like the Beatles, there is just something that grabs me from the beginning. Not every track is a winner here, but damn, compared to the other things I'm listening to from the same era, you can tell there's a certain sound, a certain GRAB that's going on here that is going to make people sit up and take notice. Even weaker tracks like "Don't Bother Me" are better than some other bands' A tracks. Sure, there are a lot of covers in their early days, but their versions tend to be the ones people remember. IF there's any crit here, it's that some songs are too short and the sound fades out too soon. And... 'Til There was You" is not their song. All those nights spent playing in Germany really paid off for these kids. I'm sure you've heard of them.

#33 Ray Price "Night Life"

Gah. I really don't like C+W. And this guy, to me, sounds too much like a rich, white guy trying to sing the blues right from the start. Then that damned steel guitar shows up and I really just needed to turn this off. Not fair, perhaps, as he's likely a very good musician and singer, I just can't STAND that twang and drawl. Not my thing. Might have been influential. Just not for me. At all.

#32 Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd "Jazz Samba"

This isn't 'serious' jazz but it is fun. This is more an album I would have on in the background of a good party or when discussing art or something similar. It's not so heavy in the southern american rhythms as to overwhelm like the Cuban craze did in the 50s but it is a good time. Another bit of music history I'm glad I came across. Don't know that vocals would have made a difference or not, unlike the last album. This one stands on its own, is a good deal more enjoyable.

#31 Bookr T and the MGs "Green Onions"

This is an instrumental album and as such, I had a little trouble connecting with it. Unlike jazz, this stuff feels like there's supposed to be lyrics and, in some cases, there were. "Green Onions," the title track is one of those songs that you don't realize you know. It was apparently totally improvised and is easily the strongest track on the album. A lot of the rest of this feels more like knock-offs of 'real' songs. The organ, in major keys just sounds kind of cheesy to me, some of it sounding like fake rock music from 60s sitcoms. "Mo' Onions" is perhaps the second strongest track but really just feels like more of the same from track #1. "Lonely Avenue" is a good one but really, the rest of this one left me flat. A really top end Blues singer, I think could have made this better. Otherwise, it feels like something's missing.

#30, missing: Ray Charles "Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music"

This album wasn't in Apple Music so I had to skip it. Pity. I don't like C+W music AT ALL, but this is Charles and that might have made a difference.

#29 Bill Evans "Sunday at the Village Vanguard"

Ok, it seems I'm learning to like jazz. Especially this late 50s early 60s stuff. This is a really good album, full of that cool blue vibe that likely got all the beatniks going. Or hepcats. Whatever. Another live album, this one had different takes for some tracks, at least the version I heard on iTunes did. The audience sounded kind of tired in their response on some of them, which is a shame as this was a hell of an album. Seems, because of this list, I'm going to have to start listening to jazz. Maybe a lot. Never heard of Evans before but now I'm glad I did. Very well worth a listen and likely more than one. Thanks, list.