The B's Continued.......
81. SYD BARRETT – THE PEEL SESSIONS – 1988 (RECORDED 1970):
This is an odd little album in my collection recorded live for BBC radio in early 1970. This was near the end of Syd’s recording career, several years after he had left Pink Floyd. The album only features 5 tracks, all of them under 4 minutes so the whole album is less than 15 minutes long in its entirety. Playing with Syd are David Gilmour and Jerry Shirley. Actually the performance here is pretty good. They are all done acoustic with no electric guitar involved. Barrett’s vocals are good although there are spots (especially during “Gigolo Aunt”) where he sounds almost like he is right on the edge of loosing it. The songs are all weird with Syd’s patented off the wall lyrics. Along with “Aunt”, Barrett performs “Terrapin”, “Baby Lemonade”, the 57 second stream of consciousness rap “Effervescing Elephant”, and the rare “Two Of A Kind”. Is this thing worth owning? Well……I have kept it around and gets some enjoyment listening to it from time to time, but it is probably really for Barrett completests only.
82. THE BEATLES – SGT PEPPERS LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND – 1967
On of the most famous and lauded albums in the history of recorded music. Sgt. Pepper has often been called the greatest rock album of all time in various polls I have seen and from an influential standpoint it certainly fills the bill. I was really a bit of a late convert to The Beatles. The band broke up when I was only 9 years old so although I had heard their hits I really did not learn to really appreciate them until I was in my mid 20’s. This album has to be taken in context to the time it was written. At the time there was really nothing like this and the Beatles truly opened a plethora of new doors with the recording of this album. 1967 was really a watershed year for rock n roll as many many groundbreaking albums were recorded right around or after this time. In many ways Sgt Pepper was the forerunner of what would eventually become progressive rock as well as a host of other styles. Every song on this album is a classic. From the opening refrain of “It was 20 years ago today…..” to the final long chord of “A Day In The Life” it is in incredible ride especially for 1967. To think that just a few years before this album the Beatles were producing basic bubblegum pop to evolve this is truly amazing. For younger people listening to this for the first time it might not be clear what all the fuss is about, but again you need to take the album in the context of when it was released. Truly a classic.
83. THE BEATLES – MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR – 1967
Soundtrack to the television special of the same name. This basically amounts to an EP worth of new music (at the time) and several previously released tunes thrown in at the end. Although a bit haphazard, the album does contain some all time classic Beatles tunes including the title track, “Fool On The Hill”, and “I Am The Walrus”. I don’t think I ever actually saw the TV special, but the music is for the most part good. This is not a must have Beatles release, but not bad for what it is.
84. THE BEATLES – YELLOW SUBMARINE – 1968
This is the remastered “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack album that came out in 1999. The album is the soundtrack to the movie of the same name and contains a hodgepodge of Beatles material mostly released on prior albums. Several of these were recorded specifically for the movie as well. The main controversy that surrounds this disc is that it is significantly different from the original version that came out on vinyl back in 68. George Martin’s original score has been completely removed in favor of added Beatles classics. Basically what you end up with is a decent compilation of previously released Beatles songs along with four tracks recorded specifically for the movie. The remastered sound is stellar. Overall a decent disc for what it is.
85. THE BEATLES – WHITE ALBUM – 1968
By far the most eclectic of the Beatles studio albums the band basically tried a little bit of everything on this one. The music ranges from pure pop like “Ob-La Di” to ballads “Blackbird” to folk “Mother Natures Son”, to blues “Yer Blues”, to rock “Back In The USSR”, to experimental avant garde “Revolution 9”, to what I consider to be one of the first ever heavy metal songs “Helter Skelter”. Everything plus the kitchen sink is thrown into this double album set. Most of it works quite well. This is also during the period when the band began to splinter apart and many of the tracks on the disc are practically solo pieces with diminished involvement from the other members. This is also the album where George Harrison really starts to develop as a songwriter as it contains one of his all time best compositions “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”. He also contributes “ Savoy Truffle” which is another good one. John Lennon’s songwriting really evolves on this one too with songs like “Happiness Is A Warm Gun”, “Glass Onion”, “Revolution I” and “Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey” moving into much more controversial territory than previously explored. McCartney is all over the place with ranging from almost saccharine pop of songs like “Martha My Dear” to the metal crunch of “Helter Skelter”. Is this the best Beatles album? I personally don’t think so, but it is certainly the most intriguing. The very final song on the album “Good Night” (sung by Ringo) always takes me back in time. I worked on a radio station as an on air personality for a time. The station was not 24 hours and we used to sign off at 1:00AM every night. On the nights when I was on the air I always used to play “Good Night” from this album as the last thing before the we threw the switch to take the station off the air for the night. It was always a cool way to end the broadcast day.
86. THE BEATLES – ABBEY ROAD – 1969
“ Abbey Road ” is in my opinion the best all around album the band ever did. It is just about a perfect piece of work from start to finish and provided a fitting culmination of the band’s relatively short career. The second half of the album was really one of the precursors to what would become progressive rock in my opinion, and is the best work Paul McCartney has done period. After the experimentation of “The White Album” the band pulled it all together to create a cohesive well rounded piece of work that once again transcended the LP art form to a new level. The songwriting from every member is top notch. George Harrison once again shows his further development with two of his all time best “Something” and “Here Comes The Sun”. Lennon is also there with “Come Together”, and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”. Even Ringo takes a stab at writing with the quirky “ Octopus Garden ”. But it is McCartney that really shines on this one with classics like “Oh Darling”, “You Never Give Me Your Money”, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”, “Golden Slumbers” “Carry That Weight” and “The End”. The band even jams a bit in “The End” which showcases their somewhat limited, but at the same time essential chops. And then not only the album, but the band’s career, ends with the perfect line “And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make”. Talk about going out on a high note, and to think in the period of less than a decade the same band that was singing “I Want To Hold Your Hand” ended with an album like this. One of the classic rock albums of all time in my opinion. Simply brilliant. (can you tell I like this album J)
87. THE BEATLES – LET IT BE – 1970
This album was actually recorded prior to “ Abbey Road ”, but released after it. The Beatles were either broken up or in the process of it at the time of this album’s release depending on which version you hear. The album is a hodgepodge of material that does not really flow together that well as a whole, but still contains some classic Beatles songs. I really consider “Abbey Road” to really be the final Beatles studio album and the period at the end of their career, with “Let It Be” as a coda. A quick footnote, this is the original “Let It Be” and not the more recent “Let It Be Naked” that was released minus Phil Spector’s overdubbing and orchestral additions to the original recordings. One thing that I think is cool about this album is it was basically recorded live during recording sessions that lasted less than two weeks. It has a very laid back, unpolished feel to it and you get to hear how well (or not depending on perspective) these guys could actually play. Some of the Beatles best songs are on here including “Let It Be”, “Long And Winding Road ”, “Across The Universe”, “Two Of Us”, “I Me Mine” and the classic rocker “Get Back”. The rest of the album is a mix of semi-finished ideas some that work and some that don’t. As a whole I like this album and enjoy listening to it, but think it pales in comparison to “ Abbey Road ”.
88. TAB BENOIT – NICE AND WARM – 1992
We move back into blues territory with Tab Benoit. Here in Kalamazoo every winter our local 1500 seat theater has a blues series every other Friday night from January through May. They charge $10 to get in and attract a sizeable crowd, sometimes selling out. I have discovered quite a few blues artists through this series and Tab Benoit is one of them. I have seen him live several times and he always puts on a great show. Tab is from New Orleans and plays a southern Cajun blues style that incorporates zydeco and other influences to create a unique guitar sound. He is also a very good vocalist and no slouch on the drums either. I believe “Nice And Warm” was his first album. Tab was pretty much straight out of the bar circuit of New Orleans and Baton Rouge when this was recorded. The album was recorded over a two day period and sounds surprisingly strong. Most of the tracks here are originals although he does throw in 3 covers including Screaming Jay Hawkins classic “Spell On You”. Highlights of the album include the 7 minute plus title track, along with “Drowning On Dry Land”, and “Rambling On My Mind” with special guest Dr. John on piano. The guitar playing is stellar throughout and Tab is joined by a very competent band including Gregg Bissonette of Steve Vai / David Lee Roth fame. This is a great debut album from Tab.
89. TAB BENOIT – STANDING ON THE BANK – 1995
This may be my favorite Benoit album in my collection. The album posses an improved maturity over his previous effort, with generally stronger songwriting and performances. This one is full of really good down and dirty blues guitar and includes both original material and a few covers. The title track “Standing On The Bank” is one of my all time favorite Benoit songs. Other highlights include “Me And My Guitar”, and “Laundromat Blues”. Tab even does a duet with Willie Nelson called “Rainy Day Blues” that works quite well. Covers of “Matchbox”, and “Going Down” are similar to the originals, but are both good. Definitely one of his best discs, and my personal favorite.
90. TAB BENOIT – LIVE SWAMPLAND JAM – 1997
This live album from 1997 contains mostly new material and covers and features guest appearances by many of Benoit’s blues heroes including: Henry Gray, Raful Neal, Jumping Johnny Sansone, Tabby Thomas and Chubby Carrier. Having seen Tab live several times this album is a slight disappointment. It is not bad, but I don’t really think it captures the essence of one of his concerts all that well. He does not jam quite as much on this as I would like for a live disc, although he does rip off a few killer solos here and there. This album was recorded in New Orleans and is probably his most Cajun influenced album to date. He even serves up some straight Zydeco with the album’s finale “Hot Tamale Baby” which includes a killer jam. Other highlights for me include “Too Many Dirty Dishes” and “ Louisiana Style”. Tab includes several covers here as well including “Heart Of Stone”, and “Crawling King Snake”. Overall I think that Tab is still to record his definitive live album.
(NP - Beardfish - The Sane Day)
111. BOSTON – DON’T LOOK BACK – 1978
I can still remember the summer of 1976 and the first time I heard Boston . I was just a kid at a summer camp. One of the camp counselors had a stereo of some kind (my memory is a bit hazy) and had a copy of an album by this new band called Boston . The first time I heard it I was blown away, and we played the thing all the time over the course of the week. This is pre-progressive rock for me and I had never heard anything like Foreplay / Longtime at the time. I liked every track on the album and as soon as I got home from camp I rushed out to purchase the record. To this day I still think Boston ’s debut is one of the best first albums ever made. I still don’t think it has a weak track on it. But…….since I don’t have the debut on CD (only on vinyl) we are moving directly to their second disc here. “Don’t Look Back” came out two years after the first one and although it maintains all of the familiar elements that made the first album so good, it does not measure up to said album in my opinion. I am not sure what it is, since in many ways “Don’t Look Back” is almost a sequal to the first one, but it just is not as good. The title track got tons of airplay back in the day (and still gets a lot on classic rock stations today), and is a cool tune. “A Man I’ll Never Be” is another really strong ballad full of buildup and bombast, but the rest of the album somewhat leaves me cold. The songs are not bad, they just aren’t great either. The music is mostly a re-hash of things done before, and the lyrics are very, very average 70’s rock n roll good time party stuff. The album is also a bit on the short side, even for 70’s vinyl standards. All in all “Don’t Look Back” is a bit of a letdown from the band’s debut, but probably better than everything that came after it.
112. BOSTON – THIRD STAGE – 1986
It took 8 years for Boston to follow up their sophomore release with “Third Stage” in 1986. By this point the “band” (and I use that term loosely) is basically down to Tom Scholz and Brad Delp with several hired hands including Jim Masda and Gary Phil (both from Sammy Hagar’s band if I remember correctly). At the time of it’s release I remember being disappointed with this album, but the years have actually been quite kind to it. Listening to it again, after not hearing it for a long time, I actually think this one is better than “Don’t Look Back”. The first half of the album is really strong starting out with the smash hit “Amanda”. The album then segues into “We’re Ready”, “The Launch”, “Cool The Engines” and “My Destination” all of which are strong tracks and rank right up there with the best material Boston has produced. The rest of the album is weaker, but still the songs are decent. The closer is another ballad called “Hollyann” which is good, but a bit similar to the opening track “Amanda”. When I put this CD on after all these years I expected not to care for it much, but I was pleasantly surprised. It has stood the test of time well and I would rank it as the 2nd best Boston album.
113. BOSTON – WALK ON – 1994
Another 8 year gap between studio albums sees the release of “Walk On” in 1994. By this time the “band” Boston really no longer exists with Tom Scholz being the only original member. Of course for many Scholz is Boston and the others were just supporting players all along. However you look at it, Scholz is it on “Walk On” with only Gary Phil remaining from the previous studio effort. The biggest loss here is Brad Delp who is replaced by three different vocalists. Sound alike Fran Cosmo gets the majority of the vocal duties on the album and although he has a great voice the results as a whole are still mixed. The biggest plus here, and the main reason to own the album, is the “Walk On Medley” that makes up the middle portion of the album. Consisting of the tracks “Walking At Night”, “Walk On”, “Get Organized” and “Walk On (some more)” this mini-epic is as good as anything Boston has done on their previous releases and is both an instrumental and vocal success. Interestingly enough, “Walk On” was co-written by former Boston vocalist Brad Delp, although he does not appear on the album. The rest of the disc is very very average with songs that consist of clichéd lyrics and typical Scholz musical accompaniment. Nothing is really terrible, but nothing stands out either. Other than the truly horrendous “Corporate America ”, “Walk On” is the band’s weakest overall effort.
Note: Speaking of “Corporate America ” ( Boston ’s most recent release)…….I bought this and thought it was a total pile of crap. Hard to believe the band has sunk to the depths that it has. Brad Delp was even back in the vocal chair, but could not save this miserable release. Boston ’s worst album by far. I no longer own it so it is not reviewed here.
114. BOUD DEUN – ASTRONOMY MADE EASY – 1997
I was first introduced to this band at ProgDay 1997. At the time my prog musical horizons were a bit more limited than they are today and I thought their music was way out there experimental stuff. Listening to it today it sounds a lot more accessible than how I originally pegged it back in the day. This all instrumental disc is really outstanding all the way through. The closest comparison would probably be to 70’ era fusion outfits such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, but Boud Deun really does not fit any particular category. All of the musicians are at the top of their game and are all outstanding players. The lineup of guitar, violin, bass and drums makes for a frenetic combination of sound that features both individual excellence and group dynamics. Most of the compositions are in the 2 to 4 minute range, with the exception of “Copper Ink” and “Jupiter” which both clock in at 8 minutes plus and allow the band even more room to stretch out. Unfortunately Boud Deun would be a short lived ensemble as they recorded one additional album and then called it quits. If you are into really strong instrumental fusion / progressive rock this album is for you.
115. DAVID BOWIE – THE RISE AND FALL OF ZIGGY STARDUST AND THE SPIDERS FROM MARS
Bowie is one of those artists that I have had a love hate relationship with over the years. When he is good, he is very good, but he has also put out a significant amount of lousy material as well. “Stardust”, of course is one of his all time classics and really one of the all time classic albums of the 70’s period. Every song here is a winner showing Bowie at his best. The Ziggy character is probably Bowie ’s most enduring, and the concept works well for the most part. Several huge hits came from this album that has become classic rock staples including “ Suffragette City ” and the title track. More great stuff can be found throughout the album, “Five Years”, “Starman”, “It Ain’t Easy”, “Star”, “Hang On To Yourself” and the album closer “Rock N Roll Suicide” are all great tunes. Guitarist Mick Ronson was one of Bowie ’s best writing collaborators and his influence is all over “Stardust”. If you only own one Bowie album, this would be the one to get.
116. DAVID BOWIE – DAVID LIVE – 1974
This two disc live album was taken from four performances at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia PA recorded on the “Diamond Dogs” tour. Ever the chameleon Bowie was once again changing his sound. You can hear a definite soul R &B influence here which would be reflected on his next studio album “Young Americans”. The material covers his career up to the mid-70’s and includes a good chunk of the “Diamond Dogs” album as well as tracks from his earlier releases. Bowie has a crack band at his side and guitarist Earl Slick especially shines in numerous solos throughout the disc. Highlights of the disc include “1984”, “Aladdin Sane”, “Width Of A Circle ”, “Cracked Actor”, and “All The Young Dudes” which was written by Bowie , but made famous by Mot the Hoople. This is an overall strong album and gives a good glimpse of where Bowie was at this point in his career.
117. DAVID BOWIE – SOUND AND VISION BOX SET – 1989
“Sound And Vision” is a 3 disc box set that covers Bowie ’s career from the beginning in 1969 through his “Scary Monsters” album in 1980. As the CD’s progress you get a great sense of just how different Bowie works could be. Some for the better and some for the worse. Apparently this box set is a rarity these days and very difficult to find. The set covers the albums “Man Who Sold The World”, “Hunky Dory”, “Ziggy Stardust”, “Aladdin Sane”, “Pin Ups”, “Diamond Dogs”, “David Live”, “Ziggy Stardust Live”, “Young Americans”, “Station To Station”, “Low”, “Heroes”, “Stage”, “Lodger”, and “Scary Monsters”. In addition there are various B-sides, singles, live tracks and never before released material. Ever the rock Chameleon Bowie ’s music ranges from pure commercial pop to experimental ground breaking stuff. The hits are all here, but what really makes this special is some of the oddball tunes here and there. “Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud” is a great little B-side from 1969. Bowie also does some interesting covers such as Bruce Springsteen’s “It’s Hard To Be A Saint In The City”. Overall this is a really cool collection and I find it very strange that they have let it get out of print. Well worth owning if you can find it.
118. DAVID BOWIE – CHANGESBOWIE – 1990
I am not sure why I own this although it is kind of cool to have all of Bowie ’s hits up until 1990 on one disc. Most of the songs on this album I also have on the box set with the exception of the singles from the “Let’s Dance” album (which was a huge commercial hit) and it’s follow up. The original vinyl version of this album omitted the final 7 tracks on the CD version. All of the hits are here and the album serves as a nice introduction to the more commercial side ofBowie .
119. BOZZIO LEVIN STEVENS – BLACK LIGHT SYNDROME 1997
What happens when you throw three lauded musicians together in a studio and let them go at it? The result is a truly wonderful all instrumental album that should please fans of general progressive rock as well as those who enjoy these musicians individual projects. BLS is Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, many others) on bass / stick, Terry Bozzio (Missing Persons, UK ) on drums and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) on guitar. I have been familiar with Levin’s work for years, and I was familiar with Bozzio through his work withUK , but the big surprise here for me was Steve Stevens. I had always pretty much written the guy off as another average guitarist working with a well known singer. How wrong I was, this guy can burn on guitar as he does throughout this album. Highlights of the disc include the 14 minute plus “The Sun Road”, the acoustic “Duende” and the title track “Black Light Syndrome”. Really every thing on this disc is great. Call it prog, fusion, metal, whatever, this album covers a lot of ground. Great stuff and a must purchase for fans of these individual artists.
120. BOZZIO LEVIN STEVENS – SITUATION DANGEROUS - 2000
The 2nd album from these instrumental superstars is even better than their first one in my opinion. The album features more variety with blistering rock and soft acoustic interludes. All 3 musicians shine throughout with Steve Stevens again displaying much more versatility than any of his work with Billy Idol. His flamenco guitar flourishes are a highlight of the softer tracks on the disc. Bozzio is all over the place as well adding various percussion nuances that lesser musicians would never even dream of. Levin, of course is as solid as ever. Overall I think this is a stronger release than the debut. If you love fun instrumental workouts this album is a great one. Let’s hope they put something else out one of these days.
(NP - Hands - 25 Winters)
- On Tue, 31 Oct 2006, stevesly@... wrote:
> 113. BOSTON â WALK ON â 1994[...]
> Another 8 year gap between studio albums sees the release of âWalk Onâ in
> 1994. By this time the âbandâ Boston really no longer exists with Tom Scholz
> being the only original member. Of course for many Scholz is Boston and
> the others were just supporting players all along. However you look at it,
> Scholz is it on âWalk Onâ with only Gary Phil remaining from the previous
> studio effort. The biggest loss here is Brad Delp who is replaced by three
> different vocalists. Sound alike Fran Cosmo gets the majority of the vocal duties
> on the album and although he has a great voice the results as a whole are
> still mixed.
> Interestingly enough, âWalk Onâ was co-written by former Boston vocalist Brad Delp,This was a rather strange case of vocalist swapping going on. Fran Cosmo
> although he does not appear on the album. The rest of the disc is very very
> average with songs that consist of clichÃ©d lyrics and typical Scholz musical
had appeared on Boston's other original guitarist, Barry Goudreau's solo
album which also featured Brad Delp. In the 80's Goudreau formed the band
Orion The Hunter with Cosmo and a rhythm section made up of former members
of Heart. They had a minor hit with a song called "So you Ran". Fast
forward to the early 90s when Brad Delp got back together with Goudreau to
form the band RTZ which also had some minor success. It was during this
time that Delp started working with Cosmo instead on the new Boston album.
For the subsequent tour for _Walk On_, Delp rejoined and both he and Cosmo
shared vocal duties - and they have been ever since.
IMHO, while both _Walk On_ and _Corporate America_ are both primarily
generic rock with some appallingly cheesy ballads, I actually thought CA
was overall slightly better. It gets points from me for at least
experimenting with some different ideas and sounds instead of sticking to
the Boston formula. That being said, I haven't listened to either album
more than a handful of times.
The Toys: http://www.cruisercustomizing.com/aether
The Noise: http://www.darkaether.net/
- I agree with what Steve said about BLS. Great instrumental stuff. Perhaps my favorite instrumental CD.Greg
stevesly@... wrote:119. BOZZIO LEVIN STEVENS â BLACK LIGHT SYNDROME 1997What happens when you throw three lauded musicians together in a studio and let them go at it? The result is a truly wonderful all instrumental album that should please fans of general progressive rock as well as those who enjoy these musicians individual projects. BLS is Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, many others) on bass / stick, Terry Bozzio (Missing Persons, UK ) on drums and Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) on guitar. I have been familiar with Levinâs work for years, and I was familiar with Bozzio through his work with UK , but the big surprise here for me was Steve Stevens. I had always pretty much written the guy off as another average guitarist working with a well known singer. How wrong I was, this guy can burn on guitar as he does throughout this album. Highlights of the disc include the 14 minute plus âThe Sun Roadâ, the acoustic âDuendeâ and the title track âBlack Light Syndromeâ. Really every thing on this disc is great. Call it prog, fusion, metal, whatever, this album covers a lot of ground. Great stuff and a must purchase for fans of these individual artists.120. BOZZIO LEVIN STEVENS â SITUATION DANGEROUS - 2000The 2nd album from these instrumental superstars is even better than their first one in my opinion. The album features more variety with blistering rock and soft acoustic interludes. All 3 musicians shine throughout with Steve Stevens again displaying much more versatility than any of his work with Billy Idol. His flamenco guitar flourishes are a highlight of the softer tracks on the disc. Bozzio is all over the place as well adding various percussion nuances that lesser musicians would never even dream of. Levin, of course is as solid as ever. Overall I think this is a stronger release than the debut. If you love fun instrumental workouts this album is a great one. Letâs hope they put something else out one of these days.
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- Adam wrote:
>>This was a rather strange case of vocalist swapping going on.<<Yes, I had forgotton about the connections with Orion The Hunter and RTZ. It all does seem a bit odd.
primarily>>IMHO, while both _Walk On_ and _Corporate America_ are both
generic rock with some appallingly cheesy ballads, I actually thought CA
was overall slightly better. It gets points from me for at least
experimenting with some different ideas and sounds instead of sticking to
the Boston formula. That being said, I haven't listened to either album
more than a handful of times.<<I don't know exactly what it was with "Corporate America" but it turned me off right from the get go. I bought it, gave it about two listens, and sold it back to the used CD store.Steve SlyProgDay 2007(NP - Indukti - S.U.S.A.R.)