Sunday, January 15, 2017

Why the Spiral Scratch

Back in the spring of 1977 I was dating a woman who's name I have completely forgotten lets call her T, that should give you an idea how well the relationship went. Her aunt was a flight attendant for United airlines, based in Norfolk, VA. where I was living at the time, and making the flight between New York and London on a regular basis. T's aunt used to bring back records and 45s from London and I usually ended up with them. Most of the stuff her aunt brought back was dreary English and Euro pop, the kind of stuff your mother would not be offended by. I would end up just tossing the stuff into a record crate and forgetting it.

One EP really caught my ear, the Buzzcock first EP release titled Spiral Scratch. To place it into context this was Norfolk Va., a very conservative town with a very conservative Rock 'n' Roll radio station in 1977, and the airwaves were filled with Peter Frampton, Queen, and the Eagles. The Spiral Scratch was like nothing I had heard before. It was the EP that set me off to find the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Ramones, and The Modern Lovers. I have long since lost my copy of this EP mostly in a divorce but I still keep coming back to it like a touchstone.

You can still find copies of the Spiral Scratch. Original pressings on New Hormones can still be found but are going for hundreds of dollars. I recently saw a copy in near mint condition for almost $400.00 but this is San Francisco. I'm always hoping that I'll find a copy in a garage sale for $1.00. Don't hold your breath.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Top 50 albums

According to Rolling Stone magazine these are the top 50 albums. Well, that is one group of people's opinion. Some of this I agree with and some I'm not that sure. True, all these albums are great and you just can't call yourself a music fan without at least owning most of them. But, THE top 50? This is such a subjective list it really should be called "Our top 50 albums".  Declaring a list of any works of art as the definitive best strikes me as arrogant, both as putting your  aesthetics as superior to others and any works of art that don't make your list as not coming up to your lofty standards as not worth the trouble. There are two unspoken assumptions here; one, that the reviewers at Rolling Stone have heard enormous amounts of music and can remember all of them. And two, that their standards are beyond reproach. It's the socialist in me, it just rubs me the wrong way.

I prefer to look at this list as the fifty albums I am going to review. Yes, my opinion.  My opinion and $5.00 will get you a Happy Meal. These reviews are mostly for my own enjoyment and, I'm hoping, someone will get a good laugh out of it and then seek out these albums. I've heard almost all of these, only two, the Chuck Berry and Public Enemy entries, I've not heard. I own most of them so we shall see if this yields anything worth repeating.

  1. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles
  2. Pet Sounds - The Beach Boys
  3. Revolver - The Beatles
  4. Highway 61 Revisited - Bob Dylan
  5. Rubber Soul - The Beatles
  6. What's Going On [Vinyl]- Marvin Gaye
  7. Exile On Main Street [Remastered] - The Rolling Stones
  8. London Calling - The Clash
  9. Blonde on Blonde - Bob Dylan
  10. The White Album - The Beatles
  11. The Sun Sessions - Elvis Presley
  12. Kind Of Blue - Miles Davis
  13. The Velvet Underground - The Velvet Underground And Nico
  14. Abbey Road - The Beatles
  15. Are You Experienced ? - The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  16. Blood On The Tracks - Bob Dylan
  17. Nevermind - Nirvana
  18. Born To Run - Bruce Springsteen
  19. Astral Weeks - Van Morrison
  20. Thriller - Micheal Jackson
  21. The Great Twenty Eight - Chuck Berry
  22. The Complete Recordings - Robert Johnson
  23. Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon
  24. Innervisions - Stevie Wonder
  25. Live At The Apollo - James Brown
  26. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
  27. The Joshua Tree - U2
  28. Who's Next - The Who
  29. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
  30. Blue - Joni Mitchell
  31. Bringing It All Back Home - Bob Dylan
  32. Let It Bleed - The Rolling Stones
  33. Ramones - Ramones
  34. Music From Big Pink - The Band
  35. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars- David Bowie
  36. Tapestry - Carole King
  37. Hotel California - The Eagles
  38. The Anthology - Muddy Waters
  39. Please Please Me - The Beatles
  40. Forever Changes - Love
  41. Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols - The Sex Pistols
  42. The Doors - The Doors
  43. The Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
  44. Horses - Patti Smith
  45. The Band - The Band
  46. Legend - Bob Marley And The Wailers
  47. A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
  48. It Takes A Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back - Public Enemy
  49. At Fillmore East - The Allman Brothers Band
  50. Here's Little Richard - Little Richard

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