365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 6

Tori Amos – Under The Pink


God, sometimes you just don’t come through
Do you need a woman to look after you?

You write those lyrics, and I’ll buy YOUR album too …

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 5

PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love


This album pretty much represents the PJ Harvey that I prefer—raw, bluesy, smart. Sonically, it’s sort of a cross between Guided by Voices and Morphine, as written by Captain Beefheart, as produced by Nick Cave. All of which is to the good …

The influence of Flood is of course all over this thing, and that’s to the good as well; he is, after all, a sonic architect behind projects like The Joshua Tree, Pretty Hate Machine, Erasure’s Wonderland, Depeche Mode’s Violator, and more.

As much as I can see why Down By The Water stuck out as a great track, it’s still an unlikely hit single, and the fact it succeeded as one, is yet more proof that music and its fans were just better people in another era …

Personally, C’mon Billy is one of my favorite tracks on here; it’s actually less bluesy, more ornate, but it’s just a really fine song …

All in all, one just wishes there were more albums like this coming out …

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 4

Cab Calloway & His Orchestra – The Early Years: 1930 – 1934


I just don’t think you can overestimate just HOW good Cab Calloway was, how gifted he was, how incredible his band was, how influential he was …

Yes, we’ve all heard Minnie the Moocher, but honestly, the original begs many, many, many more listens … don’t dismiss it for its familiarity. It’s just fucking great.

But my God, listen to what they do to St. James Infirmary—could anything be so hip?

Have you heard he and the orchestra do Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea? Jesus, what a hoot …

And don’t get me started on The Honeydipper … man, if THAT don’t get ya up and dancin’, then I just can’t fix yer butt …

And as to this particular release, these are JSP remasters. So dig, yer in flavor country!


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 3

16 Horsepower – Sackcloth & Ashes


In MY musical cosmology—i.e. if I ran the world—this would be required listening in every school everywhere.

While it’s certainly the album the term “Gothic American” was invented for, it’s also simply tremendous art.

So just watch the above, and then subsequently listen to: I Seen What I Saw, Scrawled In Sap, Horse Head, Ruthie Lingle, and … aw hell, just listen to the whole bloody thing.


365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 2

Elvis Costello – Spike


Despite the fact of “Veronica” having been a rather large hit, I generally feel this is rather an under-regarded mini-masterpiece from Mr. MacManus, and God’s Comic is really rather one of his best songs ever …

I wish you’d known me when I was alive, I was a funny feller
The crowd would hoot and holler for more
I wore a drunk’s red nose for applause
Oh yes I was a comical priest
“With a joke for the flock and a hand up your fleece”
Drooling the drink and the lipstick and greasepaint
Down the cardboard front of my dirty dog-collar

Now I’m dead, now I’m dead, now I’m dead,
Now I’m dead, now I’m dead
And I’m going on to meet my reward
I was scared, I was scared, I was scared, I was scared
He might of never heard God’s Comic

So there he was on a water-bed
Drinking a cola of a mystery brand
Reading an airport novelette, listening to Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s “Requiem”
He said, before it had really begun, “I prefer the one about my son”
“I’ve been wading through all this unbelievable
Junk and wondering if I should have given
The world to the monkeys”

Now I’m dead, now I’m dead, now I’m dead,
Now I’m dead, now I’m dead
And I’m going on to meet my reward
I was scared, I was scared, I was scared, I was scared
He might of never heard God’s Comic

I’m going to take a little trip down Paradise’s endless shores
They say that travel broadens the mind, ’til you can’t get your head out of doors

I’m sitting here on the top of the world
I hang around in the longest night
Until each beast has gone bed and then I say
“God bless” and turn out the light
While you lie in the dark, afraid to breathe and you beg and you promise
And you bargain and you plead
Sometimes you confuse me with Santa Claus
It’s the big white beard I suppose
I’m going up to the pole, where you folks die of cold
I might be gone for a while if you need me

Now I’m dead, now I’m dead, now I’m dead,
Now I’m dead, now I’m dead and you’re all
Going on to meet your reward

Are you scared? Are you scared? Are you scared?
Are you scared?
You might have never heard, but God’s comic

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Dec 1

The Clash – Sandinista


This is my favorite album by The Clash. It also happens to be the first album I ever heard by the Clash. Those may or may not be related truths.

Why do I love this album so much? While this admittedly sprawling 3-record set has received its fair share of negative criticism over the years—as regards said sprawl—I happen to love and admire its excess, so as to that criticism: frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

I admire the ambition! I admire the scope! I admire the breadth of musicality at work here. And there are SO many great songs. So many.

One More Time is possibly my favorite song by The Clash ever. And not a week goes by—some 30 years after first hearing it—that I don’t still listen to The Magnificent Seven at some point.

Hitsville U.K.! When Ivan Meets G.I. Joe! Rebel Waltz! Somebody Got Murdered! The Call Up!

I love this album. This kind of audaciousness, this kind of bravery, this kind of talent … it’s fucking sadly missed, is what it is.

But at least we have Sandinista.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Nov 30

King Solomon Hill – The Gone Dead Train


King Solomon Hill has long been one of the great ghosty figures of country blues, and the subject of so much speculation as to his real identity. Musicologists believe they’ve figured it all out now, but I’m not going to spoil the secret. You should just listen to the music; it’s as ghosty as the man who made it.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Nov 29

Alejandro Escovedo – A Man Under The Influence


I first picked up this record because I was on a serious Townes Van Zandt kick, and everywhere I read about Townes, someone would mention Escovedo. So I picked this one up, and immediately realized 3 things: 1) comparing Escovedo and Van Zandt is like comparing Snickers and Payday; they both have peanuts, and they’re both delicious, but the comparisons end there, 2) this shit was great!, and 3) I lucked out, because it turned out this was also the best thing he’d ever done, so I started in a good place.

What else did I learn? That Robert Christgau definitively is a tin-eared luddite when it comes to understanding music. That he highlighted “Castanets”—which is the only piece of shit song on what is otherwise a masterpiece collection—as essentially the only song of merit here, makes clear how woeful his taste really is. For the record, George W. Bush kept “Castanets” on his personal iPod. Which led Escovedo to stop playing the song. So for that, I’ll thank W. And as to Christgau … whatever.

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Nov 28

ZZ Top – Tres Hombres


I knew I wasn’t going to finish this list without putting ZZ Top on somewhere. The question was, which album do I begin with?

I knew it had to be pre-Eliminator, as, while there are things about that album I really like, it’s not the sound that hooked me on the Top in the first place.

And if that’s the true impetus—identifying the thing that hooked me first—then it had the be the album that contained within its grooves the move from Waiting for the Bus to Jesus Just Left Chicago. Cuz that shit is incredible …

And yeah, La Grange is on here too, so that’s a pretty significant cut in the whole Top canon …

But honestly, the whole thing just has boot heel stink written all over it, and that’s just all right with me …

365 Days of Album Recommendations – Nov 27

Sonny Rollins – The Bridge


There are so, so, so many reasons to love this album.

#1 Sonny Rollins

#2 Jim Hall

#3 Sonny Rollins & Jim Hall together

Them’s is reason enough.

But how about a narrative backstory so compelling that there is a movement afoot to have the Williamsburg Bridge renamed after Sonny Rollins?

Legislation to rename Williamsburg Bridge after musician Sonny Rollins introduced



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