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Frankly my top 10 albums
Top 10 Albums
Member Name: blackbob
Top 10 Albums
Date: 22/02/04, updated on 22/02/04 (137 review reads)
Advantages: all good stuff
Disadvantages: some won't like them
I was looking for something different to witter on about and came across this little gem.
'Ah ha' thinks I 'this'll be easy.'and so I though but think again because it might have been easier to write about my top 20 or 30.The problem isn't what to put in but to what to leave out and I guarantee that tomorrow if I were to reread this piece I'd be kicking myself,why did I not include that one?Damn I'd wish I'd chose that instead of that,you see,the trouble is I love music.I measure my life not in years but in cars and music,it goes a little like this
'Do you remember when...?' someone might say and to which I'd reply
'Oh yeah,when I had the black RS1600i and we went to see Page & Plant' or 'That was when I bought that rare Zep bootleg' and even 'Aye right,the night we weren't allowed to finish the song cos the fight broke out' that sort of thing.
A simple top 10 takes on earth shattering importance because people will read it and form an opinion on both me and my taste,or lack of,in music and it has to be the right opinion,well where the music taste is concerned anyway - I long ago stopped fretting on people's opinion of me,if ever I fretted in the first place.
So I've come up with some self appointed rules to help me choose by.
1.No albums I've already reviewed.
2.No live albums - seems harsh and being a 'guitarist' I love live albums as it gives me a chance to hear more natural versions of songs as they are played without overdubs etc but it has to be to achieve the 10.
3.No compilation or 'greatest hits' albums because these are at best stop gaps but more often a record company milking the last few pennies from their 'livestock'.
As I write,I have no firm top 10 and a couple of bands where I have two or three albums I can't yet chose between,so I'll warn you now,I may have to cheat.
My 10 may not be wide in musical scope or to everyones tastes but there you go - also they are not in any order,just the way they fall out of my head.And so...
1.Stone Roses - Second Coming.
Who couldn't love the Stone Roses and who couldn't love this album.Their first album released in 1989 flew straight past me but at 17 and caught in a 'Metallica mosh' I had no ears for this sort of 'paisley-shirted nonsense'.Then in 1997 they played 'Adored' on Radio 1 while I was at work,unbelievably this was the first time I'd really heard it and fell for that guitar sound instantly,I avidly listened to find out who it was,when they said the Stone Roses I was a little suprised to say the least.
Their second album 'Second Coming' however is Led Zeppelin for the ninties.While being a staggering compliment it is also a bit unfair as they have their own sound it's more a feel.They have a similar groove,mystique and in guitarist John Squire a similar guitar approach - that's my opinion,anyway.With songs like 'Breaking into Heaven' and the phenomenal 'Daybreak' alongside 'Tightrope' and 'Good Times' this is rock,blues,funk and groove in all it's glory and who can forget 'Love Spreads'.
2.The Jimi Hendrix Experience - Are You Experienced.
Debut albums are highly significant.They can make or break a band,make it too good and you've got to make a blinding second,make it forgettable and you'll more than likely be forgotten.They set the tren
d and define your next musical steps.In the history of debut albums,for me that is,two stand out above the rest - Led Zeppelin 1(I know it's not called '1' but it makes it easier) and Are You Experienced.It must have been a picture to see Clapton and Beck,in all their puffed-up self importance,take a first look at Jimi Hendrix play,I've no doubt that all they say about being immediate fans is true but I bet they were as equally sick when this unknown,black American came to their town and showed them how it was done.
People always harp endlessly on about Electric Ladyland and don't get me wrong it is a fantastic album but I think Experienced is perfect.That tight yet raw sound that is 'Manic Depression' or 'I Don't Live Today' while 'Red House' as over-covered as it is is still sublime even in mono,I have it on vinyl and wouldn't ever consider being without it.Along with Zeppelin 1,2,3 & 4 it's the rock bible!!
3.Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin 2.
My favourite band of all time is Led Zeppelin.Jimmy Page is the nearest thing I have to a hero,the man just blows me away.Whenever they do top 10 guitar players poll - yes Hendrix is always No.1,of course,but Jimmy Page is my choice for No.1.In reality there never can be a definite No.1 but as with all things we do love to compare people and in that spirit JP is No.1 for me,after all when did Hendrix ever play something like 'White Summer' or 'Battle For Evermore' for example.
Anyway,after the ground breaking debut and while on shuttle tours of the states Page and co. wrote,rehearsed and recorded this fantastic album and that's why I've chosen it over the equally bri
lliant Zep 3 and Zep 4.With many of the riffs coming from on stage jams,notably the monster 'Whole Lotta Love' and the colossal 'Heartbreaker'.Take this with the heavy blues groove of 'The Lemon Song' and the almost touchably cool sound of 'What Is And What Should Never Be','Living Loving Maid' and the dazzling drum solo of 'Moby Dick' this is sonic heaven.
4.Ac/DC - Highway To Hell/Back In Black.
I had to cheat because I couldn't chose.Besides these two are the pinnacle of AC/DC's career produced under the most difficult circumstances,I mean no one could have blamed them for calling it a day after Highway to Hell.
Highway To Hell released in 1979 is a classic album,it seems that all the albums prior to this were all leading the way to this pivotal album,it shot their career into orbit and no wonder with the title song and 'Girl's Got Rhythm','Shot Down In Flames' .I love the heavy,dark 'Walk All Over You' and the warp speed guitar of 'Beating Around The Bush' above all then they break down and groove for songs like 'Get It Hot' and 'Love Hungry Man' and what about the sinister 'Night Prowler' with the immortal Mork quotes at the end.Classic from start to finish.
Then the charismatic and very unique singer Bon Scott died and could surely never be replaced,which he never really was but after some time and a new singer,Brian Johnson,the band came back in 1980 with Back In Black.Unable to replace Bon Scott they had to change and the new album had a much harder edge.No one could expect after
the loss of such an important band member and close friend that the band could match Highway but match it they did with Back In Black.
This album was made more fantastic than it already was by the circumstances but be in no doubt that it is a true classic in it's own right and any rock band of the day would have killed for this album on their C.V.The first song,the title track lets you know in no uncertain terms that this is a newly inspired and fully charged band right from that first E chord.All there is left to say is that with songs like 'Hells Bells' and 'Have A Drink On Me' AC/DC wrote the book on 80s hard/heavy rock,so often copied but never matched and how could any band out AC/DC them because they don't have the all important and inspired Angus Young.
5.Van Halen - Van Halen.
I'm bad for seeing the guitarist as the sole important member of the band but in the case of Van Halen you cannot get past Mr. Ed.There is probably only a handful of guitar players that have single-handedly re-written the rules overnight and to me Eddie Van Halen is one of them.
From the off this is full on and brilliant with 'Running With The Devil' the blinding 'Eruption' and of course the immortal 'Ain't Talkin''Bout Love' which apparently EVH didn't want on the album as he thought it was too simplistic - thank god they changed his mind,'cos I love playing this song on the ol'six string.
Released in the late 70s Van Halen the album and EVH himself are probably responsible for all those 'fret-wanking,two-handed tappers' with the huge hair that were in every would-be metal band of the mid to late 80s culminating in t
he hugely talented but,for me at least,somewhat boring,souless Steve Vai/Joe Satriani type though I did love Yngwie J Malmsteen but that's another story.
6.Metallica - Kill 'Em All.
Another hard choice what with Ride The Lightning,Master Of Puppets and the seminal Justice For All to choose from but I'll go for the first one because it was another landmark album in the long and twisted rich tapestry of rock/metal.Originally to be called Metal Up Your Ass before the record company chickened out this was metal but with a whole new aggresive edge and heavy sound that was fresh.This was new and now seemingly forgotten by the Nu-metal kiddies of today who think (uurghh!!!)Load and Reload when they think Metallica without ever realising that this is where it all began.We have a die-hard Nu-metal lad at my work and when I started there I said I was into Metallica and got a look as if I'd said Bon Jovi or something,so I took this album into work and made him listen to it and he left work with a whole new light switched on upstairs,promptly going out and buying this album.For never mind what you may think,all your metal bands of the last ten years owe a huge debt to James Hetfield and the crew for creating,what at the time was dubbed 'thrash metal' or 'speed metal' or whatever it doesn't matter because it's the music that counts and this blew away all the laborious pap that metal was sinking into mid 80s.Strange but true,Kirk Hammett,a true guitar legend in his own right,believed his playing on this album was crap so went to Joe Satriani for lessons and you can here the development on Lightning.
Highlights include 'Four Horsemen','Jump In The Fire','No
Remorse','Seek & Destroy' and the amazing bass solo from legend Cliff Burton on '(Anesthesia)-Pulling Teeth'.If you listen to Nu-metal and haven't heard where all your music comes from - BUY THIS ALBUM.
7.Iron Maiden - Iron Maiden.
The band had been playing for 4 years when they released their debut album and this is why is sounds so good.Plying their more melodic cut-down brand of metal round the pubs of London from '76 on when the country only had ears for punk paid off when they finally recorded this album in 1980.The performances are tight and practiced with all that pub-time.As a reaction to the long and weary bore that rock music had become,which is half the reason for punks sucsess,Iron Maiden took the best practices of the punk bands and applied it to rock to produce a more direct brand of rock which breathed life into the over-inflated 'Spinal-tap-like' drudge that was rock of the mid to late 70s.Mind you,these were no derivative 3 chord wonders,these boys could all play and play well,just not interminably like the Yes's and Emmerson,Lake and Palmer's of before.Their melodic phases were all within the song and the solo's of Dave Murray,in particular,were quick,fluid and relevant see 'Remember Tomorrow' or 'Phantom Of The Opera' while they could also rock hard as in 'Prowler' or 'Charlotte The Harlot'.On this album and the follow up,Killers,the vocals were sung by Paul D'ianno and not the more famous and later Bruce Dickinson.D'ianno's singing seems to give the band a raw 'street' attitude and I always thought it a shame he left,although you cannot deny the power of Dickinson.Whatever happened to
Paul D'ianno?and does anyone remember NWOBHM?
8.Black Sabbath - Volume 4.
I adore Black Sabbath and I love Ozzy,not like that though,eh!!I mean both Ozzy and Bon Scott had that unique voice that was instantly recognisable,not exactly classically trained or 'trying to be black' like a Jagger etc,no these two had their own voice and used it for all it's worth.
I hate to see Ozzy on the box these days,it's sad because he was actually an intelligent man at one time not the drink fuelled,probably drug-fed,fodder of MTV bosses and his misses that is what people see today.Listen to the lyrics the man wrote through out Black Sabbath's glory years,which not suprisingly abruptly ended and left the building along with Ozzy,they go from,in the early days a rather niave but none the less standard metal fare to much,much more articulate,poetic lyrics on the human condition that we see here and in later albums.He may have started as a back street kid from the wrong side of Birmingham but he obviously learnt and matured in the brief spaces between heavy drink and drug binges.That is not quite so obvious today when all that is left is a clown play-acting for the cameras.Remember Oliver Ried?
This was another hard choice because it was this or Masters of Reality but this one topped the bill,just.Ranging in subject matter from a lament for lost child-hood innocence 'Wheels Of Confusion' to the cocaine-anthem 'Snowblind' and 'Supernaut' while also featuring the haunting 'Changes' and 'Laguna Sunrise' this is superb,extremely heavy and yet wonderfully melodic album.
9.Pink Floyd - Meddle.
In my late teens and early twenties when I loved LSD we
all listened to Floyd.I actually was into Floyd,Hendrix and Zep,in other words,all the 'druggie' bands before ever I toked on a joint but I digress.In the mad trippy days they all went on about Syd Barrett,now I like to call a spade a spade and was usually apt to turn around to my 'make-believe hippy' mates and say something like
'Why the man's crap' while adding 'Piper At The Gates Of Dawn is really bad,can you not see it?' and I'm afraid to say that I still feel the same.Sticking far to much hair gel on your head and standing stock-still infront of TV cameras and letting it melt and run down your face does not make for a true artist or rock genius,sorry to all you hippy trippers out there but come back down to earth and listen to Piper - straight!!
Meddle on the other hand with Syd's replacement the masterly and enigmatic Dave Gilmour is a true musical peak.There's plenty of the Floyd's tripped-out wierdness to keep any acidhead tripping away,'One Of These Days' for instance with that pounding bass,magnificent.Yet you have such mellow and lazy classics like 'Fearless' and 'Pillows Of Wind' and for those right out on the edge of acid travel 'Seamus' with the singing dog should send a few bolts through your brain.'Echoes' is more like a mini-symphony than a mere song and hauntingly beautiful as well.
By the way for those that prefer to stay straight this is an album of mellow,tuneful songs that sound just as good to the sober mind.
10.Red Hot Chilli Peppers - Blood,Sugar,Sex,Magik.
This album defines funk-rock.John Frusciante's moment of glory,his guitaring is perfect and more than a little Hendrix-inspired.
3;t is a classic sound the wah-wah and the Fender Stratocaster with a hint of compression,perhaps.
Of course,the rest of the band had a lot to do with as well.Anthony Kiedis is supreme on 'Under The Bridge',the finest of ballads and another great song to play,like all on this album.From the heavier funk of 'Suck My Kiss' and 'Blood,Sugar..' through the Hendrix-like 'Mellowship Slinky In B Major' to the mad wah-wah of 'Sir Psycho Sexy' with it's memorably dirty lyrics this is an album,like Experienced,Zep 2,Back In Black etc that my stupid ramblings can never do justice to and albums that I could never do without.
Well,folks that's my top 10.No doubt some will agree with some of them,some will hate them all,and others may never have heard of them.This isn't a review,just me trying and not really beginning to put into words why these 10 are great albums,to my mind.There is also many bands that I'd want to put in but haven't,that's how it goes.
One last thing I'll say and it's probably quite clear,I've been playing the electric guitar since the age of 18 but have been a slave to it's sound far longer than that.I can't really seperate guitars and music so all my favourite music is always going to be guitar based.
And one more thing!!If anyone reading this hasn't heard any of my selection then give them ago.