26) Wishbone Ash ~ Live Dates. Another in a long line of double live albums. This one is very special as the band is pretty much unknown but they are very prolific song writers doing a blend of rock and blues (how unusual for the English back then) and the strength of this band lies in their live performance. The song "Phoenix" is a real tour de force!
31) Procol Harum ~ Broken Barricades. Straight out of right field this album slugged me right in the jaw. They were one of those bands I knew about but never thought much about. This album changed that and started me exploring others. The last album with Robin Trower, he is brilliant on this Hendricks inspired transcendental magic carpet ride, "Song For a Dreamer"
32) Jethro Tull ~ Stand Up. A truly amazing album. Their 2nd album, their 1st with the lineup of musicians that would last last for quite awhile. Open up the album and the band stood up!
33) Magic Slim & The Teardrops ~ Live at the Zoo Bar. As raw as can be and the live feel of a small, smoky bar translates magically well to record. Listen once and you will be a fan for life!
34) Magic Slim & The Teardrops ~ Grand Slam. A studio album by Slim and the boys. My copy of the LP was signed by Slim on the Album Jacket! "Fannie Mae" gets me goin!
35) James Gang ~ Rides Again. My "go-to" album for an early Sunday evening in the summer. Funk #49 starts the crazy melee and continues through a really well produced, crisp rock n' roll Side 1. Side 2 slows down a bit and gets really righteous with hints of country and a reflective Joe Walsh. Dynamite album to listen to all the way through.
36) Mississippi Fred McDowell ~ Best Of. The most satisfying country blues slide guitar that you will ever hear. The Stones made his "You Got to Move" famous so if you only own 1 country blues album, let it be from Fred. As he proudly proclaims "I don't play no rock n' roll"
37) Rory Block ~ Confessions of a Blues Singer. On the heels of Mississippi Fred is a modern day virtuoso, Rory Block. With an absolutely awesome blues voice combined with a mastery of the slide guitar, Rory glides effortlessly through the songbooks of Son House, Robert Johnson and a host of other greats. Besides the original masters I cannot think of any modern day acoustic country blues player I would rather listen to than Rory.
38) Lee Michaels ~ Lee Michaels. A master of the Hammond B3 Organ, hardly anyone knows of him until they hear a couple of 60's FM staple songs of his. Probably the most famous is "Heighty Heigh", included on this album. This record consists of Lee on organ and Frosty St. Bartholomew on drums, that's it. For something so simple the sound is killer. The growl of the Hammond organ, the crispness of the drums, great shit, man!
39) Creedence Clearwater Revival ~ Bayou Country. The bands second recording (I have a thing for sophomore efforts) and the album that contains their biggest hit, "Proud Mary". But that is far from the reason it's on my list. The way out swamp sound of "Born on the Bayou" and "Keep on Chooglin'" is more than enough to establish CCR as a major force in rock.
40) Kelly Willis ~ Kelly Willis. In the tradition of country honky tonk, Kelly, with her super tight band plays standards and originals and sings like a southern Nightingale. Rockin' Rockabilly at it's finest.
41) Howlin' Wolf ~ 3 CD Boxed Set. There is no one album that can convey the greatness of this giant of a man. Every bit as popular as Muddy Waters was on the South Side of Chicago, he was one of the 1st bluesman the Rolling Stones sought out during their 1st trip to the U.S. An accomplished guitarist and awesome harp player, the Wolf's voice was the main attraction. That song on the stupid Viagra commercial? That's the instrumental break from his song "Smokestack Lightening" Fucking Madison Ave.
42) Steve Miller Band ~ Brave New World. San Francisco Psychedelic meets the Blues. It'a far cry from "Fly like an Eagle" & "Keep on Rockin' me baby" and about a billion times better. Steve is a great songwriter and a prolific guitarist and before he got "Pop Famous" he headed up a damned good band. This album has the underground FM staple "Space Cowboy" and listen for the jam with Paul McCartney (billed as Paul Simon) on "Kow Kow Calqulator". Nicky Hopkins also lends his talents to a kick ass, great record.
43) Poco ~ Poco. This is probably the only album on this list that I hated for the longest time. My roommate in Kansas played it incessantly and it drove me crazy. After all was said and done and the years flew by I grew to absolutely love this record. George Jones's "Honkey Tonk Downstairs" is one of my all time favorites.
44) The Jimi Hendrix Experience ~ Are You Experienced. The album that changed it all. Besides the obvious guitar work of the late, great Jimi, the back up band of Noel and Mitch is a stellar attraction on this album. "Manic Depression" is amazing and I have spent a lifetime hearing "Hey, Joe, where you goin' with that gun in your hand". Thanks Jimi by way of Joe South.
45) David Bromberg ~ Wanted Dead or Alive. A street wise Jewish boy from Tarrytown, NY by way of Philadelphia, David captures American roots music better than most. His guitar picking is exceptional and his take on traditional blues tunes is oft times funny, sometimes poignant and all the time great to listen to. A consummate story teller, his take on "Statesboro Blues" is a top fave of mine.
46) Moody Blues ~ In Search of the Lost Chord. Sunday afternoon wasted...a soother, indeed, this album was somewhere in the middle of their catalog but was on the top of the list of "go-to" records when my "trip" was at it's peak. "Ride My Seesaw" starts off the journey and continues on searching for Timothy Leary and winding up with "The Word". OM
47) Bob Dylan ~ Blood on the Tracks. Probably one of his most commercial albums but "Tangled up in Blue" and "A Simple Twist of Fate" are brain busting tear jerkers. Ain't nothing like spending some time with Bob.
48) The Who ~ Who's Next. The album is an anthem of a generation and the cover expresses perfectly my sentiments on society at the time. "Baba O'Reilly, "Gettin' in Tune", "Going Mobile". "Won't Get Fooled Again". The entire album is simply a treasure trove of the Who at their peek. If you are unfortunate enough to have only experienced their songs through "N.C.I.S" then you need some serious educating.
49) Rolling Stones ~ Let it Bleed. I'm sure many folks will name tons of other Stones records as their favorite, but this one does it for me. Twangy country of "Country Honk", Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain" and the pure rock n' roll of "Live with Me", "Monkey Man", "Gimme Shelter" coupled with Mick's harp on "Midnight Rambler" makes this the big winner.
50) Hot Tuna ~ Burgers. Every January like clockwork, Hot Tuna would play a couple of nights at The Academy of Music in NYC. I never missed a show and attained a musical buzz akin to a Dead show. This album is Hot Tuna at their peek with Sammy Piazza on drums, Will Scarlet on harp and the incomparable Papa John Creech on electric violin.. It;s the Delta Blues with a heavy dose of hashish. Get "True Religion" and I ain't talkin' 'bout jeans.
51) The Who ~ Live at Leeds. Acclaimed by many as one of the best live rock albums ever, if it's not the best, it certainly is in the top 2. Through the technology of CD's, the entire concert is available as opposed to the limited amount on the single LP. HOWEVER, the LP did come with a plethora of great add on's including a copy of the signed contract to appear at Woodstock and an awesome poster. Do yourself a favor, own both!
53) The Mothers ~ Just Another Band from L.A. Recorded at a concert at U.C.L.A. in 1971, this album marks my favorite period in the history of FZ's bands, that is, the inclusion of Flo and Eddie, late of The Turtles. The feature here is the full side 1 length parody of a rock opera "Billy the Mountain". Also included are the equally awesome "Call any Vegetable" and "Eddie Are You Kidding".
54) Free ~ The Free Story. Originally a 2 LP import, this greatest hits compilation chronicles the bands numerous albums plus some of the solo work done after the bands demise. Really only known in the states for "All Right Now" and later as "Bad Company" (Paul Rodgers and drummer Simon Kirke), this band, in my opinion was totally under rated and had a very distinct gutsy sound. Drummer Simon Kirke has one of the steadiest beats I have ever heard and the late Paul Kossof on lead guitar was a genius in his own right. But the big star just might be Andy Frasier on bass.......unbelievable as evidenced in the bands live performance of "Mr. Big"
55) Joe Cocker ~ Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Universally panned by the critics as being too thrown together with too many people, those are the reasons I love this 2 LP live recordings from the Fillmore East concerts of 1970. Cocker, finding himself without a touring band for the U.S. leg of his tour, got some help from Leon Russell and his Shelter People band as well as a host of others. This rollicking circus was short lived, just for the tour, but provided a huge batch of great music. Cocker's voice comes through loud and clear and Russell leads "the band" through its motions from behind his piano.
56) Leon Russell and The Shelter People. Backed with his own Shelter People band, Russell moves through some great rockers as well as George Harrison's "Beware of Darkness" and a couple of classic Dylan cuts. Some of the best "roots" rock of the 70's out there.
57) Leon Russell ~ Hank Wilson's Back. How the hell did Leon Russell get 3 albums in Joe's Influential 100? Just the way it rolls I reckon. This album is an awesome collection of great country tunes performed faithfully by Russell and his band of country music cohorts.
58) The Rascals ~ Time Peace Greatest Hits. Bought this when Good Lovin' hit the airwaves and enjoyed all the other great soulful, rockin' tunes from these hometown boys. Where street corner soul met rock n' roll, a tried and true collection.
59) Rory Block ~ Avalon A Tribute to Mississippi John Hurt. Another in a series of albums that Rory has made to celebrate great slide players and musicians in general of the Delta Blues. Rory is a master of the slide guitar and interprets Hurt's songs with a heartfelt emotion and true soul!
60) The Complete Stax/Volt Singles Collection ~ Otis Redding. For the first time EVERY single this man put out during his legendary career is on this 3 disc boxed set in MONO, the way they were meant to be heard (after all, AM radio was the medium at the time) If you are truly into 60's soul and R&B you cannot afford to not own this one! In my book the best most dynamic singer of his time.
61) James Brown ~ Star Time. To match Otis above, one cannot go wrong or feel their collection of greats is complete without this definitive collection on 4 discs. All the songs are here, re mixed beautifully, not only James but his kick ass band that took Jazz, Blues and Soul and blended themm all together for a sound that was true genius!
62) James Cotton ~ Cotton Mouth Man. James at this late stage of his career has still got it, his harp playing is urgent and full of raw power. Although no longer a singer (age has made his reeked havoc on his voice box) his playing has not suffered one iota as he happily becomes a star sideman on his own album with a list of greats sharing the duties of vocals and lending a hand with their various instruments. Alligator Records got it right!
63) Phil Guy ~ It's a Real Mutha. Phil, the younger "funky" brother of Blues Great Buddy Guy. is in his own right a great performer and a purveyor of the more funky side of the blues. Usually backed by Buddy's band, he soars through the 12 tunes on this English Import and is an important piece of the Buddy Guy story.
64) Spooky Tooth ~ The Last Puff. Pretty much the last great album by the original lineup of members of the band. Their cover the Beatles ":I Am the Walrus" is classic and ranks right up their with the greatest covers of all time. The whole album is filled with tasty tunes no the least of which is the Elton John tune "Son of your Father" which they do wonderfully. The "Last Puff" song is a great instrumental and closes out this album and the career of a brilliant if not totally underrated band.
65) Led Zeppelin ~ Led Zeppelin. The band I love to hate. Overplayed, over hyped, over everything. The 4 most feared words in radio: "Get the Led out!" But denying their existence is like playing Blues greats and leaving out Muddy Waters...it shouldn't be and cannot be done. Their debut album was a watershed for Rock n' Roll and for Hard Rock in particular. Every cut is dripping with all the urgency that English bands had to offer the world in the late 60's, straight ahead, no apologies hard rock soaked in blues! If you are seriously into popular music, not having this album in your collection is like not owning Sgt. Pepper...not just a hole in your collection but a yawning cavern.
66) The Beatles ~ Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. I must admit that when the album was released I was too young to really appreciate it, so I did not really explore it til much later. What can I say that hasn't been said already? The best album ever? Perhaps so.
67) Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Will the Circle be Unbroken. Originally a 3 album set, now a 2 disc set, tis ground breaking album took a bunch of talented long hair Americana roots musicians and teamed them up with the "old guard" of Bluegrass. Merle Travis, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Lester Scruggs and many others backed by a kick ass band of masters at their instruments. Vassar Clements broke onto the national scene as a great fiddler because of this album and the late Jr. Husky played the best stand up bass I have ever heard. 40 + tracks make this a true delight to own.
68) The Band - The Last Waltz. Recorded and filmed for a documentary, The Last Waltz was billed as The Band's final performance. Recorded at the fabled Winterland Ballroom in San Fran., a huge cavalcade of stars turned out for this no holds barred final performance.
69) Music from the motion picture "Easy Rider" - I'm not big into soundtracks, but this one is a true gem. The tunes by Roger McGuinn, The Byrds, Steppenwolf and Jimi Hendrix are worth the price...but the star is "Don't Bogart Me" by The Holy Modal Rounders...if you were a hippie, a wannabe or anything in between, this song is your anthem.
70) Buck Owens ~ The Buck Owens Collection (1959- 1990). Everything you could ever want (and then some) from the inventor of the famous "Bakersfield Sound". Put the top down, grab an ice chest full of brews and hit the highway with this blasting!
71) Vince Gill & Paul Franklin ~ Bakersfield. This became a favorite of mine without even hearing the full album. From the time the first track starts it became an irresistible "must play" CD, gaining a much coveted space in my collection...front and center!
72) Delaney & Bonnie & Friends ~ On tour with Eric Clapton (Deluxe Box Set)
From their classic 1970 tour, Husband and wife team Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett put together a formidable band with Eric Clapton, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Bobby Whitlock, Leon Russell, Dave mason & George Harrison (under the pseudonym L'Angelo Misterioso. Many of these players later showed up on the "Layla" sessions and also the Stones "Sticky Fingers". An amazingly nurturing time for rock music, indeed.
73) The Doors - Live in New York. January 17 & 18, 1970. After bombing with the critics on the last album (Soft Parade) and now being thought of as nothing but a teeny bopper band, The Doors stormed New York and performed perhaps the best shows of their career. Morrison was clean and sober, sporting a full beard, the band was as tight as it ever would be and they sailed through batches of songs from their forthcoming album, "Morrison Hotel" as well as old favorites and some real crowd pleasers too. Besides that, I was there!
74) Lou Reed - Rock 'N Roll Animal. Right up there among the best live rock albums EVER. Every single song is a classic, mostly due to the simply amazing band....tight is a poor choice of words for what they sound like. Turn up "Heroin" loud and relive what it was like to listen to a new album at maximum wattage when you were still a tender youth.
76) Jerry Garcia Band - Garcia Live Volume One. A brand new offering from the vaults, the 1st of many volumes to come. This one was recorded at The capitol Theatre in Passaic, NJ, March 1, 1980. The Capitol was an old haunt of mine and was a great place to see shows though it is now long gone. The quintessential hippie palace....porn theatre by day and concert hall by night. Jerry and his band are in top form here!
77) Shawn Holt and the Teardrops - Daddy Told Me. The son of the late, great Magic Slim (Morris Holt) keeps the torch lit and carries on with a powerful debut album with Dad's backing band The Teardrops. Chicago Blues at its finest!
78) Jefferson Airplane - Surrealistic Pillow. No lover of the 60's, San Francisco, and psychedelia can afford to be without this, their 1st REAL album (I don't count "After Bathing at Baxters). Grace Slick and company put together a stellar piece of work with this one PLUS Jorma and Jack sound great! Embryonic Journey is a particular favorite.
79) Humble Pie - Rockin' the Fillmore The Complete Recordings. I have been clamoring for this since CD's first came upon the music scene. Four shows over the course of two nights, just before the Fillmore East closed it's doors. The set list for each show (one early one late show both nights) is primarily the same with a few additions here and there, so it is overkill for the casual listener. For those of us who love this particular line up of Pie it is nothing short of heaven! Each show comprises one disc and each show is a joy to the ear!
80) Junior Wells Chicago Blues Band - Hoodoo Man Blues. Hoodoo is different from Voodoo. Voodoo is a religion based in the Caribbean, Hoodoo is the casting of spells as brought over from Africa. This album cast a spell over the Chicago scene with its release in 1965. As Junior Wells debut album (backed by long time partner Buddy Guy) it soon became Delmark Records best selling album ever and without a doubt the best that Junior ever made. Some calling it one of the best blues albums ever made...period!
81) Robin Trower - Live. One of the Kings of 70's arena rock. Blues/Rock guitarist Robin Trower started with Procol Harum and then left to start his own band. Recorded in Stockholm, Sweden in 1975, it has all the favorites on it in a performance that Robin called "by far one of our best".
82) Blind Faith. After the demise of Cream, Steve Winwood approached Eric Clapton about forming a new group. Clapton accepted. Coincidentally, Ginger Baker got wind of the upcoming jam and naturally thought that he should be the drummer and, without being asked, showed up. No one, it seemed, had the balls to throw him out (Baker, a notoriously cantankerous bastard who fought with everyone and was one of the reasons for Cream's demise). This spelled an early doom to the "super group" and after one album and a short tour, disbanded.
83) King Crimson - In the Court of the Crimson King. Greg Lake and Robert Fripp have created in this, King Crimson's 1st album, a jazz/rock fusion so intense that it sends you on an LSD induced trip without having even dropped a tab. The album starts off with 21st Century Schizoid Man (frantic and beautifully maddening)....and then the trip really starts.
84) Black Sabbath. Their 1st album and the starting point for everything heavy metal thereafter. Hauntingly intense with the band being particularly tight and some of the best licks to ever come out of Tony Iommi's guitar.
85) Pink Floyd - Atom Heart Mother. Probably the least known of their many albums and least liked as well. I got it at a time when I was heavily into hallucinogenics and, as such, became totally lost in this album. The song "If" and "Alan's Psychedelic Breakfast" (complete with popping Rice Krispies and frying bacon) are particularly mind expanding.
86) Cream - Live Cream. Hailed and panned by critics as "brilliant" and then as "an obvious attempt to just rake in cash", this album, recorded at San Francisco's Winter Land Ball Room in 1968 has 4 live tracks and one studio track. All the live songs performed are from the "Fresh Cream" album and include N.S.U., Sweet Wine, Sleepy Time Time and Rollin' and Tumblin'. I love listening to it, period.
87) Mountain - Climbing. Long Island heavy (in more ways than one) guitarist, Leslie West teamed up with supreme producer and bassist Felix Pappalardi (an Englishman) along with drummer Corky Laing (English) and organist Steve Knight (again, English). The result was a super power group that burst onto the scene with "Mississippi Queen". That song, on the album above, is only one of an album chock full of great songs.
88) Albert King - Wednesday Night in San Francisco. Albert and the Fillmore West had a long time love affair. No less than 4 albums came out of shows that he played there in the late 60's. "Live Wire Blues Power" has already been cited on this list. I was turned onto this album much later and absolutely love the raw power and the hip shaking attitude it conveys. "Do you feel the Blues power?"
89) Ten Years After - Ssssh. The first album I purchased of this band and thus began a love affair to last a life time. Steeped in jazz background, they blended that with blues and rock n' roll plus superb songwriting to form a true enduring sound. Sadly, Alvin Lee, on of my first rock heroes, passed away in 2013.
90) Tom Waits - Nighthawks at the Diner. The Charles Bukowski of music. This album even had my father, a staunch radical Republican, tapping his foot and chuckling at the stories. Tom Waits is the consummate, down and out, story teller. With his whiskey voice and his chain smoking Old Gold cigarettes, Tom weaves a tale of lost love, lost drinks, and the everyday life of the slightly drunk working man. Originally a 2 album live performance, it now fits nicely on one CD and is very nicely priced. Must have? You bet.
91) John Coltrane - Original Album Series ( Giant Steps, Coltrane Jazz, My Favorite Things, Coltrane Plays the Blues, Coltrane's Sound). When I think of a small, sweaty nightclub with jazz blowing into the sultry midnight air down in Greenwich Village, Coltrane is the first artist that comes to mind. Atlantic Records has released these compilations for a bunch of their artists which include 5 discs in their original mini CD sized sleeves. Nicely priced and many times on sale at further reductions, this is true "essential" jazz for those who might not have a lot of Jazz in their collection but need a fix.
92) Foghat - Rock and Roll. The remnants of Savoy Brown plus, put together the quintessential English Rock boogie blues band. "Slow Ride and "Fool for the City" are probably their best known works, but this album, which was released before all that, had their formula down pat. Please evidence Little Milton's "Feel so bad (Feel like a ballgame on a rainy day)"...it's all the ammunition you need.
93) Foghat - Foghat. ...and then, of course, is their debut album. "Sarah Lee" always gets me where I live and the rest of the album is spot on as well.
94) Deep Purple - Made in Japan. The recording that made every other band want to go to Japan and record a live album. Deep Purple was never known as a jam band, but on this album they show they can, and how!
95) Blind Mississippi Morris - You Know I Like That. He is the very embodiment of the Delta Blues musician. His harmonica is devastating and the entire album makes you want to hop the first freight train you can find for the Delta...and it would be worth it. Listening to this album puts you front row center in a steamy Juke Joint with frying fish scent in the air and snuff juice everywhere....to coin a phrase.
96) The Byrds - Untitled. Double album sets ruled the rock world of the late 60's/70's. This album was one album live (recorded in NYC at the Felt Forum and elsewhere) and the 2nd album studio. I was at the concert that was taped at the Felt Forum in New York, and it is a story all by itself how I happened to be there. The Byrds at the beginning of their L.A. Cowboy era...a favorite era of mine. Check out the side long "Eight Miles High" when you are feeling particularly giddy.
97) The Grateful Dead - American Beauty. On the heels of "Working Man's Dead" came the ultra stoner California country album that finally linked up San Fran with L.A. It spawned a multitude of artists and albums that continue to this day. "Ripple" is all you need.
98) Patti Smith - Horses. The girl who was "Punk" before punk was really defined. Ah, but her real love was poetry. Very few debut albums affected me like "Horses", I can only think of "The Doors" debut album. From the opening strains of her total domination of Van Morrison's garage band classic "Gloria" it is apparent that her message and delivery are urgent, the band, razor sharp. "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine."
99) The Allman Brothers Band - At the Fillmore East. Their first two albums, although brilliant, just didn't quite seem to capture the excitement that these Blues soaked Southern Boys were playing. This album changed all that, forever. All of their success to this date is directly attributed to this album. This live album does what a live album is supposed to do, but only rarely does....put you in front row center! Turn it up and tighten up your wig!
100) AC DC - Powerage. Pure power, pure rage, pure Rock n' Roll.
These albums either belong on any list or I just darn forgot them for some damn reason....hey! it's my list ain't it?
BB King - King of the Blues. A 4 CD retrospective of perhaps the greatest living blues-man, certainly one of the most popular. From 1949 onward, these CD's are cram packed with great tunes, all essential. Do yourself a favor and dig deep and bust out for this Blues Masterpiece!
Robin Trower - State to State. A relatively new issue of live tracks compiled from his American tours of the 70's. Two CD set....most satisfying!
Back in the late 80's, Sony Legacy issued a bunch of early Blues compilations including the above, "String Dazzlers", "Bottles, Knives, and Steel" (2 Volumes), "Gospel Blues" and many others as well as a whole host of individual artist reissues and compilations. Sadly, most are out of print, but you can still find them if you roll up yer sleeves.
"Rite on! Right now!" is the name of this great album by So. Cal's very own Hollywood Hound Dogs. Front man "Catfish" is an accomplished singer, great harp player and one hell of a sharp dresser! This album is
available here: Hollywood Hound Dogs They're "Bone-ified"!
Woodstock. The classic 3 record set (now you can get any one of a number of different lengths on cd), not a great recording sound wise, but you have to remember the conditions, then it becomes almost a miracle. Some of the iconic performances made careers for those bands in the following years. Worth having and imagining a huge outdoor crowd going bananas when Alvin Lee states "I'm Going Home....by helicopter"
Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash ~ Walk Alone. The name alone is worth the price of admission, but if you are a fan of California country/ Bakersfield/ Honky Tonk/ BR 549, then this album and this band are must have
within your collection.
Chuck Mead ~ Free State Serenade. Chuck is the former lead singer and guitarist of BR-549, the swinging Rockabilly act that ripped it up during the 90's. Chuck and his band, The Grassy Knoll Boys, have put together an album dedicated to a place very near and dear to me...Chuck's home of Lawrence, Kansas. One critic said of the album "Country music like it oughta be" - there you have it, now go get it!
Lone Justice ~ Lone Justice and The Vaught Tapes 1983. Early 80's L.A. "Rockabilly", "Country Punk", "Crazed Honky Tonk" band, Lone Justice released their 1st album, self titled, to minimal reviews. I, however, loved it. Featuring the strong, wonderful voice of Maria McKee, this band is a powerhouse of great rocking and sad ballad tunes. A natural bridge between the Southern Ca cowboy sound of the Byrds and Gram Parsons and the present day American "roots" craze, this band deliveries the groceries and cooks 'em up right."The Vaught Tapes" is a compilation disc, great songs, continuing in the same vein as the 1st album. Have a listen to the Johnny Cash, June Carter tune, "Jackson" and get back to me.
The Specials ~ The Specials. Their early 80's blend of SKA and Punk Rock became known as "2 tone" after the name of their record label. Their dress was 60's Mod and their music was an exciting fusion of punk and danceable rock steady beats infused with political and social stances. They started a real movement in English music and a whole host of bands came along on their coat tails.
Buddy and The Juniors ~ Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Junior Mance. Buddy and Junior hold court here in this all acoustic blues album. They riff off each other and do some awesome jamming. Buddy's acoustic guitar playing is as sweet as his electric guitar and Junior is a harmonica player's player. Junior Mance, the jazz pianist plays on 2 cuts. Phenomenal record.
America ~ America. Country Rock was what the majority of West Coast bands were all about in the early 70's, with the likes of The Dead, The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and others. America seemed like a natural addition to the sound, but it was much more than just another California band. They softened the rock considerably and added more of a folksy style, less honky tonk than their predecessors. Future albums would become the staple of EZ Rock radio stations of the 90's and beyond. But this 1st album was a head's delight. Just lie back and groove. "A Horse with No Name" heard in the context of the whole album is a revelation.
Savoy Brown ~ A Step Further. The nucleus of Foghat along with guitarist and lead singer Kim Simmonds. An album strictly for those who believe Blues n' Boogie, English style, is the way of the world. With a six pack and a lid of good smoke, it can be. Side 2 is a side long live set comprised of one 20 + minute long song "The Savoy Brown Boogie". John Lee Hooker, not withstanding.
Santana ~ Santana. Originally called The Santana Blues Band, this awesome blend of rock with Latin rhythms came charging out of the bay area and released this album one month prior to appearing at Woodstock at the request of Bill Graham. That appearance, of course, catapulted them to super stardom from thence onward. Beginning to end, this album is, indeed, a classic and the remastered version also features extra live cuts from the legendary Woodstock performance including all 11 minutes plus of the wonderfully brain searing "Soul Sacrifice"
Grateful Dead - Sunshine Daydream. The long awaited release of what many consider to be the best of the best of their untold thousands of shows, Sunshine Daydream is the concert from Veneta, Oregon August 27, 1972. Three CD's and one DVD make up this boxed set and a crisper, cleaner sound can not be found on any recording of theirs. "Playing in the Band" is their best version ever!
Junior Wells & The Aces - Live in Boston 1966. Now, while it's true that just about every album Junior appeared on belongs on this list (and they may all make it before the whole thing is done and put to bed). This album is notable for a few of reasons. First, the performance and sound quality and are excellent, Junior weaves his way through this set with a slickness rarely seen by any performer let alone a blues guy. His backup band is the tightest and with some of the best session men in Chicago, bar none, Fred Below, Louis and Dave Meyers are superb. Lastly, Junior performs here without his long time companion Buddy Guy, which seems unusual, but these guys toured and played incessantly so it stands to reason they would have some solo efforts now and again.