26. Four Freshmen “Live At Butler University with Stan Kenton and his
If only to witness the quartet’s startlingly-indeed stab at, believe it or not, “Surfer Girl.”
27. Fugs “It Crawled Into My Hand, Honest”
New York City’s very first alt. rockers had, by the time of this defining 1968 release, graduated from the anti-social frat-folk of their initial albums to embody all that was vile, impure, and joyously counter-culturally productive within life under the Nixon regime. And not a profanity too soon, either.
28. Fuller, Bobby “The Bobby Fuller Four”
Those familiar only with “I Fought The Law” (and then, I fear, only via The Clash’s tepid reading) should marvel at these twenty-four examples of how, under Bobby’s direction, the route from Buddy Holly to the Beatles was ultimately forged.
29. Gary Lewis and the Playboys “Legendary Masters Series”
One full hour’s worth of shiny happy Hollywood rock (including a terrifyingly adept imitation of father Jerry on one track), all of which somehow set the stage for, well, Dino, Desi and Billy …not to mention various Partridges, Bradys, and even those supposed American Idols themselves.
30. Gerry and the Pacemakers “Ferry Cross The Mersey”
Gerry Marsden’s attempt at “Hard Day’s Night”-sized big-screen stardom remains nowhere to be found, even on late-night cable-fests or bootleg video lists. But the soundtrack to the “Ferry Cross The Mersey” film is quite another matter altogether, containing some of the fiercest yet sunniest two-minute wallops of British Beat this side of …Freddie’s Dreamers (and I honestly mean that as a compliment, alright?)
31. Guess Who? “This Time Long Ago”
A full decade before there were “These Eyes” on any “American Woman” whatsoever, Canada’s homegrown Fab Four (including, in Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings, an in-house Lennon and McCartney hit-writing factory of quite some renown) were busy churning out the kind of rock, pop, and yes pop-rock that would someday become known as simply Wheatfield Soul. And “This Time Long Ago” holds a wealth of precisely just such memories for the discerning Canuck-o-phile.
32. Hartford, John “Aereo-Plain”
As his Glen Campbell-generated “Gentle On My Mind” royalties started pouring in at a flagrant rate, John Hartford began composing instead the kind of barbed-wire bluegrass and all-round down-home dementia that would, until just before his death, keep him comfortably numb from the mush of Music City. “Aereo Plain” contains some of the man’s first and greatest achievements in what would, decades later, become much better known as Newgrass and even alt.C&W in the hands and ears of those less skilled and certainly less imaginative.
33. Holly, Buddy “What You Been A’Missin’”
Eavesdrop, if you will, as Buddy and his fearless Crickets, alongside their very own Sir George Martin (Norman Petty) somehow invent the Sound of the Swinging London Sixties a decade before the fact …and in Clovis, New Mexico!
34. Hotlegs “Thinks: School Stinks”
From the ashes to ashes of Wayne Fontana’s Mindbenders came Hotlegs, and their extremely pre-Burundi Beating 1970 smash “Neanderthal Man” …not to mention the groundwork for what was to eventually become, for better or even worse, 10cc.
35. Jan and Dean “Anthology Album”
I ask you: Did any of those Beatles Anthologies include a reel-ful of recorded-in-concert pigeon jokes …not to mention some of the all-time, boards-down best sea-and-sidewalk-surfin’ slammers this side of B. Wilson’s sandbox?!!
Just take your pick out of any of the fifty-some-odd full-on releases in this wily Texan’s canon fodder by contacting PO Box 15375 in Houston (zip 77220 …and don’t forget to tell ‘em Gary the Pig sentcha!)
37. Jelly Bean Bandits “Mirror Music”
Over a solid gold hour’s worth of frat-happy, beer-and-twelve-string-drenched all-Americana as recorded completely live at the Buccaneer Nightclub in Poughkeepsie, NY, “Mirror Music” provides one supremely evocative snapshot of the State of the Art as of the night of September 3, 1967. When Rock and Roll was quickly becoming Rock, the hair (not to mention solos) were becoming increasingly long and unruly, and the Jelly Bean Bandits played and sang it all, six nights a week, over at the local roller rink.
38. Johnson, Mark “12 in a room”
New York City holds many wonders, not the least of which was singer / songwriter / multi-instrumentalist / home-recordist-extrodinaire Mark Johnson who, in 1992, shook the very foundations of New York songcraft with this astounding collection of finely unpolished gems in the grand tradition of Doc Pomus, Dion DiMucci, and other such unrequited Kings of Love.
39. King, Carole “Brill Building Legends: Complete Recordings 1958-1966”
The above-mentioned Mark’s (sadly still-unreleased) “Brill Building Song” could so easily embrace each and every one of the remarkable fifty-seven demos, acetates, and bonafide classics housed in this bountiful bevy of Ms. King’s earliest artifacts, some of which you’ll immediately recognize from their hit re-recordings, and others you’ll no doubt uncover and cherish as the dramatic, previously-unheard true blue treasures they are.
40. King Crimson “Earthbound”
This sloppily-performed then crappily-captured-onto-cassette contractual-obligation concert gives positive aural props to the long-held theory that there is indeed one silk-fine line between Prog and Grunge …and years before Primus attempted to carve an entire career out of the fact too.
41. Kinks “Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire”
Probably the first and only time Ray(mond Douglas) Davies’ more grandiose indulgences were successfully tempered by the good old rock ‘n’ rolling of younger brother Dave, while the songwriting remained quirky yet still fully hook-laden enough so that even the Royal Family could be lampooned all the way into the (British) Top Forty.
42. Langley Schools Music Project “Innocence And Despair”
A lowly British Columbia grade-school music teacher suddenly decides one day to take his guitar and record collection to class, and soon he’s leading his students in some of the most undeniably striking interpretations of the Beach Boys, Bowie, Wings and even Herman’s Hermits songbooks ever on record …thankfully all forever preserved now for your immediate listening (and, yes, sing-along) pleasures.
43. Lewis, Jerry Lee “Live at the Star Club, Hamburg”
It was one tough toss-up, as you can well imagine, between including this or James Brown’s “Live at the Apollo” landmarks …but the sound of hearty young German lungs incessantly chanting “Jerra LEE!” “Jerra LEE!” tipped the matter squarely into the Killer’s court I must admit.
44. Masticators “Masticate!”
I only hope I shan’t be disqualified for nominating this one coz I liked it so much I went and started a record company just so I could get it out…
45. Miller, Roger “20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection”
But only if you just won’t opt for the so-aptly-titled “King Of The Road: The Genius Of Roger Miller” full box treatment.
46. Million Dollar Quartet “The Complete Million Dollar Session”
Beware the dastardly-abbreviated RCA version filed under the Presley section of your local disc bar and seek instead this full-length Elvis / Jerry Lee / Carl / and-momentarily-Johnny fest from Charly Records UK, ok?
47. Modern Lovers “The Original Modern Lovers”
Before John Felice became a Real Kid, or David Robinson a Car; before Jerry Harrison donned his Talking Head or Jonathan Richman ever became a cult figure, there were the (original) Modern Lovers, a little song called “Roadrunner,” and possibly the last band of merit to ever squirm out of Boston’s lonely financial district intact. So to call these initial, Kim Fowley-supervised recordings “seminal” only begins to scratch the sonic surface.
48. Monkees “Headquarters Sessions”
Now I can’t be the only Monkeemaniac out there who froths at the very thought of being able to own every single noise preserved to tape during the making of Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike’s crowning audio achievement …well, CAN I??
49. Mothers of Invention “We’re Only In It for the Money”
More people, sounds, lifestyles, and ideals in general ignobly perish across this album than in a whole heapful of Johnny Cash records, it’s true …but all the while with one great big grin plastered across your (and no doubt Zappa’s) mug, that is.
50. Mungo Jerry “In The Summertime: Original Greatest Hits”
You know, the so-called Rockabilly Revival really began on the opening track of Mungo J’s debut long-player in Britain over three long decades ago: a subterranean mangling of none other than Elvis’ “Baby Let’s Play House” which, most thankfully, reappears here in all of its murky, quasi-Sun fervor.
Gary Pig Gold: