Your humble Rock and Roll Reporter rummaged through a lifetime of music just the other day, and came up with a bunch of items he hopes YOU will be listening to soon as well:
1. “25 All-Time Greatest Bubblegum Hits”
The Monkees, The Banana Splits, Josie and her Pussycats, a whole slew of Kasenetz-Katzery and, of course, the hallowed Archies as well: What better possible way to kick off our countdown?
2. Allin, G.G. “The Troubled Troubadour”
At the time – roughly the length and breadth of the Reagan administration – some called this punk rock, some called it performance art, some called it a big pile of fecal matter (quite literally, as it sometimes turned out). And others just called the cops when the poop actually did begin to hit the fans …but in this mega-jaded age of Osbournes and Fox Television, G.G. in a way can seem quite quaint and oddly reassuring given half a chance, or even half an ear.
3. Animals “The Twain Shall Meet”
In the throes of his immediate post-original Animals, SoCal revelry, Eric Burdon produced four lysergic-drenched albums which continue to haunt the man (not to mention his most loyal followers) to this very day …yet for the magnum opus “Sky Pilot” alone, this second in the afore-mentioned series of long-playing parables truly deserves a nice close, San Francisco listen.
4. Ant Bee “Lunar Muzik”
Billy James (aka the Ant-Bee) has a way of surrounding himself with legends the likes of Don Preston, Hawkwind and even Grand Funk Railroad in order to get his manic musical message fully across, and seldom has he succeeded quite so effectively as on this particular ever-swirling song cycle …which features, not surprisingly at all you see, four-fifth’s of the original Alice Cooper Band!
5. Beach Boys “Party!”
Not only unplugged, but thoroughly unhinged to boot, one can distinctly hear Dennis Wilson singing John Lennon, Al Jardine jeering “The Times They Are A’Changin’” and, far in the background, someone actually laughing at one of Mike Love (not war)’s one-liners, I kid you not.
6. Bee Gees “Brilliant from Birth”
Before Tony Manero, before the Cucumber Castle even, there were, and forever remain, these sixty-three (count ‘em!) slices of rare, precious, beautiful Australian-vintage Gibb glory.
7. Berry, Chuck “The Great Twenty Eight”
Elvis may have had the pelvis (and the Colonel), but when it comes right down to it, CHUCK possessed the all-rocking, duck-walking goods.
8. Blue Cheer “Vincebus Eruptum”
This is the band, and the album, that does not jest when it claims to turn air into cottage cheese.
9. Bono, Sonny “Inner Views”
The, uh, brains behind Sonny and Cher went so-low with this thoroughly flabbergasting 1967 long-player, an expanded version of which is even available from those lovable obsessives over at Rhino Handmade!
10. Buckingham, Lindsey “Go Insane”
Fleetwood Mac’s resident Eraserhead had his own unique way of dealing with post-“Rumours” pressure: Locking himself up in his state-of-the-art garage and issuing brilliantly cracked musical letters-from-home every ten years or so to an increasingly bewildered following.
11. Candypants “Candypants”
Lisa Jenio and her band of lusty Los Angelenos read deeply between the lines of Ronnie Spector’s mascara to bring hitherto unenvisioned meaning to words like “pony up” on this long-lasting SweetTart for the ears.
12. Chad and Jeremy “Of Cabbages And Kings”
Boldly treading where Peter and Gordon had never gone before, Mr. Clyde and especially Mr. Stuart spent their next-to-last Columbia album making their Big Statement with the fully-dimensional-stereo five-movement, seventeen-minute-plus “Progress Suite” …which immediately leads me to ask that age-old question, “Why do you think they called it dope?”
13. Cheepskates “Waiting for Unta”
Live albums really should always sound exactly like this souvenir of Shane Faubert and band bar-storming Germany in the very late Eighties, the contrary cover of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” certainly not withstanding.
14. Connors, Stompin’ Tom “A Proud Canadian”
He’s released over fifty albums in his home and native land, and staunchly refuses to perform their contents anywhere else …yet this superb twenty-track retrospective is slowly but surely leaking below the 49th parallel and, when it crosses your tracks, deserves both your attention and support.
15. Cowsills “Global”
America’s once and forever First Family of Song may have taken three whole decades to bounce back from “The Rain, The Park…” and oh so many other things, but this 1998 release not only regains the band to their past status as harmonious siblings of the highest order (and pitch!), but places them squarely at the forefront of the entire Power Pop movement they, in their initial phase, themselves helped inspire!
16. Dale, Dick “The Tiger’s Loose”
One of the most magical (and LOUD) moments of my entire life occurred at the Golden Bear club in Huntington Beach, when the King of the Surf Guitar Himself stood with his bare feet on my very ringside table to tear out a searing cut of “The
Wedge.” This recording of that very night indelibly proves I wasn’t just CA dreaming it at all.
17. Dead Boys “Night Of The Living Dead Boys”
Whenever these Cleveland cut-ups started singing about getting caught with the meat in their mouths, or threatened to drain their nasal cavities over the front few rows, you just had to laugh (as opposed to lunge) at how utterly entertaining Stiv and his Boys were in a goofy, sub-Aerosmith kinda way …and this disc most colorfully captures them on stage at the very apex of their Carbona-sniffin’ anti-glory.
18. Deep Purple “Deep Purple”
Just before they joined the bedenimed ranks of the Power Boogie Bands (and back when they still had a singer who looked just like the late, extremely great Lux Interior!) Deep Purple were still forging heavy metal from such unlikely sources as Joe South and even Neil Diamond, and this eponymous effort houses those last great gasps before they started blowing smoke over the water instead.
19. Donovan “HMS Donovan”
In which our fave Scottish bard bravely unplugs upon the altar of Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear and W.B. Yeats, forever ending his string of comparatively rockin’ visits to the upper reaches of Billboard’s Hot 100.
20. Dowd, Johnny “Wrong Side of Memphis”
Tom Waits wages a straight-razor fight in the depths of Death Valley with Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band, all to the accompaniment of Nico fronting a Jimbo-less Doors …OR: How a middle-aged moving man from upstate New York deftly reinvents the darkest underbelly of all things Americana.
21. Dylan, Bob “Live 1966”
His Bobness, nor anyone else for that matter, has yet to approach the quicksilver majesty which electrifies each and every note of this most powerful, all-eclipsing performance …and who can blame them?
22. Everly Brothers “Roots”
Getting back to one’s, yes, Roots was all the fashion when the post-“Pepper” parade ground to a welcome halt as Sixties became Seventies. But, as always, Don and Phil were there first, sang it most authentically, and defied all comers to do it (or duet) any better.
23. Firesign Theatre “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus”
All-talking, all-bets-off non-music for the mind: Those who spent their college years under headphones, unsafely under the Firesign’s spell, never ever got off at the end of the ride quite the same again …and it works just as well today, by the way!
24. Fischer, Wild Man “An Evening With Wild Man Fischer”
There truly were some real cute kooks working the musical basins of L.A. back in those halcyon daze of yore, and not surprisingly an alarming number of them eventually ended up in the employ of Frank Zappa: Alice Cooper, Lowell George, Captain Don Van Vliet of course and, in retrospect most significantly of all, the one, the lonely, Larry Fischer.
25. Flamin’ Groovies “Groovies’ Greatest Grooves”
Once the skinny-tied brigades of that so-called New Wave had finally stumbled upon the Groovies’ rich catalog of expert retro-pop, the masters themselves were already one tight pant-leg into the delete bin. But the two-dozen nouveau-nuggets in this collection save for the ages just how visionary Cyril Jordan, Roy Loney et al really had been all along.
Gary Pig Gold: