January 05, 2014

Ten Formative Albums

This one has been floating around Facebook, and I started doing it there, but decided it warranted a blog post!
RULES: In your status update, list ten albums that have stayed with you over the years in some way. Don’t take too long on this list - just a few minutes, tops. These don’t need to be “great” records or critical darlings. Just records that have meant something to you personally.

1. Neil Young - Live RustWhat's not to love, two sides of acoustic music I could play, two sides of guitar distortion I could play, and Neil Young's  vocals and harmonica playing seemed wholly within reach. Jimmy Fallon, I (along with a significant portion of my peer group with access to a guitar and a harmonic holder) did Neil Young impressions first

2. Lou Reed - Rock and Roll Animal I was a little old and a little uncool to get The Velvet Underground - but this album unlocked the whole NYC glam / punk / new wave scene for me.

3. The Who - Tommy I did a college thesis on this album, and to this date I can pretty much sing it through. I've never collected many Who albums, but this one I've always updated to the latest format.

4. On a Winter's Night (compilation) Not the more recent xmas / holiday release, this one is from North Star Records (1990). My intros to acoustic / singer songwriter music, and I discovered so many artists here that went on to become faves: John Gorka, Patty Larkin, Bill Morrissey, Julie Gold, Hugh Blumenfeld, Christine Lavin, David Wilcox, Cheryl Wheeler, David Mallett. There's a lifetime of music to listen to right there.

5. Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run I could pick any of a half dozen Springsteen albums (Darkness, The River, Wild, Innocent, Nebraska), but hey - Jungleland.

6. The Clash - London Calling Sandanista is a close second. If I've got the stereo blasting as I pull into the yoga studio, it's probably this album.

7. The Kinks - Kink KroniklesA little young and uncool to collect Kinks albums back in the day, but I wore out my vinyl copy of this one

8. The Cars - The Cars It's a little dated but it takes me right back to high school and it launched my rock music career. I still remember hearing that they mixed it on car stereo speakers so it would sound good in the car.

9. Dar Williams - The Honesty Room I was a Dar fan before THR came out - I actually own one of her pre-CD cassettes. So I've felt a little protective of her over the years and proud of her success. I bought my first copy of this from her at Roaring Brook Nature Center (where she was the featured performer for Open Mic night, not even a headliner) You never forget your first love. 

10. Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive
Back in '77-'78 you either wore out Saturday Night Fever or you wore out this disk. This one was everywhere. If there were ubiquitous cell phones or digital cameras (or even videotape recorders) back in the day, one would be able to dig up footage of me faking the "do you feel like I do" vocoder bits, playing my Peavey T-60 through a wah-wah pedal at an end of school year lawn party. Any rock star aspirations I've entertained were born of this album. 

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