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100 Favourite albums you will not find on other lists (41-60)


There are many lists of best of albums on the internet. What is interesting for me, is the fact that I might agree with many of them, they are not my favourite albums. Even though I agree to the merits of Pet Sounds and Seargent Pepper, I very often listen to them. Now what is the albums that I enjoy listening to the most. Here they are.  If you have any comments, please e-mail us. These albums are alphabetically. Here are the third twenty albums.

Giant - III

Giant - III (2001): By 2001 Melodic Rock was into a phase where most of the albums were rather predictable. Frontier Records were not scared to flood the market with mediocre and poor melodic rock albums. And then Dan Huff and friends returned for their 3rd outing. This is the perfect example of how an AOR melodic Rock album should sound like. All 4 criteria are here: good sing-along songs, good musicianship, good riffs and good guitar solos. For the AOR lover this is the album to take with you where ever you go.


Godsmack - IV

Godsmack - IV (2006) - Read more about this brilliant album in our review section.

Here is a quote from that review: "Godsmack is smacking them self - looking inside themselves for answers. What a revelation. What a change? With this album they have passed Scott Stapp, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains by miles and will not look back. That is why it went to number one."


Golden Earring - MoontanGolden Earring - Moontan (1973) : This 1974 release is Golden Earring's most well-known and highly rated album. It was originally released in the Netherlands with a picture of a nude showgirl on the front, included two tracks not found here (Suzy Lunacy, Just Like Vince Taylor) and left out Big Tree, Blue Sea. You're better off with the five-track version being reviewed.

We all know the popular foot-stomping classic Radar Love, and you can bet it's the first track on Moontan. "Candy's Going Bad" is another brilliant track from Moontan. It's a great catchy rock song with a very cool riff and a short but sweet solo in the middle. Vanilla Queen is a much-loved Earring classic that seems to be about Marylin Monroe. You will find it on a lot of compilations. Big Tree, Blue Sea is a remake of the 1970 version on their self titled album (AKA Wall Of Dolls) from 1970. I prefer this version as the flute sounds better I think. This song has a lot of Jethro Tull-esque flute playing and some very soft, sweet moments in the middle. The Final track, Are You Recieving Me is a lengthy song with some saxophone and some rocking out in the middle.

Grand Funk Railroad - Caught In The Act

Grand Funk Railroad - Caught In The Act: This, together with Grand Funk Live, is one of the best live albums of the 70's. Really captures the excitement of a typical GFR show. Ranks up there with Frampton Comes Alive and Song Remains the Same, though with less improvisation. Should be in every rock enthusiast's collection. A real slice of time when rock was still loyal to it's roots in the blues. The playing is inspired and sung with complete conviction. I know that Grand Funk Live is supposedly a better album, but I enjoy this one more. From the catchy "Footstompin Music" to the blues of "Gimme Shelter" it is a jem. This is defnitely one of my 5 best live albums ever.

Greatest Show On Earth - The Going's Easy

Greatest Show On Earth - The Going's Easy: As had been the case with the Greatest Show on Earth's (GSOE) debut long-player, Horizons (1970), the follow-up, Going's Easy (1970), made very little impact despite their originality and certainly better-than-average material. The band's rather auspicious origins were the invention of EMI Records subsidiary Harvest, who set out to manufacture a British version of Blood, Sweat & Tears or Chicago — both of whom successfully fused a brass and woodwind section into the framework of a rock & roll combo. After a less-than-stellar initial outing, GSOE returned to the drawing board and reconvened with a disc of longer and more jammed-out sides. They had also been listening to their stateside counterparts. The extended track "Borderline" is a group-credited composition that seems to lift several distinct features from the David Clayton Thomas version of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Colin Horton Jennings' (vocals/flute/guitar) bluesy lead vocals seem to practically mimic Thomas'. In fact, GSOE even goes one better than Blood, Sweat & Tears with an exceedingly heavier rock vibe. The acoustic and lilting "Magic Touch Woman" as well as the dark, pastoral "Storytimes & Nursery Rhymes" include some well-crafted harmonies that could easily be mistaken for latter-era Hollies. This is particularly interesting as the Hollies actually scored a minor hit with "Magic Touch Woman." "Love Magnet" is another lengthy track that features some of the band's best ensemble work. Mick Deacon's (vocal/keyboard) electric organ solo is especially noteworthy, giving GSOE a really jazzy workout. Lacking consumer or industry support, GSOE disbanded by mid-1971. Even while the group was able to sell out shows throughout the rest of Europe, the total lack of interest back home inevitably sealed their fate.

The Guess Who - Canned Wheat

The Guess Who - Canned Wheat: As far as late-'60s and early-'70s rock bands go, the Guess Who has been both blessed and cursed. Blessed because their songs are still played quite frequently on oldies radio stations, cursed because they're only remembered for those songs. Truth be told, the Guess Who was a darn good rock band: Burton Cummings's great rock & roll voice — similar in power to Bad Company's Paul Rodgers — keeps even the most overdone Guess Who song fresh, and Randy Bachman's underrated guitar work always serves the song's needs. "Undun"'s wonderful, jazzy riff, which fits the song perfectly, is associated with the overall sound of the Guess Who, not Bachman. 1969's cleverly-titled Canned Wheat introduced several of the band's most remembered songs: "Laughing," "Undun," and "No Time." The album also has six other keepers, including the mellow "6 A.M. or Nearer," complete with jazzy guitar and flute, and the lovely ballad "Minstrel Boy." The original version of "No Time" is fun, even if it isn't radically different; little nuances, like the fade out, shake the listener out of the "I've heard this song a thousand times" syndrome. There are a couple of throwaway bonus tracks, "Species Hawk" and "Silver Bird," that are nice to have, even if they aren't up to the other material. The liner notes are helpful, and it's funny to learn that radio stations ordered copies of "Undun" for airplay, not realizing that it was the B-side of "Laughing." Canned Wheat still sounds incredibly fresh, a product from the heyday of classic rock. For those who want to dig beneath the band's "oldie" status to find the real thing, this album shouldn't be missed.

John Hiatt - Bring The Family

John Hiatt - Bring The Family: In 1987, John Hiatt, clean and sober and looking for an American record deal, was asked by an A&R man at a British label to name his dream band. After a little thought, Hiatt replied that if he had his druthers, he'd cut a record with Ry Cooder on guitar, Nick Lowe on bass, and Jim Keltner on drums. To Hiatt's surprise, he discovered all three were willing to work on his next album; Hiatt and his dream band went into an L.A. studio and knocked off Bring the Family in a mere four days, and the result was the best album of Hiatt's career. The musicians certainly make a difference here, generating a lean, smoky groove that's soulful and satisfying (Ry Cooder's guitar work is especially impressive, leaving no doubt of his singular gifts without ever overstepping its boundaries), but the real triumph here is Hiatt's songwriting. Bring the Family was recorded after a period of great personal turmoil for him, and for the most part the archly witty phrasemaker of his earlier albums was replaced by an wiser and more cautious writer who had a great deal to say about where life and love can take you. Hiatt had never written anything as nakedly confessional as "Tip of My Tongue" or "Learning How to Love You" before, and even straight-ahead R&B-style rockers like "Memphis in the Meantime" and "Thing Called Love" possessed a weight and resonance he never managed before. But Bring the Family isn't an album about tragedy, it's about responsibility and belatedly growing up, and it's appropriate that it was a band of seasoned veterans with their own stories to tell about life who helped Hiatt bring it across; it's a rich and satisfying slice of grown-up rock & roll.

Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden

Iced Earth - The Glorious Burden: On their twelfth full-length, Iced Earth indulge guitarist and principal songwriter Jon Schaeffer's passion — some would say obsession — for history. On the bonus-disc edition, there are 11 tracks on the first disc, and on Disc Two, a three-part suite entitled "Gettysburg." Disc One begins, appropriately enough, with "The Star Spangled Banner," played in overdrive with plenty of crunch, but nonetheless reverently. That statement aside, the album truly begins with "Declaration Day," an examination of the events leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the beginning of the American Revolution. Singer Tim Owens steps into the fray and relates, amid the bone-crushing riffing and half-time drum thud. But interestingly, it's a track that gets juxtaposed with the one that follows it, "When the Eagle Flies." Together they comprise a kind of view across the historical battlefield, from the tyranny of the British Empire to the tyranny of terrorism. The latter cut, with its haunting acoustic guitars in the front line before it breaks wide open, sort of looks back at "Declaration Day," and notes its inspiration. A truly majestic song full of plodding, jarring chords, and a hooky chorus, it is part funeral hymn and part a call-to-arms. Indeed, as the careening bombast of "The Reckoning (Don't Tread on Me)," comes into sharp focus, one can see that Schaeffer's intent is to very clearly showcase the various difficult, and even horrifying, moments confronting America since its inception — one can read the double meanings in all of the songs that have American lore at their core. America isn't the mythical and/or archetypal muse here: on tracks such as "Attila," "Red Baron/Blue Max," and "Waterloo," the metaphors are extended to three other figures from the dust of the past. Also, the deluxe edition contains an unplugged version of "When the Eagle Flies." Musically, this is tough, intensely passionate, no-nonsense heavy metal featuring amazing production and engineering. The bonus disc contains three tracks, the shortest of which is almost seven minutes. In Schaeffer's words and music, the entire Gettysburg campaign comes into focus and is illustrated with gorgeous guitar work, abundant, lush riffs, and drumming that comes from the heart of battle itself. Strings, acoustic guitars, and an epic sense of drama accompany the metal-drenched proceedings that tell a difficult yet glorious tale: it offers no easy answers, and gives great musical pleasure. At last, here is a record about patriotism that contains no jingoism; it offers its perceptions honestly and without compromise, but instead of going along for the ride, it offers a place to argue from, as well as to enjoy. Highly recommended.

Iron Maiden - The X FactorIron Maiden - The X Factor: This is one of the most interesting and most controversial records ever made. The mighty Iron Maiden in what you could call a different costume. The X Factor is clearly their most dark and personal record, just the ingredients that has made it one of their best.

The atmosphere on this record is simply astonishing, dark, gloomy, depressed and dramatic. If you really like this album depends on which style of Maiden you dig, perhaps this is one of those records that you either really like or just never got hooked by.

Sign Of The Cross is an 11-minute epic in the best Maiden Style, a story of a person's struggle with religion and his own questioning thoughts. The enchanting beginning with the gloomy chants sets the dramatic scene for this brilliant composition. There are some great changes in pace and the lead guitar parts are filled with melody and drive.
The chorus is stunning and Blaze Bailey sings the bombastic line amazingly well. His overall performance is really good; his dark edged and at times rough approach fits right into this record.
The detailed drums and the technical bass parts is something worth listening to on it's own, one of Maiden's absolute best songs, the creeping keyboard gives it an extra layer of excitement.

Lord Of The Flies is something very different, a hard pumping song with a lot of power and energy; pretty direct but also highly grooving in it's approach, and man is it good to hear Steve’s bass up front, he throws in a very dominating and vigorous performance in this one.
The solo has a cool laid-back vibe and the way it goes over into a great twin lead melody sounds fantastic.

Man On The Edge is the albums fastest song, a classic melody and a right in your face track with very powerful drums. The brilliant opening guitar lead makes me think a bit of The Evil That Men Do. The fast bass is totally mean and the solo part sparks with intensity and skill, a huge song.

Fortunes Of War is about the mental pain and misery of a soldier who has returned home, a great lyric and a very dark track. I like the slow build-up that sets a comprehensive and dramatic setting, the acoustic rhythm guitar and heavy bass works splendid together. One of the best things about this one is the progressive nature it has, different lead melodies, hard breaks, and great accelerating parts makes it very interesting all the time. As a nice counterbalance to the otherwise very gloomy atmosphere we get a more melodic and dynamic lead melody in the middle, going into some genius and very varied guitar solos.

Look For The Truth has one of the most atmospheric beginnings I can think of, a totally hypnotising moment created by some distant guitar lines and a really cool and dynamic bass. Let me just say it once and for all, Steve Harris is my all-time favourite bass player; he just gives the songs so much extra depth and creativity. The ohh ohh chorus is nevertheless not that intriguing and makes it the least good song on this album. The background keys work out really well and the two guitarist spices things up with a vivid mid-section.

Up next is the The Aftermath, a track that has continued to grow on me for a long time. There is just something amazingly great about the innovative way the vocal parts are put into the structure, again the use of acoustic guitar rhythms is working out very dynamically as an underlying aspect. Blaze’s strong performance reflects the hopelessness of the lyrics in just the right way.
A challenging and technical song with lots of great details and a structure that once again pushes the boundaries of how Maiden can sound like, always nice when bands that dare try something new out and still keeping the roots intact, The X-Factor as a whole represents this element.

Judgment Of Heaven is one of the most melodic songs on the record and it also has a very personal value for me. A fantastic lyric about life itself, the strength you have to find at times to carry on, the questions you have in your head and the doubts and sorrows you feel. A great melodic lead runs through the song, and the chorus part is stunning, just listen to the twin guitar parts in the middle, overly melodic.

Blood On The World's Hands begins with a bass intro from the master of them all, something that is pretty odd for Maiden, but I think it works well in creating a gloomy mood for this highly society critical song. The track has a special rhythm of its own, very slow, hard and epic. It is exactly a song like this that once again shows that Maiden can created something different with success, Blaze sings fantastic and the keyboard/acoustic guitar parts really enhances the variable flow.

The Edge Of Darkness (based on Apocalypse Now, in fact many of these songs have connections to movies) is another brilliant song. From the beginning you get sucked right into this intense story, again about war and madness. The part-wise dual solo is really fantastic, fast and yet with an immensely driving force.
This is one of the darkest and atmospheric songs Maiden has engaged in, featuring a dramatic ending. Oh and by the way check out Nicko’s drumming in the fast part, that’s really great skill and cool details.

2 A.M. is the slowest song of the record. A song about a person who has trouble with finding a meaning with his life, dealing with loneliness and hopelessness. It highlights a serious problem in the society of today, and the depressed atmosphere is very touching. One of the albums biggest pluses is that it takes up these “dark side of the world issues” in a very honest way. At times we all feel a bit down, listening to this record makes me think about things and understand that that is maybe just a process. Few albums have so great a personal meaning to me as The X Factor.
This song has mellow rhythm that fits in nicely with the vocal parts and the mood is captured very well, still it misses something in the middle where the solo sounds a bit too sedative, lacking some breaking element.

The Unbeliever ends this over 71 minutes long dark journey, and again we are dealing with one of Maidens finest moments.

Try release the anger from within
Forgive yourself a few immortal sins
Do you really care what people think
Are you strong enough to release the guilt

This is just a little bit of the great lyric. The musically side is extremely technical, brilliant varied drums, advanced bass chords, melodic guitars and some great vocal lines, this is as progressive as Maiden get and I truly enjoy that they have the insight to make such a complicated and totally thrilling song. In short a perfect track.

The production of the record is dark, tight, hard and yet pretty transparent, matching the music in the most suiting style.

Lyrically it is simply the best Maiden has ever written, I love records that has this certain from start to end theme or mood, this being a perfect example of how to do this without making the lyrics or music monotone or uninspiring.

A very special and challenging album indeed, relying very much on mid-tempo tracks and huge atmospheres, but I think Maiden did the right thing with this one, making songs and lyrics coming straight form the soul.

With 71 minutes of music I’m not that concerned with the fact that a couple of elements aren’t working out that well making a couple of songs lacking a bit behind, overall this is breathtaking and deeply striking music.
The personal relationship I have with these songs, the astonishing musically level and the brilliant atmosphere makes this a completely unique and genius album.

Jethro Tull - AqualungJethro Tull - Aqualung: Released at a time when a lot of bands were embracing pop-Christianity (à la Jesus Christ Superstar), Aqualung was a bold statement for a rock group, a pro-God antichurch tract that probably got lots of teenagers wrestling with these ideas for the first time in their lives. This was the album that made Jethro Tull a fixture on FM radio, with riff-heavy songs like "My God," "Hymn 43," "Locomotive Breath," "Cross-Eyed Mary," "Wind Up," and the title track. And from there, they became a major arena act, and a fixture at the top of the record charts for most of the 1970s. Mixing hard rock and folk melodies with Ian Anderson's dour musings on faith and religion (mostly how organized religion had restricted man's relationship with God), the record was extremely profound for a number seven chart hit, one of the most cerebral albums ever to reach millions of rock listeners. Indeed, from this point on, Anderson and company were compelled to stretch the lyrical envelope right to the breaking point. As a compact disc, Aqualung has gone through numerous editions, mostly owing to problems finding an original master tape when the CD boom began. When the album was issued by Chrysalis through Columbia Records in the mid-'80s, the source tape was an LP production master, and the first release was criticized for thin, tinny sound; Columbia remastered it sometime around 1987 or 1988, in a version with better sound. Chrysalis later switched distribution to Capitol-EMI, and they released a decent sounding CD that is currently available. Chrysalis also issued a 25th anniversary edition in 1996.

Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick RoadElton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was where Elton John's personality began to gather more attention than his music, as it topped the American charts for eight straight weeks. In many ways, the double album was a recap of all the styles and sounds that made John a star. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is all over the map, beginning with the prog rock epic "Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)" and immediately careening into the balladry of "Candle in the Wind." For the rest of the album, John leaps between popcraft ("Bennie and the Jets"), ballads ("Goodbye Yellow Brick Road"), hard rock ("Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"), novelties ("Jamaica Jerk-Off"), Bernie Taupin's literary pretensions ("The Ballad of Danny Bailey"), and everything in between. Though its diversity is impressive, the album doesn't hold together very well. Even so, its individual moments are spectacular and the glitzy, crowd-pleasing showmanship that fuels the album pretty much defines what made Elton John a superstar in the early '70s.

King Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson KingKing Crimson - In The Court Of The Crimson King: This reissue of King Crimson's debut, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969), renders all previous pressings obsolete. In the late '90s, Robert Fripp remastered the entire Crimson catalog for inclusion in a 30th anniversary edition. Nowhere was the upgrade more deserved (or necessary) than on this rock & roll cornerstone. Initially, King Crimson consisted of Robert Fripp (guitar), Ian McDonald (reeds/woodwind/vibes/keyboards/Mellotron/vocals), Greg Lake (bass/vocals), Michael Giles (drums/percussion/vocals), and Peter Sinfield (words/illuminations). As if somehow prophetic, King Crimson projected a darker and edgier brand of post-psychedelic rock. Likewise, they were inherently intelligent — a sort of thinking man's Pink Floyd. Fripp demonstrates his innate aptitude for contrasts and the value of silence within a performance, even as far back as "21st Century Schizoid Man." The song is nothing short of the aural antecedent to what would become the entire heavy alternative/grunge sound. Juxtaposed with that electric intensity is the ethereal noir ballad "I Talk to the Wind." The delicate vocal harmonies and McDonald's achingly poignant flute solo and melodic counterpoint remain unmatched on an emotive level. The surreal and opaque lyrics are likewise an insight to Peter Sinfield's masterful wordplay, which graced their next three releases. The original A-side concludes with the powerful sonic imagery of "Epitaph." The haunting Mellotron wails, and Fripp's acoustic — as well as electric — guitar counterpoints give the introduction an almost sacred feel, adding measurably to the overall sinister mood. Giles' percussion work provides a pungent kick during the kettle drum intro and to the aggressive palpitation-inducing rhythm in the chorus. "Moonchild" is an eerie love song that is creepy, bordering on uncomfortable. The melody is agile and ageless, while the instrumentation wafts like the wind through bare trees. Developing out of the song is an extended improvisation that dissolves into a non-structured section of free jazz, with brief guitar lines running parallel throughout. The title track, "In the Court of the Crimson King," completes the disc with another beautifully bombastic song. Here again, the foreboding featured in Sinfield's lyrics is instrumentally matched by the contrasting verbosity in the chorus and the delicate nature of the verses and concluding solos. Of course, this thumbnail appraisal pales in comparison to experiencing the actual recording. Thanks to Fripp and company's laborious efforts, this 30th anniversary edition sports sound as majestic as it has ever been within the digital domain. Frankly, the HDCD playback compatibility even bests the warmth and timbre of an original 1-A vinyl pressing. This is especially critical during the quieter passages throughout "Moonchild" and "I Talk to the Wind." Initial releases were housed in a limited-edition gatefold replica of the original LP packaging and were accompanied by an oversized 12-page memorabilia booklet with photos and press clippings from the era.

Krokus - Headhunter

Krokus - Headhunter: Expanding on their latest entry into reintroducing the many classic-or in this case almost classic in spite of themselves but not quite there-three pivotal releases in the career of Swiss metal outfit, Krokus. Krokus was a big name player during the early '80s having just established themselves in the U.S. with this first and inarguably their finest recording, "Headhunter." Their big radio hit "Screaming in the Night," which also featured the video with singer Marc Storace walking along the diner countertop and beckoning for his lost love. a sad but powerful song that really broke ground for the band that up to then had released several albums for the Arista label with little or no public attention. Their prior releases were decent enough but "Headhunter" was a killer-no pun intended-it was pure metal with not a weak track on the album. The storming lead track "Headhunter" still sounds as fiery today as back then as they really upped the recording anti with really the first good quality material they'd done-attributable more to the year probably than anything else but this was a five member band with two guitarists and here you could finally hear it! "Eat the Rich" was another single from the record, a cruiser quality anthem that bitches about life being just that. The record had only nine songs on it and so falling short as many of the old favorites do but the many sleeper hits that deserved further exposure included the smokin' "Ready to Burn," "Night Wolf," and the old BTO remake of "Stayed Awake All Night," whose title would be used years later on a limited "Best Of."

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd: The Allman Brothers came first, but Lynyrd Skynyrd epitomized Southern rock. The Allmans were exceptionally gifted musicians, as much bluesmen as rockers. Skynyrd was nothing but rockers, and they were Southern rockers to the bone. This didn't just mean that they were rednecks, but that they brought it all together — the blues, country, garage rock, Southern poetry — in a way that sounded more like the South than even the Allmans. And a large portion of that derives from their hard, lean edge, which was nowhere more apparent than on their debut album, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd. Produced by Al Kooper, there are few records that sound this raw and uncompromising, especially records by debut bands. Then again, few bands sound this confident and fully formed with their first record. Perhaps the record is stronger because it's only eight songs, so there isn't a wasted moment, but that doesn't discount the sheer strength of each song. Consider the opening juxtaposition of the rollicking "I Ain't the One" with the heartbreaking "Tuesday's Gone." Two songs couldn't be more opposed, yet Skynyrd sounds equally convincing on both. If that's all the record did, it would still be fondly regarded, but it wouldn't have been influential. The genius of Skynyrd is that they un-self-consciously blended album-oriented hard rock, blues, country, and garage rock, turning it all into a distinctive sound that sounds familiar but thoroughly unique. On top of that, there's the highly individual voice of Ronnie Van Zant, a songwriter who isn't afraid to be nakedly sentimental, spin tales of the South, or to twist macho conventions with humor. And, lest we forget, while he does this, the band rocks like a motherf*cker. It's the birth of a great band that birthed an entire genre with this album.

Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom: The Best of Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald - Sweet Freedom: The Best of Michael McDonald: Michael has made a huge difference in Steely Dan. The he moved to the Doobie Brothers. never in history has changed a band so drastically and became so popular. They even won Grammy Awards. But his best was yet to come. My best song of alltime is defnitely On my own with PAtti Labelle. You cannot get better. And on this compilation of his best songs you have everything - from the Doobies to his duets to his solo songs. A must for everybody that loves a voice with soul in it. Michael is defnitely Mr. Soul


Midnight Oil - Diesel and Dust

Midnight Oil - Diesel and Dust: Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett has long been active in elective politics in Australia, and like any good politician, he knows that sometimes the most important thing is to get your message out to the masses, even it means speaking with a bit less force than might be your custom. While the hard edges and challenging angles of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and Red Sails in the Sunset made Midnight Oil bona fide superstars in Australia, they were little more than a rumor in most of the rest of the world, and for their sixth album, Diesel and Dust, the band made some changes in their approach. On Diesel and Dust, there's less in the way of bruising hard rock like "Best of Both Worlds," nothing as eccentric as "Outside World," and very little as esoterically regional as "Jimmy Sharman's Boxers," while the production favors the tuneful side of the band's songwriting (which, truth to tell, was always there) and buffs away some of the band's harsher edges. As a result, Diesel and Dust isn't an album for hardcore Oils fans, but as a bid for a larger audience, it was both shrewd and well executed — it was the group's first real worldwide success, going platinum in America and spawning a massive hit single, "Beds Are Burning." While the album lacks the kick-in-the-head impact of their earlier work, Diesel and Dust also makes clear that this band could apply their intelligence and passion to less aggressive material and still come up with forceful, compelling music, as on the haunting "The Dead Heart" and the poppy but emphatic "Dreamworld." And as always, there was no compromise in the band's forceful political stance — most of the album's songs deal openly with the issues of Aboriginal rights (hardly an issue pertinent only to Australians), and one of Midnight Oil's greatest victories may well be writing a song explicitly demanding reparations for indigenous peoples, and seeing it top the charts around the world. And the closer, "Sometimes," may be the finest and most moving anthem the band ever wrote ("Sometimes you're beaten to the core/Sometimes you're taken to the wall/But you don't give in"). Diesel and Dust is that rarity, a bid for the larger audience that's also an artistic success and a triumph for leftist politics — even the Clash never managed that hat trick this well.

The Moody Blues - Days Of Future PassedThe Moody Blues - Days Of Future Passed: This album marked the formal debut of the psychedelic-era Moody Blues; though they'd made a pair of singles featuring new (as of 1966) members Justin Hayward and John Lodge, Days of Future Passed was a lot bolder and more ambitious. What surprises first-time listeners — and delighted them at the time — is the degree to which the group shares the spotlight with the London Festival Orchestra without compromising their sound or getting lost in the lush mix of sounds. That's mostly because they came to this album with the strongest, most cohesive body of songs in their history, having spent the previous year working up a new stage act and a new body of material (and working the bugs out of it on-stage), the best of which ended up here. Decca Records had wanted a rock version of Dvorak's "New World Symphony" to showcase its enhanced stereo-sound technology, but at the behest of the band, producer Tony Clarke (with engineer Derek Varnals aiding and abetting) hijacked the project and instead cut the group's new repertory, with conductor/arranger Peter Knight adding the orchestral accompaniment and devising the bridge sections between the songs and the album's grandiose opening and closing sections. The record company didn't know what to do with the resulting album, which was neither classical nor pop, but following its release in December of 1967, audiences found their way to it as one of the first pieces of heavily orchestrated, album-length psychedelic rock to come out of England in the wake of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour albums. What's more, it was refreshingly original, rather than an attempt to mimic the Beatles; sandwiched among the playful lyricism of "Another Morning" and the mysticism of "The Sunset," songs like "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Twilight Time" (which remained in their concert repertory for three years) were pounding rockers within the British psychedelic milieu, and the harmony singing (another new attribute for the group) made the band's sound unique. With "Tuesday Afternoon" and "Nights In White Satin" to drive sales, Days of Future Passed became one of the defining documents of the blossoming psychedelic era, and one of the most enduringly popular albums of its era. On CD, its history was fairly spotty until 1997, when it was remastered by Polygram; that edition blows every prior CD release (apart from Mobile Fidelity's limited-edition disc) out of contention, though this record is likely due for another upgrade — and probably a format jump, perhaps to DVD-Audio — on or before its 40th anniversary in 2007.

Gary Moore - Still Got The BluesGary Moore - Still Got The Blues: Released in 1990, this CD should pretty much be old news now, and it would seem that most everyone has either heard this CD for themselves or gotten an opinion on it from a trusted friend. Still, whenever someone asks me to make a few recommendations for guitar oriented blues-rock CD's, Still Got The Blues is always in my first list of suggestions. A surprising number of times the recipient of my suggestions either has not heard of Gary Moore or hasn't heard this CD. If you enjoy blues-rock guitar and don't have this one in your collection, read on.
While I'm not absolutely certain of this, I believe Gary was the first hard rock guitarist to cross over to blues by dedicating a full CD to the genre. There have been a string of "heavy blues" releases and blues CDs produced by predominantly rock guitarists since the release of Still Got The Blues, most notably the numerous releases on Shrapnel's Blue Bureau International division. But it's my feeling that Gary set a standard in this area that has yet to be equaled. (I'll likely be challenged on that statement, however).
Simply put, Gary Moore stands comfortably among the top rock/blues guitar players, past and present. He does rock the blues, there's no disputing that, playing powerful chords and ripping off lots of rapid fire leads throughout the CD. But the emotional aspect of blues music is not lost in a flurry of notes, as sometimes happens with this style of play. Gary injects tremendous passion into his playing. And the gutsy, sustained growl oozing from his Les Paul makes me wonder why Fenders are so prominently prefered by bluesmen. Completing the package, Gary's vocals are very good as well.
Albert Collins and Albert King each make guest appearances, both trading licks with Gary. The contrast of playing styles between Gary and these blues veterans makes for some interesting listening. George Harrison also makes a guest appearance, playing slide guitar on That Kind of Woman. Of the 12 tracks, most of them are medium or fast paced, but there are three slower ballads to break things up. The most notable of these slower numbers is the title cut, Still Got The Blues, on which Gary does some very nice melodic, passionate lead work. In all, there are 5 originals and 7 covers.
As with many CDs I review, this CD features lots of aggressive guitar, and mostly upbeat, faster paced blues-rock songs. If you are a fan of guitar-driven blues rock, there's no question this CD needs to be in your collection.

Van Morrison - Moondance

Van Morrison - Moondance: The yang to Astral Weeks' yin, the brilliant Moondance is every bit as much a classic as its predecessor; Van Morrison's first commercially successful solo effort, it retains the previous album's deeply spiritual thrust but transcends its bleak, cathartic intensity to instead explore themes of renewal and redemption. Light, soulful, and jazzy, Moondance opens with the sweetly nostalgic "And It Stoned Me," the song's pastoral imagery establishing the dominant lyrical motif recurring throughout the album — virtually every track exults in natural wonder, whether it's the nocturnal magic celebrated by the title cut or the unlimited promise offered in "Brand New Day." At the heart of the record is "Caravan," an incantatory ode to the power of radio; equally stirring is the majestic "Into the Mystic," a song of such elemental beauty and grace as to stand as arguably the quintessential Morrison moment.

Mother's Finest - Live

Mother's Finest - Live: Mother's Finest tried to smash the embargo blocking black rock acts with this live record. It was the closest any album came to actually conveying the kind of nonstop excitement, spontaneity, and unpredictability of their live shows, although it also showed how vocally erratic they could be in performance. The failure of a band that had as exciting a vocalist as Joyce Kennedy and did both solid rock and fine grinding funk proved one of the '80s' more puzzling questions. It couldn't just be attributed to racism either, because Mother's Finest actually did better among white audiences than black ones. If you like funk and you like hard rock this album is for you. For me they are much better than Red Hot Chili Peppers and Glenn Hughes. Brilliant band.

Next 20 albums 61-80


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