With today’s instant gratification mindsets and the need to have the latest & greatest in the palm of your hands now or as soon as yesterday, everything out there in the world is quick and calculated. Right down to how we get and then choose to listen to our music. Get a single track on your iPod, download a stream of it and have all the hits or tracks you like in one small byte sized file. Listen to a whole album at once on the same day? Now that’s where the magic is! There’s nothing the like physical security of knowing that your coveted and cherished favorite albums are safe in your very hands and not on some device that could be destroyed or erased at any moment and without warning.
But there is still a dedicated and loyal following of records, full albums, concept tracks, b-sides and rarities, people who love LPs and all their different covers, versions, and territory re-issues, and the joy and happiness they bring when you finally get your hands on that rare mono version made only in the Netherlands with all those bonus tracks that weren’t written by the band in their acoustic live versions. Well, this blog is written for you, and I’m hoping you’ll find a laugh and some great records along the way
Here is my little list of vinyl LPs that I recommend that you add to your collection, some are well known and some may not be, but sharing music and information are both powerful things, and here is my little gift of power. (That sounded better in my head when I was writing this out!)
Baby, what a big surprise?
This album has one of the lead songwriters, Terry Kath, in the band at that time all over it, but this was to be his swan song, as he had accidentally but fatally shot himself with a gun a few months after the album was released in 1977. He was playing with a loaded gun, and we all know that is not a wise thing to do. Nevertheless, the music on this album shows a transitional period for the band. Mostly, I’m a fan of the aforementioned Peter Cetera track above, but there are some other good ones here such as ‘Take Me Back to Chicago’ and ‘Till The End Of Time’. I like the horns and the flow of it, and ’50s sounding vibe of the track; maybe James Pankow’s vocals are an acquired taste, to me they perfectly suit this track and I love it. This is a great album if you are fan of many of the musical eras of Chicago, from their early blues based sound to their slicker 80s pop, you’ll find more of the former here, but this is a band and album in change and can almost read like a collection of solo songs. It doesn’t hinder the music; give it a spin!
I recently heard this big bad (bad as in, good!) album played cover to cover on my local radio station just before Christmas on their “On The Record” special where they take classic albums from the ’70s and ’80s and play the h-e-double hockey sticks out of them, and it’s great. It was here where I discovered just how awesome this album is. Favorite tracks are ‘Jungle’, I can’t escape that back beat, and ‘Starlight’ with it’s amazing chorus and the uplifting melodic voice that belongs to vocalist and band leader Jeff Lynne on this track, he owns it. Actually he owns all of it as he is the sole writer and producer of the album. I guess he’s pretty good at his craft? Elsewhere, ‘Turn to Stone’ is one of the singles but it really shines in the chorus, Lynne is great at creating memorable melodies that stay in my head, and they will be stuck in yours too, unless your head is too full. See a doctor. Then come home and rock this out. ‘Night In the City’ is hard paced and trippy, and again such a catchy chorus, that seems to be this bands main strength and it shows. There’s a lot music diversity to satisfy fans of many genres. It’s a full commitment to listen to in it’s entirety but it will be full of rewards. A large gate-fold record for your viewing pleasure, and this folks is something can’t download, a feeling.
This is one of my favorite movies of all time, and this is my favorite of the Beverly Hills Cop movie franchise. The first is usually the best. So it’s quite fitting that the top pop hits of the day are featured here, and as a compilation “mix tape” goes, this is a good one. In the year 2017, I find an album like this refreshing and stimulating. Remember the days of creating mixed tapes of your favorite songs that you heard on the radio. Well, this is like having those results on one album in one place. I also happen to think it’s pretty cool cover, another amazing feature of LPs – the sheer graphic size of the eye candy that is the LP album art.
The movie and songs here are well known, so I will just say that my favorite tracks are ‘New Attitude’ by Patti Labelle, ‘Neutron Dance’ by Pointer Sisters, of course the famous ‘Axel F’ by Harold Faltermeyer, ‘Rock N Roll Me Again’ by The System and ‘Don’t Get Stopped in Beverly Hills’ by Shalamar. Pure early ’80s music appreciation, before the full on over the top decadence kicks in about 1-2 years later.
I love this band, they are one of my favourites of any style and genre. They have so many great songs, from their 35+ year career with even their latest surprise album being incredible to my ears, I really love their music. Did I make that clear? This album gets lost in the shuffle because it doesn’t necessarily pack the hit fire power of the debut or “IV” but it has some stand out racks that should not be over looked. One of their best songs, ’99’ is here along with the David Paich sung ‘All Us Boys’ which is a fun and free-wheeling, yet heavy song that just seems to encapsulate what life was like at the end of the 1970s, a time when people got out and enjoyed life and had fun, and listed to REAL MADE music. This is that track. I’m also a big fan of ‘St. George and the Dragon’; Bobby Kimball had (has?) an amazing high voice and it suited the songs well, the same goes for guitarist Steve Lukather’s rich baritone voice, they blended well as vocalists to the music that the band was making at this time. And if you wanted to go deeper into baritone country, keyboardist David Paich, though he doesn’t always take lead on Toto tracks, has a distinct tone and tenor, and just uplifts the song no matter what else may be going on in the background. To me, this is both the appeal and the hindrance of the band as far as reaching wider audience who may only know tunes like ‘Africa’ and ‘Rosanna’; with all the incredible voices featured in the band, sometimes it was hard to identify that these were from the same band and the brand may have faltered because of it.
This album should not be overlooked and has a beautiful gate fold display for your viewing pleasure. Other tracks I recommend are ‘Lorraine’ and ‘White Sister’. Paich and Kimball are all over this album, it may have missed the mark but deserves your attention; great music is always available!
This is the one and only album by Mark and it was completed around his one and only hit song ‘The Push and Kick’ which is a cool number. This may be the definition of a one-hit wonder here, as the label itself folded up after a few years and never had a hit like this one in it’s time since. This is one ’60s song that is not in over-played hell and is fresh when you hear it today. If you like ’60s pop and rhythm, this is a song and an album for you. It’s a rare gem, I don’t believe it was ever released on CD or even cassette for that matter. it was a limited run release at the time on the label (1962). Add this to your steadily climbing record collection, if not for this track then his nice rendition of ‘Sixteen Candles’ – the opening harmony of his voice on this song is pure and soulful and simply makes this track. More examples of this are found on the song ‘Silhouettes”, it’s catchy and has a great shuffle and drive to it. Again, like all tracks on this album, Mark’s voice is what pulls you in, with the great songs behind the voice make this a rare classic. If you love vinyl SOUNDING albums and 1960s pop crooning, this one is waiting to be yours.
Kim Wilde rocks, and she has an amazing body of work (I mean music, you dirty minded rascals, although…) and her biggest hit is here, the cover of the staple ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ with a slick ’80s production and is a fast paced little Hi-NRG styled track here which was so poplar in the late 1980s but also so good, so much more catchy than the computerised pro-tooling of today. Kim Wilde doesn’t get the same mentions that artists like Madonna and Mariah Carey do, but really her overall sound is different, it has that British timbre and tone, and her lyrics are a little more raw and direct in many cases.
This album is a little more rock with some bigger guitars, and that is why I constantly go back to it, it never sounds dated to me and seems fresh every time I listen to it. Other stand out tracks are ‘Say You Really Want Me’; her passionate and desperate tone in her voice just get me and I can feel like she’s singing to me. Strange fantasies? No, great music. Also I must recommend tracks like the ‘Another Step’, ‘Schoolgirl’ and her solo written ‘Don’t Say Nothing’s Changed’ which is a beautiful ballad. The theme in most of my little reviews here are enjoying songs that are not overplayed and worn out on classic 80s themed radio stations, and that’s why the album is so good because you listen to it when you are ready for it and in the mood, that’s when your mind is the most open to it and you get the most out of the record. And then it never leaves you. So start your Kim Wilde journey here, and then also check out her 1982 album “Select”. It’s awesome – very descriptive, right?
(Note: this album features the re-released cover which was released a few months after the initial album. Why? I do not know…she actually looks kinda scary in that photo. I like it)
Alan Parsons and his music is not for everyone, but it’s for me and I’ll bet it can be for you too. The music he and is partner Eric Woolfson create is both accessible from a pop standard as well as intricate and spacey, thought provoking, and is good at criss-crossing a few genres in the process ; Overall, they just make interesting and great music. I choose this album because it doesn’t have their obvious hit on it, though you can check that out here. On this album, with an intelligent and interesting (clever?) title, you get some great vocals, some instrumentals, and a lot to dig into and get to know. The track ‘Time’ would be the first “time” that Eric Woolfson would sing on an APP song. The themes on this album also work around short references to poems written by the legendary Edgar Allen Poe (think “The Raven”) and introspective lyrics. It’s making you think but there is no hard work involved, this record was made for your listening pleasure. Again, enjoy another benefit of an LP when you see the haunting and picturesque cover album art. A king in their discography for sure!
Thank you for checking out this blog, I will be posting more of my choice vinyls in the coming months – you have been warned, I mean, informed.