(1989) EMI label. Original release gatefold jacket. I purchased this album at Tower Records in Westwood in 1989. Fish is the former lead singer of the band Marillion. After a very abusive split with the band, this is his debut solo effort. I will save much of my thoughts on Fish for the Marillion albums I own (which are several). I will say this record sounds very dated to my 2016 ears; lots of horns, and anthemic big songs (Big Wedge) which is perfect for the rolling credits of some 1980’s cop/buddy picture starring Eddie Murphy and some white guy… or Mel Gibson and some black guy…
Big Wedge (5:19)
State Of Mind (4:42)
The Company (4:04)
A Gentleman’s Excuse (4:15)
Family Business (5:14)
View From The Hill (6:38)
You may ask if I own any other Fish solo albums. Other than two EP’s from Vigil the answer is NO. You may ask if I own any Marillion albums after Fish left the band. Other than the first one after he left entitled Season’s End, the answer is NO. Together Fish and Marillion was a special cocktail. Apart, they are so so.
(1981) Camden label. UK pressing purchased used– I don’t remember how I acquired this album. I do know it is the first Elvis greatest hits I purchased. It has most of the standard Elvis songs and several lesser known ones. Time stamps taken from other source: album does not list them.
(1958) RCA Victor label. Reissue purchased used at Amoeba Records in Los Angeles probably in 2012? This is one of those purchases inspired by flipping through the bins on an Amoeba run with Illinois. No denying the contributions Elvis made to rock and roll and any self respecting collection should have at least one Elvis Presley album. I have two not including my Elvis xmas albums. This album has all the hits you would ever really want to hear from the early 1950’s releases. According to All Music Guide it was the first rock and roll greatest hits album. It also has my favorite Elvis song Love Me; a Leiber/Stoller composition. It is an Elvis song I never get tired of hearing.
Hound Dog (2:15)
Loving You (2:15)
All Shook Up (1:58)
Heartbreak Hotel (2:08)
Jailhouse Rock (2:30)
Love Me (2:43)
Too Much (2:32)
Don’t Be Cruel (2:03)
That’s When Your Heartaches Begin (3:25)
(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (1:53)
Love Me Tender (2:45)
Treat Me Nice (2:12)
Anyway You Want Me (That’s How I Will Be) (2:15)
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You (2:39)
I am a collector, but I am not the collector Illinois is… he can take several H O U R S looking at records in a record store. I can see everything I want to see in about an hour– if I really stretch it. After about an hour my feet begin to yell at me and the store begins to swirl around– this has always been the case with me– this is not a reflection of my ever lengthening timeline on the planet.
All this to say, when Illinois is not yet ready to leave, it forces me to take up more time in the stacks and makes me think of other artists to go look at– such is the case with this purchase.
(1977) Original release, double LP, gatefold jacket with original inner sleeves including lyrics. Obtained this album from the collection Illinois purchased. This is the band’s eighth release and the line up remains unchanged from the previous two albums. This double record set was a huge commercial success. It’s a little heavy footed at times (Jungle) but it ranks right up there with the best music of 1977.
Turn To Stone (3:47)
It’s Over (4:08)
Sweet Talkin’ Woman (3:48)
Across The Border (3:53)
Night In The City (4:01)
Steppin’ Out (4:39)
Standing’ In The Rain (4:21)
Big Wheels (5:05)
Summer And Lightening (4:14)
Mr. Blue Sky (5:05)
Sweet Is The Night (3:26)
The Whale (5:02)
Birmingham Blues (4:23)
Wild West Hero (4:42)
My favorite tracks on the album are Starlight and Steppin’ Out. This is the last ELO album in my collection. Jeff Lynne is still touring with the band which is now called Jeff Lynne’s ELO. I have days when I “put on an ELO record” because it just feels like the right thing to do. My children know this music and not because it has been overplayed on FM radio or because it was used in some commercial advertisement. Rather, they know it because they heard it growing up in our house.
(1976) Jet label. Original issue with original inner sleeve with lyrics. Obtained this album in a collection Illinois purchased. The band members are the same as their previous album Face The Music. This is their seventh release. This is a classic in the best sense of the word.
Telephone Line (4:38)
Mission ( A World Record) (4:25)
So Fine (3:54)
Livin’ Thing (3:31)
Above The Clouds (2:16)
Do Ya (3:43)
Telephone Line was a big hit– in 1976 one suffered so much heartbreak waiting on the end of a telephone line that never got answered. Rockaria! used the basic structure of a Chuck Berry song and blew it up to the heavens. So Fine is the perfect song to play while driving PCH on a summer day– the crazy percussion and electronic jam towards the end is amazing!!! So many signature pieces/intros– the stringed intro to Livin’ Thing and the guitar intro to Do Ya are rock perfection.
When you consider how much rock and roll developed/transformed/explored from 1956 to 1976 it blows your mind. The nice thing about it all is I can enjoy all of this exploration and art in the same format — the LP AND I still have the means to enjoy it.
(1975) Jet Records. Original release with original inner sleeve including lyrics. I purchased this used at Rhino Records Claremont sometime in the early 1990’s. The line up on this album is: Jeff Lynne on guitar, vocals and backing vocals; Bev Bevan on drums, percussion and backing vocals; Richard Tandy on piano, moog, guitar and clavinet; Kelly Groucutt on bass, vocals and backing vocals; Mik Kaminski on violin; Hugh McDowall on cello; Melvyn Gale on cello.
Fire On High (5:29)
Evil Woman (4:34)
Strange Magic (4:29)
Down Home Town (3:53)
One Summer Dream (5:45)
Plenty of popular tunes on this album. CBS Sports Spectacular perfectly selected Fire On High as its theme. If you were going to take a day and just play sides of 70’s albums you wouldn’t go wrong selecting either side. Again I believe you must play this music loud to fully appreciate all that it is–
And I can’t go further until I address the word “moog”. The Moog synthesizer was created in the 1960’s by Robert Moog. He pioneered its production and use in music. Robert Moog has been honored by the Grammy Trustees for his technical contributions. He lost the rights to equipment bearing his own name– which sucks– and passed from this earth in 2005. The correct pronunciation of his name rhymes with “vogue” not “moo”.
(1973) United Artists label. Original issue with original inner sleeve with lyrics. Illinois gave this to me. Electric effin Light Orchestra! Play their albums loud. I call this album the bellybutton record– all the band is displaying their bellybuttons on the cover. Just behind and below the bellybutton is the hara– a natural balancing point and the center of your being. Some believe the hara is the place where the man and the universe meet. Does this thematically have anything to do with the space travel iconography and references to the universe in future albums? Only Jeff Lynne knows.
This is their third release. For this release ELO was Jeff Lynne on guitar and vocals, Bev Bevan on drums, Richard Tardy on moog and piano, Michael D’Albuquerque on bass, Mike Edwards on cello, and Mik Kaminski on violin.
Ocean Breakup/King Of The Universe (4:05)
Bluebird Is Dead (4:25)
Oh No Not Susan (2:52)
New World Rising/Ocean Breakup Reprise (4:40)
Ma-Ma-Ma Belle (3:52)
Dreaming Of 4000 (5:00)
In The Hall Of The Mountain King (6:35)
Showdown was not on the original UK release, but added to the US release; it was intended to be a single. It was the only track that got airplay on radio. No surprise that I like this band; orchestral arrangements married to pop/rock melodies and Jeff Lynne’s Lennonesque vocals.
(1987) Editions EG label. Purchased used at Rhino Records Claremont– I’m guessing in 2010? Prog rock drummer Bill Bruford is extremely talented. Like his contemporary Phil Collins, Bruford has a heavy jazz influence. Unlike his contemporary Phil Collins, Bruford never traveled down the pop music road. His talent and energy was much better suited to improvisation, experimentation, and collaboration with musicians that shared that sensibility. This is not to say that Bruford has not enjoyed success: his work with King Crimson charted well. This is the debut Earthworks album. Earthworks are Bill Bruford on drums, percussion, whirled instruments; Django Bates on keyboards, tenor horn, trumpet; Iain Ballamy on soprano, alto, tenor saxophones; Mick Hutton acoustic bass. No guitar… sorry Illinois…
Making A Song And Dance (5:52)
Up North (5:19)
My Heart Declares A Holiday (4:35)
Emotional Shirt (4:45)
It Needn’t End In Tears (5:04)
The Shepherd Is Eternal (1:50)
Bridge Of Inhibition (4:15)
This album has that 80’s sound with a jazz intellect. You hear it in the soaring horn work and the percussion often heard in music of that time: think Level 42 or Jeff Beck’s Guitar Shop or Sting’s Dream Of The Blue Turtles.
Currently I am rewatching the episodic Ken Burns’ JAZZ. I am not a musician. I do not understand music at that level. In JAZZ you listen to the experts talk in terms of composition, theme, tempo, scale, notes and chords etc… realizing there is a breadth of knowledge to music way beyond “I’ll give it a 65 Dick because I can’t dance to it”. My appreciation for this record lies somewhere in between. I have no wistful memories associated with this record. It has no chart toppers to readily identify. I like this record similar to liking a foreign film. You may not speak the language, but you can follow along with the subtitles and walk away after experiencing the film and feel elevated.
(1979) Asylum label. Original issue gatefold jacket with original inner sleeve. Line up on the album includes Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Don Felder, Joe Walsh, and joining the band on this album is Timothy B. Schmit who replaced Randy Meisner. This is another Eagles album that is all over the place searching for the optimum commercial success. By this point, Don Henley had the road to riches figured out and the others joined in– why not? On one hand, I feel for Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon. Since their departure from the band, their significant contributions to its sound have greatly diminished in the afterglow of The Long Run and the touring since this release.
The Long Run (3:42)
I Can’t Tell You Why (4:56)
In The City (3:46)
The Disco Strangler (2:46)
King Of Hollywood (6:28)
Heartache Tonight (4:26)
Those Shoes (4:56)
Teenage Jail (3:44)
The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks (2:20)
The Sad Cafe (5:35)
On the other hand, maybe Leadon and Meisner are happy they don’t have anything to do with songs about predators, stranglers, and hedonistic fraternities. I am glad this is the last of the Eagles albums in my collection. I knew when I started this blog I would have to revisit albums I will never think to put on again. Eagles records rank right up there.
(1976) Asylum label. Original issue gatefold jacket and original inner sleeve. This album sees the exit of band original member Bernie Leadon and the welcoming of Joe Walsh on guitar, keyboards, and vocals. Gone is the country feel slide and present is a harder rock guitar. Don Henley’s vocals dominate. The mysterious lyrics of the title track have been keeping fans guessing for years. Scan the inside cover photo spread and clearly one can identify the band members but who are all the rest of the folks pictured? Faces seem to “look” like the rich and famous but on second look you’re not quite sure.
Hotel California (6:30)
New Kid In Town (5:03)
Life In The Fast Lane (4:46)
Wasted Time (4:56)
Wasted Time (reprise) (1:23)
Victim Of Love (4:09)
Pretty Maids All In A Row (3:58)
Try And Love Again (5:10)
The Last Resort (7:28)
There is no denying how significant this album is in rock and roll history. It reflects the sensibility of the year it was released. Before AIDS, before Reagan, before hostage crisis, before 9-11. After Nixon, after Vietnam. A brief slot of American time when sex, drugs, and rock and roll feels pretty harmless in retrospect. The sound of this record is so heavily influenced by Joe Walsh. You can clearly hear the guitar solos and think James Gang.
For me I have very warm memories of this album. Hanging out with my friends in the back yard or poolside, soaking in the sun working on our tans, the smell of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, gossiping about school. Hotel California playing on the radio or someone brought their speakers out to the back patio by running the speaker wires underneath their bedroom window screen and we played the album over and over. Nothing heavy. No fears. I rode a skateboard then– without any safety gear. Favorite song on this album? Randy Meisner’s Try And Love Again.