The Who “Sell Out”

Sell Out

I often wish I had a chance to go back and rediscover the discographies from some of the classic groups, namely The Kinks, The Boys and The Who! Discovering Who Sell Out for the first time is a dearly missed experience.

If you are one of the lucky ones without any early Who albums, you are going to have a magnificent time checking out My Generation and A Quick One, but you will probably have the most fun with Sell Out.

The tunes on this concept album are linked with wonderful PAMS Radio London jingles and ad spoofs that are just as memorable as the tunes themselves. Although, it’s hard to compete with the scorching I Can See For Miles. Something about the way this song is framed here really makes it cook compared to hearing it on the radio or a Who’s best of.

Other fun bits include scattered musical hints of the masterpiece rock opera to be, Tommy, a Townshend-led version of Hall Of The Mountain King, and a good bunch of songs that make a perfect full-listen when you’ve got the time.

It’s available at a stunningly low price at the link below and comes in a nicely remastered package. Buy what The Who sells! You won’t regret it.

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“Odorono”

It’s Smooth Sailing With The Highly Successful Sound Of Wonderful Radio London

The Who - The Who Sell Out

Steven Stills “Manassas”

Manassas

Check out the album cover. Now, that, is boss! It’s kind of grungy, got every player’s name just as big as the title; it’s almost as if they decided to call the album Manassas because it happened to already be on the photograph. To me, it says, “Look, the 60s are over, we’re not making some artsy album, we just got a kick-ass crew here and we’re going to play it straight up for ya.” Yup, got to give it up for that classic album cover.

I figured this would be a good album with which to introduce the country rock angle of this here blog. But Manassas (technically the band and album name) goes a bit beyond simple categorization here. The album is divided into 4 parts, as briefly described below:

The Raven
Imagine you walk into a bar, and the dudes pictured above are all rocking. Yeah, ok, great, another bar band. But as soon as you order your beer and take your first sip, you suddenly realize you’re not blabbing on as usual, and nobody else is either, because the whole audience, yourself included, is entranced with the bar band, who, to your ultimate surprise, has been teaching your heart to pump to a new rhythm.

The Wilderness
Where I’m from, the kids used to say the same thing all the time: “I like all music… except for classical and country of course.” Hate to say I may have been one of them, but things changed when I finally caught the country bug… and my music collection started to get a lot better too. If you find the need to skip this whole section, basically straight-forward bluegrass and country music, the album is still worth your while, but I wouldn’t skip this part for my life, nor would I recommend skipping it.

Consider
This is the part you want to be driving on the open road with. By the time we get to How Far, it starts to feel like a folk-tinged shadow of the first section, but by now we’re firm believers. Damn, I’m glad I got this album, we say. And we keep driving on with that long-reaching look in our eye.

Rock & Roll is Here to Stay
And just when we thought we had made it, Manassas puts the nail in the coffin. Just in case you were braindead for the previous fifty minutes, the 8:00 minute Treasure is here and will serve to remind you what is going on.

Typically, an album this ambitious just couldn’t be good. No way could they pull it off. But, damn it all, Manassas really hits the spot, and it sounds great today. It’s hard to imagine rock music that makes you feel so good it’s like you already knew the tunes, but this is it.

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“Anyway”

Go on and Get it

Stephen Stills - Manassas

Todd Rundgren “A Wizard, A True Star”

A Wizard, A True Star

The suits at Warner Bros must’ve been scratching their heads with this one. Following the success of “Something/Anything,” Todd Rundgren was well on his way to becoming a superstar but he had something else in mind. The title of this album shows his wariness of his new found success. If “Something/Anything” was delicious bubble gum then “A Wizard A True Star” is delicious bubble gum with glass in it and Rundgren makes you like the taste of your own blood.

This album is the first of several of his more Zappa-esque experimental albums and an example of Todd refusing to stay in one genre (don’t worry, in 9 years he’ll write “Bang On the Drum All Day” which will remain on the radio until “Tubthumping” replaces it). “A Wizard A True Star”, is a bit of a slap in the face to his record label and a little self indulgent at times but the bottom line is that it works. It’s refreshing to look back at a time when musicians would turn their back on success and do whatever they wanted to musically before this behavior became cliche and annoying. (Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah! I ‘m looking in your direction). wink

This album deserves a few listens so be patient with it, there’s actually a lot of sincerity behind it and even a tribute to Motown! Your homework for the week is to listen to “A Wizard, A True Star” at least once a day in it’s entirety. Who knows? You might find a hit or two….make a game out of it, whoever finds the most hits wins!!!

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“When the Shit Hits the Fan/Sunset Blvd”

Wizard For Sale

Todd Rundgren - A Wizard, A True Star

Nilsson “Aerial Pandemonium Ballet”

Aerial Pandemonium Ballet

My friend actually got mad at me for not telling him about this album sooner. I had always thought it was one of those private albums, that you love but don’t really mention to anyone. But, as it turns out, this one is best shared.

So here it is, ladies and gentleman, may I present, in the center ring, Nilsson! And his mash-up album (way ahead of its time), Aerial Pandemonium Ballet. When Harry hit it big with The Point! and his rendition of Freddy Neil’s Everybody’s Talkin‘ practically scored the entirety of Midnight Cowboy, he went back in the vaults and re-released his first two albums (Pandemonium Shadow Show and Aerial Ballet), only mixed together as one.

Nilsson was the Beatles’ favorite American recording artist and he pays them a fitting tribute in the bonus tracks with “You Can’t Do That” which every Beatles fan MUST hear. Also, I heard once that Mr. Richland’s Favorite Song was about John Lennon but I’m not sure if this is true; this was recorded well before the lost weekend.

Can’t recommend this one enough, especially if you haven’t yet heard Harry’s beautiful three-octave crooning or his cyclical songwriting skills. Some folks think the original two albums are better, which is fine, but this must be the first mash-up! Go Nilsson.

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“Without Her”

One is a Number Divided By Two

Dr. John “Gris-gris”

Gris Gris

In N’awlins, Gris-gris means voodoo. And on Dr. John’s debut album, you get the feel of what voodoo sounds like pretty quickly. I’m telling you! This album is an automatic freakout waiting to be put on your stereo.

I really love this album and just about everybody wants to know more about it when it spins. This baby is a raw classic and it has that real power that only the most authentic records have got… it draws you in, and keeps you there, and kind of scares you, and then it rewards you.

There are some great sounds on this record like that smooth organ, and the well applied touch of mandolin, loud percussion, chants, and growling, haunting lyrics. Read Richie’s liner notes to get a better idea of what this one’s all about.

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They Call Me Dr. John, Known as the Night Tripper

Dr. John - Gris-Gris

The Millennium “Begin”

Begin

When I put this record on for the first time, I thought I had made a mistake. I mean, I thought I put in the wrong disc or something. I literally stopped the album, and ejected it to make sure I hadn’t put in some modern hip-hop breaks record instead.

That’s how this one opens, with that monstrous drum beat you just can’t imagine coming out of 1968. But things change fast. Curt Boettcher, a record producer who worked with The Association, The Boys and others, set out to record the album of his dreams with Begin. And it’s very psychedelic, very sunshine-happy, and very rockin’ all at the same time.

Of course, it was a commercial failure, but that hardly matters now. Check this one out as it’s the kind of album that turns heads.

Good luck finding it on its own though. You’ll need to buy Magic Time, the 3-cd bonus track ridden release, which is great really, but I still wish it was available on its own.

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“It’s You”

:) Vinyl Reissue | 2008 | Sundazed | buy from sundazed ]
:D CD Reissue | 2008 | Sundazed | buy from sundazed ]

Brian Eno “Another Green World”

Another Green World

There are four Eno albums that sort-of go together. These are his first four solo albums after leaving Roxy Music: Here Come The Warm Jets (1973), Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) (1974), Another Green World (1975), and Before & After Science (1977). I could have chosen any one of these recently remastered digipak albums to review today (and probably will get to them all soon enough), but Another Green World jumps out at me first every time.

Don’t expect ambient, experimental, exclusively electronic non-music or anything you have previously associated with Eno’s incredible body of work. This album, as well as the others listed here, is part of Eno’s pop-rock masterpiece phase, at once a listenable rock album and a piece of certifiable Eno art.

The first time I heard this record though, I was really digging it, until Brian started singing. But rest assured, you will learn to love and appreciate his vocal style, as much as you will learn to love each “sound painting” arranged within this perfect album.

Also of note, this album synchronizes excellently (a la Dark Side of the Rainbow) with the 1984 Disney film Where The Toys Come From. I forget exactly which “roar of the lion” to sync them up with, but that doesn’t really matter.

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“Another Green World”

Get it

Brian Eno - Another Green World

The Kinks “Face To Face”

Face to Face

There are many reasons (many songs) why Ray Davies is my favorite songwriter. The main reason is best exemplified in Face To Face, not quite a concept album, but so on-the-line it ought to count.

Each song on Face To Face is its own little polished gem, a story or a feeling. You can really get lost in this album with its cast of characters. Face To Face is a miniature universe including some of the best songs the Kinks ever recorded.

The tunes aren’t about heavy things like relationships and love, or faith, or murder. They are about daily trifles, the things in life that we face so often: a phone call, a rainy day, a vacation, a house, or just lazing around on a sunny afternoon in the summertime. It’s got a great developed sound to it, with all the fuzz left over from their (superb) previous album, Kinks Kontroversy, but rounded out with some Mellotron and SFX. This album kicks off the Kinks’ “golden age.”

The bonus tracks are all excellent, as is the case for all of the wonderful Kinks reissues. I guarantee that if you give this album the proper chance, you will love it. 

Note: if you’ve ever listened to our podcast, you might recognize the storm fx sounds from Rainy Day In June, from this album.

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Get it!

The Tokens “Intercourse”

Intercourse

You definitely know who the Tokens are. Think: “….Wimoweh, a wimoweh…”

The Tokens are best known for their massive 1961 #1 hit (US/UK) recording of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” In the late 60s, influenced by the Beatles and the Boys (Smiley Smile), Mitch Margo and The Tokens recorded a wildly psychedelic selection of songs written during “a pretty blue period” in Mitch’s life.

Admittedly, some songs haven’t stood the test of time as well as the Boys’ songs. Even I have trouble playing the overtly druggy Commercial in the presence of others. But really, I have to recommend you get your hands on this album because it will likely blow you away. The songs are simply beautfiul.

If you don’t get this album, you should at least rejoice in the opening mantra: “It’s amazing to be alive, all I can say is stay alive.” Also, be aware of the cover art… I have seen two other versions that portray Intercourse as either a lo-fi/punk record or a mid-eighties Kinks record.

Tokens Albums

I got this album from the link supplied below, and I happened to receive the Oglio CD which features the original cover art crudely featured at the top of this post. It is amazing to be alive!

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“Wonderful Things”

The Tokens - Intercourse

All I Can Say Is Stay Alive!

The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”

Pet Sounds

I’ll be honest with you here. Nobody is reading this web-log today. It doesn’t even really exist. I’m the only one who knows about it and I’m just, sort-of, trying it on. The only reason I’m presenting this, the most classic and essential of all great rock albums, is to test out the site and make it look like there’s something here.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds

Please Buy Pet Sounds If You Don’t Already Have It