GUEST SHOT: 30 Albums that Uncle Meat Thinks You Should Visit (Or Re-Visit) Part 1

By Meat

Music fans love lists.  Maybe it’s the Ten Best Bass Lines of the 1990’s or a list of the songs you wish you lost your virginity to.  I have always been a lists guy as the whole Sausagefest Top 100 thing would attest to.  So here is yet another list.  The albums listed below are not my favorite albums of all time, even though many of my favorites are included.  The point of this list is to possibly introduce to, or maybe even remind, this blog’s readers of 30 albums that I think need to be heard.  Maybe an album that in my opinion was under-appreciated.  Perhaps even an album that inspired me in some way.   Anyways, here are 30 albums that Uncle Meat wants you to visit … or re-visit.  They are in alphabetical by album title.  Enjoy

A EULOGY FOR THE DAMNED  –  ORANGE GOBLIN (2012)

I could have easily listed several other Orange Goblin albums here, but their latest album is an absolutely killer album.  Almost fusing some Black Crowes into their brand of Metal, these British stoner-rockers put out maybe the best Metal album of 2012.  And considering that there are only 3 albums on this whole list that were released before the year 2000, it feels good to actually get some new content in here.  The album ends with the title track, which almost plays out like its own Rock N’ Roll Western.   The band finally tours Canada for the first time coming up in spring of 2013.  As the late Billy Red Lyons used to say, “Don’t ya dare miss it!”

 

ACT III  –  DEATH ANGEL (1990)

Death Angel’s first two albums are pretty sloppy, sound-wise and in song structure.  Some very heavy moments, but at times it just sounds annoying.   On their third release, Max Norman (Megadeth) got his hands on them and it resulted in a polished sound and the best album of their career.  Gone were the high-pitched shrieks of singer Mark Osegueda that littered their first two records.  It really does seem that the band simply matured.  One of the best Metal albums of the 90’s indeed.  Definitely among the most progressive metal albums I can think of.  A must-have album for every true Metal fan.

 

ARGUS  –  WISHBONE ASH (1972)

It is fair to say that Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy would never have the musical identity they have, if it wasn’t for Wishbone Ash.   Innovators in twin- lead guitar harmonization, this band never really got its due.  Interestingly enough, the sound engineer on this record is none other than Martin Birch.  Coincidence?  Meat thinks not.  I remember this album sitting in front of my Dad’s stereo for years when I was very young, and then seeing Star Wars and thinking that Darth Vader looked a lot like the guy on the cover of Argus. Check this album out and discover a part of where it all came from.   When you listen to the beginning of the song-clip included here, “Throw Down the Sword, think “To Live is to Die” by Metallica.  Sounds like Lars and the boys were paying attention as well.

 

ARGYBARGY   –  SQUEEZE (1980)  

Think The Beatles meets The Clash.  The first two songs on this album are both stellar pop moments.  The melodies are McArtney-esque, and that is truly saying something.  “Pulling Mussels From a Shell” is pure song-writing genius“Another Nail in my Heart” is one of my favorite songs of all time.  Check out the incredible guitar solo in this song.  Funny enough, like the 2 previous albums listed, this was the band’s third album.  Maybe a trend is happening here.

 

BIG WORLD  –  JOE JACKSON (1986)

For Joe Jackson’s 8th release, he decided to go all out. An original studio album, recorded live in front of a New York City audience who were told to be silent throughout.  Capturing the excitement and spontaneity of a live performance, in which absolutely no post-recording mixing or overdubbing was done, this record is ambitious as it sounds.  It is all here.  You get Jazz, Pop, Punk and everything in between.  Jackson possesses one of the classic all-time voices.  When this double-album was released, it contained three sides of music, leaving the fourth side blank.  A landmark recording.

 

BLUE  –  JONI MITCHELL (1971)

This album came in at Number 30 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All-Time chart, the highest placing for any female artist.  So why is this album on this list?  Honestly because I still believe this album is truly under-appreciated.  Too many people do not realize how great this album is.  Simply, some of the best lyrics of all time are here.  If this album was any more personal it would contain a video of Joni Mitchell going to the bathroom.  Listen to this front to back when you want to feel like someone understands your pain.   A truly cathartic experience, when she played this album originally to Kris Kristofferson he was reported to respond, “Joni… You really should keep some of that to yourself”.  I am glad she didn’t take heed of his advice.

 

DOGMAN  –  KING’S X (1994)

It seems as soon as Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam/STP/Black Crowes) got his hands on King’s X, the band’s sound fattened up.  Thick, lush and pounding would be a good overall description of the sound on this album.  The songs are great too.  I saw King’s X at the legendary El Mocambo in Toronto and was standing literally beside Dimebag Darrell and the rest of Pantera.   While I love almost every song on this album, the title track is an absolute killer.  When the first Woodstock concert in 25 years began, it was King’s X who took the stage to kick it all off.  Check out this live performance from the old Jon Stewart show from back in the day and crank it.  One of my favorite youtube videos ever.

 

DUKE ELLINGTON & JOHN COLTRANE   –  DUKE ELLINGTON & JOHN COLTRANE  (1962)

This might be my favorite jazz album of all time.  Duke was 63 and Trane was 36 when this album was recorded.  With a running time of 35:05 this album is short and oh so very sweet.  Ellington’s “In a Sentimental Mood” starts this album off and it never lets up.   “Big Nick” is just a wonderfully happy shuffle.  True story: I once got so fed up with Metal that I became a Jazzatarian for a few months, listening to nothing but old school Jazz.  I started with John Coltrane and went from there.  I never did find a jazz artist after him that I enjoy more.

 

EL CORAZON  –  STEVE EARLE (1997) 

Simply put, this album is easily in my Top 3 albums of all time, of any genre.  True storytelling at its finest, El Corazon is a complete masterpiece.  It seems that sobriety allowed Steve Earle to realize how great of a songwriter he really is and on this album he branches out and removes any constraints of style.   Of all the 30 records included on this list, this is the one I am not asking you to check out, but I am TELLING you to check out.  Comparing the laid-back intensity of “Christmas in Washington” to the sheer power of “Here I Am” truly makes you appreciate the diversity of this record.   Steve Earle is THE man.  A lifetime Bro-mance going on here.

 

HEAD HUNTERS  –  HERBIE HANCOCK (1973)

Quite possibly the greatest jazz fusion record ever recorded. This record is a funk buffet.  Only 4 songs and all of them are great.  The YouTube clip here of “Watermelon Man” is the shortest song on the album, and is as original as it is velvety-smooth.  I find it hard not to do some sort of jig when this I hear this song.  “Chameleon”, “Sly” and “Vein Melter” complete one of the most influential jazz albums of all time.  Half of this album made 2012’s SausageFest countdown.  I suspect the other half will not be far behind.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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40 comments

  1. This list has 7 of my favorites: Joe Jackson, Wishbone Ash, Steve Earle, Squeeze, The Hancock, Joni & King’s X. All of them are essential listening in my opinion. Probably my favorite is the Joe Jackson album, which was in my top 5 back in 1986 and still my favorite of his albums (I’m a HUGE fan). “Argy Bargy” was my introduction to Squeeze, and it still sounds amazing over 30 years later. Not a bad song in the bunch. I’ll hold off commenting on the others since I agree with much of what was written here, although I will dispute the claim that “Head Hunters” is “possibly the greatest jazz fusion record ever recorded.” It’s a great record, but there are key releases by Return To Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Tony Williams Lifetime and Weather Report that are truly life-altering records. I’m not criticizing, but I want to make sure you’re aware of the brilliant jazz-fusion albums that are out there (and I didn’t even mention Miles Davis). Love this list, and looking forward to the rest.

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    1. I myself cringed at that statement in the Headhunters portion. Romantic Warrior came to mind instantly .. and Mahavishnu of course .. among others. Very good thing to point out. Interesting that of 30 albums in total ..( only the first 10 by album names in alphabetical order appear here so far) 7 of your favorites.. wow. that is cool. Glad someone jumped on Big World. No one ever talks about that great album.

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      1. Meat, few people even talk about Joe Jackson, and when they do they almost never mention Big World. It’s a shame because he’s one of the greatest artists of the last 30-40 years, and that album is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. I know he was lumped in as an “angry young British man” along with Elvis Costello and Graham Parker, but he’s gone so far beyond that. Even though I like both of those guys too, I think Joe is so much better than both, yet Elvis is revered by millions and the other two are footnotes to all but the diehard fans. Oh well…at least we know the truth.

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        1. I am glad you appreciated that album being included. With doing a list like this .. I either want to show people stuff they havent heard .. or have someone instantly say to themselves .. YES!! when they agree… kinda thing. So thank you for the reaction …And I agree I think he is better than both those guys in my opinion .. even though its close with Elvis.

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        2. My biggest problem with Elvis Costello is that sometimes he gets too clever for his own good, and his music never hit me on an emotional level the way Joe Jackson does. Both great artists though, and I’m glad that Graham Parker…who was their equal in the late-70s & early-80s…is getting some late career recognition lately.

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      1. We all need more Miles in our lives. I probably own about 15 of his albums, and I’ve barely scratched the surface. My prize Miles possession is the Miles Davis Quintet 1965-68 complete box set. Wayne Shorter, Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock and Ron Carter delivered some absolutely earth-shattering music in those few short years. Looking forward to your Miles review, and hoping it’s an album I know.

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        1. I remember that box set when we had it in stock. It never sat for long. That’s a beautiful box.

          I hope you have the Miles I’ll be doing too. But in 2013 I’ll be covering more jazz, blues, country and classical so keep your eyes peeled!

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        2. Looking forward to whatever you cover this year. I have pretty decent jazz, blues & country collections. I grew up listening to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash even before rock & roll won me over. As long as it’s good music, who cares about the genre, right?

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        3. Agreed. My first concert was Johnny Cash, I was 12 years old. My dad took me. My dad was a bank manager of a Canada Trust branch. Johnny Cash ended up doing a promotion with the bank for their brand new ATM machines called (what else?) “Johnny Cash Machines.

          So Johnny did some concerts. I remember he opened the show not with his traditional, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash,” but with “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash, 24 hour money machine.”

          My dad met Johnny and got his autograph. As for me, I got some Johnny Cash money, fake bills with his face on it. Unfortunately they have been lost for over 25 years.

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        4. That is an awesome story, Mike. Sadly, I never got to see JC in concert. I was so excited when he had his career resurgence in the ’90s with those Rick Rubin-produced albums, but he didn’t tour them that often and then he got too ill. I’ve been itching to get the recently released “Complete Albums Collection” from Sony, but it’s a little too pricey for me. I already own around 20-25 of his albums, but that box set has another 30, many of which have never been on CD.

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        5. I was working at the record store when Johnny had his resurgence, and it was a really cool thing to be a part of.

          That box set is very nice. 63 discs, I can’t even imagine! I’ve already collected a lot of the excellent Sony reissues, with all the bonus tracks and so on, but that set has even more. If I had all the money in the world, it would be an instant purchase.

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        6. A friend of mine jokingly told me he would buy me the box set if I guaranteed that I would write a blog series on the whole thing within 3 months. I don’t think he really meant it, and as much as I love Cash’s music, that would be too much in too short a time for me.

          It’s sad what passes for country music these days, but hopefully there are still some young fans who go back in history to discover people like Hank Williams, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn, Webb Pierce, Ernest Tubb, etc. The last generation of country artists I liked was from the ’80s, including Dwight Yoakam, Randy Travis and Lyle Lovett. I’m sure there are some good ones out there now, but I don’t have the time or patience to sift through the crap.

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        7. Oh, if only he wasn’t joking!

          Here’s one country disc you may enjoy: Jeff Bridges’ soundtrack to his movie Crazy Heart. I loved the original songs, and then he padded it out with some old classics.

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        8. I saw that movie and it was really good, but there are too many “real” country albums I haven’t heard and I’d prefer to get those first. I do agree that the music in the film was excellent, and Bridges acquitted himself nicely for a part-time musician.

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        9. I am a big fan of alot of jazz… I am a huge Coltrane fan.. but I have to admit I tried … hard… to become a Miles Davis fan. I dont know what it is but his music just doesnt resonate with me. There have been a few things i really do like, but in general it just doesnt stick. Sometimes i wonder if he purposely tries to stay away from melody. if that even makes any sense. On the other hand anyone that is a Miles Davis fan I instantly am curious what else they get into musically. I wish i could get it .. but i just dont …

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        10. Miles was the last of the jazz titans that I got into, so I used to say the same thing about him about 20 years ago. I was already a big fan of Mingus, Coltrane, Brubeck, Ornette, and all the fusion groups I already mentioned, but Miles’ music often left me cold. Eventually I got some key albums and became a pretty big fan. Pretty much anything by the Quintet I commented about earlier is astounding, and his fusion period (Bitches Brew, Tribute To Jack Johnson) as well as his funk-influenced album “On The Corner” could easily make you a fan.

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    1. That’s Meat. He’s not just, say, hamburger Meat. He’s a platter of different Meats. There’s bacon, ham, pork, Canadian bacon…

      Lisa: “Dad all those meats come from the same animal”

      Homer: “Right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!””

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  2. Agree about Argus. It beat out Machine Head and Thick as a Brick in many polls back in 1972. It is better than the former but not as good as the latter (but, then, nothing is). I had known about them for a long time, but didn’t hear them until they played at Cropredy a few years ago. Due to a traffic jam, I was still in the queue to get in the field and heard only the last three songs. I bought Argus at the festival and was blown away, especially by “Sometime World”. I’ve seen both Powell’s and Turner’s incarnation recently (and will see Powell’s again on 5 February) and I have to say I like them both.

    I also have the first album, but it isn’t is good. Probably, none match Argus, but what else is worth checking out.

    Apparently some people travelled to the south of France just for the cover shoot. Those were the days. As Ian Anderson said, Tull spent more time making the cover of Thick as a Brick (possibly the best rock album ever) than recording it!

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    1. Oh, I do love Thick As A Brick. If all goes according to plan, Meat and I will have a funny Record Store Tale regarding that album, soon. If only I could get Meat over here to work on it!

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  3. Ill get over there LeBrain. We will make it happen. Yeah Argus goes way back for me. Been exposed to it literally since 5 years old ish. I havent heard an album as good as Argus from them… but they do have a song called Pheonix (off what album i am not sure) that is amazing.

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