Missed part 1? Click here.
Here’s part 2 of 3 – 30 albums essential to Meat’s being, that should be essential to yours, too! So, without anymore preamble, I’ll leave you with Uncle Meat, as he discusses 10 more albums, in alphabetical order by title, that you need to visit (or re-visit).
HIGH TENSION WIRES – STEVE MORSE (1989)
Simply put, Steve Morse is my favorite musician of all time. I have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Morse a total of 6 times when you combine The Dixie Dregs, Deep Purple and The Steve Morse Band. Unlike the releases of some of his contemporaries, High Tension Wires is not your typical shredder album. Oh it shreds alright, but Steve Morse is much more than a trickster. There are beautiful compositions, unforgettable solos and some just plain ol’ rocking too. Included is the link to a live version of a track perfectly named “Tumeni Notes”. For more examples of the greatness of Steve Morse, introduce some Dixie Dregs into your collection. You can thank me later.
HOT HOUSE – BRUCE HORNSBY (1995)
When Bruce Hornsby said goodbye to The Range, he immediately said hello with Harbor Lights, a heavily jazz-infused turn that completely changed the music world’s perception of him. Hot House sees Hornsby taking that one step further. The album’s cover speaks a thousand words. It is a painting of an imagined band session between Bluegrass legend Bill Munroe and Jazz legend Charlie Parker. Nuff’ said there. This recording contains many musical giants including Pat Metheny, Jerry Garcia, Bela Fleck and Chaka Khan. Hot House is very addictive. I know most of the words off by heart on this record. Hopefully someday you will too.
JEFF BECK GROUP – JEFF BECK GROUP (1972)
This album definitely falls under the underappreciated category. Sometimes known as The Orange Album, Beck’s playing has never been better on this collection of original compositions and covers. I would call this more of a Soul album than anything. The incredible vocals of Bobby Tench seem to highlight this record at times, as you will see on the live performance of “Tonight, I’ll Be Staying Here With You” I have included for this entry. Also worth noting, this album is one of the first recordings of the late Cozy Powell’s career. The guitar work alone on “Definitely, Maybe” is enough reason itself to seek this record out. Perhaps a rock n’ roll legend’s best work.
JOHN PRINE – JOHN PRINE (1971)
I actually discovered the music of John Prine while working at the same record store chain that Mr. Ladano speaks of in this blog. There is no one quite like John Prine. Some artists write great songs. Some artists write great lyrics. Only a select few truly do both this well. There is no doubt that John Prine’s self-titled album contains some of the best lyrics ever written. “There’s a hole in daddy’s arm where all the money goes. Jesus Christ died for nothin’ I suppose?” That is just brilliant shit. “You may see me tonight with an Illegal Smile. It don’t cost very much, but it lasts a long while”. I have said this many times and I am still saying it now. John Prine is THE best lyric writer …. Ever. Fuck Bob Dylan. Yeah, I said it.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON – KRIS KRISTOFFERSON (1970)
For the sake of alphabetical order by album, this Kristofferson follows the John Prine album on this list. Really it should be the other way around. While I stand by my earlier praise of Prine lyrics, I would certainly listen to the argument that there wouldn’t be a John Prine without Kris Kristofferson. The songs on this album show a huge diversity and a sense of patience that just makes him so cool. “Best Of All Possible Worlds” is just insanely-good storytelling and “Me and Bobby McGee” became a mega-smash for Janis Joplin. Of all the great concerts I have seen, watching Kris Kristofferson and a guitar for two hours in 2006 will always be one of the best concerts I will ever see. The true greats just need to show up.
LEGALIZE IT – PETER TOSH (1976)
After being a key member of Bob Marley & The Wailers for years, Peter Tosh embarked on a solo career. On his first solo release, Legalize It, I personally believe Tosh recorded the greatest Reggae album of all time. Fuck Bob Marley. Yeah, I said it. (Wait why am I so hostile? Ha.) Remember that one of Marley’s biggest hits “Get Up Stand Up” was co-written with Peter Tosh. I love this album from beginning to end, and the album’s cover remains a visual anthem for Marijuana activists everywhere. Sadly, Peter Tosh was taken from us when he was shot in the head during a home robbery. Rastafarian music at its finest.
LITTLE EARTHQUAKES – TORI AMOS (1992)
There is only one way to put it. During the spring of 1994 I became a literal disciple of Tori Amos. By the end of 1996 I had seen her live 7 times. Several of them in 2nd or 3rd row center seats, since this was back when you could actually wait all night for tickets and be rewarded for it. This album spoke to me in a way no other album has, or really could. Frustration with women, with Christianity and with life, I didn’t want to hear about hope in the horizon. I obviously needed to experience the frustration of someone who understood. I still have a red-head obsession because of Tori. This is in my ten favorite albums of all time and always will be. Little Earthquakes is full of intense and pretty compositions. The humor of “Happy Phantom” contrasts the pain of “Me and a Gun”. And the included track here is “Precious Things”, which sees Tori Amos exposing herself as the angry and sexual piano player she truly is. Myra Ellen Amos is quite simply a beast.
MELISSA – MERCYFUL FATE (1983)
Mercyful Fate’s first two albums are among the best Metal albums of all time. When you realize that this album came out a full year before Kill ‘Em All did you can start to see just how important this band truly were. Mercyful Fate are the High Priestesses of underappreciation. Yes King Diamond looks kinda ridiculous. And yes their lyrics are nothing short of evil incarnate. Lines such as “Drinking the blood of a new born child” and “I’ll be the first to watch your funeral, and I’ll be the last to leave” sometimes are so over the top that I guess it is understandable how an album this good could be ignored. If Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden had a baby, and that baby grew up listening to nothing but Black Sabbath, the end result would have to look and sound something like Mercyful Fate. It’s no coincidence that the best thing Metallica has recorded since …And Justice For All is their medley-cover simply-titled “Mercyful Fate”. One of the greatest Metal albums of all time hands down. Click on the YouTube link and hear the start of “Curse of the Pharaohs”. If you don’t immediately recognize “2 Minutes to Midnight” you are lying to yourself.
NEVER, NEVERLAND – ANNIHILATOR (1990)
After Annihilator’s first album, Alice in Hell, it was time for a new lead singer. Out was the awful singing of the ridiculously-named Randy Rampage, and in was ex-Omen singer Coburn Pharr. The second album of this Ottawa, Ontario band was a vast improvement over the first album in every way. Without question the guitar playing of Jeff Waters alone makes this an absolute must-have recording for fans of thrash guitar or just guitar in general. If you can think of a better Metal album to come out of Canada then I would love to hear it. If you have never heard this album, and you consider yourself a “Metal guy” then you are missing out huge. I am having a hard time trying to pick a song to post here for listening purposes. That is how truly great this record is from beginning to end.
OPUS EPONYMOUS – GHOST (2011)
I know, I cannot believe it either. Only the second of twenty (so far) albums to be released after 1999 that appear on this list. This album by Swedish band Ghost is nothing but special. Before I heard this album I was told that it sounded like a cross between thrash metal and Blue Oyster Cult. As it turned out that description really was right on the money. Melodic background vocals nestled in between heavy riffing. I have to say that this album is my favorite Metal album in probably the last twenty years. The PERFECT blend of melody and heaviness. This is the only album that since I have got my iPod, every time I switch the music on it I leave this whole album on there. Every minute of this album is pure genius and I am super-stoked for their upcoming 2nd album titled Infestissumam that will be released this spring. Hail Satan!!!!
That’s it for now, stay tuned for part 3, coming soon…
This is why I was asking you about the Jeff Beck album. I think you got it recently and I KNEW I’d seen it somewhere recently.
Yeah, I recently got a pile of vinyl. A bunch of Beck records in the stack, and that was one of them.
It is indeed.
And for the record, I really want that Ghost album now.
Not as many personal favorites for me on this portion of the list, but some excellent choices nonetheless. Couldn’t agree more about the Beck album. He was pretty consistently great during this period, and really throughout the ’70s (“Blow By Blow” and “Wired” should be added to the short-list of best jazz-fusion albums of all time). I love Tori Amos, but she’s been hit-and-miss throughout her career. “Little Earthquakes” is a great entry point for the uninitiated, but there are several of her albums I like more. Love the Kristofferson album, and that Steve Morse album is probably my favorite of his solo releases, although nothing he’s done has blown me away as much as the bulk of the (Dixie) Dregs catalog.
I’m sure the “Fuck Bob Marley” comment was a bit of a joke. As great as Tosh was, and as important as he was to the early sound of The Wailers, no one can hold a candle to Marley in my opinion. He almost transcends reggae to become a genre unto himself. That being said, non-Marley reggae albums don’t get much better than “Legalize It,” and Tosh had one of the all-time kick-ass voices.
A few years ago I made digital copies of a co-worker’s Mercyful Fate CDs, but I’ve only listened to one of them so far (and it wasn’t “Melissa”). King Diamond’s voice is certainly a thing to behold, but since I’m not always in an operatic metal mood, I have to wait for inspiration to strike before giving them all a listen. I don’t doubt its worthiness for inclusion on this list. Can’t wait for part 3.
By the way, who wrote the text to this series? At first I thought it was Mike writing the comments based on albums recommended by Meat, but now I’m not sure.
This is all Meat. As much as I also love Peter Tosh, I’d never say “Fuck Bob Marley”! LOL.
He’s given me a lot to think about though.
Ahh…okay. I thought these were albums he’s already recommended to you that you wanted to pass along to others. Nice of you to give precious blog space to others.
I love the added perspective of a different writer’s point of view. In fact I’ve added a new catagory — Guest Shots — for just such a purpose. There’s some past ones from Meat, Tommy Morais, and Statham. I have more already lined up for all three…
I think I need to make it more clear that Meat wrote this though, so off to revise the intro!
Thank you for your feedback. Couldnt agree more with your comments on Beck. And yes i would say The Dixie Dregs overall provides a better example of Steve Morse’s best musical moments. The Fuck Bob Marley comment was really more of a joke yes … more in response to the Fuck Bob Dylan comment earlier when talking about John Prine .. And that isnt a joke. LOL Not that i dont respect Dylan? But i just feel there are and have been better lyric writers than him .. even more than the mentioned Prine.
And to clarify,… everything in the lists as in choices of albums and all text has been written by Meat. ;) Glad you like
And just two days ago, I said Fuck Adam Lambert!
Prine’s one of those guys whose work I have yet to explore, but he’s been on my list for a while. 2013 may be the year that finally happens. Thanks for giving a good album as a starting point. It’s hard to dispute Dylan’s lyric-writing genius, especially during his peak years, but he’s not the only great writer as so many fans would have us believe. I’ll even put Alice Cooper’s lyrics up there with anyone. Since the original band broke up and Alice has been essentially a solo artist, I’m always impressed by his lyrics, and in the last 10-15 years he’s written some of his best. For anyone here who cares, I will definitely be revisiting his catalog and writing about it sometime this year. But enough of my self-promotion. We’re here for Meat’s picks, and so far they’re great.
Rich you have me salivating at the idea of a Cooper write up. And I agree about his lyrics, very underrated, and I’d put David Lee Roth up there too.
I still don’t have all the Coopers. I’m missing Easy Action, Special Forces, Zipper Catches Skin, and Constrictor. I think that’s it though.
You’re pretty complete with your Cooper collection. I have every studio album on CD except Muscle Of Love and Lace & Whiskey (both of which I have digital copies of, from the same friend who provided those Mercyful Fate CDs). For some reason I never got any of his live albums, so I’ll have to decide if any of them are worth purchasing before revisiting his catalog. I won’t get to him/them for a while, though, since I just started on Neil Young and that’ll take up the next few months for me. But Alice is one of three artists I know I’ll be doing after Neil…I just have to decide on the sequence.
And I look forward to the continuing saga of Neil!
I have six Cooper live discs:
Toronto Peace Festival
Alone in His Nightmare
The Alice Cooper Show
A Fistful of Alice
and No More Mr. Nice Guy Live
There’s also the Live Killer that came with the Old School box, and a live album from the deluxe Billion Dollar Babies that I have.
But if I had to offer my (unsolicited) 2 cents, The Alice Cooper Show is historically important as the first official live album. The rest are definitely less historically significant, albeit some are a great listen.
Thanks, Mike. I’ve heard that The Alice Cooper Show doesn’t quite capture the brilliance of the original band but it’s still good, so that would mostly likely be my first live AC purchase. Since the purpose of my blog is to delve into the albums I already own, and not necessarily do the most complete review of every single release (who would do that??? ha!), I think I’ll get a pretty complete picture of his output by just revisiting the studio albums.
Oh! I forgot Live In Montreaux 2005! That’s the last tour I saw him on, an excellent album.
A very wide variety in your collection, I like that. I bought the Melissa album because there were no hidden demonic messages on it. Mercyful Fate came right out and sang “Hail Satan.” It was good to have around back in the 80s when we had to contend with Jesus freaks at concerts.
All good stuff! The guest shots are a great idea and well done Meat on the great list. Can’t wait to see what’s in the next part(s)!
Don’t worry Mr. OverloRd, there’s plenty of metal still coming in this list…
The Metal picks are great but I’m enjoying seeing the other stuff more as it’s less familiar to me… it’s good to see the stuff from other genres that I might not know about.
… although I do need to get some Annihilator albums at some point.
Glad you are enjoying the list .. and i am sure you will approve of some upcoming Metal … but i really like that you are into the diversity of it all. and yes .. get some Annihilator .. but start with Never, Never land . I think it is miles above anything they have done .. but there is alot of great stuff.
I came “very” close to putting Testament – The New Order on this list as well
I’ll start with that one on your recommendation then! Testament – New Order would have been a good call… they are a band I never get into quite as much as I expect to but I always go back to them every now and again! I’m also really pleased you picked Argus, that’s a great album. I go way back with that one.
49677 332460I appreciate your work , thanks for all the informative blog posts. 340181
? curious .. what do the numbers mean?
I think that might be a spam comment.
Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point. You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?
Interesting feedback … thanks for the compliment and i do see your point in a way .. But there are only videos for half of the entries? And honestly the point of including any videos at all really .. is a quick way for someone reading to get an idea of what it is musically, if they hadnt heard it before .. :)