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!