Tag Archives: Robert Cray

Albums Of The Month Part 2

I’m pleased about deciding to continue my “Album of the Month” feature on my radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. It enables me to play tracks from some of my favourite albums whilst discussing some useless trivia about the album and/or artists. Hopefully it will introduce listeners to something new or let them hear something they haven’t heard for a while. This post covers the second year of the feature.

01 Highway To Hell

AC/DC’s seminal 1979 album – Highway To Hell

I’ve intentionally used the image of  the original Australian pressing of AC/DC’s album Highway To Hell. I think the flames make all the difference in the world to the cover art and find the one used overseas and everywhere today to be rather drab by comparison.

02 Showdown!

The Grammy Award winning album Showdown! featuring Collins, Cray & Copeland

I always advise newcomers to the blues that if they only end up owning one blues album from the 1980s then Showdown! has to be it. The interplay between Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland is just beautiful to hear.

03 Quadrophenia

The ultimate rock opera, the Who’s Quadrophenia

The Who’s album Tommy may be more famous and Who’s Next , comprising of tracks from their abandoned Lifehouse project, may contain some of their finest moments, but for me the quintessential rock opera is Quadrophenia. I love this album from start to finish (the only way to listen to it).

04 face to face

Face To Face, an essential album for fans of Aussie pub rock

Stalwarts of the Australian pub rock scene, the Angels, hit their straps fairly early on with their career-defining sophomore album, Face To Face, released in 1978.

05 mellon collie

The Smashing Pumpkins reached their peak with Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Many pundits will tell you that Nirvana’s Nevermind was the album of the 90s decade. Personally, I always found it a toss-up between Blood Sugar Sex Magik by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, OK Computer by Radiohead and this masterpiece from the Smashing Pumpkins. To release a double album of this length which remains “all killer no filler” is an amazing achievement.

06 magic box

1967’s Magic Box from The Loved Ones

I was introduced to this album in the late 1980s after hearing two cover versions of their hit, “The Loved One”, by INXS. It’s hard to imagine now how successful these guys really were in their day despite the brevity of their career. The album was also one of Australia’s earliest to be released in stereo.

07 speaking in tongues

Speaking In Tongues, a classic album from Talking Heads

I think I’m showing my age with the amount of 1980s albums creeping in to my album of the month feature. I loved Talking Heads around this time and enjoyed a midnight screening session of their live concert film, Stop Making Sense, only a few years after this album.

08 ok computer

Radiohead’s finest moment, OK Computer

I still listen to this album today despite it now being 20 years old!

09 endless forms most beautiful

Endless Forms Most Beautiful from Finland’s Nightwish

My album of the year for 2015 was Nightwish’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. If you have a thing for symphonic metal then you need this in your collection.

10 at last

Etta James released At Last! in 1960

Etta James released one the finest debut albums you will ever hear in November 1960. Worth owning if you don’t already!

11 days of innocence

Days Of innocence featuring the mawkish “What About Me?”

I adore this album despite absolutely detesting their hugely successful single from it, “What About Me?”. Proof that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

12 number of the beast

Iron Maiden introduces Bruce Dickinson as their new lead singer on 1982’s Number Of The Beast

I still consider Number Of The Beast one of Iron Maiden’s finest moments.

 

I think anyone who decides to go out and buy these “albums of the month” listed here, and those in my previous post on this topic, will certainly end up with an interesting music collection (in my humble opinion).

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I’m Back In The Ring To Take Another Swing

Yes I am back. I have decided to finally post something in my on-again off-again blog. Thanks to those that follow the blog for waiting so long. I’ve deliberately chosen a quote from AC/DC’s classic You Shook Me All Night Long as the title for this post as I believe it sums it up really well. As 2014 has just drawn closed it is timely to reflect on older artists releasing new recordings throughout the year.

I recently did a 2014 Year in Review Special on my community radio program, The Sunday Smorgasbord. The playlist for that program is available at this URL, 7tyg.radiopages.info/the-sunday-smorgasboard/2015-01-04. Although it featured new releases from a diversity of artists here are some of those released by older artists. Some making a return to recording after many years in the wilderness, so to speak.

In January Bruce Springsteen released High Hopes as he continues in one of the most prolific periods of his career. High Hopes is his eighth studio album this century. The real surprise in January was the release of Croz, by David Crosby, his first studio album in twenty years!

David Crosby's "Croz" released January 2014

David Crosby’s “Croz” released January 2014

February saw the release of Paul Rodgers’ studio album The Royal Sessions, a collection of Blues, R&B and Soul covers and his first studio album since 2000. Also returning to the music racks in February after an 18 year absence was none other than Neneh Cherry, with her fourth studio album, Blank Project.

Neneh Cherry's first studio album in eighteen years, Blank Project.

Neneh Cherry’s first studio album in eighteen years, Blank Project.

Mike Oldfield chalked up his twenty-fifth studio album in March with Man On The Rocks. It was his first entirely song-based album with no long instrumental passages since 1989’s Earth Moving.

Mike Oldfield's 25th album - Man On The Rocks

Mike Oldfield’s 25th album – Man On The Rocks

In April Australian singer-songwriter Russell Morris released his second album in as many years with Van Diemen’s Land. Blues journeyman Robert Cray also churned out yet another studio album in April with In My Soul, his seventh since 2001. He has also released two live albums in this period.

cray

Blondie released their second studio album in five years in May with Ghosts Of Download. It was made available with Blondie 4(0) Ever, a compilation of re-recordings of their biggest hits for their fortieth anniversary.

Blondie_-_Ghosts_of_Download

Scottish rockers Nazareth released their twenty-third studio album in June. It was the last with singer Dan McCafferty, who left before the album’s release. It was called Rock ‘N’ Roll Telephone.

Rock_'n'_Roll_Telephone

July saw the release of a new studio album from Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers with Hypnotic Eye. Judas Priest dropped Redeemer Of Souls in July, their first without founding guitarist K.K. Downing. July also saw Weird Al Yankovic release his first number one album, despite his long career, with Mandatory Fun. Choosing to not release a single, but eight music videos simultaneously instead, obviously helped.

Weird Al Yankovic's Mandatory Fun

Weird Al Yankovic’s Mandatory Fun

Ace Frehley left KISS with the intention of kicking off his solo career. He left the band in 1982 yet August 2014 saw the release of only his fifth studio album since his departure, with the suitably titled, Space Invader.

Ace Frehley's Space Invader released in August 2014

Ace Frehley’s Space Invader released in August 2014

September saw new releases from music industry stalwarts U2 (Songs Of innocence) and Robert Plant (Lullaby … And The Ceaseless Roar). September also saw the welcome return of Canada’s The Tea Party releasing their first studio album for a decade, The Ocean At The End.

Canadian rockers The Tea Party return with The Ocean At The End

Canadian rockers The Tea Party return with The Ocean At The End

Returning in October with his trademark sneer and legendary guitarist foil, Steve Stevens, was none other than Mr William Broad, better known as Billy Idol. His latest album is almost semi-autobiographical in places, particularly on the title track, Kings & Queens Of The Underground.

Kings_queens_cover

November was the month for the return of two industry giants. The first being the band mentioned at the start of this post, AC/DC. They released Rock Or Bust, the follow-up to Black Ice, sadly without founding brother Malcolm Young’s involvement due to illness. Somehow between recording and releasing the album they also seem to have left drummer Phil Rudd behind too, although I am sure that is for entirely different reasons. The one that pundits like me were most hanging out for was the new Pink Floyd album, The Endless River. Predominantly instrumental and recorded during sessions for 1994’s The Division Bell, it was a fitting swan song and a memorial to late keyboardist, Rick Wright.

The Endless River - released by Pink Floyd in November 2014

The Endless River – released by Pink Floyd in November 2014

In December legendary Australian musician Paul Kelly released his album, The Merri Soul Sessions. Some of the material was originally released on four double A-sided 7″ vinyl singles throughout 2014. The work is largely a collaboration with different vocalists chosen to suit the various tracks. Vocalists on the album include Vika & Linda Bull, Dan Sultan, Clairy Browne, Kira Piru and of course the man himself.

Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions

Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions

All in all a very productive year for older musicians with some still going strong, others returning to form and some just basking in their glory days. To quote Molly Meldrum, “do yourselves a favour” and get hold of some of these albums. Your ears will thank you.