I was asked why I hadn’t posted in a couple months. Quick answer – business travel and illness in February, and ramping up a new part of one of the businesses in March. There was probably a bit of the “Winter Blues” not making me feel like writing as well, but the 4 weeks of illness – while traveling – was the biggest part. I will have some photos coming soon too, I just haven’t been in the darkroom for 3 months either!
Album 1: The Police: Outlandos d’Amour
Roxanne and Can’t Stand Losing You are the two songs that sound most familiar to me, but they are so much more of an emotional experience on vinyl. I’d consider myself new to vinyl; I listened to it as a kid, but only until CD’s were available. Maybe this feeling of awe, or a sense of actually being in the music when I listen to an LP will eventually fade away, but I hope not. I’m finding a much greater appreciation for the work as a whole by listening to an album – and this album is no exception. It’s a great album.
Album 2: Bryan Adams: Cuts Like a Knife
Another album that’s getting close to my teen years, and I remember some of the songs well. I don’t think I ever had a tape or CD of Bryan Adams, but I know some friends did. Maybe the biggest disappointment was the audio quality of the LP. It doesn’t look pristine, but it doesn’t look as bad as it sounds. Just a slight muddiness to most of the album. Neither the sound quality or the musical content moved me much.
Album 3: Chicago: VII
I remember putting this on my dad’s turntable as a kid, probably around the time Chicago 17 came out. Of course I started with side one, and what I found was this odd, non-Chicago sounding instrumental stuff. Needless to say it didn’t take me long to turn it off, never to return to “early” Chicago.
I listened to this double album as I was finalizing some shelving designs for the “man cave”. I think it helped my creative juices flow. It starts light and open on side one and progresses to more and more punch through each side. There’s a little more urgency, and little more weight on each successive side. In fact, it almost sounds like an evolution of a band’s sound, because at the end of side four I hear some of the same sounds I remember on that 17 album. My favorite track was the next to last song on side four: Women Don’t Want to Love Me. There’s some great funky guitar with wah-wah and some overdrive in it. Now 25 years later, 40 years after it was released, I finally appreciate the quality of this album.
Album 4: Billy Joel: 52nd Street
This album has a good bit of noise in the outer tracks from wear, but for ten cents I figured it was worth a try! The sense of immersion in the music is still impressive, and I hear things in some of the songs I’ve never heard before. Like the “ssshhhuuuuh” at the beginning of Big Shot. I heard that and looked at the speakers like “was that always there?” The piano is just bright and lively, even with the occasional crackle. A lot of great songs on this one too. The trumpet on Zanzibar is amazing. Love the hair, Billy.
Album 5: Boston: Third Stage
After my recent “discovery” of Boston, I was excited to see this behind 52nd Street. Luckily, it wasn’t a let down. The first track Amanda was simply stunning. The remainder of the album is sort of a musical journey, all of which was enjoyable even if the beginning of side 2 was a little slow. I’m becoming more of a fan…
Album 6: Rush: Power Windows
This album sounds exactly like what I hear in my head when I think of Rush. There’s a lot of what I would call pop-synth rock. Still some guitar, but just too generic for my tastes. The entire album sounds like one continuous song to my ear. I wasn’t a Boston fan when I listened to their first LP, but for me Rush = meh. I will say it was a very clean and dynamic sound with great imaging, but just not the type of music that can draw me in or transport me somewhere else. Great artwork, though.
Album 7: Santana: Greatest Hits
From the first drum fill at the beginning of Evil Ways this album began to make up for the Rush album. The entire first side made me feel like I was in a small club listening to Santana. And while I normally think guitar when I think of Carlos Santana, this album highlights every instrument at some point. The organ on Everything’s Coming Our Way rocks, and then you get this great percussion intro on Se A Cabo to follow it up, which also has strong organ and guitar. This one will be getting some additional spins in the near future.
Album 8: Phil Collins, No Jacket Required
As much as my wife rolls her eyes with my recent dive into vinyl, this album caused her to settle into one of the chairs in the man cave. As soon as she heard Sussudio she came downstairs to “check the laundry” and stayed for the entire album. While I don’t think I’ve ever owned anything by Phil Collins, I must admit this is a pretty solid album. It must have been huge when it was released, because I knew a lot of the songs. While the music is definitely in a specific “Phil Collins” style, its worth a listen, and I really enjoyed it.
Album 9: West Side Story
This is another ten cent album. It came without a sleeve, so it’s pretty scratched and has a lot of crackles. But, it’s a six-eye Columbia Masterworks mono version, and even with the wear it’s sonically extremely bright with amazing vocal dynamics. It’s so good it almost makes we want to watch the movie. Almost. I wonder if today they could make the Puerto Rican references without getting a bunch of backlash…
Album 10: Men at Work: Business as Usual
This album starts off with the classic Who Can it be Now?, which sounded better than I ever remember it sounding. The sax, guitar, and vocal harmonies were all superb. Imaging on the album was so good I felt surrounded by music. Down Under also sounded better than ever. For an album from 1982, this is pretty good. I guess there was some good music in the 80’s.
Album 11: Bette Midler: The Divine Miss M
Pure 70’s lounge music. That was my first thought as this album started playing through the system. This album is as old as I am. I wanted to turn it off during song two – Chapel of Love. The rest of the album did little to change my feelings, but it did increase my appreciation of Streisand; at least she was able to win me over in the course of 40 minutes or so….Divine Miss M just made me sad. Say Goodbye – I’m kicking her out of the house.
That’s all for today. The current playlist is around 500 deep. Yes, really. I’ve been buying a lot of albums this month. Don’t judge. This includes multiple copies of some titles, so I should have some nice variety to work to,and write about, in the coming weeks.