There have been a few people posting their favorite ten music albums on Facebook so I couldn’t resist joining in here. Here they are – no compilations, one per artist, no particular order outside number 1 and probably number 2, subject to change but going on first instincts….
1. BEACH BOYS- PET SOUNDS: Anyone who knows me, or has read this blog a bit, won’t be surprised in the slightest here. I’ve written a lot about it so not much more to say here, except that I really hope that it gets appropriately revered on it’s scarily close 50th birthday in just over 2 years…
2. PADDY MC ALOON- I TRAWL THE MEGAHERTZ: I could make a case for just about all of Prefab Sprout’s records here, but the one record Paddy McAloon released under his own name has always edged it for me in terms of it’s pure emotional power, even although you hardly hear Paddy’s emotion-laden voice.
3. BEATLES-LET IT BE: This may seem to some to be a perverse selection, even although it’s consistent with Brian Wilson’s own views. I’ve been trying to think about why this album resonates with me, and I think it’s because the songs seem emotional and heartfelt -even seeming fluff like Dig A Pony, in contrast to some of the more impersonal songs on Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, The White Album and Abbey Road. The Long And Winding Road may have been over-Spectored, but it still remains the Beatles song that talks to me the most.
4. ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK-LOST HORIZON (SONGS WRITTEN BY BACHARACH/DAVID) : Another possibly perverse selection, even though this much-maligned movie has picked up some cult appeal in recent years. The record broke-up the Bacharach/David partnership, set back Bacharach commercially for years, but yet there is a tremendous relevance and resonance in the lyric pleas for peace, harmony and understanding, and finding love in dreamed-about places. The fact that my children love this is an additional bonus.
5. THE MAGIC GARDEN- FIFTH DIMENSION: I had to have something by Jimmy Webb, and there are some good candidates, including solo albums and Richard Harris work. But this cult classic has to be my personal favorite, not least of all because of the excellent vocals by 5D. Of course, putting these vocals to the stories of Jimmy Webb’s tortured young love life becomes a winning combination.
6. BOB DYLAN- BLOOD ON THE TRACKS: It’s an easy choice for my favorite Dylan album; anything that has Idiot Wind, You’re A Big Girl Now, Tangled Up In Blue and You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go is going to be a winning combination of incisive lyrics and bittersweet melody -this is ultimately a protest album against the injustices of love, and the personal passion Dylan puts into that has to make this his best record.
7. SCOTT WALKER- SCOTT IV: One could make a case for any of Walker’s classic five albums -Scott 1 to 4, or even ‘Til The Band Comes In. But I always end looking at this record -not only the history of it sinking without trace after three pretty successful records, or the fact that it is stylistically more varied than the earlier records. It ultimately comes down to the songs- Rhymes Of Goodbye, On Your Own Again, The Seventh Seal are all up there with the best written. And it asks some interesting political and personal questions.
8. ASSOCIATION- BIRTHDAY: While one’s top ten records don’t fully define one’s taste, they do give a good indication what sort of music opens my heart and ears. So I’m going to throw in a few sunshine poppy albums to show how much this genre appeals to me, and this album comes immediately to mind. This is the one Association album that has consistently good songs throughout, and some huge home runs (or sixes, for the cricketers here) including Barefoot Gentleman and Everything That Touches You.
9. ORPHEUS- ORPHEUS: Not strictly a sunshine pop band, but this record is pretty much that. You may know Can’t Find The Time, one of the perfect love songs, but the rest is pretty brilliant too.
10. EXPLORERS CLUB- FREEDOM WIND: I battled a bit with a few options for the last record here, but went back to my first instinct, and a record that keeps making return trips to my car stereo. I’m not putting a second Beach Boys record on this list, but here’s a band who took all the best of the Beach Boys sound and added their own personal touch. For those who haven’t heard of this band, please seek out all their music.