Posts Tagged country-rock

Albums Released This Week (September 11 – 17)

Here’s a sampling of the BEST music ever made! Great albums from the 60s, 70s and 80s rock and pop released this week (and some related albums of note):

September 11


Manfred Mann —— The Five Faces Of Manfred Mann [UK] ► Blues-Rock >> 1964
Chad & Jeremy —— Of Cabbages And Kings ► Folk-Pop >> 1967
The Beach Boys —— Smiley Smile ► Pop-Rock >> 1967
Bruce Springsteen —— The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle ► Album Rock >> 1973
Gentle Giant —— Giant For A Day ► Prog Rock >> 1978
Foreigner —— Head Games ► Arena Rock >> 1979
Ultravox —— Rage In Eden ► New Wave Synth-Pop >> 1981
Falco —— Falco 3 ► Dance-Pop >> 1985
Triumph —— The Sport Of Kings ► Arena Rock >> 1986
Jethro Tull —— Crest Of A Knave ► Prog Rock >> 1987
The Temptations —— Together Again ► Soul >> 1987
Melissa Etheridge —— Brave And Crazy ► Roots Rock >> 1989
Eurythmics —— We Too Are One ► New Wave Synth-Pop >> 1989
Warrant —— Cherry Pie ► Hard Rock >> 1990
Bob Dylan —— Under The Red Sky ► Folk-Rock >> 1990
Stephen Stills —— Stills Alone ► Folk-Rock >> 1991
Blur —— The Great Escape ► Alt Pop-Rock/Britpop >> 1995
Dion —— Greatest Hits ► Pop-Rock >> 1995
Belinda Carlisle —— A Man And A Woman ► Pop-Rock >> 1996
Mariah Carey —— Butterfly ► Pop-Rock >> 1997
Steps —— Step One [UK] ► Britpop >> 1998
Boz Scaggs —— Dig It ► Pop-Rock >> 2001
Mariah Carey —— Glitter [Sndtrk] ► Pop-Rock >> 2001
Bob Dylan —— Love And Theft ► Folk-Rock >> 2001
Nickelback —— Silver Side Up ► Alt Rock/Post-Grunge >> 2001
John Hiatt —— The Tiki Bar Is Open ► Roots Rock >> 2001
Dave Matthews Band —— Away From The World ► AA Pop-Rock >> 2012
The Knack —— Rock & Roll Is Good For You: The Fieger/Averre Demos ► Power Pop >> 2012
Bob Dylan —— Tempest ► Folk-Rock >> 2012
The Clash —— The Clash Hits Back ► Punk >> 2013
Scorpions —— Return To Forever ► Heavy Metal/Kraut Rock >> 2015

September 12


Brenda Lee —— Let Me Sing ► Country-Pop >> 1963
The Rolling Stones —— Through The Past Darkly (Big Hits, Vol. 2) ► Blues-Rock >> 1969
The Jackson 5 —— G.I.T.: Get It Together ► Soul – Motown >> 1973
Thin Lizzy —— Fighting ► Hard Rock >> 1975
Electric Light Orchestra —— A New World Record ► Prog. Rock >> 1976
Chicago —— Chicago XI ► Jazz-Rock >> 1977
XTC —— Black Sea ► New Wave Pop-Rock >> 1980
David Bowie —— Scary Monsters ► Glam Rock >> 1980
Simple Minds —— Sister Feelings Call ► New Wave Alt. Pop >> 1981
Simple Minds —— Sons And Fascination ► New Wave Alt. Pop >> 1981
Saga —— Heads Or Tales ► Prog. Rock >> 1983
UB40 —— Labour Of Love ► Reggae-Pop >> 1983
The dB’s —— Like This ► Power Pop >> 1984
Talking Heads —— Stop Making Sense ► New Wave Art-Rock >> 1984
Skinny Puppy —— VIVIsectVI ► Alt. Rock – Industrial >> 1988
Aerosmith —— Pump ► Hard Rock >> 1989
Annihilator —— Never, Neverland ► Thrash Metal >> 1990
Disco Inferno —— D. I. Go Pop ► Post-Punk Alt/Experimental >> 1994
Lenny Kravitz —— Circus ► Pop-Rock >> 1995
Big Audio Dynamite —— Planet B.A.D. ► Post-Punk Alt. Rock >> 1995
Jethro Tull —— Roots To Branches ► Prog Rock >> 1995
Stina Nordenstam —— Dynamite ► Pop-Rock/Dream Pop >> 1996
Sloan —— Between The Bridges ► Alt Indie Rock >> 1999
Lynyrd Skynyrd —— Christmas Time Again ► Southern Rock >> 2000
Christina Aguilera —— Mi Reflejo ► Dance-Pop >> 2000
At The Drive-In —— Relationship Of Command ► Punk Rock >> 2000
Bloodrock —— Triptych ► Hard Rock >> 2000
Simple Minds —— Black & White 050505 ► New Wave Alt. Pop >> 2005
David Gray —— Life in Slow Motion ► AA Pop-Rock >> 2005
R.E.M. —— And I Feel Fine…The Best Of The I.R.S. Years 1982-1987 ► Alt. Pop-Rock >> 2006
Atlanta Rhythm Section —— The Day Bear Bryant Died ► Southern Rock >> 2006
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band —— Face The Promise ► Album Rock >> 2006
Peter Frampton —— Fingerprints ► Arena Rock >> 2006
Everclear —— Welcome To The Drama Club ► Grunge-Punk >> 2006
Metallica —— Death Magnetic ► Heavy Metal >> 2008
PJ Harvey —— iTunes Session [EP] ► Indie Rock >> 2011

September 13


Manfred Mann —— My Little Red Book Of Winners! ► Rock n Roll >> 1965
Bobby Darin —— If I Were A Carpenter ► Pop-Rock >> 1967
Yes —— Close To The Edge ► Prog Rock >> 1972
Supertramp —— Crime Of The Century ► Prog/Art Rock >> 1974
Fleetwood Mac —— Heros Are Hard To Find ► Pop-Rock >> 1974
Ronnie Wood —— I’ve Got My Own Album To Do ► Hard Rock >> 1974
LaBelle —— Nightbirds ► Funk >> 1974
Rose Royce —— Car Wash: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack [Sndtrk] ► Disco >> 1976
Lynyrd Skynyrd —— One More From The Road ► Southern Rock >> 1976
Elton John —— Elton John’s Greatest Hits Volume II ► Pop-Rock >> 1977
Kate Bush —— The Dreaming ► Art Rock >> 1982
Simple Minds —— New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84) ► New Wave Alt. Pop >> 1982
Kiss —— Animalize ► Hard Rock >> 1984
Dokken —— Tooth And Nail ► Heavy Metal >> 1984
Stevie Wonder —— In Square Circle ► Pop-R&B >> 1985
Tanita Tikram —— Ancient Heart ► Pop-Rock >> 1988
The Smiths —— Rank ► Alt. Pop-Rock >> 1988
Jeff Healey Band —— See The Light ► Blues-Rock >> 1988
Fishbone —— Truth And Soul ► Alt Pop-Rock >> 1988
Tina Turner —— Foreign Affair ► Pop-Rock >> 1989
The Shamen —— Boss Drum ► Alt Rock/Electro-Psych >> 1992
The Cure —— Show ► Post-Punk >> 1993
Blues Traveler —— Four ► Blues-Rock >> 1994
Eric Clapton —— From The Cradle ► Blues-Rock >> 1994
Various Artists —— If I Were A Carpenter ► Alt Rock >> 1994
Curtis Mayfield —— Live ► Soul/Funk >> 1994
The Notorious B.I.G. —— Ready To Die ► Gangsta Rap >> 1994
Peter Gabriel —— Secret World Live ► Prog Rock >> 1994
The Beatles —— Yellow Submarine Songtrack ► Pop-Rock >> 1999
Spin Doctors —— Nice Talking To Me ► Alt Pop-Rock >> 2005
Bonnie Raitt —— Souls Alike ► Blues-Rock >> 2005
Tracy Chapman —— Where You Live ► AA Pop-Rock >> 2005
Phil Collins —— Going Back ► Pop-Rock >> 2010
Aerosmith —— The Essential Aerosmith ► Hard Rock >> 2011
Nick Lowe —— The Old Magic ► Pub Rock >> 2011
Eric Clapton —— Play The Blues Live From Jazz At Lincolcn Center ► Blues-Rock >> 2011
Eric Clapton —— Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center ► Blues-Rock >> 2011
Bush —— The Sea Of Memories ► Grunge Rock >> 2011
Alice Cooper —— Welcome 2 My Nightmare ► Hard Rock >> 2011

September 14


Doris Day —— The Doris Day Christmas Album ► Holiday Pop >> 1964
The Byrds —— (Untitled) ► Country-Rock >> 1970
Supertramp —— Crisis? What Crisis? ► Prog/Art Rock >> 1975
Jethro Tull —— Stormwatch ► Prog Rock >> 1979
Genesis —— Abacab ► Prog Rock >> 1981
Faith No More —— Introduce Yourself ► Hard Rock >> 1987
Mick Jagger —— Primitive Cool ► Hard Rock >> 1987
Meat Beat Manifesto —— Armed Audio Warfare ► Techno-Industrial >> 1990
Blind Melon —— Blind Melon ► Alt. Rock >> 1992
Jethro Tull —— A Little Light Music [UK] ► Folk-Rock >> 1992
Counting Crows —— August And Everything After ► AA Pop-Rock >> 1993
Prince —— The Hits/The B-Sides ► Dance-Pop >> 1993
Teddy Pendergrass —— A Little More Magic ► Soul-Pop >> 1993
Bryan Adams —— Live ► Pop-Rock >> 1993
Earth, Wind & Fire —— Millennium ► Soul-Funk >> 1993
Ringo Starr —— Ringo Starr And His All-Starr Band Volume 2: Live From Montreux ► Pop-Rock >> 1993
Squeeze —— Some Fantastic Place ► New Wave Synth-Pop >> 1993
dEUS —— In A Bar, Under The Sea [UK] ► Avant Grunge >> 1996
Luis Miguel —— Amarte Es Un Placer ► Latin Pop >> 1999
Iggy Pop —— Avenue B ► Alt. Rock / Punk >> 1999
Gov’t Mule —— Deja Voodoo ► Southern Rock/Jam Rock >> 2004
Joni Mitchell —— Dreamland ► Folk-Rock >> 2004
Tears For Fears —— Everybody Loves A Happy Ending ► New Wave Synth-Pop >> 2004
Blondie —— Live By Request ► New Wave Pop-Rock >> 2004
Frank Zappa —— QuAUDIOPHILIAC ► Art Rock >> 2004
Alice Cooper —— School’s Out And Other Hits ► Hard Rock >> 2004
Mark Knopfler —— Get Lucky ► Roots Rock >> 2008
David Gray —— Draw The Line ► AA Pop-Rock >> 2009
Weezer —— Hurley ► Alt. Rock/Power Pop >> 2010
Marilyn Martin —— Trust, Love, Pray ► Contemporary CCM >> 2012

September 15


Johnny Cash —— Sings Hank Williams ► Classic Country >> 1960
Otis Redding —— Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul ► Memphis Soul >> 1965
Jefferson Airplane —— Jefferson Airplane Takes Off ► Psychedelic Rock (SFO) >> 1966
The Kinks —— Something Else By The Kinks ► British Rock >> 1967
The Band —— Cahoots ► Folk-Rock >> 1971
Bobby Womack —— Communication ► Soul-Funk >> 1971
Deep Purple —— Fireball ► Hard Rock >> 1971
Grand Funk Railroad —— Phoenix ► Hard Rock >> 1972
John Denver —— Rocky Mountain High ► Folk-Pop >> 1972
Poco —— Crazy Eyes ► Country-Rock >> 1973
Hall & Oates —— Daryl Hall & John Oates ► Pop-Rock >> 1975
David Crosby & Graham Nash —— Wind On The Water ► Folk-Rock >> 1975
Pink Floyd —— Wish You Were Here ► Prog Rock >> 1975
Frank Zappa —— Studio Tan ► Art Rock >> 1978
Huey Lewis & The News —— Sports ► Pop-Rock >> 1983
Motörhead —— No Remorse ► Heavy Metal >> 1984
Elvis Costello And The Attractions —— Blood & Chocolate ► Alt. Pop-Rock >> 1986
Ric Ocasek —— This Side Of Paradise ► Pop-Rock >> 1986
Donna Summer —— All Systems Go ► Dance-Pop >> 1987
The Ramones —— Halfway To Sanity ► Punk-Rock >> 1987
Tiffany —— Tiffany ► Dance-Pop >> 1987
Love And Rockets —— Express ► Alt Pop-Rock >> 1986
Rick Wakeman —— 2000 A.D. Into The Future ► Prog Rock >> 1991
Michael Penn —— Free-For-All ► Alt. Pop-Rock >> 1992
Bad 4 Good —— Refugee ► Heavy Metal/Teen Metal >> 1992
New Edition —— Home Again ► Soul-Pop >> 1996
America —— Human Nature ► Folk-Rock >> 1998
Marilyn Manson —— Mechanical Animals ► Heavy Metal/Alt Metal >> 1998
Death —— Sound Of Perseverance ► Heavy Metal/Death Metal >> 1998
The Human League —— The Very Best Of The Human League ► New Wave Synth-Pop >> 2003
Elton John —— The Captain & The Kid ► Pop-Rock >> 2006
Ace Frehley —— Anomaly ► Pop-Metal >> 2009

September 16


Neil Diamond —— Just For You ► Pop-Rock >> 1967
Jimi Hendrix Experience —— Electric Ladyland ► Psychedelic Rock >> 1968
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell —— Easy ► Soul – Motown >> 1969
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas —— Sugar ‘N’ Spice ► Soul – Motown >> 1969
Diana Ross —— Baby, It’s Me ► Soul – Motown >> 1977
Pete Townshend/Ronnie Lane —— Rough Mix ► Prog Rock >> 1977
Talking Heads —— Talking Heads: 77 ► New Wave Art-Rock >> 1977
Rory Gallagher —— Top Priority ► Blues-Rock >> 1979
John Mellencamp (John Cougar) —— Nothing Matters (And What If It Did) ► Roots Rock >> 1980
Gary Numan —— Warriors ► New Wave Synth Pop >> 1983
Deep Purple —— Perfect Strangers ► Hard Rock >> 1984
Kiss —— Asylum ► Hard Rock >> 1985
Marshall Crenshaw —— Downtown ► Power Pop >> 1985
Slayer —— Hell Awaits ► Heavy Metal >> 1985
The Waterboys —— This Is The Sea ► Folk-Rock >> 1985
Lizzy Borden —— Visual Lies ► Heavy Metal/Glam Metal >> 1987
Eazy-E —— Eazy-Duz-It ► Gangsta Rap >> 1988
Talk Talk —— Spirit Of Eden ► New Wave Pop-Rock >> 1988
Jonathan Richman —— I, Jonathan ► College Rock >> 1992
Gloria Estefan —— Exitos De Gloria Estefan ► Latin Pop >> 1990
Buena Vista Social Club —— Buena Vista Social Club ► Afro-Cuban Jazz >> 1997
Brooks & Dunn —— The Greatest Hits Collection ► Country-Rock >> 1997
The Band —— Jubilation ► Folk-Rock >> 1998
Death In Vegas —— Scorpio Rising ► Electronic Pop >> 2002
David Bowie —— Reality ► Glam Rock >> 2003
Joss Stone —— The Soul Sessions ► Soul (Neo-Soul) >> 2003
Elton John —— The Diving Board ► Pop-Rock >> 2013

September 17


Manfred Mann —— The Manfred Mann Album ► Rock n Roll >> 1964
The Ventures —— Wild Things! ► Rock n Roll Instrumental >> 1966
Colosseum —— Colosseum Live ► Jazz-Rock Fusion >> 1971
Rick Springfield —— Comic Book Heroes ► Power Pop >> 1973
Scorpions —— In Trance ► Heavy Metal/Kraut Rock >> 1975
Ringo Starr —— Ringo’s Rotogravure ► Pop-Rock >> 1976
Frank Zappa —— Joe’s Garage: Act I ► Art Rock >> 1979
The Doobie Brothers —— One Step Closer ► Pop-Rock >> 1980
Phil Lynott —— The Phil Lynott Album ► Album Rock >> 1982
General Public —— All The Rage ► New Wave Ska Pop >> 1984
Timothy B. Schmit —— Playin’ It Cool ► Country-Rock >> 1984
Thompson Twins —— Here’s To Future Days ► New Wave Dance-pop >> 1985
Yes —— Big Generator ► Prog Rock >> 1987
Frank Zappa —— London Symphony Orchestra, Vol. 2 ► Classical Fusion >> 1987
Cocteau Twins —— Heaven Or Las Vegas ► Folk-Rock >> 1990
Mariah Carey —— Emotions ► Pop-Rock >> 1991
Ozzy Osbourne —— No More Tears ► Hard Rock >> 1991
Hole —— Pretty On The Inside ► Grunge >> 1991
Steve Earle —— Shut Up And Die Like An Aviator ► Alt. Country >> 1991
Uncle Tupelo —— Still Fear Gone ► Alt. Country-Rock >> 1991
Guns N’ Roses —— Use Your Illusion I ► Hard Rock >> 1991
Guns N’ Roses —— Use Your Illusion II ► Hard Rock >> 1991
KMFDM —— Money ► Heavy Metal/Kraut Rock >> 1992
Cake —— Fashion Nugget ► Alt Rock/College Rock >> 1996
The Cardigans —— First Band On The Moon ► Power Pop >> 1996
Warren Zevon —— I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead ► Pop-Rock >> 1996
ZZ Top —— Rhythmeen ► Blues-Rock >> 1996
Goo Goo Dolls —— Bang! [EP] ► Alt Pop-Rock/Post-Grunge >> 1997
Hall & Oates —— Marigold Sky ► Pop-Rock >> 1997
Natalie Cole —— Ask A Woman Who Knows ► Soul-Pop >> 2002
Mark Knopfler —— Kill To Get Crimson ► Roots Rock >> 2007
Berlin —— Animal ► L. A. Synth-Pop >> 2013
The Band —— Live At The Academy Of Music 1971 ► Folk-Rock >> 2013
Elvis Costello And The Attractions —— Wise Up Ghost ► Funk >> 2013

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Album of the Day: The Byrds (7/18/66)

5th Dimension (released July 18, 1966) was The Byrds’ third album after their blockbuster debut and sophomore releases, Mr. Tambourine Man (June 1965) and Turn! Turn! Turn! (December 1965). While not a commercial success on the level of its predecessors, 5th Dimension marked the band’s innovative shift from electrified folk-rock into a neat blend of psychedelic rock and nascent country-rock.

The standout track and rock classic, “Eight Miles High” was written by original Byrd Gene Clark, who would exit the group before 5th Dimension was completed. Clark’s departure left Roger McGuinn and David Crosby to assume the primary songwriting role, and they responded with a mix of picks and pans (with Crosby’s “What’s Happening?!?!” being dead center in the latter category). At its best, 5th Dimension is uneven, but it remains one of the mid-60s best examples of the coming diversity of folk, country and psychedelic rock (and all the mixtures thereof). The ethereal title track, the astral “Eight Miles High” (with no lead vocals and loads of spacey McGuinn/Crosby guitar work), the abstract “I See You,” the experimental “2-4-2 Foxtrot (The Lear Jet Song)” and Crosby’s aforementioned flopper are the earliest of the psych-rock genre. They’re balanced by decent folk-rock covers in “Wild Mountain Thyme” and “John Riley.” Then there’s that jaunty “Mr. Spaceman,” a sing-along country-rock gem that’s a bit dated but still has a fond 60s trippy feel.

A transitional album from a band that is now recognized for its influence on 60s and 70s psychedelic and country-rock, 5th Dimension spent half a year on the album charts and peaked at #24. Some call it a precursor and challenger to Sgt. Pepper’s as the top psychedelic rock LP. I think it’s a classic, but not that high. 5th Dimension is available for purchase as a CD or individual mp3 files on Amazon, or as iPod tracks on iTunes. The Byrds are in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.

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Album of the Day: Emerson, Lake & Palmer (6/14/71)

Not just the first supergroup in progressive rock, Emerson, Lake & Palmer (aka ELP) was also the earliest prog-rock band to truly master the heady mix of classical, hard rock and pop music that became a significant and commercially viable force in the 70s. Formed in very late 1969, the trio issued their eponymous debut LP in 1970 and followed with the prog-rock seminal Tarkus on June 14, 1971.

Keyboardist Keith Emerson and bassist Greg Lake met in 1969 while on tour with The Nice and King Crimson, their respective artsy hard rock bands of the time. Realizing the opportunity to form a new venture and deciding on a trio, they convinced drummer Carl Palmer to jump over from his group Atomic Rooster. (There is much truth to the rumor that they also courted Jimi Hendrix to join them and form “HELP”, but Hendrix declined and was dead a few months later, anyway). With the super-trio in place, ELP set about crafting their signature organ-dominated, pop-goes-cathedral sound for the self-titled first LP. For album #2, Tarkus, the band expanded the theme, gloomy at times and explosive at others, sharing compositions and instrumentation in a mostly glorious, thundering cannonade of early but now classic progressive rock.

Tarkus features the epic, 21 minute conceptual title track that consumed Side 1 of the original LP and taught everyone that such self-centered indulgences were acceptable (but only when they were credible and listenable!). On Side 2, ELP bookends a Bach-based hymn (“The Only Way”) and three more spirited rockers (“Bitches Crystal,” “Infinite Space (Conclusion)” and “A Time And A Place”) with two curious but acceptable matings of countrified rock ‘n’ roll with Emerson’s classical-turned-dancehall piano, “Jeremy Bender” and “Are You Ready, Eddy?” The whole is as good as the sum, although “Tarkus” the composition is the best of the album.

The album climbed as far as #9 in North America and opened the door for a broad range of successful 70s art/prog/avant-garde rockers, from Ambrosia to early Moody Blues to Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream and Yes (ELP’s chief competitors in the mid70s). My Top 25 ELP tracks will be up on DrRock.com shortly, and Tarkus is available as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon and as iPod downloads on iTunes.

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Album of the Day: Eagles (6/10/75) 35 Years!

The Eagles were on a roll in early 1975. Their first three albums went multi-platinum, they’d issued four Top 30 hits, the last of which, “Best Of My Love” was still charting over a year after its parent album (On The Border) was released, and America (plus the rest of the world) was beginning to really dig their laid-back, light country-rock “L.A. Sound” (nevermind that none of the band members were actually from L.A).

One Of These Nights (released June 10, 1975), the Eagles fourth studio LP, continued their soaring but also marked a turning point for the band. The album was dominated by the growing leadership of premier light country-rock songwriters Glen Frey and Don Henley and by the imminent departure of original member Bernie Leadon. Bernie was soon out (replaced by Joe Walsh), Don and Glen became de facto leaders, and within 18 months the Eagles achieved mega-stardom with the incomparable Hotel California. But in mid-75, One Of These Nights was the best of the pre-Hotel Eagles. It featured four enduring Eagles songs: the title track; “Take It To The Limit;” “Lyin’ Eyes;” and “After The Thrill Is Gone.” Deeper still is Bernie’s swan song, the spacey country-rocker “Journey Of The Sorcerer” and the curious “I Wish You Peace,” co-written by Bernie and Ronald Reagan’s renegade daughter Patti Davis.

One Of These Nights also features soon-to-be-gone Randy Meisner, who sang lead on “Take It To The Limit” and is credited as co-writer on “Too Many Hands.” The Eagles were in transition on One Of These Nights, with the best to come. My Top 25 Eagles tunes are in the Playlist Vault and One Of These Nights is available as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon and as iPod downloads on iTunes.

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Album of the Day: Jimmy Buffett (5/24/94)

Jimmy Buffett’s May 24, 1994 release, Fruitcakes is a typical Buffett album with tropical sounds and topics, light lyrics and gentle rhythms – just the sort of beach pirate, laissez faire Caribbean wind-blown lifestyle his persona and business career have espoused over more than three decades. But Fruitcakes reached #5 on the Billboard album chart and eventually went platinum, a rare double for a Buffett album and evidence that it is one of the best five or six discs in his catalogue.

The sun, surf and sand elements of Fruitcakes are best heard (or dreamed of) from a beach chair with a rum cocktail in hand on a sunny afternoon outside a thatched hut facing an azure sea with palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. “Apocalypso,” “Lone Palm,” “Everybody’s Got A Cousin In Miami,” a mellow take on the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” and a steel-drum cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Uncle John’s Band” all set that space and mood. The rest is a smooth but not serious concoction of quirky Buffett styles, including languid ballads (“Delaney Talks To Statues”), light country-rock (“Six Sting Music”), the ranting complaints about supersizing and politically correctness in the punchy title track, and the harder, bluesy horn-and-harp workout in “Vampires, Mummies And The Holy Ghost.”

Fruitcakes is a great starting point for a neo-Parrothead (as hard-core Buffett fans are known) and can be downloaded or purchased as a CD from Amazon and iTunes. Jimmy Buffett’s Top 25 tracks are in the Playlist Vault.

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Album of the Day: Poco (5/6/70) 40 Years!

Poco was the best of the early wave of light country-rock bands that formed in the late 60s. Poco paved the way for all that followed, including the Eagles. Their second album, the eponymous Poco, was released on May 6, 1970 and generated a good buzz among the critics and hippy folk/country types, but like most of their other albums, it fell short of expectations on the charts and in stores. Despite the quality and innovation of their music, Poco never found a mass audience, and the defection of key players over the years didn’t help. But Poco’s sustainability is unparalleled in the genre; the band’s still in action today.

Jim Messina and Richie Furay abandoned the derelict supergroup Buffalo Springfield in 1968 to form another in Poco during the rise of the L.A. country-rock craze. Joined by veterans-Rusty Young, George Grantham and Randy Meisner, the band’s first album, Pickin’ Up The Pieces (1969) showed huge promise as a genre groundbreaker. But bassist Meisner left afterwards (eventually to join the Eagles) and was replaced by Timothy B. Schmitt (another future Eagle) for Poco and the live LP Deliverin’ (1971). Paul Cotton replaced Messina in 1972 when the latter jumped to an MOR pop duo with Kenny Loggins, and Furay quit in 1973, frustrated by Poco’s lack of financial success. Grantham left in 1978, leaving Young and Cotton to forge ahead and find success with the Top 15 album Legend in 1979 (and its Top 20 hits “Crazy Love” and “Heart Of The Night”) and some decent albums in the 80s.

Poco is terrific light country-rock, with guitar hooks, vocal harmonies, pedal steel twang and an overall laidback sound that grabbed critics and FM radio listeners then and still has appeal today. Surprisingly, the album yielded no hits, despite an obvious candidate in “You Better Think Twice.” And then there’s the curious 18-minute jam on Side 2 titled “El Tonto Del Nadie Regrasa,” a Latin-flavored experiment that is far from a flop but makes you wonder what those guys were thinking. Poco the band is in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault and Poco the album is available on Amazon and iTunes.

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Album of the Day: Bob Dylan (4/9/69) 41 Years!

Nashville Skyline wasn’t Bob Dylan’s best album by any stretch, but it did top out at #3 in the U.S. and a surprising #1 on the U.K. charts (find Bob in The Playlist Vault, here). Recorded in Nashville (where else?) with a cadre of local session musicians and released on April 9, 1969, the album includes a duet (a remake of “Girl From The North Country”) with Johnny Cash and reflects the emergence of the country-rock sub-genre and the early shift of pure country music toward the pop mainstream.

Nashville Skyline spun three singles onto the pop charts, with “Lay Lady Lay” the only one to see significant chart action. The other two (“Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You” and “I Threw It All Away”) were pretty decent slower country tunes, but Dylan wasn’t a country artist and Nashville Skyline was far from a rock album, so one shouldn’t be surprised that the singles didn’t hit. But that’s the whole point. The album was smack in the middle of the early development of country-rock, and Dylan was on the forefront along with the Byrds, Gram Parsons and Neil Young.

And Bob Dylan’s best? My money’s on Blonde On Blonde, with Highway 61 Revisited at #2 and Blood On The Tracks #3. Your bias can be registered on DrRock.com. Nashville Skyline can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads on Amazon or iPod files on iTunes.

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