“In deciding to compile this list, I tried to be as honest as possible in that I found myself several times resisting the urge to include albums or musicians that I ‘thought’ I should have on my list but don’t necessarily listen to all that much. For example, there’s a reason I don’t have any jazz on here. I don’t find myself reaching for Miles Davis over R.E.M. so why be a poseur and include it? These are favorites…’MY favorites’. A few notes: I shied away from live albums (hence, no “The Last Waltz”), greatest hits (with one exception), compilations and having more than one album from a particular band. What, was I going to list the ENTIRE Beatles catalog? A few times I did include multiple albums from a songwriter whether it was a solo album or offshoot band, so you may spot a few repeats in that respect. I also could have easily included many local Pittsburgh releases but decided to keep them for a separate list coming soon. With that being said, I hope you enjoy this list as much as I had making it. Hopefully in putting this together, you the reader, will discover something you never heard before or reacquaint yourself with a long, forgotten album. Look out for the remaining installments here ‘every’ Sunday. Check out the previous entries for #6-10, #11-20, #21-40, #41-60, #61-80, #81-100 and the albums that almost made the cut.
I have been putting off this last post because it is impossible for me to attempt to explain the importance that these albums have been to me and the love I feel for this music. I’d hate to sound all gushy but these are the five albums that got me through some weird, fun, difficult, awesome, expanding and essential times. They will probably never mean less to me than they do right this moment. They are all extraordinary. Please check them out if you haven’t before. Finally, thanks to all who have read this list of mine. As always, it means the world you would consider my opinions as worthy of your time.
Number One Forever. Grant Lee Buffalo-Mighty Joe Moon (1994) My perfect album. It came along at a time in my life when I desperately needed it to. It forever will mean more to me than any music I will ever listen to in my lifetime. I listen to it almost twenty years later and the memories it bailed me out of still resonate and I still cannot understand or explain the power this has had over what I was going through then but understand that without discovering this band, this songwriter, this album, I would have definitely been in another place as I write these words. How many albums can you say has had that effect on you as a human being? I can name one.
Thank you, Grant-Lee, Paul and Joey. Choice Tracks: ‘Lone Star Song‘, ‘It’s The Life‘, ‘Mockingbirds‘, ‘Sing Along‘, ‘Mighty Joe Moon‘, ‘Demon Called Deception‘, ‘Lady Godiva & Me‘, ‘Drag‘, ‘Last Days of Tecumseh‘, ‘Happiness‘, ‘Honey Don’t Think‘, ‘Side By Side‘, ‘Rock of Ages‘.
2. The Mendoza Line-Lost in Revelry (2001) I was a saved from Classic Rock, Shakedown Street and probably spending a lot of time with Phish by this album. What a gift it was to find out about this band who had a propensity to self destruct before our eyes. This is ‘Indie Rock’? I like it! I barely got on the train and was able to not only see the band play before the premature (maybe not) disbanding but have become somewhat chummy with the members in that I still correspond and follow anything they put out. Just a great band that I always feel needs to be appreciated more. In time, they will get the due. Choice Tracks: ‘A Damn Good Disguise‘ (my Favorite Song of All-Time), ‘Something Dark‘, ‘What Ever Happened To You?‘.
3. World Party-Goodbye Jumbo (1990) Having your last 8 bucks to shell out on a cassette over food and not being sorry for it is a huge deal in one’s life. Thanks, Karl. More here and here. Choice Tracks: ‘Sweet Soul Dream‘, ‘Way Down Now‘, ‘Message in a Box‘, ‘Love Street‘.
4. Camper Van Beethoven-Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart (1988) In 1989, Camper Van Beethoven became the band that made me want to see more concerts. Damn them forever. More here and here. Choice Tracks: ‘Eye of Fatima (Part One)‘, ‘She Divines Water‘, ‘Never Go Back‘, ‘Change Your Mind‘.
5. Roger Waters-The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking (1984) I was the casual fan of the Floyd in the early eighties when this came out. I loved the weird ‘operatic’ feel to this an with Eric Clapton on lead guitar, it didn’t take me long to become hooked. When I say hooked, I am not kidding. I went through three cassettes of this as I listened to it constantly. During the second leg of this tour (sans the amazing Clapton! guitar leads on the studio version) there was a radio broadcast of the show from New York that is still one of my favorite bootlegs ever.