led zeppelin - houses of the holy

Led Zeppelin: Houses of the Holy (1973)

Sorry for the brief break. Life and new work woes got in the way, but that stress moved from “No time to write about records” to “Christ on toast I don’t care I need a break so will write about a record.” Discogs has this lovely little randomizer that picks a record from your collection and Houses of the Holy popped up. Led Zeppelin was there at the very start of my record collection – Led Zeppelin II was the first vinyl I took from my father when I was a kid so I could play air guitar along to “Whole Lotta Love” – so why not listen to something I love, push the world away for a bit go over the hills and far away, so to speak?

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cleveland eaton - plenty good eaton

Cleveland Eaton: Plenty Good Eaton (1975)

I wasn’t familiar with Cleveland Eaton before seeing this reissue from Real Gone Music when I was looking at grabbing the Kool and the Gang vinyl I discussed a few weeks ago. But the description – a blend of Ramsey Lewis’s soul funk and the swing of Count Basie filtered through the fusion that was riding high in the mid 70s – caught me. The fact that Plenty Good Eaton not only was a fun play on words but was originally on the Black Jazz label was another vote of confidence for a blind buy, so I took the dive…I’m here to report I am now the happier for it.

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iggy and the stooges - raw power

Iggy and the Stooges: Raw Power (1973)

Let’s be fair: there’s probably very little I can contribute to the enormity of writing on the righteous rock god status of that street-walking’ cheetah Iggy Pop and the incendiary power of The Stooges. The man and the band are untouchable in the annals of rock, stone cold classic purveyors of the form and I’m not going to dispute that. So instead I want to talk about how Raw Power, that nuclear A-bomb of ripping rock helped me to understand thats much of an album’s power comes from how you listen, as much as what is on it. So let’s get into the Bowie vs. Iggy mix…

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kool and the gang debut

Kool and the Gang: Kool and the Gang (1970)

If we’re re-booting this blog for 2021, I thought I’d start with some of my most recent vinyl acquisitions. I can’t pinpoint when I precisely fell in love with soul and funk music; I’d been exposed to it on the radio in the 70s, but rock and metal took over, and it wasn’t until high school and late nights driving around town with Parliament’s Up For the Down Stroke blasting out the windows (that’s how my friends rolled in upstate New York circa 1990) and obsessing over the wriggle of Isaac Hayes’s Shaft score that I started to identify something that spoke to my DNA. Fast-forward about 30 years and when I got the note that Real Gone Music was reissuing Kool and the Gang’s debut self titled album on yellow vinyl I was all in.

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alice cooper - killer

Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)

(Yeah, we’re out of sequence but I recently picked this up at the record shop and needed a Beatles break, so even though the As are done here’s a welcome diversion) 

I grew up knowing about Alice Cooper rather than listening to Alice Cooper.  You couldn’t get away from that visage, the Welcome to My Nightmare look that’s been a staple of the man/the band for so many decades now.  But behind the paint and the Grand Guignol theatrics has always lay a band that could rock with the best of them and Killer demonstrates how versatile the entity that was/is Alice Cooper could be. Continue reading “Alice Cooper: Killer (1971)”

beatles - let it be, let it be naked

The Beatles: Let It Be/Let It Be…Naked (1970/2003)

Let It Be feels like the loose, shaggy dog of The Beatles catalog.  Recorded before but released after Abbey Road, the stories behind the album – the acrimony between the band, the various (and rejected) Glyn Johns, the final polish by “wall of sound” producer Phil Spector and eventual release after the Beatles officially broke up – all of this overshadows the original intent: that of four guys getting back to their roots, playing together the kind of rattling rock and roll they loved in the beginning.  Continue reading “The Beatles: Let It Be/Let It Be…Naked (1970/2003)”