ramones - ramones

Ramones: Ramones (1976)

Day 7 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks about an album with a cool story or “a-ha!” moment. The story isn’t cool, but I did have an “a-ha!” moment when after playing my copy of the debut album from the Ramones I realized that Side B was actually a re-press of Side A, meaning I only got one half the album. When the album is as perfect a rock and roll statement as Ramones is it would be nice to have the entire thing. That was quickly rectified with a great Portuguese pressing, but still…the “a-ha!” was I got shafted. Anyway, no matter: let’s briefly gush about the perfection of this album, shall we?

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bob dylan - blood on the tracks

Bob Dylan: Blood On The Tracks (1975)

Day 6 of the #mayvinylchallenge asks for records that go together, whether on a mixtape or just complement each other. This one may need a revisit down the road, because how do you talk about one of your favorite albums of all time, especially an album as acclaimed and steeped in mythology as Blood On The Tracks, the fifteenth album by Bob Dylan without resorting to cliché and hyperbole? What can you say that hasn’t already been said? Probably nothing, so rather than try I’ll make this one brief and talk about the impressions going through my mind as I take another listen to an album I’ll never get tired listening to.

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miles davis - live evil

Miles Davis: Live-Evil (1971)

You can say someone is your favorite artist or musician, but in the case of someone like Frank Zappa or, in this instance Miles Davis, it’s near impossible to be well versed in every aspect of their discography. How do you gain a level of understanding broad and deep enough to qualify/quantify the man is your favorite when there are literally troves of live, alternate, and side performances to sift through? I often find myself settling back to the 10 or so “home base” recordings that solidified my love for Davis, but the beauty of someone with as many records as he has is the joy of returning to less tread waters, exploring albums you’re not nearly as familiar or comfortable with. Hence Live-Evil, which ironically was the first Miles I found and purchased on vinyl.

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uriah heep - magician's birthday

Uriah Heep: The Magician’s Birthday (1972)

I’m as surprised as you. Well, maybe not so surprised: it’s a late Friday night, I’m already a few whiskeys in, and listening to the great HiFi Dream Machine. It was inevitable Uriah Heep was going to come back up. A few months back I picked up from my local record shop the final entry in the band’s trilogy of great records from 1971-1972 The Magician’s Birthday, so what better time than now to complete my Heep triumvirate? Follow me down the rabbit hole as I go track by track, drinking more whiskey than I ought and reveling in the sounds of the 70s. Who’s with me?

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george harrison - all things must pass

George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (1970)

I don’t know if there is a more familiar, comforting sound in music than the guitar tone of George Harrison. Instantly recognizable, there’a a warmth and measured approach to each and every one of his licks and solos that get to the heart of what I think of when I think of musical nostalgia. The sound of his guitar brings strong, vibrant memories of my childhood – every Harrison song could be the closing song to the movie Time Bandits (although in reality it’s “Dream Away” from 1982’s Gone Troppo). And since it’s a cold, snowy Wednesday morning it felt like the perfect time to put on the classic All Things Must Past and think about the past, and the way this album brings it alive for me.

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sir lord baltimore - kingdom come

Sir Lord Baltimore – Kingdom Come (1970)

It might be that I came to Sir Lord Baltimore as one of those bands always talked about when discussing the birth of heavy metal. You can spread your tentacles to perhaps more obscure bands (which reminds me I need to get my Lucifer’s Friend albums in here) but I’ve always heard Sir Lord Baltimore spoke of as part of the foundation made mighty by Black Sabbath that gave rise to the genre. Their debut Kingdom Come has always been around in various playlists, heard as background mixed with dozens of other bands and albums, but now getting a nice copy on vinyl affords me the chance to get a closer listen and see what’s that with that skeletal ship sailing across the skies.

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