Sunday, July 15, 2007

10 Influential Albums, Part I

From time to time, I'll realize how much a certain album has influenced me for one reason or another. Maybe it was the album that got me into jazz, or made me realize something about myself, or served as a soundtrack at a turning point in my life. I decided to put them all down on paper and see if I could figure out which were the most important. Some choices were easy. Others quite difficult.

In the end, I came up with ten, which I'm going to present in chronological order of when they came into my life, along with a brief description of why they were important.

I've decided to divide my list into two parts, else I may never get anything posted. We're moving over the next couple of weeks, have the first event in our new poetry series at a local public library next Friday, and summer sessions are in full swing at the university, among other things.

Some of these albums are well known, and I'm sure they've been important to many other people. Other choices are a little more obscure. These are not necessarily my favorite albums, though some of them would be on that list as well, but all of them played a role in my musical or personal development.

One thing I realized in doing this list was how grateful I am to friends I've had who turned me on to some wonderful music in my life. Also, a nod to Steve Caratzas, who did a list of Top Ten Life-Changing Albums on his blog. His list is infinitely more interesting than mine, too.

I'd be curious to know what albums have been important to the rest of you, so consider this a meme, and you've all been tagged. (Or not.) You don't have to do 10 albums, but maybe 5?

So, drum roll, please . . .

1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: The Beatles – I can't say for sure if this was the first album I ever owned (it might have been Help!), but it plays that role. In the early 1970s, my mother started going to weekly gatherings at the house of a cool Catholic priest named Fr. Dick Berg. The house had wooden floors, was mildly hippie-ish in decor (it was Austin in the early 70s), and we took communion while sitting on a rug. I have many warm memories of those evenings. Fr. Berg had been at St. Edwards University but wound up taking a position at the University of Portland, where he eventually became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and is still connected to the university to this day. When he moved away, he gave me some of his Beatles albums, including Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour. For a kid who loved the Beatles, this was heaven.

It's probably impossible to explain to people who grew up later what it was like to be a kid in the late 1960s and early 70s, listening to the Beatles. As La Reina said the other day, the Beatles were more than music, they were like the air of our childhood. They surrounded us. The day I got my first paycheck, at 15, I went to the record store and bought every Beatles album I didn't own. That's how important they were to me. When I was in my 20s, post-punk and increasingly cynical, I thought I had moved beyond the Beatles and didn't listen to them for a long time. Then, around my mid 30s, I gave them a whirl again, and it all came back. And having listened to a lot of other music in the meantime, I came to appreciate them even more. It's amazing to me that these four lads from Liverpool who shot to fame as teenagers in something of a Boy Band could wind up turning their fans on to the likes of "Tomorrrow Never Knows," "Love You To," and "It's All Too Much."

Of all the different Beatles albums, Sgt. Pepper was probably the most influential on me as a kid because it was so grand, multi-layered and exotic. Presented almost like a play, the opening "welcome to the show" appealed to me, because I felt like I was entering into some kind of wonderful carnival. The musical range of the album made each song seem like a different booth in this strange and marvellous show. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" was magical and dream-like, and my love of the song now seems like a harbinger of a later interest in surrealism. "Within You, Without You" seemed totally out of this world. The lush, mysterious, and expansive atmosphere of George singing over Indian sitars was something extraordinary for a 10-year old boy in Austin, Texas. The world seemed like such a rich and fascinating place. The herd of animals rushing from one speaker across to the other at the end of "Good Morning, Good Morning" simply delighted me. What is this wondrous zoo?!

Listening to the Beatles isn't like listening to another group for me. It's part great music, part nostalgia/memory and part yearning for something we've lost as a people. Cynics make fun of "All You Need Is Love" and the hippy-dippy Sixties. But today, listening to their music, especially some of John and George's spiritually searching songs, I realize how lucky I was to grow up with the Beatles as my "air."

2. Dark Side of the Moon: Pink Floyd – I may have been intrigued by the Indian strains of "Within You, Without You," but musically my childhood was incredibly normal. My mom had some Neil Diamond records (it was the 1970s and she was single and in her 30s),some Dave Brubeck and Elvis, but there wasn't a lot of music in the house. Besides the Beatles, I owned a few 45s of the big hits (Barry Manilow's "Mandy"!), listened to Top 40 radio, and had a couple of albums by the Bee Gees (Saturday Night Fever!) Then, one day, when I was about 13, my friend David Esensee brought over this album and said, “You’ve got to listen to this.”

My life has never been the same.

If Sgt. Pepper felt mysterious at times, Dark Side of the Moon totally blew my pubescent mind. I just didn't know music could be like that. It seemed to tap into a different part of my brain. The moody bass lines and atmospheric synthesisers created a musical world that seemed related to the Beatles, but utterly different. It seemed heavier, darker, and edging deeper into a zone of which I was just becoming aware.

Listening to the album for the first time was a major turning point. After that, I ditched the Top 40 singles, started listening to the rock and roll radio station, and began to explore music and the world at large a little more. Suddenly, I was buying albums by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, The Who and other bands I had missed as a child. Oh dear. Adolescence was calling. And I was ready to rock and roll.

3. Never Mind the Bollock’s, Here’s the Sex Pistols: The Sex Pistols – It was 1979, and I was a junior in high school. Since the 4th grade, I had had two of the best friends in the world. We really were The Three Musketeers. But around 10th grade, we each started moving in different directions. We were still really close, but definitely changing.

A new sound had hit Austin, and I loved it. My two best friends did not. They made fun of my B-52s album. They hated that "punk" group, the Police. They hated that geek Elvis Costello. I was feeling torn up. One day, at Inner Sanctum, the great punk record store in Austin at that time, I picked up the Sex Pistols album. I had heard a lot about them by then, knew they had played a confrontational and disastrous show at a country & western club just a few miles south in San Antonio. Knew they had gotten in trouble for their song "God Save the Queen." They marked a dividing line at the time. It didn't matter that they could barely play their instruments - this was it. I could play it safe and stick to Boston and Styx. I could pretend I was cool and get the Cars. Or I could jump full-force into the hurricane. I was 16 years old. I wanted something more. So I bought the album.

The raw energy was electric. The snide singing and outright anger of Johnny Rotten touched something in this increasingly rebellious teenager. The music was fast and furious and wanted to knock against the walls of the world.

To this day, I can remember my friend Steve thumbing through my records, trying to find something to put on. I was in another room, listening to him mumble as he went through the collection. "The Doors? No. Led Zeppelin? No. The Beatles? Nah." Suddenly, silence. Then, shouting across the house: "What in the hell is this?" He had found the Sex Pistols.

I liked other groups much more than the Pistols, especially the Clash and Joy Division. But buying Never Mind the Bollocks, even knowing it would cause division with my longtime chums, definitely marked some kind of passage into a new and different "self." Before that, I had been afraid of what other people thought about me, especially my closest friends. No longer. The Three Musketeers would remains friends through high school, but we hung out less and less. Now, I was headed off by myself into an unknown direction.

4. Stardust: Willie Nelson – Ironically, at the same time I was desperately trying to establish my own identity and listening to the Sex Pistols, I also bought this album. I can actually remember thrashing around my room one night to the Pistols and, after exhausting myself, putting on Stardust as I went to bed. Who knew at the time that this too was my identity. I denied it for a while, because at age 17, good punks weren't supposed to be listening to old fart's music like Willie Nelson.

But I loved the tunes. And, in the end, Stardust had much more of an impact on me musically, because it was through this album that I learned about people such as George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin and Duke Ellington. I began to look these people up. Who were they? What was their music like? Later, as I started listening to jazz, I came across their names more and more. And these tunes would show up on a Billie Holiday record or a Louis Armstrong record. It was like someone saying, "Welcome, Come On In to Jazz."

Willie Nelson had spent all of the 1960 as a country & western songwriter (Patsy Cline's "Crazy," for example). In the early-mid 1970s, he did a few country albums of his own, none of which were particularly popular. Then he came up with the idea for a country & western concept album called Red Headed Stranger, and one of the singles, "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain, " became a big hit. So what does a country singer do then? Well, an unsual one from Austin gets Booker T. Jones to produce an album of old standards by Gershwin and Hoagy and Berlin. It's Willie's same ol' country band, but now everything has changed. The selection of material was excellent, especially Hoagy Carmichael's two songs, because much of his jazz always did have a rural, country feel to it. And Willie tapped into some of those older, deeper music connections, like Jimmie Rodgers, the Father of Country Music, cutting records with a young Louis Armstrong. Ray Charles, also, would've been an influence, crossing over between jazz and country and the blues. And Texas itself has a rich jazz history (though no one talks about it much), along with folk, country and the blues. In many ways Stardust goes back to that time when folks would sit out on the porch on a warm summer evening and someone would get their guitar and start picking at a few favorite tunes. That's the atmosphere Willie created on this album.

Booker T.'s production still sounds great today - roomy, lush and atmospheric. Willie's acoustic guitar takes on a haunting, nostalgic quality that captures Gershwin beautiful and aching "Someone to Watch Over Me." Mickey Raphael's wailing harmonica moves out of the honky tonk and becomes a mournful songbird on a summer evening. And, perhaps I'm biased because I heard Willie sing these songs first, but I think he does an amazing job with them vocally. He did some other albums of standards, but this one is far and above the best. It's even ranked 257 on Unnamed Corporate Music Magazine's Top 500 of All-Time, not bad for a country singer doing old jazz standards at the height of the Rock and Roll Era. The album remains one of my all-time favorites, and I highly recommend it.

5. Blood on the Tracks: Bob Dylan – In high school, I had gotten into a lot of 60s and 70s music, but I never liked Bob Dylan. That voice! Who could stand it? But my first year in college, a new friend and fellow poet loaned me this album and said I should really listen to the words.

At the time, I was living in north Austin, and the railroad ran close to the house. Sometimes the trains would stop, and as I drove by, I'd notice that some of the box car doors were open. "How easy it would be," I thought, "to just hop in one of those box cars and go." I had just turned 18 and I was restless. College was okay, but it felt just like high school. I wanted to travel, to journey, to wander.

That's when I started listening to Blood on the Tracks. Even the title was cool, I thought. The opening song, "Tangled Up in Blue," was all about drifting around and experiencing interesting things. And the guy's voice didn't seem that bad now. In fact, I liked it's ragged, earthy quality. He sounded like a dirt road. And the lyrics were phenomenal! How could I have missed all of this?! "Idiot Wind" was like an epic novel. He had some of the Pistols anger, but he seemed really different. He sounded wiser and more experienced.

And there were women involved. Dylan wasn't singing stupid love songs, he was singing about sex and relationships. I was 18 and going through my first love affair. It was terribly dramatic and intense. I wanted to run away with this girl. She was my muse, my lover, my goddess. And Dylan seemed to know all about it. He gave out warnings about how much pain might be involved. Ironically, a few years later, after my love and I had run away, and then broken up, this album really struck a deep chord. My heart and soul tore itself up in agony as Dylan sang, "If You See Her Say Hello," because I had lived the song now.

I started buying up all the Dylan albums I could find. My friend Walter, who had loaned me Blood on the Tracks, and I went through a feverish friendship that first year in college, both of us totally into Dylan. It was one of those rare but special occasions when you can share your musical madeness with someone else. We started a literary magazine together. Went to see foriegn films together. Shared an aprtment. Drove out of town in the middle of the night to go exploring, or to hang out in some truck stop cafe at 4 am. I dropped out of college the next year and worked full-time at a supermarket. Then I left Walter and Austin behind, as my girlfriend and I headed to the mountains of Colorado to chase down our romantic dream. Dylan was the soundtrack to that dramatic time of my life. I couldn't have asked for better.

After all is said and done, Bob Dylan has probably had more influence on me than anyone else artistically, though I don’t listen to him nearly as much anymore. If I was headed to a desert island and could only take one Dylan disc, I would struggle between this album and Blonde on Blonde. Nostalgia would make me choose Blood on the Tracks.


crystal said...

Great post!

I'm sorry to say the only one I've heard of the list is the first one, or at least some songs from it. I have a couple of Beatles' songs on my hard drive that I found on the net here

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeff said...


What an awesome post! Pepper's is my favorite album of all time, and it would be hard for me to write an essay on it as well as you have. Growing up in the sixties was a halycon time to be a kid (although not so hot if you were old enough to be drafted into 'Nam). I put a playlist together trying to describe the songs that were formative for me in that time. I left the Beatles out only because they don't allow their songs to be put on the playlists. I think I'll take up on this "meme".

The mid-seventies are hardly worth mentioning. I might put an 80's playlist together for 'The Single Life'.

Did I know you yet when I put up this post?

cowboyangel said...

Crystal, Are you telling me you've never heard Dark Side of the Moon? According to Wikiepdia, it's the fifth best-selling album of all-time, and was on the Billboard charts for 741 weeks, "the longest duration in history." You should at least listen to it once.

I'd also recommend Stardust and Blood on the Tracks. They're both nice, acoustic or semi-acoustic albums.

Thanks for the Beatles link.

cowboyangel said...


Thanks for the kind comments. We should compare favorite Beatles tunes some day!

I've listened to your playlist - if that's the one on your blog. It's a lot of fun.

Funny, I like the mid/late 1970s because of the punk stuff happening: Clash, Sex Pistols, Ramones, etc. On the other hand, I hate 1980s music. Electronic drums were one of the worst inventions of all-time. I hate the sound. And all those old fart rockers thought they would be cool and get down with new wave and use electronic drums. Even Dylan. Ugh! Musically, what good came out of the 80s?

I haven't read your earlier post o nthe Stones. Will do so now.

Jeff said...


Yes, when the Ramones were first really noticed in the US with 'Rocket to Russia', it was like a a breath of fresh air.

As idyllic as my 60's childhood was, my 70's adolescence was awful. I guess I associate the 70's, particularly the mid-70's, with that, and also the vapid commercialization and corporate takeover of rock music. When I think of 70's music, I think of disco, and stuff like Kung Fu Fighting, Wildfire, Billy Don't Be a Hero, The Night Chicago Died, Peter Frampton, Fleetwood Mac, Cher, Neil Sedaka, Jackson Browne, Captain & Tenille, John Denver, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Barry White, etc... Whoever couldn't handle that saccharine stuff, and wanted more of an edge, were into metal bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, and Black Sabbath, but for me, bands like Zep were a pale parody of the 60's supegroups like Cream. I guess that's why I became a blues snob and purist all during that time period and well through the 80's, because of the introduction of synthesizers, drum tracks and so on.

I actually like the 80's music a lot more now in retrospect than I did at the time. Maybe because it reminds me of good times with friends and having .. um, ... a date every weekend.. There was a lot of that manufactured stuff you mention, but a lot of good stuff too, from bands like the Smiths, Dire Staits, the B52's, the Fixx, the Squeeze, Soft Cell, UB40, Joe Jackson, and a lot of the punk bands like Black Flag, Iggy Pop, and Sonic Youth.

cowboyangel said...

bands like Zep were a pale parody of the 60's supegroups like Cream

Oh man, I so wanted to remain friends. :-)

Actually, I can't imagine anyone who hates Zep more than Liam, and I have managed to remain his friend. But there have been many . . . uh, discussions regarding the band. It's driving him crazy that a music PhD I know at CUNY is doing his dissertation on Zeppelin. Think I'll go remind him of that again.

It's funny - I often say that Pearl Jam and a lot of the grunge bands were pale parodies of Led Zeppelin. But wasn' Cream just a pale (literally white) parody of the blues or Chuck Berry?

"Everybody was kung fu fighting ..." I had that 45. I think I had all the ones you mentioned, in fact.

Barry White. How can you dis Barry White? He had an awesome voice.

I hear what you're saying about the disco and lame rock stuff from the 70s. I've been thinking of getting a t-shirt that says: Disco STILL Sucks. And yes, there were good bands from the 80s - Sonic Youth! The Cure. New Order. The Pixies.

I saw Dire Straits in 1979, just after their first album. And Squeeze with Elvis Costello in 79 or maybe 80. That was a great show. I missed the B-52s when they came to Austin - with the Talking Heads! Damn.

I liked your Stones post. And I agree 110% about the album cover art. I actually wrote about the Sgt. Pepper cover in my post but cut it out. But the album cover was definitely part of that mysterious, exotic atmosphere. I was mesmerized by all those people on the cover and spent a long time trying to figure out who they all were. I've been thinking of looking for some of my favorite LP covers and framing them. I really loved the ones that opened up. One of my favorites was the inside of ZZ Top's Tres Hombres (early stuff, pre-long beard phase - a great record). You opened it up and it was a shot of a table full of beer and Mexican food.

Ah, I can tell now there's a post in this. What were the best LP covers?

Liam said...

Zep as a pale parody of Cream... That's pretty good. Yet another reason to hate them with every fiber of my being.

Early 80's in Salt Lake City... grim... Styx... Journey... Foreigner... Need I say more?

cowboyangel said...

The Zeppelin debate goes on forever. The real issue may be: Styx vs Journey.

I hated Journey. I owned albums by Styx. I think that makes my position clear.

BTW, I found this in Dissertation Abstracts and thought it might be useful for your work:

Degree: PH.D.
Year: 1995

Abstract: In its heyday, Led Zeppelin was, arguably, the most popular rock band of the seventies. The group disbanded in the fall of 1980. Despite the tumult of changing musical fashion, interest in the group remains great to this day. Within the inchoate body of popular fandom, the Led Zeppelin fan community is a coherent and long-lived subgroup, possessing its own meanings and institutions. The literature on music-based subcultures has argued that the presence of an active touring band, a shared geography, or a common style has been constitutive for subgroups. The spatially dispersed Led Zeppelin fan community is absent these attributes. Instead, it is an interpretive community, possessing a ritual relationship to the band. Interpretive concepts, categories, and ritualized community practices are responsible for constituting it over time and space.

Repetition characterizes members' relationship to Led Zeppelin: they listen to and comment on a finite amount of material repeatedly. The literature on fandom portrays such activity in rationalistic terms. Fans are envisioned as returning to their object to make it conform to subculturally determined aims. In contrast, I have conceptualized the community's relationship to Led Zeppelin as taking a ritual form. Members revere the band and have an inexhaustible relationship to it. By replaying the band's music or discussing it with others, its centrality is reconfirmed and, at the same time, the subgroup's social solidarity is reiterated. In this way, ritual practices are the "engine" of the fan community, propelling it across the void left by the band's absence.

The fan community possesses a nostalgic and heroic image of Led Zeppelin and its music, and is implicated in what Simon Frith has referred to as the rock ideology. Members affirm the notion that rock music fandom places the listener within a subversive community. These and associated meanings sanction the acquisition of symbolic and material culture. While the literature on mass media fandom emphasizes the radical break between fan meanings and those held by popular consumers, community field work has revealed that its meanings are essentially the same as those held by outsiders. They differ primarily in their scope and depth.


Jeff said...

Barry White, the Walrus of Love. Yes, I guess it's unfair to include him with the others.

One of my favorites was the inside of ZZ Top's Tres Hombres

Yes! What a meal, with a couple of cold Dos Equis, wasn't it? You want to take a couple of Tums just looking at it. And the buxom Mexican woman with the flag behind her? Like the one you see on the playing cards?

Jesus Just Left Chicago is a great blues tune. "Took a jaunt through Missisipi... Muddy water turned to wine..." La Grange? Ha-Harr harr harr... Hot, Blue, and Righteous...

Zeppelin... I don't know. I have a hard time taking Robert Plant and Jimmy Page seriously. Even the rest of the band had a hard time taking Plant seriously. They had a few good songs. My playlist has Good Times, Bad Times on it, for example. I guess I had a problem with them because every Zep fan I knew thought that Page was the greatest thing that ever came along, and dissed Clapton and Hendrix, which was just damnable heresy to me. Anway, Zeppelin came in handy if you were ever someplace with friends that happened to have an echo. You could usually get a laugh with "Waaaay down inside.... Woman... You-ou need...."

Styx, Journey, Reo Speedwagon, Genesis, Foreigner, Phil Collins, et al, were a blight on the eighties. No need to mention 'em at all.

Jeff said...

Interpretive concepts, categories, and ritualized community practices are responsible for constituting it over time and space.

Ritualized community practices? Like trashing the Boston Garden and the whole North Station when the band was too stoned to perform, and the show had to be cancelled?

But wasn' Cream just a pale (literally white) parody of the blues or Chuck Berry?

Hey! You wanna step outside?

Pale imitation of Willie Dixon, maybe. I'd be willing to fight for the Cream, but why should I, when they were so fond of fighting each other?

Liam said...

I had a Styx 8-track. They were definitely better than Journey, but they were still awful.

We historians have a love/hate relationship with the discipline of sociology, but I think the fact that the sociology department of a major university allowed that nimrod to write that dumb-ass dissertation deals a blow to the field that it will surely never recover from.

cowboyangel said...


Your incredibly impressive memory of the ZZ Top album definitely balances out your Zeppelin shortcomings. :-) I never could get into the cartoon ZZ Top that showed up later on MTV, but their early stuff was pretty damn good.

Hey, I still groove on Zep, but even I can't take Robert Plant seriously. It's amazing he can stuff such an enormous ego into such a small brain. And, no, Page couldn't hold a candle or a whammy bar to Jimi Hendrix - can't say for Clapton, as I don't know his work as well. Zeppelin is not meant to be taken seriously, though I know they were. But they could rock and roll.

And I love them (minus Plant)backing up Donovan on "Hurdy Gurdy Man."

Members affirm the notion that rock music fandom places the listener within a subversive community.

See, you're supposed to trash the venue if the band doesn't show up.

Cream. Hmm... I've been having an ongoing fight with Liam that Zeppelin was better than the Doors. Now it's Cream. But was Cream better than the Doors?

Yes, Styx sucked. But in the highly competitive world of sucky bands, I still think they out-rocked Journey. And Foreigner. Early Genesis, with Peter Gabriel, had some interesting stuff going on, though I didn't get into them much.

Where does Supertramp fit into all of this? Dare I say I still like them?

cowboyangel said...


You could do worse than a Styx 8-track. I only owned one 8-track in my life: George Harrison's Wonderwall Music because I found it on sale in a record store and could never find the LP. Of course, I only heard it a few times, since I didn't actually own an 8-track player. And trying to get friends who did have one to play the soundtrack to some 60s Indian film was not always easy.

Well, the dissertation was from NYU. What do you expect? I bet they have better ones on the Velvets, though.

Jeff said...

That Chris Lee Williams guy with his dissertation... He needs an editor to cut that work down a little bit. I could do that for him, or I'd throw this remark in if I was sitting in on an oral examination.

With or without the existence of a tribute band, Led Zeppelin fans are basically very similar to the people who wear Spock ears to Star Trek conventions.

Liam is right. He IS a dumbass.

Page, Bonham, and J.P. Jones played on The Hurdy Gurdy Man? That's pretty cool. I'm tempted to reconsider. Must remember to put The Hurdy Gurdy Man on the playlist...

I've been having an ongoing fight with Liam that Zeppelin was better than the Doors.

Hmmm. That's really a matter of comparing apples and oranges. See, you have to compare the Doors with something more like Janis Joplin's Big Brother and the Holding Company or Jefferson Airplane. In each case you have a great front-person being backed by a bunch of lame musicians who really were having a good time in spite of it all. Zeppelin was kind of the opposite. A very talented set of musicians backing a cheeseball.

Now it's Cream. But was Cream better than the Doors?

That's different too. That was three talented front-men who hated each other, hated what they were doing, each doing his own thing, but sounding great anyhow.

Jeff said...

BTW, Cowboy, just a few other points on this post.

I was always most partial to Lennon's green Sgt Pepper's uniform. How about you? That was a good look for him, the shorter hair, the granny-glasses, and the fu-manchu moustache, although it was brief. Have you ever seen the National Lampoon's spoof on this album -Sargent Shriver's Bleeding Hearts Club Band. It was pretty funny.

I like Pink Floyd and Dark Side of the Moon, but the most rabid Pink Floyd fans always spooked me a little bit.

Sex Pistols were interesting. I could take or leave them, though. I though the Clash Generation X, and even Billy Idol on his own were better in that genre.

Willie Nelson is awesome. All hail... He's really the only country singer I like.

I respect Bob Dylan even though he was never quite my cup of tea. Amazing lyricist, to say the least. Ran away with your first love, eh? There's nothing like the first love... You must have had it bad. Is it in your nature to be so impetuous, or was it more of just a youthful thing?

pbwiener said...

I went to a (recorded) Pink Floyd laser light show concert last year at the Patchogue Theater, in Long Island - a beautiful old beat-up/restored venue on the South Shore. It travels elsewhere; for this I gave up a live Chick Corea concert ticket. Though I may have been the oldest person there, it was a timeless high. I recommend it at least once, if not for the light show (about 1/3 terrific), then for the sound system and the audience. Make sure you come prepared. By the way, I didn't like Pink Floyd 'til I was about 61.

cowboyangel said...


Donovan also played with Jeff Beck (Barabajagal) and Jack Bruce (Gift From A Flower To A Garden ). According to Wikipedia, John Paul Jones said in 2005 that Page and Bonham weren't on "Hurdy Gurdy Man," but there's no citation. Until I see further proof, I'll go with the traditional story, which Donovan repeats in his recent autobiography. I believe Page and Jones also played on some other other Donovan songs, as they were doing a lot of studio work in the mid 60s, and Jones did many of the arrangements on Mellow Yellow.

I do like that period for John, though my favorite pictures will probably always be from The Beatles Again, as my parents had that record, and I always loved John's black hat and black boots.

Rabid Pink Floyd fans would be scary. But then I've found that almost any rabid fans are scary.

Willie is great. I hate his pop fluff with Julio Iglesias and the like. but he's such a great character, and an underrated performer. But, hey, I grew up in Austin in the 1970s - how could I not love Willie!

There are some other great country singers, though. You don't like Patsy Cline? She was a great singer, period. Could've been a great jazz singer if she wanted. And Johnny Cash and Hank Williams are hard to beat. Waylon Jennings has a great voice, though I don't listen to him as much. I love his song "Luckenbach, Texas."

I say I ran away with my first love. That's a little romanticized. We decided to go to college together up in the mountains of Colorado. Away from Texas, family, etc. It felt like getting away.

cowboyangel said...

Paul, I went to a Pink Floyd laser light show a million years ago, when those kind of shows were just starting. It was pretty cool. I can only imagine that they're much, much better now. And the venue sounds great. As far as Chick Corea vs a Floyd light show, I think you made the right choice.

You didn't like Floyd until you were 61! That's interesting. For me they will always remind me of being 15. Funny how these things work.

Jeff said...


Patsy Cline

Well, touche. I love that tune Walking after Midnight. I really like the Cowboy Junkies' cover of that too. I respect Hank Williams Sr. for his sheer historicity, but I can't take him for too long.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I'm late to the party.I just was moseying around the internet and I came across your blog.Any hoo
I agree with most of your selections,however I must put Jimi Hendrix RU experienced as my first life changing albums.I was 8 when first heard this...Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Oh I just remembered kissing a rug
at a record store to get a 2dollar discount.Weird...damm I miss the late 70's and early 80's the music was great.

cowboyangel said...


Dude, is that you?!?! Woah. Talk to me. . . .