With Thanksgiving day coming up, I had to put in a word for Arlo Guthrie's masterpiece, "Alice's Restaurant Massacree."
For me, "Alice's Restaurant" is a Thanksgiving staple, but fun to listen to any time of year. Every year, the classic rock station (KSHE) in St. Louis would play this in its entirety – no small commitment, even for AOR stations at more than 18 minutes.
The tune, repeated with minor variations for the entire song, is catchy enough. But it's the story and Guthrie's delivery that are so endearing. More than 35 years after I first listened to "Alice's Restaurant," the mere mention of 8×10 color glossy photographs (with circles and arrows on the back of each one) brings a smile to my face. If, by some unfortunate circumstance, you've never heard the tune before – set aside 20 minutes and give it a listen.
A Night at the Opera has some of Queen's best-known songs, including "Bohemian Rhapsody." But what if I told you that "Bohemian Rhapsody" isn't even the best song on A Night at the Opera, or at least not the most epic?
A Night at the Opera has Queen trying on a number of musical styles, sometimes several in the same song. The 1975 release has a proto-power ballad, ragtime, quasi-operatic epics, Dixieland, and (of course) straight-up rock 'n roll.
It's worth noting that everybody gets some time in the spotlight here, with songs by Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon.
Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #5 ("A Night at the Opera")"
Today's pick is a look at the early work of The Cure. Standing on a Beach and Staring at the Sea are co-sharing the pick for #76, because the titles are almost the same album. Let me explain…
My introduction to this was in the late 80s, when I was still really new to The Cure and looking for the most bang for my buck. I found it in the cassette version of Standing On A Beach • The Singles (And Unavailable B-Sides). This is The Cure's early stuff, just up to 1985, so it's before the band really hit the charts with Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me.
This extended play cassette had most of the singles as well as their b-sides. However, this sequence has not been duplicated on CD, and CD releases under the title Staring at the Sea have tracks not found on this collection but also omit the b-sides. No doubt a combination of media limitations (an extended play cassette can hold more songs than a CD), record companies grabbing money with both hands from completists (guilty), and the whims of the folks who put the tracks together.
So, I have to vote for both here, and have even gone to the lengths of re-creating the track order using The Cure's Join the Dots collection and other albums for my listening pleasure. So let's talk about all the goodness on these releases. All told there's 29 tracks between the various versions of the albums, so I'm just going to hit a few highlights on this one.
Continue reading "My favorite 100 albums of all time: #76 ("Standing on a Beach / Staring at the Sea")"