Sunday, May 10, 2009

Five Albums on a Sunday

So, there are moments and people and events that mark turning points in your life, where things just change. And there are moments like that in everyone's musical autobiography. So, here are five albums that changed things for me early in my music listening life. They are not my favorite albums, necessarily. But when they came along, my life was pushed in a new direction, at least musically speaking.

1. Ring of Fire--Johnny Cash. In 1970, my family bought a small little record player, a box with a speaker in the front. And with it we had three records. Gentleman Jim Reeves (Put your sweet lips a little closer to the phone...), and Ed Ames (Mingo on the Daniel Boone show starring Fes Parker). But the record that captured me was Johnny Cash, and the song was Ring of Fire. I could see him falling into a ring of fire. The trumpets. Cash's manly man voice. Unforgettable.

2. Suzie Q--Creedance Clearwater Revival. This is the first album I ever bought. I bought it from my mom's cousin, Lydia, after listening to it at her house after church on a Sunday night. I was launched on a life long odyssey. For those who haven't listened to the album, Suzie Q is one side of the album. They don't record songs like that anymore. There's like a three minute drum solo in the middle. Seriously. I now knew the kind of music I liked.

3. Yellow Brick Road--Elton John. This was such a fabulous album for an eighth grader. The cover. The songs. The whole image of Elton John. And like so many artists, the early Elton was the best. Bennie and the Jets, Your Song, Saturday Night's All Right for Fighting, Yellow Brick Road. I can't listen to Elton John now. Candle in the Wind. Barf. And I probably wouldn't think of this album the same way I did then, but it was a huge album for me. It was a dark time, and this album was a whimsical escape.

4. Led Zeppelin IV--I know, how do you go from Elton John to Led Zeppelin. Stairway to Heaven is how. I'll never forget the first time I heard Stairway at a dance. I bought the album shortly after and Stairway quickly became my least favorite song on the album. Black Dog, Rock and Roll, Misty Mountain Hop. It was a revelation. It was beyond the edge of my previously known world. The drums. The guitars. The vocals. It was the first time I experienced limit expression through music, where I was pushed and I loved it. How these four people found each other is a mystery. How do these kinds of things happen, the right people finding each other and something brand new emerging?

5. Boston--Boston. I had never heard anything like this album. It was this wall of sound. Great guitars, keyboards, vocals. I wore that thing out. And my dad had bought this killer stereo system, so it rattled the house. It was rock, but all of it was lyrical. Everything sang a melody.

There are several others during this time that are worth honorable mention: Chicago VI, Doobie Brothers (Tolouse Street), Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here), James Taylor (JT). What a great time for music. Five more next week.


Music Downloads said...

I recently came across you blog and I really enjoy it. I like the the band Led Zeppelin. Keep it up. Thanks!

Cheryl Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cheryl Russell said...

Jim Reeves was something I heard every Saturday morning at my house growing up. My dad would put on a Jim Reeves album and cook a huge breakfast. It was great waking up to the smell of bacon and Jim Reeves. Nostalgia....sigh.

Mark Love said...


Great story. But what does Jim Reeves smell like? (Grammar nazis love to find dangling modifiers).

Glad to see you're posting again.


Cheryl Russell said...

Grammar Nazi? You?

Fine. The SOUND of Jim Reeves, and the SMELL of bacon.

Although....the sound of bacon cooking is also pretty great.