Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour: Day 39

Finally nearing the end of the "C" albums with an interesting mix of material...

Rush - Cool Under Fire (Landover, MD 9/27/84)
Sugar - Copper Blue
Creedence Clearwater Revival - Cosmo's Factory
Steely Dan - Countdown to Ecstasy
Rush - Counterparts
Blur - Country House
Morse, Portnoy, George - Cover 2 Cover
Morse, Portnoy, George - Cover to Cover

A show from Rush's 1984 tour in support of their "Grace Under Pressure" is up first and it's a fine show in great sound. Sugar's "Copper Blue" is a classic of early 1990s alternative and definitely the best album of their short career. The CCR album is a classic from the great musical year of 1969 and is just chock full of hit after hit, confirming them as a powerhouse of their era. Steely Dan's second album is so far superior to the first one that it's almost like it's not the same band. This is the first album where Donald Fagen assumed complete leadership of the band and it's all the better for it, with the harder edged jazz/rock fusion sound really coming to the fore here. Rush's 1992 album "Counterparts" was a return to their hard rock form after their more experimental/synthesizer driven albums of the mid-80s to early 1990s, and while this one is bereft of any obvious radio hits, it does contain some of their best songs, such as the explosive opener Animate, Stick it Out, Behind Sun and Moon, and Leave That Thing Alone. Blur's "Country House" was their (in)famous 1995 summer single and while the song hasn't aged particularly well, it's still a classic, albeit with weak B-sides (by Blur's standards). Finishing off this batch are two albums of cover versions recorded by Neal Morse's solo album band during sessions for various albums of his. "Cover 2 Cover" is actually the sequel to "Cover to Cover," but both are just a lot of fun, with the guys covering loads of songs they love from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, from Beatles, Who, and Jethro Tull songs to U2, the Police, and the Osmonds!

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