Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Magical Mystery Listening Tour #57

The "F"inal batch of "F" albums...after this, here come the "G's!"

The Black Crowes - Freak n' Roll...Into the Fog
Frank Zappa - Freak Out!
The Beatles - Free As a Bird
Dan Wilson - Free Life
Cream - Fresh Cream
Rory Gallagher - Fresh Evidence
Bernard Butler - Friends and Lovers
Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation
The Beatles - Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, GA 8/18/65
Frank Zappa - FZ: OZ

Kicking things off is a great live album from the Black Crowes from the Fillmore in San Francisco in 2005, full of their brand of soulful Southern-flavored rock and blues. Following this is Zappa's debut, a bizarre and classic album that was one of Paul McCartney's favorites and an inspiration for Sgt. Pepper. Speaking of the Beatles, they're represented by two albums in this batch: first, their 1995 single "Free as a Bird" and secondly with a great show from Atlanta. Only 3 days after their legendary Shea Stadium concert, this was the first time they ever had monitoring on stage and the ability to finally hear themselves led them to give one of the best concerts of their career. Dan Wilson of Semisonic released his first solo album in 2007 and it's a fine record. He's one of the greatest American songwriters of the past 20 years and this record only bolsters his reputation. Cream's debut album from 1966 is a classic blast of British electric blues rock and contains some of their biggest hits, including "I Feel Free," "NSU," "Sweet Wine," as well as classic covers of "Spoonful" and "I'm So Glad" which would be gain new life (and be greatly extended) when played live. The final album from legendary Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher starts off a bit slow with a couple of good-but-not-great tracks but by the third cut ("Middle Name") it rounds into form and is a blistering collection of his masterful playing and singing. Sadly, while he would continue to tour another five years until his death in 1995, he would never make another studio album. Bernard Butler's second (and to-date, last) proper solo album is a solid collection of songs, some of them great, that showcases much of the songwriting and guitar playing that made him an instant legend as a member of Suede in the early 1990s. The debut album from Genesis is strikingly different from everything that came after: it's more of a lush, ballad-driven album with tinges of psychedelia...its maturity belies the fact that the band members were not even 20 years old when they made it. Wrapping up this batch (after the aforementioned Beatles show) is a long set from Frank Zappa in Australia from 1976, which is one of my favorite band incarnations of his during the 1970s, which I feel is the decade of his strongest work.

On to the "G" albums now!



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