Gaye grew up physically and emotionally abused by his minister father, who instilled in the young man a deeply troublesome view of sex that contributed to bouts of impotence. Not exactly the mental image you get of the man who sang ‘Let’s Get It On’ and the rest of the slow-funk love jams featured on this album.
This is the ninth track I’ve featured from Lyle Lovett’s excellent 1996 album The Road to Ensenada, still his finest ever moment on record and one of my all-time favorite albums.
This is where I have to express my incredulity and dismay that Lovett hasn’t released an album of any sort in seven years, and no album of largely original material in 12. I’d like to think he has another Ensenada in him, but I don’t know if he’ll ever record again.
Josh Rouse’s third album, 2002’s Under Cold Blue Stars, is a loose concept album about a suburban couple in the 50s, modeled after Rouse’s own parents. The record traces the highs and lows of a lifetime spent together.
This track, ‘Summer Kitchen Ballad,’ comes late in the album and offers an impressionistic look at what I imagine are a handful of days spent in the kitchen watching the summer turn into fall.
In 1973, the Eagles followed up their mega-successful self-titled debut (released a year earlier) with a concept album inspired by the Old West. Featuring a cover image of the band members in cowboy gear, Desperado must have seemed ripe for ridicule.
But with songwriters Don Henley and Glenn Frey taking center stage, penning eight of the album’s 11 tracks, the songs were just too good to dismiss. While the album failed to sell early on, it eventually reached double platinum status and is considered a seminal album in the country rock genre.
Last week I featured a song from Bruce Springsteen’s 1973 album The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. That classic album was Bruce’s sophomore effort, and amazingly he had released his debut the very same year.
In January of 1973, Springsteen hit the scene with Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ, an ambitious collection of wordy Dylan-esque folk songs sped up and set to a beat. Right out of the gate, Springsteen cast himself as a sensitive poet for working class dreamers, a mantle he would carry for more than five decades.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is another band with which I am mostly unfamiliar. Sure, I know ‘Free Bird,’ mostly as a jokey thing to shout out at the end of a concert, but I’ve never heard one of their albums in full.
It appears the one to start with is, appropriately, their 1973 debut, helpfully titled Pronounced ‘Lĕh-‘nérd ‘Skin-‘nérd. This album, along with its follow-up Second Helping, are considered not just the band’s best work but among the best works of Southern Rock ever recorded.
My familiarity with Genesis is based almost entirely on the band’s output in the 80s, when drummer Phil Collins took over the reins from the departed Peter Gabriel and steered the band away from prog rock and into pop and soft rock.
Selling England by the Pound (1973) is a great example of what Genesis was before that happened, when Gabriel blended folk and prog elements into an ambitious, if slightly goofy, mix.