Turtles have lists as well - Part One
Even if they're giant flying turtles. Everyone has lists of something, written down, in their mind, about all kinds of things. So this turtle has decided to put some of them down, and transfer them to this happy group. So, here is the first LIST.
Music has always been somewhat of a passion of mine even before my cousin from California visited me on the ranch in his meteor-burst panel van and introduced me to the world of cassettes and the Columbia Record House. Granted, my tastes have slanted and changed over time, but I enjoy most forms of music and can tell good from bad even in genres I dislike. Having spent over 11 years involved in the music industry in various ways I have collected a sizable catalog. So without further rambling, here are the 12 albums I would want on an extended space voyage. (I couldn't make the cut further than 12 I just couldn't and hated to have to cut some that aren't here) Plus some other tidbits afterwards. :P
12. Prince and the New Power Generation - (Prince symbol) Back in the days of Prince going by his symbol, this little gem kind of summed himself up for the world. The storyline in the background goes with the album well and the variety of the tracks is great. Prince gets to show off his amazing guitar and songwriting abilities as he always does.
11. Queen - A Kind of Magic It's not their best known, most popular or critical pick, but for me this is a terrific piece of work. Basically the soundtrack to Highlander, (more on that in a later list) the songs follow the storyline well and of course feature one of the best male vocalists to ever grace a microphone as well as the harmonizing of the band itself. Brian May has always been a master of knowing not just what to play, but also what not to.
10. Megadeth - Risk Again not their most popular nor well received work, for me this is what Dave Mustaine was building to. There are a weaker track or two, but the rest more than compensate. Mustaine's (in)famous songwriting is at his finest exploring a wide variety as always, and for me he's always been the Lovecraft of songwriters.
9. Collective Soul - Collective Soul What can I say, this is a great album. A variety of styles and energies help make this 1995 effort a classic. I can't help it that every single time I here 'Where the River Flows' begin my mind adds The Roach's voice over the PA system "Now batting.....the catcher.....number 15.....Jeff.....Reeeeeeeed!!!" Not that he was my favorite player or anything, but it just goes. Regardless this is for me far and away the groups best work and is always a welcome listen.
8. Scorpions - Blackout Aaaahhhh, the memories this holds. Aside from the fact this KICKS ASS, there are a ton of memories associated with this one for me. Klaus is at his Teutonic belting best and as Matthias' first full work with the guys he shows off some amazing skills. No, Scorps aren't going to win a Best Deepthinking Lyrics awards, and who cares, what they write and how they bring it together even in studio rocks. Besides they are the godfathers of the metal ballad and do it better than anyone, especially back in the days before World Wide Live.
7. Supertramp - Breakfast in America How could I possibly leave this classic off? I can't. It's just that good and that strong. Roger Hodgson is phenominal on this body of work that if I'm not mistaken had something like 7 top 10 singles. There were a lot regardless and it doesn't matter, the band found the perfect mix of styles on this one. A true classic.
6. Pink Floyd - Wish you Were Here The tribute to Syd Barrett is the Floyd album I have to choose. The Wall was a close second but personally this one shows off Waters and Gilmour at their best. Blending, melding, haunting, drifting, and a hundred other ings. Shine on you Crazy Diamond, Welcome to the Machine, Have a Cigar, Wish you Were Here. How exactly can you go wrong? A MUST have.
5. Def Leppard - High 'n Dry Yeah yeah I know, High 'n Dry? Can't help it, High 'n Dry introduced me to Leppard and it's a great album. Rock radio still plays tunes off it, and even though it's the last album with Pete Willis who isn't half the guitar player his replacement Phil Collen is, this album was for me the epitome of the New Wave of British Metal. Hysteria, Slang, and X are great Leppard albums (personally Pyromania is my least favorite) but High 'n Dry is the one I have to have.
4. Dope - Life Anger has a name, and his name is Edsel Dope. Some of Dope's later stuff has better tracks, but as an album this is the one. The writing is strong, the tracks go great from one to the next, and you simply can't find a better down and dirty lets fuck now album, you just can't. Edsel's vocals are gritty at best, but that's what makes it all work with the attitude behind them.
3. Type O Negative - October Rust My favorite band comes in at three and although I keep thinking they should be higher I'm happy with this album here. The kings of goth metal have it all here, from dreary or upbeat (well as upbeat as Peter Steele will ever get) this album has everything and more, as well as the only coversong written that I care for more than the original. It doesn't get better than Type O and this album is Type O, fantastic stuff throughout.
2. Hawkwind - Live Chronicles I'm not a fan of live albums, they're like greatest hits only recorded poorly. This one is the exception. Building upon the incredible Chronicle of the Black Sword piece, this live work (with writing and vocal assistance by Michael Moorcock) is THE live album. Captain Dave and the boys bring the story to life with the tracks from the studio work as well as blending other tracks in beautifully. I saw Hawkwind live once and my only regret is I didn't see THIS tour, which as far as I know was in England only or possibly Aussieland as well. It doesn't matter though, cause this double album transports you there and doesn't lose the technical touches that plague most live albums.
and finally 1. Queensryche - Operation:mindcrime Wow. Even now I don't know how to put this one into words. Wow. Technically supreme, lyrically astounding, this is and will always be the best album ever for me. Geoff Tate, Chris DeGarmo, Michael Wilton, Eddie Jackson, and Scott Rockenfield created the perfect story and the perfect music to set the story to. Song blends into song, from anger to searching to confusion to loss to hopelessness for me this is what Beethoven or Wagner would have envied were they alive today. I can't write what could convey this one, I'll just have to listen again now as I finish. But it's as good as it gets for me.
I've seen a lot, from horrid to fantastic from tiny rooms to stadiums, and missed some I wished I could have been to, but here are my favorite 4.
4. Roger Waters - Radio KAOS tour Yes I saw the Pink Floyd stadium tour 6 months later, and it paled in comparison. I saw Pink Floyd when I saw Roger Waters that night. Radio KAOS was one of the final cuts (hahaha pun) above but the live show was beyond belief. The album was brought to life amazingly, and some Floyd works that fit into the program great. When Wish you Were Here played I swear it brought tears to my eyes. No opening act needed for this, it was an amazing night.
3. Spinal Tap - Break Like the Wind tour Two and a half hours of pure hilarity coinciding with the same amount of well played music. They can play, no they aren't the best at it but they don't pretend to be and who cares? I was third row stage right for this and from the moment David St Hubbins dropped from the ceiling it was incredible. Having Derek Smalls swinging helplessly to and fro in front of his mic stand 10 feet from me and hearing his vocals only when he was close was reminicent of the pods. And that was just the first song. What a great night and what fun.
2. Queensryche - Empire Tour The Empire tour is when the Ryche played Operation:mindcrime from start to finish in the middle of the show. As much as I already stated I like the album the concert matched it. For a technical band one might think they wouldn't translate well live, but the opposite is true. Somehow they manage to be as much so if not MORE proficient on stage and the show they gave was perfect for the album.
1. Scorpions - Love at First Sting tour Like I said, I've seen a lot of concerts, but this one always remains my favorite. The Jon Butcher Axis opened and that was my first introduction to them, of which I'm grateful for. But when the stage dimmed, Hermann climbed into his place and waited with his arms rasied, the audience hushed for a split second, and then the four others popped up from the floor and BAM right into the first tune. Scorpions like no other band have an energy that belongs on stage, and that night they were at their best. They had the crowd feeding off them and likewise fed off the crowd. From ballbusting to ballads to the Coast to Coast walk of Matthias Rudy and Francis they simply are the best live band ever. Klaus hit everything and had the crowd screaming anytime he wanted. Being deaf for 2 days afterwards was only another reminder of how good the show was.
I'd feel like I'd have to go back later and list these 3 gentlemen if I didn't do it here, so here are my 3 favorite guitarists.
3. Nuno Bettencourt His band (Extreme) isn't one of the better known ones from the hairmetal days of the 80's, and what they are known for are a couple ballads that while good he didn't like much (to understate it). Listening to any Extreme album without reading the liner notes you'd think there were 2 very good guitarists in the band. Nope, just Nuno. Technically phenominal he brings a style that is sassy, playful yet hard and rough when he wants to be. What he wants to be is a great guitarist, and in my book he's long been there.
2. Eric Johnson The lesser known of G3 group, his solo stuff is incomparable. Few guitartist can play softly while maintaining intensity (dynamics DOESN'T mean playing as loud as you can all the time Lars you tool) and bring you from there to dizzying heights without seemingly making an effort. Somewhere in the jazz to rock vein while doing a variety of others, Johnson is a mezmerizing player who is horribly underrated and underappreciated.
1. Joe Satriani This was honestly an easy choice. As good as Nuno Eric and some others are, there's a quantum leap until you get to Satriani, he's just THAT good. He plays like he was born with a guitar and obviously speaks with it. His soul comes through the amplifiers/speakers and all one has to do is enjoy. With a large library of work I feel remiss that one of his isn't on the above list (as I do with the other two) but I couldn't pick one. There are lots of guitarists in the world, and every one of them will acknowledge Satriani as one of the best. It's well deserved praise cause Joe is as good as it gets.
Until next time kiddies..........