Boone to Byrds

It seems like forever ago that I started listening to the letter B. On December 12, I began to listen through the second letter in the alphabet. It has been fun, here are a few words and album covers from the tail end of B.

The father/daughter combo of Debbie Boone and Pat Boone were out of order in the alphabet. They should have been in front of Bowie, not after him. Same for The Boston Pops Orchestra. And it is worth noticing I have no albums by the band Boston. Anyhow, the Boone combo and Boston Pops only had three albums between them, one from each Artist. I adhere to the standard of “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Baby I’m A Want You by Bread is an album of sugar-coated pop songs with a few pleasant moments and some sweet guitar work scattered here and there through the album. Bread were good at what they did, make radio friendly hit songs.

Alex Bradford has two albums in our collection. Alex Bradfords Greatest Hits and He Lifted Me. While I didn’t always identify with the lyrics, he has a great voice with an excellent choir and good musicians backing him up, which added to a good listening experience.

Roger Breland’s Truth, Songs That Answer Questions. I have a question. Why do I even own this record? It is so bad I couldn’t finish listening to it. The only truth is that this would make a good frisbee.

Brinsley Schwarz by Brinsley Schwarz is an album that I have kept in rotation on my turntable ever since I bought donkey years ago. This band should be labelled a supergroup with luminaries such as Nick LoweIan Gomm and Brinsley Schwarz himself appearing on this record. This album is a keeper for sure. I didn’t buy this record in 1970 when it was released. I didn’t get it until the late ’70’s when I discovered Nick Lowe and Ian Gomm, who were prominent in the British New Wave scene. I’m curious that this is the only album I have by this band, knowing how much I like them. I may have to do some bin diving at Record Collectors Paradise.

Jackson Browne, Running on Empty. I enjoyed this album so much that I listened to it twice. Even after all the years since I acquired this album, I am still hearing fresh nuances that keep this record sounding as fresh as the day I bought it.

Lawyers In Love hasn’t aged as gracefully as, but it is still a darn good listen. I don’t find it as consistently good as Running On Empty. Both albums have great stories; Jackson Browne is a good storyteller. Running On Empty also has the song “Rosie,” which has to be the best song about masturbation. I do like the cover artwork on Lawyers In Love.

The Best of The Browns is the epitome of country and western harmonies. Big Jim Ed Brown‘s baritone, along with his sisters’ excellent harmonies, make this record a keeper. This album was followed in my listening queue by the solo album Gentle On My Mind, another fantastic album that flows from the melodious title song to golden oldies such as Detroit City, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You and Big Bad John. Good stuff on both albums.

The Dave Brubeck Quartet gives us Time Out and Time Further Out. Time Out is easily a desert island record. I never tire of hearing the incredible musicianship on this recording. Time Out is from 1959, and I am only four years older than it. I think it has weathered the years better than me.

Speaking of remaining relevant over time, I acquired a new CD a day or two back and instead of waiting till I get it in the alphabet, I will mention it now while it is fresh in my brain. The album is World Wide Rebel Songs by Tom Morello. This album is a 2011 release, and when it came out, I streamed it on iTunes and thought it was a decent album. One song stood out more than the others, Stray Bullets. In the Breakout class, I used that song in my Remembrance Day playlist in Music Appreciation at Hope Mission. The fellas gave it good feedback, and I liked the song, so it remained in my earworm feed. I had some loose change a week for so back and bought the CD from Amazon at a reasonable price and looked forward to listening to it again. It has been about seven or eight years since I last played it. I still connected with the song Stray Bullets, the rest of the album could be tossed in the dust bin, and I would never miss it. It hasn’t aged as well, and I suppose my musical taste has shifted, so as of today, this CD only has one song that I like, Stray Bullets. Back to the B’s now that I have ranted.

Brush Arbor Live. If more gospel music was this good, I might listen to more of it. Bluegrass folk and country/western, this album features some good pickin’ and a grinnin’. They also do harmony very well; Brush Arbors vocals are smooth as silk and sewn together with no loose ends.

Larry Bryant, The Artist. And this is why I don’t listen to more gospel music. Chessy evangelical lyrics soaked in ’80’s pop synth without any of the energy featured in a mainstream pop synth of that era. Think, Soft Cell with Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret, Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This). The Artist will now collect dust until the apocalypse. I will make one last observation, there is always something good, even in the dark corners. The song Shopping List is not too bad.

Jimmy Buffett is a legend in his own time with a handful of albums in our catalogue. Buffett is one of the world’s wealthiest musicians, with a net worth as of 2017 of $900 million. That is a lot of vinyl moved to build that bank statement up to where it is. Aside from the sheer volume that he sold, it is worth noting that he made some darn good music to get to where he is now. Let’s check some of them out from our catalogue.

Havana Day Dreamin’ starts this list of Jimmy Buffett albums. Jimmy Buffett is no strange to controversy, and Havana Day Dreamin’ has at least one song that could get under some people’s skin. That song is “My Head Hurts My Feet Stink and I Don’t Love Jesus.” This song is also a favourite earworm song for me; I am not shocked or offended by the lyrics. I darn well like the song. I will not go through this album track by track; suffice to say that I like them all, and the last song, “This Hotel Room,” is a great ending track.

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes. What a great album name. I found that this album was a change in direction for Jimmy Buffett, and I am not alone in this observation. Check out the Wikipedia entry for this album; it confirms that others saw this album the same way I did. There is one song on this album that has special meaning for me. “Cheeseburger In Paradise.” It is not only one of the best songs about food that I know of but also another playlist from the Music Appreciation days; it was also played at the memorial for a man I looked up to and respected, Lorne.

Son of a Son of a Son of a Sailor is the last from Jimmy Buffett in my merger collection and it is another good album. I will concede that he is consistent, consistently good to my ears.

Next up is T Bone Burnette and the first in our collection is Truth Decay. A cute play on words that my dentist might appreciate. Truth Decay is another album that it feels like I’ve been listening to forever. It has a C/W feel to some of it, such as Quicksand. Overall, this is a great album. I had forgotten how good this album was until I played it again. A bonus of having memory loss, 35-year-old albums sound new again.

Trap Door is an interesting one because I have two copies. One is a 12 inch that runs at thirty-three and a third rpm. The other is a 12 inch that turns at 45 rpm. Either way, it is a decent album or EP.

Proof Through The Night, I don’t know what happened here. This album sounds like a train wreck, the lyrics on the song Hefner And Disney are bizarre. There isn’t a flow to the album, and the pieces don’t come together to form anything meaningful. To me, it sounds like a contractual obligation recording.

T Bone Burnett, the album is self-titled, and it is far and away my favourite of his catalogue. It is hard to find any fault in this album. It is tight with both the lyrics and the music. It all comes together for one fantastic album that I can listen to repeatedly. Some highlight songs for me are River of Love and Poison Love. How the heck can those two songs exist side by side? It just works. Annabelle Lee is another standout on an album full of beauties. T Bone Burnett is a fantastic album.

Talking Animals is the last T Bone Burnett album on this list. It is hard to come after his S/T album and be compared to that, but it happens, and it is a good album in its own right. Different but still good. I like the story-song “The Strange Case of Frank Cash and the Morning Paper. It is a novelty song, and I like that because they are few and far between these days. Back in the old days, let’s say, prior it 1970, novelty songs were more common. Nowadays, they are a novelty because there are so few of them.

Listener fatigue is a condition that can happen when too many records by the same artist or band are consumed in a short period of time. I have experienced this phenomenon with other musicians but not with T Bone Burnett. As I went through his albums, I even listened to some of them more than once. I think that speaks volumes about the quality of his material.

Bram Tchaikovsky, Strange Man Changed Man. Pre-listen note: I liked this album back in 1979 at the crest of the New Wave with all of its creative force. This album was a part of that wave, and Bram Tchaikovsky pushed their way through that era. Let us see if my passion for this album has survived the test of time.

Yup. It survived. I still enjoy listening to it.

The Byrds Greatest Hits is an enjoyable album that had me tapping my foot and trying to sing along to it. Sweetheart of the Rodeo is the same. Greatest Hits Vol. 2 isn’t as good. It isn’t consistent, and I feel they had lost their mojo by the time this album came out.

Next up is the letter C. It sounds like I am doing the 12″ vinyl version of Sesame Street.

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