Records Of My Life

  1. Stevie Wonder – Innervisions.  The second album I ever purchased.  Elton John Rock of the Westies was the first.   I played this record every morning before school and every afternoon after school.  Some of the best songs ever written are on it: “Too High”, “Living for the City”, “Golden Lady”, “Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing”.
  2. Jeff Beck – Blow by Blow.  “Cause We’ve Ended as Lovers”, a Stevie Wonder composition and “Diamond Dust” are two of the dreamiest guitar explorations on record along with Frank Zappa’s “Watermelon in Easter Hay”.
  3. Genesis – Seconds Out.  Almost like a greatest hits live.  Peter Gabriel had left the band by this time and one of the founding members Phil Collins had taken over the vocals.  The group never sounded better.   The sonics on this recording are to die for.  One to crank up.  This is not to say I disliked the band with Gabriel, don’t get me wrong.  I almost listed the Lamb Lies Down On Broadway.  And at one time, I owned every Genesis album from the first through Abacab. I really dig their early stuff – Trespass, Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound, but sort of lost interest after Duke.
  4. Pink Floyd – Dark Side Of The Moon.  Mind altering.  When I think back to the days of my youth, my mind begins to play this record.
  5. John McLaughlin – Electric Guitarist.  The world’s fastest guitarist said Guitar Player magazine of John McLaughlin.  Curious, I went out and bought this album and it blew my mind.  After all these years, it’s still never far from my turntable.
  6. The Beatles – The White Album.  I saved up for this with paper route money.  It was my prized possession, but Revolution 9 scared the crap out of me.
  7. Brian Eno – Ambient 1: Music For Airports.  Just that.  Ambient.  Helped me relax and focus as a young graduate student in Texas many years ago.
  8. Nick Drake – Five Leaves Left.  My dad turned me on to Nick Drake.  I loved the music, but didn’t fully appreciate Nick’s talents until later in life.  One of those genius types of posthumous fame like Van Gogh, writer John Kennedy-Toole and the photographer Mike Disfarmer.
  9. Yes – Tales From Topographic Oceans.  My friend Hank turned me onto this one.  It was addictive.  After I played it hundreds of times, I couldn’t get it out of my head for about a year – it was like a musical loop in my brain.  I can still retrieve it and spin most of it from memory.
  10. Pat Metheny Group – Offramp.  Some of the best guitar synthesizer solos ever recorded.  Are You Going With Me? is one of my favorite Mays/Metheny compositions.
  11. R.E.M. – Reckoning. I was a student DJ at KUAF in Fayetteville, Arkansas when I heard R.E.M. for the first time.  It was “Radio Free Europe”, off their debut album Murmur,  a song in heavy rotation at the station that grabbed me. I think the album should have been called Mumble because I couldn’t understand a word Michael Stipe sang.  No matter, I’ve been a fan of the band from the beginning.
  12. Weather Report – Black Market.  Jaco and Wayne Shorter, two of my favorite musicians.  Jaco was in his prime; Wayne still is.
  13. Miles Davis – In A Silent Way.  I just play it over and over and over and over and over again.  I never tire of it.  I still play it a lot.  Hypnotic.
  14. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On.  As relevant today as ever.
  15. The Durutti Column – Valuable Passages.  This was my go to record when I felt down.  It didn’t cheer me up much, but did help me through some rough times.  Comfortably depressing.
  16. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme.  Intense.  Beautiful. Searching. Spiritual.  A Natural High.
  17. Jobim – Wave.  My friend once told me this was the kind of music her elderly parents listened to, and I was thinking they must be the hippest parents on the planet.  This is groovin stuff.  Smiling Good and so is life.
  18. Paul Motian Band – Psalm.  This was my introduction to Bill Frisell.  And wow, the dude was playing the music backwards on the guitar somehow – like it came out that way.  Trip out wild and strangely melodic.
  19. Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark.  What a fantastic musician and poet.  Someone said in a documentary that Joni had a thing for strange chords – Joni chords.  If you know her music well, you’ll understand. I like all of her stuff but Court and Spark stands out for me.  Some great hits on this 1974 album- “Help Me” , “Free Man In Paris” but my favorite tune  is “People’s Party”.   One of the best records of the mid 70’s.
  20. Santana – Welcome.  Spiritual.  Full of Hope.  Really warm and inviting sound.  I’m always going back for more.
  21. Bill Evans – Waltz For Debby.  In my opinion, the best live jazz recording ever.  Recorded at the Village Vanguard in the early 60’s.  And let me tell you, you are there.