RS #450: Jackson Browne, For Everyman

Jackson Browne, For Everyman
This seems like the ne plus ultra of '70s soft-rock album covers.

Jackson Browne, For Everyman

Release Date: 1974 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Oh, here we go... Jackson Browne: another regular-guy '70s singer/songwriter that seems to over-populate this list. Luckily, his distinct hair insures I don't get him mixed up with some of the other sensitive performer types. Browne always seemed a little wan to me, but let's put the album on and give it a shot... I didn't know he co-wrote "Take It Easy" with Glenn Frey. Strange that he opened with … Continue Reading ››

RS #451: Amy Winehouse – Back To Black

Amy Winehouse, Back To Black
You couldn't write her story if you tried.

Amy Winehouse, Back To Black

Release Date: 2006 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: No
Impressions: Oh, Winehouse. Your tragic, tabloid-ready life story could overshadow your music. That would be a shame, I mean, on top of you already dying. Years of drug abuse, bulemia, personal drama and old-fashioned alcoholism led to you to drinking yourself to death in 2010. So sad, but life must go on and so must this review..."Rehab" is the big hit from the album and, it's kind of hard to … Continue Reading ››

RS #452: John Prine, John Prine

John Prine
"Hay hay hay! It's JOOOOHN PRIINE"

John Prine, John Prine

Release Date: 1971 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: I've mentioned this before, but I mix John Prine, Warren Zevon, and Boz Scaggs together for some reason, even though they aren't really musically quite alike. Maybe it's their demographic? WXRT seems to like him a lot, (reads his Wikipedia bio) and that's probably because he's from Chicago. Let's put this album on. Opens with a funny country drug number called "Illegal Smile." His voice is kind of plain to my ears. The album defininely got … Continue Reading ››

RS #453: EPMD – Strictly Business

EPMD, Strictly Business
No kidding.

EPMD, Strictly Business

Release Date: 1988 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: EPMD. Erick and Parrish Making Dollars. These guys were popular when I was in high school. Well-liked, but always seems to be overshadowed by some other act (LL, The Beasties, NWA, Run DMC.) Let's put it on... The opening track "Strictly Business" samples "I Shot The Sheriff" and, not surprisingly, these guys get down to business. These guys come across as no frills, workmanlike, solid, but that's probably because they rap in such a low-key style, like they were just talking to … Continue Reading ››

RS #454: Alice Cooper – Love It To Death

Alice Cooper, Love It To Death
I'm not sure I "Loved It To Death," but I did enjoy this one.

Alice Cooper, Love It To Death

Release Date: 1971 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: I only know of Mr. Cooper through his second career as a reliable guest-star "freak" on TV and his love of golf. Musically, I know very little. Let's put this on... Well, off to a great start with the rocking "Caught In A Dream." Cooper's brand of greasy glam rock seems a bit different than the heavy metal crowd that Cooper gets … Continue Reading ››

RS #459: The Drifters, Golden Hits

The Drifters' Golden Hits
When I see this record cover, I immediately have a flashback to a yard sale or church basement.

The Drifters, Golden Hits

Release Date: 1968 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Many of these songs are so fully integrated into the landscape of oldies stations that they almost cease to be music. After I had trouble finding this actual collection on line, I eBay'd a CD. Let's put it on... "There Goes My Baby" seems to follow their recipe: smooth doo-wop singing on top of sweet strings and proto-Phil Spector-esque Wall of Sound production, with a … Continue Reading ››

RS #455: Los Lobos – How Will The Wolf Survive?

Los Lobos, How Will The Wolf Survive?
How will Los Lobos survive? With a combination of endlessly touring and recording great songs, that's how.

Los Lobos, How Will The Wolf Survive?

Release Date: 1981 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Weirdly, Yes
Impressions: Unbelievable. I love these guys. I think they are one of the most-criminally underrated bands in rock and roll history. Completely stylistically diverse, both experimental and crowd-pleasing, with tons of chops and heart. They hold on to their Chicano roots but allow for anything else to enter the mix. Possibly one of the top 5 American bands of … Continue Reading ››

RS #456: Marvin Gaye – Here, My Dear

Marvin Gaye - Here, My Dear
Who wants to hear some stone cold jams about my painful divorce?

Marvin Gaye, Here, My Dear

Release Date: 1978 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: There's a unique backstory on this album. I know, most on this list have a story too, but this one is one of a kind. Marvin "gave" (half of the royalties) his ex-wife Anna Gordy in a weird divorce agreement. At first, Marvin tried to make a "lazy, bad" album for her, but then he got inspired by his conficting emotions from their distintegrated relationship … Continue Reading ››

RS #457: My Morning Jacket – Z

My Morning Jacket, Z
Looks more like a Decemberists cover.

My Morning Jacket, Z

Release Date: 2005 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Don't know much about these dudes. This entry smells like an effort to get some new millenium representation on the RS list, but we shall put it on and give it a fair chance like every other album... Opens with a nice, slightly-off kilter modern track that confortably mixes R&B, dub, and trippy Flaming Lips-style production. Lead singer Jim James has got a clear, high voice that fits snugly into the lush dreamy tracks like "It … Continue Reading ››

RS #458: Elton John – Tumbleweed Connection

Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection
Piano men have always been kinda like gunslingers, right?

Elton John, Tumbleweed Connection

Release Date: 1970 Previously Owned: No First Time Listen: Yes
Impressions: Not well-versed in Sir Elton outside of the big hits. I considre myself a fan nor a hater. Let's give this a spin... Weird choice for only his third album: a very loose old-West-themed concept album by two guys (Elton John, lyricist Bernie Taupin) who had never been to the US at the time. Hubris (and drugs) can only be the reason they'd do this. Oddly, this fake country … Continue Reading ››