Top 50 albums you should own: 40 – 31

Dacapo_140. Love – ‘Da Capo’

Arthur Lee’s long lost masterpiece, Da Capo is often overlooked in favour of the sublime ‘Forever Changes’ and the snotty garage of the eponymous debut. However, in Da Capo, the seeds of Forever Changes and the tough love of the first cut are both present and correct. ‘Seven & Seven Is…‘, the most famed cut from the LP is probably the most exciting single ever released, with a vicious molten headrush accompanied with a frantic gonzo lyric. However, a gentler mood follows the achingly gorgeous ‘Orange Skies’ and ‘Que Vida’ which show that the Spanish fused follow up was no fluke. A masterful LP, one that no home should be without. BUY IT

39. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – ‘The Letting Go’

Just what does Will Oldham (aka Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) have to do to make a rubbish LP? On the first hearing of The Letting Go, it became apparent that Oldham had made a career best. The Cursed Sleep is probably the most devastating thing he ever put his voice to. Soaring strings is something that Oldham has always needed, and the fragility of his voice, mixed, paradoxically, with the immense power he can summon, nearly makes much of this LP too much to take. A simple phenomenal record that will leave you breathless. BUY IT

38. Groundhogs – ‘Split’

For some reason, Split is one of the great overlooked rock albums in history. Where Jimi and Zep get all the plaudits, their was one man making a thunderous racket and sending electric shocks out through his stacked up amps like some crazed Nordic god. That man was (the genius) T.S. McPhee. Split is part blues, part prog, part psyche and, surprisingly, part proto punk. Cherry Red is a tune that is so incredibly tuff that garage punkers would forgive its solos. Split (part 2) is another monstrous track that will cut you in two and boot your body around the room with crazed abandon. You need. BUY IT

37. Lambchop – ‘Nixon’

If there is such thing as a modern masterpiece, then this is it. Kurt Wagner and his 7000 band members are a lesson in more is less is more. Nixon, the zenith of the groups’ work is a hotchpotch of heartbreaking country and southern soul strings. Between the grooves of the record bleed everything from Curtis Mayfield, gospel, Hank Williams, and Fred Neil. Wagner throughout has a wry eye on the peculiarities of human kind, all set against sumptuous strings and beautiful arrangements. An album to read like a book and get lost in. BUY IT

36. Harry Nilsson – ‘Aerial Pandemonium Ballet’

Harry Nilsson is one of those people in music that makes you drop on the floor and think about burning your intentions of every dreaming of being a musician. An uncanny ability for a catchy tune and a storming, rousing delivery, often pinched by other singers, but seldom bettered. Aerial Pandemonium Ballet is in fact a rehash of two previous LPs by Harry, but the performances on this are better than the originals as his voice matured and his arrangements became more subtle and crafted. Containing is well known ‘Everybody’s Talkin” this LP is all killer, but for fans of Beatle pop, go straight to ‘Bath’ and ‘1941’ for a lesson in songwriting. Now available as part of a bargain priced 3-for-1. BUY IT

35. Buzzcocks – ‘Another Music in a Different Kitchen’

Personally, I think that many punk bands weren’t best suited to the long player format. The Sex Pistols ‘Nevermind the Bollocks’, important as it is, is a bit lardy and slow for my liking. Kicking against the trend is the fabulous debut from the brilliant Buzzcocks. ‘…Kitchen’ is a thrill and second with high octane sleaze in the shape of tracks like ‘No Reply’, ‘Fast Cars’ and ‘I Don’t Mind’. There is one epic masterpiece sitting in wait at the tail of the first side in the form of the majestic ‘Sixteen’ which is slow grinding punk like you’ve never heard before. "I hate modern music, disco, boogie and pop. They go on an’ on an’ on an’ on an’ on… How I wish they would stop!" Amazing. BUY IT

34. Monkees – ‘Head’

The Monkees are far from being some sappy little sugary goons hopping around trying to be The Beatles. Anyone who thinks that doesn’t know what they’re talking about. ‘Head’, the soundtrack from their gonzo film is the proof. Head contains all self written material and it’s the LP that The White Album should’ve been. It’s in-and-out in no time at all but manages to take you on an epic psychedelic journey with the majestic ‘Porpoise Song’, scythe you down with ‘Circle Sky’, and make you furiously dance to ‘Do I Have To Do This All Over Again?’ and the killer ‘Can You Dig It?’. A must for any psych-head. BUY IT

33. The Flying Burrito Brothers – ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’

For those of you who have heard all about how great Gram Parsons is, and how he (kinda) invented country-rock all by his sweet self, but don’t really know where to start… well, this is the place. ‘Gilded Palace’ is a sublime refried country workout that contains psychedelic fuzz, soulful harmonies and heartbreaking ballads. Taking up where Hank Williams left off (which means making tough guy country with blue eyed bits for the ladies whilst being ripped to the tits on all types of booze and drugs), The Burritos hit imperial form with ‘Christine’s Tune’, ‘Sin City’ and a stunning version of the soul classic ‘Do Right Woman’. Superb. BUY IT

32. Stereolab – ‘Emperor Tomato Ketchup’

Fans of suave Gallic pop, apply here. Fans of obscure French library recordings like Cecil Leuter, apply here. Fans of sixties cheek, apply here. That’s right, French misfits Stereolab hit a career high with the staggeringly great Emperor Tomato Ketchup that sprawls over 2xLP. Opener, Metronomic Underground is probably the finest thing recorded by the group with it’s vintage analogue squelches and three part harmonies and Cybele’s Reverie is as perfect as pop gets. BUY IT

31. Ramones – ‘Rocket To Russia’

John Peel likened hearing the Ramones for the first time like the birth of Elvis. With a fistful of ridiculously catchy choruses and rock hard backbone, Rocket To Russia is their greatest work. The LP kicks off at 100mph with the fantastic ‘Cretin Hop’ which is as good as punk gets. As usual, amongst the sleaze talk of sewage pipes, teenage lobotomies and broken families is a head full of the rock’n’roll dream. For every shot of trash swallowed is a summery, top down rollick through some made-up USA. Sweet and evil and a must own. Their version of Surfin’ Bird aint half bad either. BUY IT


[Mof Gimmers]


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