Monday’s Music Moves Me: Ten of My Favorite Albums

I spend as little time on Facebook as I can these days, going over there maybe once every couple of weeks to see if there’s anything that needs attention. Well, my brother Kip tagged me on a meme that was started by a friend of his and mine, Steve Berlin. Here’s the meme, in his words:

Ten all-time favorite albums, that really made an impact and are still on your rotation list, even if only now and then. Post the cover, no need to explain and then nominate people each day to do the same.

I picked ten all-time favorite albums, but this is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you don’t see one you are certain is one of my all-time favorites, it’s because I’m keeping it to just ten. I’m going to give the name of the album and the band, a picture of the album cover (courtesy of Discogs), and a song from that album that explains why the album is one of my favorites.

Chicago, Chicago Transit Authority Pretty much any of Chicago’s first eleven albums (i.e. the ones with Terry Kath) are good, and I had a hard time choosing between this one and Chicago VII. In the end, this won out, mostly because of some incredible guitar work by Terry Kath. The song I chose from that album is “Poem 58,” which starts with an incredible jam by Terry, Peter Cetera, and Dan Seraphine.

Muddy Waters, McKinley Morganfield a/k/a Muddy Waters Muddy was a big influence during my college years, and this album was on my turntable a lot in those days. Here is “Same Thing.”

Little Walter, Confessin’ The Blues Another one from my blues period, when I was playing as much harmonica as guitar. Here’s the title track.

Dave Brubeck Quartet, Time Out The first time I heard “Take Five,” I was hooked on jazz. This is the album that comes from, but I chose a different song from it to represent the album. Here’s “Blue Rondo A La Turk.”

(Peter Green’s) Fleetwood Mac, Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits I got my first stereo in 1970 and discovered FM progressive rock around that time. This song, “Albatross,” was on heavy rotation at that time, and soon after “Oh Well (Parts 1 & 2)” made its way to the FM airwaves. Fleetwood Mac was essentially a blues band at the time, led by the remarkable Peter Green. This album has all the great songs from the Peter Green era.

Blood Sweat & Tears, Child Is Father To The Man I got Blood Sweat & Tears’ Greatest Hits for Christmas one year, and heard “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” and “I Can’t Quit Her,” two songs I hadn’t heard before. That’s when I learned that BS&T’s first album wasn’t the one with the pink and white cover that had “Spinning Wheel” and “And When I Die” on it, that there was an earlier one with Al Kooper. I was browsing at a record store and stumbled across it, and took it home (paid for it first), and played the grooves off of it. “Meagan’s Gypsy Eyes” is a track from it.

Santana, Abraxas I think this is their best album, and still play it frequently. Here’s a medley of “Black Magic Woman” (written by Peter Green) and Gabor Szabo’s “Gypsy Queen.”

The Beatles, Revolver I have all the Beatles’ albums, the British versions which were cut-and-pasted by Capitol for the US versions. Capitol was actually pretty kind to this one, dropping several songs but not adding any. I played the Capitol version all the time until I got the Parlophone original, and both are minor masterpieces. I could have listed all the Fab Four’s albums and been done with it, but thought better of it. Here’s “For No One.”

Vince Guaraldi, Greatest Hits A Charlie Brown Christmas introduced me to the groovy jazz of Vince Guaraldi, and when I got older I found this album with a bunch of songs that soon became my go-to list of songs when I had a lousy day. “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” was Vince’s big single from the early ’60’s, and it opens this album.

Louis Prima, The Wildest! Vince Guaraldi isn’t the only jazzman that can help me shake the blues. David Lee Roth covered Louis’s “Just A Gigolo” in the ’80’s, but no one does it like Louis. (Well, maybe Yoda…) Just a fun album.

So, there’s ten off the top of my head. What are yours?

That’s Monday’s Music Moves Me for June 25, 2018.

Monday’s Music Moves Me is sponsored by X-Mas Dolly, Callie, Cathy, Alana, Michelle and Stacy, so be sure and visit them, where you can also find the Linky for the other participants.


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Author: John Holton

I'm a writer and blogger who writes and blogs about things that interest me.

44 thoughts on “Monday’s Music Moves Me: Ten of My Favorite Albums”

  1. John, still remember you talking about Little Walter and Muddy back in high school. I also played the grooves off CTA and Chicago VII (or would have if I hadn’t had them on open-reel tape).

    My own album with favorite single list would also include Steely Dan’s Reelin’ In The Years and Do It Again from Can’t Buy A Thrill (1973). Also Black Cow from Aja (1977), a tune I performed onstage a lot (“Drink your big Black Cow… and get out of here…”). Donald Fagen’s vocal range was easy for me, so I sang a lot of his material over the years. I liked Victor Feldman’s electric piano solo in Black Cow so much I learned it note for note – but away from the keyboard, so parts of what I played onstage were a little off. But it was a jazz solo, so it worked.

    I heard Chameleon from Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters (1975) in Champaign, Illinois’ long-gone Record Service the year it came out. Bought it on the spot, took it back to the dorm, and picked out the left hand bass line with the main sax melody right away. That was in the days when I’d play the grand pianos jammed into small practice rooms in the music department’s main building between classes. I was an EE major, but I took as much music theory as I could and played in a couple horn bands when I wasn’t studying.

    Foreplay/Longtime from Boston’s first album was another biggie for me. I picked out that organ intro away from the keyboard too, but got it right. Transposed it from B-flat minor to A minor to make it easier to play (I think that’s what Boston did onstage). I performed that one in three different bands in Illinois and California.

    I didn’t like them then, but Rush is a huge part of our current music rotation on RV trips. They didn’t have horns or ‘real’ keyboard parts, so I wasn’t interested in college. But we discovered them a couple years ago, sadly after their final tour. Subdivisions from Moving Pictures pretty much describes my high school years – “Be cool or be cast out.” I wasn’t cool.

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    1. “Aja” is a great album; Larry Carlton played on it with them. The three I love off it are “Josie,” “Peg,” and “Deacon Blues.”

      Rush was an intersting study: they were a power trio and a progressive rock band at the same time. There wasn’t too much “three chords and the truth” coming from them.

      Nice thing about jazz is you know the solo’s going to be different each time… you just have to get the head right…

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  2. A top-notch list, JOHN! And I like the diversity of it. (I would have used the word “eclectic” but I don’t know what it means.)

    Muddy’s ‘SAME THING’ I love, Love, LOVE! It’s probably — no, it’s DEFINITELY — my favorite Muddy song. (Probably followed by ‘I’m Ready’.)

    Little Walter was a total monster, man! Put Walter on a tune and it becomes an instant classic. He played harp like a beast!

    Vince Guaraldi, King Louis Prima, early Chicago… great stuffs.

    And then of course, the musical genius, Dave Brubeck, and his Quartet… ‘TAKE FIVE’ (I call it “the Stairway To Heaven of Jazz”) probably turned more people on to Jazz than any other single recording. I know it’s what turned ME on to pure Jazz in 1981, when I found it on the ‘American Pop’ soundtrack I had purchased. It was Joe Morello’s quirky drumming that really did the trick for me. And Joe remains my favorite drummer to this day!

    Personally, I’d take ‘Pet Sounds’ over ‘Revolver’ but, man, you’ve got a terrific list here. I’m curious to see the lists that others put together.

    ~ D-FensDogG
    STMcC Presents ‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS’

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    1. “Eclectic” and “diverse” are pretty much the same thing.

      The whole “Time Out” album is a killer. I think most iof the songs are in odd meters. “Blue Rondo A La Turk” is in 9/8, but instead of thinking 3-3-3 they’re thinking 2-2-2-3. Makes for an interesting pattern, especially when contrasted with the middle, where everything’s a straight 4/4.

      I have to confess, I’ve never heard “Pet Sounds.” I know it came out around the same time as The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper,” and heard that when Brian Wilson heard the latter, he just sort of threw his hands up. The Parlophone version of “Revolver” is much longer than the Capitol one and really shows a lot more diversity. Capitol used to take a British Beatles album and all the singles that had been released to that point and create a whole new album, sometimes a couple. Very weird.

      Like I said, it’s a Facebook meme, so I’m not sure how you’d see other people’s choices.

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      1. JOHN ~

        >…. “Eclectic” and “diverse” are pretty much the same thing.

        [Link> “That was a joke, son!”

        I figure if I throw enough spaghetti (aka jokes) at the ceiling and walls, some of it might occasionally stick. But I guess not this time.

        Actually, when Brian Wilson first heard ‘Revolver’ he was impressed that every song was of high quality. It inspired him to create an album with “no filler”. That album was ‘Pet Sounds’.

        When Paul McCartney first heard ‘Pet Sounds’ he said: This is the album of all time! What are we going to do?

        McCartney’s answer to ‘Pet Sounds’ was ‘Sgt. Peppers’. In my opinion, despite all the hoopla over it, ‘Sgt. Peppers’ was not really the innovative milestone it’s been made out to be.

        Musically, it was obviously inspired by ‘Pet Sounds’ and ‘Good Vibrations’, in which McCartney and company copied what Brian Wilson had been doing. Namely, using a lot of instruments normally associated with orchestras rather than Rock ‘N’ Roll. Such as French horns, strings, etc. And creating pop music songs with various movements within them, such as you’d find in Classical pieces. ‘Let’s Go Away For Awhile’ and ‘Good Vibrations’ are perfect examples, and it’s easy to see that songs such as those were the inspiration for ‘A Day In The Life’, et al.

        And then lyrically, it’s inescapable that everything found on ‘Sgt. Peppers’ showed The Beatles were trying to write Dylanesque lyrics. Lyrically, the inspiration for ‘Sgt. Peppers’ can be found in Dylan’s albums ‘Bringing It All Back Home’, ‘Highway 61 Revisited’, and ‘Blonde On Blonde’.

        That’s why I’ve always said that ‘Sgt. Peppers’ is really just the marriage of Brian Wilson’s music with Bob Dylan’s lyrics. I feel the earlier “Mop Top” stage of The Beatles was their more original and innovative stuff.

        Although I do like the ‘Abbey Road’ album, I’m not really a fan of the Beatles’ “psychedelic” Wilson+Dylan era.

        ~ D-FensDogG
        Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends

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        1. Next time, you might try using the Joke font (you know, “font-family:joke;”). I’m a little slow on the uptake at times, especially lately…

          McCartney had envisioned “Sgt. Pepper” as a concept album, which I think came as a shock to the other three. He was always a bit into the music hall thing, as evidenced by “With A Little Help From My Friends,” “She’s Leaving Home,” and “When I’m 64.” I think the others were a bit nonplussed by the concept, and the rest of the album is pretty much a Beatles album: the bulk written by Lennon and/or McCartney, with a token song by George, who was really into the Indian music thing by then. There are some good moments: “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” which was essentially a circus poster (literally) with music written by John, and “A Day In The Life,” which is actually a pretty good song, Dylanesque lyrics notwithstanding.

          I actually bought a copy of “Pet Sounds” on your recommendation. It’s a great Beach Boys album, especially without every other song being about surfing or cars. I might be more excited about it if I had heard it closer to its release date instead of 50 years after; what was innovative in 1968 is “old hat” now, not just The Beach Boys or The Beatles, but damn near everything. It’s like the old joke:

          Q: What do people say at a Grateful Dead concert after the dope runs out?
          A: “Man, this music sucks.”

          Liked by 1 person

          1. JOHN ~
            Ha! I don’t think I’d heard that Grateful Dead joke before. Good one. (I never did get into the Grateful Dead, but then I didn’t get into drugs, either.)

            Yeah, indeed, McCartney did like that Music Hall style. So do I, actually. (And so did Tiny Tim, who will be back by popular demand at my BOTB blog on July 1st. Consider this your advance warning. :^)

            >>… I actually bought a copy of “Pet Sounds” on your recommendation. It’s a great Beach Boys album

            Hey, that’s terrific! I’m glad you like it and don’t feel I prompted you to waste your money.

            Yes, by the time of ‘Pet Sounds’, the Beach Boys had moved beyond their early “Sand, Surf & Souped-Up Cars” phase. Not long after ‘Pet Sounds’, they were even writing protest songs and such. (You know, the whole Vietnam era stuffs.) And some of their compositions were almost Jazz-like with all of the shifts in tempo and themes. Many of my favorite songs by them came later.

            And your thoughts about finding them so much “after the fact” kind of mirrors my own experience with Bob Dylan’s music. I was too young to have been cognizant of his impact while it was occurring, and by the time I bought my first Dylan album — just a “Greatest Hits” — I had already been listening for a long time to people who had been lyrically influenced by him. So, I didn’t really “get” what all the hoopla about Dylan had been.

            But then years later, when I started looking deeper into music, reading stuffs, and was able to put it all into its proper historical context, I came to realize how everything I liked had been influenced by Dylan. (AND that Dylan had done it better than those who copied him.) I think being able to see it all in hindsight with historical context in place makes a huge difference.

            For example, as a teen, I did not realize that lines like “Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall” had been directly inspired by lines like “There’s only one I’ve met, and he just smoked my eyelids and punched my cigarette”. I didn’t realize that abstract, stream of consciousness songwriting had begun with Dylan. I took it all for granted.

            Final Thought: On ‘Pet Sounds’, the instrumental ‘Let’s Go Away For Awhile’ has some kind of strange magic in it for me. I can’t listen to it without being transported to my 1960s childhood in Orange County, Calif. There are even individual notes in that music which seem to make golden, California sunlight burst into my mind. For me, that recording is almost a time travel machine, but I can’t explain why. Like all great music, there’s an unsearchable mystery about it.

            Again, glad you enjoy the album. I never imagined you would actually buy it based on our conversation here. That’s very cool!

            ~ D-FensDogG
            STMcC Presents ‘BATTLE OF THE BANDS’

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  3. Oh yeah, I think you’ve made me a believer! Chicago hmmm great tune. Hubby plays that one & Muddy Waters is definitely on hubby’s song list. Being a guitar player I’m sure you understand why! Little Walter and the others… such soul… definitely! Love Fleetwood Mac, but I never heard this song.. thank you for the introduction to this one and others. Now wait, that’s not the Fleetwood Mac I know… Hmmmmm you tryin’ to pull my leg here? Hmmm Anyway, I must say that Black Magic Woman is high on my list also.. Santana has got so much soul and he must play his guitar each day & every day all day long he is sooooo good! Beatles tune I never heard that one either… and Cast your fate to the wind reminds me of Peanuts… and Louis Prima my mama introduced me to him & I have to say he had me singin’ along with him once again! hahahaha!! Thanks my friend… loved your pickin’s !!!! Have a great week!!

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    1. Fleetwood Mac was a much different band when Peter Green was its guiding light. After he left, it gradually morphed into what we have today. They were pretty much a British blues band when they started, even recorded an album at Chess Studios in Chicago with a bunch of bluesmen in the late ’60’s. And yes, the same Peter Green wrote “Black Magic Woman.”

      Vince Guaraldi did all the music for the early Peanuts specials. He wrote “Linus and Lucy”, “Christmastime Is Here,” and a song called “Oh, Good Grief.” He did a lot of bossa nova before that, including an album called “Jazz Impressions of Black Orpheus,” his take on the music from the Brazilian movie “Black Orpheus,” that featured a lot of bossa nova. He was an amazing pianist and composer who died too soon.

      Muddy Waters and Little Walter created the “Chicago Blues” sound with electric guitars. There were many others who added to it, but they were the originals. Walter bordered on jazz with some of his songs.

      Glad you enjoyed this list!

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    1. A lot of times BS&T got into stuff they really shouldn’t have on their albums, e.g. “Sympathy For The Devil.” But the albums in general are pretty good, enjoyable pop music mixed with a little jazz to keep it interesting.

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  4. Nice mix of albums. My list would be different from yours and different from my own from one week to the next. Hard for me to play favorites. Maybe my top 100 would be easier to come up with.

    Lee

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  5. I have to share this post with my brother and would love to know his choices. I remember buying that Chicago album for him one Christmas. I love Black Magic Woman and find it so creative. Hmmm….I would choose ABBA’s Arrival record and the song “Old Friends Do” as well as their Greatest Hits album and the song, lFernando.” I also would choose their last album, The Visitors and the song, “Like an Angel Passing Through our Room.” Can you tell how much I love ABBA:) I would choose ELO from Evil Woman to Strange Magic but I don’t recall which albums they are from. The Moody Blues!! Days of Future Passed…the whole album! I would also choose “For My Lady” which was the song I danced to with my ex at our wedding. I know there’s are others but that’s what comes into my head.

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  6. John,

    I don’t think I have 10 albums that I’d call my favorite. Usually, there’s just one or two songs that I like and the rest I can do without. Your favorites are an impressive collection. At first, I thought I couldn’t say I have any favorite albums but when I got to thinking about it, at least three came to mind. So, I might have to borrow from your idea and share mine in a future post. Thanks for the inspiration, the fine mewsic, and dance! Have a tunetastic week, my friend!

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  7. There are some great groups on here, although I’ve never liked Fleetwood Mac. The only one of these albums I have is Revolver, but you probably knew that. LOL. And it’s always nice to know another Muddy Waters fan! I have one of his albums, but I’m not sure which it is. Maybe greatest hits.

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    1. Fleetwood Mac had two incarnations, the British blues band that existed in the Sixties until roughly 1975 (also referred to as “Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac”), and the pop band we all know and loathe that has existed since. You might like the Peter Green version, if you like British blues (and who doesn’t?).

      The Parlophone “Revolver” has “And Your Bird Can Sing” and “Doctor Robert,” which the Capitol one doesn’t, so if you have the latter, you might want to pick up the former.

      There are a lot of collections of Muddy Waters’ songs. I recently got one called “Anthology” that was just issued that’s pretty good.

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  8. Hi John,
    What a great list of albums! And such a good variety. I love the blues. So glad you included Muddy Waters. I saw him shortly before he died. He performed at this really cool venue back home called the Imperial Garage in Niagara Falls. He was amazing. He did move around much. Sat on a stool in the middle of the stage all night and just jammed. It was awesome!

    I’m not much into jazz but I absolutely loved the “groovy” jazz that you brought us by Vince Gauraldi. And yeah, I can hear traces of the Peanuts music in that song. And the Dave Brubeck Quartet is also very good. Some jazz I just can’t tolerate but both of these I could. I like Gauraldi better than Brubeck, at least in these selections. But i LOVED the Brubeck album cover art: very Kandinsky!

    It was a real treat to hear some of the earlier stuff of Blood Sweat & Tears and Fleetwood Mac. I only recently learned that today’s Fleetwood Mac was formerly Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac.” I haven’t heard BS&T in ages!

    It would take me a while to figure out my Top Ten albums but I’ll work on that…

    Great 4M post today! Thanks for the fantastic introductions.

    Hi Claire,
    I’m going to try this again. I just tried posting and an error message came up that said my comment couldn’t post for some reason. Anyway, sounds like you had a busy weekend. Glad you got some alone time. Everyone needs that, some more than others. I’m one of those in the “more” category.

    I enjoyed Kenny Chesney’s songl It had a great beat and a good groove to it.
    Sade’s song I just couldn’t get into. It was way too slow for me. I didn’t have the patience to even get to the middle of the song. 😦 I do like some of her earlier stuff though…

    Have a great week,

    Michele at Angels Bark

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    1. I don’t remember Muddy moving around much, although I didn’t see him until 1974 and he had survived a car accident by then. Still, he’d get up at the end of his show and dance a little to “Got My Mojo Workin’,” which was always a highlight.

      Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac was much different than the version that’s playing now. Very blues-oriented… they recorded an album at Chess Studios with a bunch of older blues guys in the late Sixties.

      BS&T is still going, although I don’t think any of the original members are in it; Bobby Colomby, the drummer, was the last, and he passed the torch on to the new generation. Their first two albums were classics, their third and fourth were very good, and “New Blood,” when they brought in a whole bunch of new guys, was interesting, a little more jazz-oriented. Beyond that, I lost interest…

      It’s fortunate that Guaraldi left a good-sized catalog behind when he died. He’s kind of in a class by himself. Much more West Coast than a lot of jazz, which centers pretty much around New York.

      Looking forward to your choices. You might want to pass your comments to Claire along to her… 😉

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  9. You went deep, John – it was so interesting hearing the original sound of Fleetwood Mac (I didn’t know) and BS&T. I haven’t heard Cast Your Fate to the Wind in umpteen years and yes, I hear traces of Peanuts music. Beauteous! I could never come up with my “Greatest 10” list although, on initial thought, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon would be on it.

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