Abel’s 4000 Albums That Matter: Part Twenty-Eight
So far so good and that’s exactly how you want the kettle humming. I have to admit that though I originally began this endeavor as a way to flex my music-loving savvies in good lording fashion over my nerdy friends, I have come to these lists lately more with the affection of a memory that happens to catch you off-guard. I might joke a bit about the senility kicking in and me doubling-up on posts, but the truth of the matter is that I start with an album in mind and then I just run wild with my memories and take it from there.
The one guiding line being that at one point in time I have owned, held for listening or been touched somehow by the albums that I post. Well, let’s forge ahead before I get too sappy or start with the footie talk.
576. Marconi Union – Beautifully Falling Apart [Ambient Transmissions Vol. 1]. The single “Weightless” by the British ambient trio Marconi Union was built in a lab. And not in a music lab but a science lab as a means of aurally inducing a state of relaxation in agitated subjects. I don’t know about all that nonsense. I’ve heard that song plenty of times and I’m pretty sure that the second time I heard it, the person I was with was pretty coked out and the song did not do the trick. Geez, there went a whole paragraph and I just realized that track is not on this album. In any case, it’s a relaxing listen.
577. Calhoun – Native Lands. What happens when you get Living Colour’s Will Calhoun and get him to jam with Mos Def, Pharoah Sanders, Kevin Eubanks and a dozen more musical heavy-hitters? You get an album of jazz/World/funk/rock music that opens with his interpretation of Mongo Santamaría’s “Afro Blue” that’s what. Pretty good stuff. Will blow you away by the sheer amount of percussion this guy has a handle on.
578. The Jackie Papers – I’m In Love. Let’s be honest. One of the greatest bands of all time is the Pink Lincolns. No debating that. Will there ever be another Pink Lincoln’s album or EP released? I don’t know and I don’t feel right bothering them with such questions. I do know that when the lull’s been too long and the longing too great, Chris Barrows always came through. Here he surrounded himself with some sexy broads and penned the only love song to a gangbanger that I’m aware of, “Crip Girl.” He just wanted to be her one-man gang. I can’t blame him. The man’s a romantic.
579. Happy Mondays – …Yes, Please! All I know about this album is that every time I make an effort to listen to it I get overwhelmed by a feeling that these are all songs about Shaun Ryder’s family. “Monkey in the Family,” “Dustman,” “Angel,” “Cut ‘em Loose Bruce,” “Love Child,” “Total Ringo,” “Cowboy Dave”… you get the picture. But more than likely, they are all songs about his favorite drugs which have been a form of family to him for decades. Maybe one day I’ll power through. I’ve only had the CD for 22 years.
580. Shadowboxer – Dark at the End of the Tunnel. This little punk rock super group baffles me. There is something very familiar about them but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I don’t remember how I acquired this album but I know that “Black Cadillac Crashes into the White House” fills me with energy and power. It gets me pumped! This ten song album flies by and that’s kind of a good thing if you’re the type of person that needs a “morning” album. For years I went the Black Flag Damaged route, but that required waking up early and brewing a little more coffee, I don’t have time for that kind of action any more so this one will do when needed.
581. Ice-T – O.G. Original Gangster. Ice-T has been a man of many faces. He survived the gangster excess of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, he epitomizes LA G-swag and somehow he’s the kind of NYC cop I would like cuffing me if need be. He’s everywhere and nowhere. Ice-T is ethereal; the incubus you fear is all up on your girl while you sleep. He loves dogs. He loves Coco and Coco loves him. All I gotta say is “Mic Contract.”
582. Neneh Cherry – Homebrew. Neneh Cherry’s had an interesting and extremely musically-oriented career. I first came across her when she performed with her first formal outfit Rip Rig + Panic on the Young Ones TV show. This 1992 album keeps some elements of her post-punk days and mixes in some funk, hip-hop and the jazz of her fathers both biological and political. Fun stuff. It had been a while but I’m bopping along like it’s 1992.
583. Wrangler Brutes – Zulu. This was a punk rock powerhouse! Everything about this band was awesome. Even the fact that they included a sticker on the jewel case stating the following: “The bird, the dog and the shirt are attacking the skinhead.” Singer Sam McPheeters of Born Against fame, a brute of yore and a noted journalist, famously penned a scathing review of his album for the OC Weekly. You can read that here. Punk rock doesn’t come with enough humor these days.
584. Grover Washington, Jr. – All My Tomorrows. This guy has one of the largest recorded catalogues under his belt that you’ll find in the trenches of the saxophone and jazz in general. Gravitating anywhere from traditional to bop and swing, Washington’s fluctuated with the seasons like all jazzmen who’ve managed to remain creative and relevant. Can’t blame the guy. This particular platter from ’94 is as smooth and midday radio as he gets. Works too, which is almost what you’re rooting against. This is an album to play softly in the background while getting cuddly with that special someone(s) in your life.
585. The White Stripes – Conquest. It feels like when the White Stripes were around, there was no avoiding them. I always enjoyed them. I always felt they were a revamped and repackaged Cramps for the times, getting their rock on while sneaking in a few ancient blues nuggets most fools wouldn’t go out searching for on their own. What Lux and co. did for Hasil Adkins, these guys did for Leadbelly. This 7” came out during the Icky Thump days. Good stuff.
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