527. wind up

“It’s Christmas 1972, a party at family friends. I’m thirteen and barely old enough to be hanging with the big kids. Just shut up and sit in the corner. And then they all go outside to smoke a joint. They even invite me along, but no way, not with my parents barely fifty feet away. Which leaves me alone with the record that’s playing – Aqualung by Jethro Tull, getting to the end of Side Two, a song about all the religious bullshit they push on you when you’re a kid, which I had no problem agreeing with, particularly the part about God not being a simple toy. You didn’t just wind Him up once a week, say few stupid prayers and then get on with your everyday lying, cheating, stealing. Nah, if there was a God worth giving a shit about, He or She or It had to be magnitudes more complex and wise than that. I don’t believe you — you’ve got the whole damned thing all wrong.” (Philip Random)

JethroTull-AqualungINside

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570. I am a rock

“I found this Buck Owens cover of a Simon + Garfunkel nugget in Cache Creek, British Columbia, I think, thrift store, mid-90s sometime. An entire album of electrified countrified takes on some of that hippie sh** the kids were so into at the time (1971). And delivered with all due sincerity, because don’t fool yourself. Nobody knows lonely like a one man island, or a Country + Western superstar.” (Philip Random)

BuckOwens-1973

587. mushroom

Can‘s Tago Mago is the greatest album in the history of humankind. At least it was (for me) for a good chunk of 1986-87. Sounds that were so far ahead of their time even then (a decade and a half after its release) that normal folks are still trying to figure it all out. Hint: it’s applied magick, four Germans cranking out the avant-grooves and textures, Japanese singer cruising cosmically in and out of it all as only 1971 could allow. The Axis powers of WW2 reunited (sort of, Can never containing any Italians), but this time taking the right drugs, only concerned with conquering all of the world’s freak scenes. Which is as it should be.” (Philip Random)

CAn-1971

602. blue

“There’s not enough Joni Mitchell on this list. It’s true. But it’s all there in the guidelines. If I didn’t own it on vinyl by August-4-2000, it didn’t qualify. And as of that date, all I had was Blue. Which tends to satisfy the if-you-can-only-own-one-Joni-Mitchell-album-it-should-be-Blue club, but why the hell would you only limit yourself to one? That’s just dumb (he said, looking his younger self in the mirror).” (Philip Random)

JoniMitchell-BlueBillboard

623. perfection

“I’m twelve years old. It’s 1972 and there’s this band I keep hearing on the radio who can’t be the Beatles, because the Beatles broke up two years ago, but they sure sound like the Beatles. Bad-something. And then my friend Chris buys their latest single. It’s called Baby Blue, and it’s official. This band is called Badfinger.  Maybe three years later, I’m finally buying albums on a regular basis, and one that I’m always looking for is Badfinger’s Straight Up (the one with Baby Blue on it). “Good luck finding that,” says a record store guy one day. “It’s impossible to find ever since Apple went under.” Which was not entirely accurate. I found Straight Up a few times over the years, used and stupidly expensive. Then finally, early-90s sometime, there it was at a flea market, cover a bit hacked but the vinyl itself looked okay. The weird thing is, the song that immediately grabbed then thirty-something me wasn’t Baby Blue, but Perfection. Solid sort of mid-tempo rock, with lyrics you actually heard: There’s no good  revolution – just power changing hands – There is no straight solution – Except to understand. True enough and yet all too sad given the tragedies that tore Badfinger to pieces. All the more reason to keep playing the records, I guess.” (Philip Random)

Badfinger-1972

636. go up Moses

Roberta Flack had a huge hit in 1972 with First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, a soft, deep, slow mover that was so good even twelve year old white bread suburban me couldn’t help but pay attention. Which is how I eventually ended up with Quiet Fire. Spotted maybe fifteen years later at a yard sale (hard to miss that hair on the cover). How could it not be worth twenty-five cents (or whatever)? But it wasn’t a slow mover that hooked me, it was lead-off track Go Up Moses, biblical, revolutionary and groovy, and co-written by the Reverend Jesse Jackson. Pharaoh Must Go!” (Philip Random)

RobertFlack-1971

675. Uncle Lijah

“My first encounter with Black Oak Arkansas came via late night TV when I was maybe fourteen. What struck me was A. the singer’s distinctly snarling vocals, and B. the band smashing all their gear at the end of the set. Imagine my surprise maybe twenty-five years later when I stumbled upon their first album and discovered they were actually a great, kick ass rawk band – working that zone where the redneck howl of Lynyrd Skynyrd met the deep, evil blues of Captain Beefheart, or perhaps Howling Wolf. And, it has to be said, David Lee Roth stole his entire look from Black Oak front man Jim Dandy.” (Philip Random)

BlackOakArkansas

679. nappy head

War being one of those bands who sounded like no other, All Day Music (their second album without former front man Eric Burdon) being pumped full of the sort of grooves and melodies that could warm up any day. With Nappy Head a most effective re-purposing of the groove from big deal Burdon driven novelty hit Spill the Wine. The silly story gets dumped. The music truly breathes.

War-Live

726. monolith

“In which T-Rex relax the groove a bit with an album cut that nevertheless sounds at least as big as its title. The album being Electric Warrior, and a gem it is from first note to final fade, cool and wild, and bubbling over with sensuous groove and delight.  It even tastes good, I swear.” (Philip Random)

T-Rex-1971