1001 Albums 0022-0023

Published September 13, 2012

My continued journey through the albums featured in the book
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

0022 Marty Robbins: Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs (1959)

As I’ve written elsewhere on this blog, I don’t claim to be particularly knowledgeable about country music history, but a couple of things I have noticed are a) that some of the really famous male country singers such as Eddy Arnold and Jim Reeves had really strong, sonorous voices, and b) that recordings made in Nashville in the late Fifties and early Sixties often sound way better than most other popular music recordings from this time. Marty Robbins certainly fits into the great voices category, and I’m assuming that this album was recorded in Nashville, because both the musicianship and the sound quality are top-notch.

As you may have gathered, I really like this album of songs that romanticise the myths of the Wild West. The tunes are catchy and I never lost interest in the album, which is a very rare thing indeed. Up until this point, Marty Robbins was little more than a name to me, so this collection of songs – apparently recorded in one single day – was a very pleasant surprise indeed.

Verdict: I’m going to buy this album.

0023 The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out (1959)

More jazz, but this time of the slightly more accessible type, at least in the case of the fantastic ‘Blue Rondo À La Turk’ and ‘Take Five’, the only tracks here that I'd heard before. According to the 1001 Albums book, this is one of the most popular jazz albums of all time. I understand that its accessibility and the sheer mainstream success of it, has meant that The Dave Brubeck Quartet aren’t very highly regarded among jazz critics. Perhaps there’s a resentment that this music opened the door to less talented followers, ending up in the often muzak-y “smooth jazz” we have to suffer in certain public places today. Be that as it may, I find this music highly appealing, and the playing of alto-saxophonist Paul Desmond (who also wrote ‘Take Five’) is to die for.

Verdict: Lovely music.



1001 Albums 0020-0021

Published September 05, 2012

My continued journey through the albums featured in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

0020 Ray Charles: The Genius Of Ray Charles (1959)

As with so many other artists in this blog so far, I've only ever owned compilation albums of Ray Charles. I must admit that before hearing this album I had no idea that he'd recorded so many standards during his time on the Atlantic label. The Genius Of Ray Charles features quite a few such numbers, including some really odd choices, such as 'Alexander's Ragtime Band'. I have to say that there's very little on this album that moves me in the way that classic soul numbers such as 'Lonely Avenue' or '(Night Time Is) The Right Time' do. So while this may be one of Ray Charles' best albums for some, again my 1994 compilation album The Best Of Ray Charles works better for me.

Verdict: An amazing performer, but not his most interesting recordings.

0021 Miles Davis: Kind Of Blue (1959)

The second Miles Davis album in the book is one of those LPs that is often referred to as unmissable, a true classic, and so on. I had never heard it until now, and it certainly is a great album within its field, although, again, I never felt, "wow, I've really got to buy this album!".

Verdict: Didn't disappoint, but nor did it excite me very much.