1001 Albums 0049-0050

Published April 15, 2013

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

0049: The Sonics: Here Are The Sonics (1965)

This is a fascinating albums. Sonically (no pun intended) it sounds old and new at the same time: there were limitations in recording technology in the Sixties, but those limitations weren't so big that the recordings had to sound this "dirty". After all, most engineers would try to record everything to the best of their abilities, and any dirtiness would usually have to come from the bands' performances. And yet that dirtiness, that distorted sound, was there on this 1965 recordings, somehow making it sound like it was recorded at least 10 years later, at the height of punk, when many voluntarily chose a more raw and aggressive approach over a clean hi-fi-sound.

For me personally, this is one of those albums that I really think are great - there are quite a few  tracks here that would grace any Sixties compilation, such as the magnificent 'Have Love, Will Travel' - but because the energy level is more or less the same throghout the entire album, gets to be a little samey. I think I would have enjoyed the album more if they'd aspired for a bit more variation. But then that wasn't really what The Sonics were about, was it?

Verdict: Great, but an entire album's worth is too much of a good thing.

Listen on Youtube.

0050: Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

This album is famous as the one where Dylan "went electric" - at least on Side One, side two was mainly in his old acoustic style. It also features some of his most famous songs, although, as is often the case for me, I usually prefer other artists' versions of his tunes: better singing and no excessive use of harmonica. The nice surprise here, though, was Dylan's recording of 'She Belongs To Me', which I'd only heard in Rick Nelson's version before. So although I realize that this album is extremely important in rock history and influenced everybody and his mother, that tender and low-key recording of a really nice song is what I'll take with me from this listening experience.

Verdict: Many great songs, but the performances get in the way for me.

Listen on Spotify.


1001 Albums 0047-0048

Published April 06, 2013

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

0047: Buck Owens And His Buckaroos: I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail (1965)

Like many of the other country albums featured in this blog so far, this is a very appealing collection of songs. And like those other acts, I've been aware of Buck Owens' existence, but never delved much into his recordings - for me he's mainly familiar as the originator of 'Act Naturally', as covered by The Beatles on their Help! album. And, of course, he was featured in my Advent Calendar last year with the fab 'Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy'.

Everything on the I've Got A Tiger By The Tail album is expertly played, performed and produced, as you'd expect from a country album from this era. Also, similar to much of the best country music, many of the songs here deal with heartbreak, but Owens sounds equally happy and energetic on virtually all of the tracks, no matter what their themes might be. It's almost as if his attitude is, "Well, it's a drag when things turn out like that, but, hey, there's not much you can do about it: onwards and forwards!" Somehow he makes it work.

Verdict: An excellent album which I'm very glad that I got to hear.


0048: Jerry Lee Lewis: Live At The Star Club, Hamburg (1965)

Gosh, they really like live albums in the 1001 Albums book. Jerry Lee Lewis is of course one of the great rock'n'roll performers, and there's no faulting the performances and the energy levels on this particular album. But at the same time my usual reservations toward live recordings applies here: it feels more like a document of that night than an interesting musical experience, as if you're eavesdropping on a lot of people having fun but you're not allowed to join them.

Verdict: Not a bad album by any means, but nothing I feel like hearing again.