Classic Album of the Week

Posted every other Tuesday evening BEFORE the show.

Only Classic Albums from the most recent three months are included on this page.

Older Classic Albums can be found on the original playlist pages, listed in alphabetical order here.

Click on LP covers for more info and reviews.

   

"Out Here" by Love (1969)
Love "Out Here"  1969 (USA)
Valentine's Day is a day of Love - the band that is! More review soon.
"Soused" by Scott Walker & Sunn O))) (2014)
Scott Walker & Sunn O))) "Soused"  2014 (USA/UK)
Since we were focusing on new releases on the show last time, I figured we might as well induct another 21st century recording into the hall of classics. My favorite artist of the 21st century is probably Scott Walker, who just turned 75 years old this month. Formerly an incredibly strange crooner of easy listening music, but more recently the creator of indescribable avant-garde "uneasy listening" music, he has also been the governor of Wisconsion since 2010! His most recent album of songs (as opposed to orchestra music) was a collaboration with the heavy guitar drone duo "Sunn O)))" (which is simply pronounced "sun"), and it was my pick for the #2 best album of that year.
"Flying Microtonal Banana" by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (2017)
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard "Flying Microtonal Banana"  2017 (Australia)
Aussie seven-piece KGLW released FIVE new studio albums this year, and 3 of them are tied for #1 on my Top 25! And of those three, this one was my favorite. Most Giz LP's have some sort of unifying theme, even if only a loose one. Released at the beginning of the year, the theme of Banana is "microtonal" (24-tone) instruments (as opposed to standard Western instruments tuned to a 12-tone scale); the result sounds like Turkish/Middle Eastern music, but of course it also rocks and grooves as KGLW is wont to do. The microtonal instruments have continued to provide coloration on most of the ensuing onslaught of  2017 releases. This record also contains two of my favorite of their tunes from this year, the "Asiatic Afrobeat" of "Melting" and cool riffs and trippy double drumlines of "Nuclear Fusion". The King G also set several records within the confines of Kosmik Radiation playlists this year: the first artist with the #1 album two years in a row, first artist to be the most played artist two years in a row, and first with five albums in the top 25.
"Apostrphe" by Frank Zappa (1974)
Frank Zappa "Apostrophe"  1974 (USA)
Frank Zappa would have been 77 years old this December. Our CAOTW is one of his best selling LPs, a rare commercial success which was the only album of his career to make the Top 10 Billboard album sales chart (though overall, his best seller was apparently the independently-released Sheik Yerbouti from 1979). In large part the sales of this album were driven by the leadoff suite of songs, which made the singles charts in edited form as "Don't Eat The Yellow Snow" (an appropriate song for this lovely winter weather!) Other classic tracks include the Dr. Demento favorite "Stink-Foot", popular concert number "Cosmik Debris" (he almost spelled Kosmik correctly), and the titular track which is a ferocious power trio instrumental featuring FZ dueling with Cream's Jack Bruce on the bass.
"Demon & Eleven Children" by Blues Creation (1971)
Blues Creation "Demon & Eleven Children"  1971 (Japan)
If you thought tracks like "The Immigrant Song" and "Paranoid" prefigured punk rock in some way, Blues Creation was even punker than that - and it was almost certainly completely by accident! BC was probably intended to be Japan's answer to Led Zeppelin (they lost that battle to the mightier Flower Travellin' Band), but their highly inauthentic take on heavy "blues" leaves them sounding more like The Stooges, altbeit with a much more mannered singer than the infamous Iggy. In general, their playing is "too well-mannered" to be good blues, but it does make for some pretty sweet punky metal, especially the faster bits. Led by guitarist Kazuo Takeda, Blues Creation released three albums in the early 1970's before shortening their name to simply Creation in the mid-1970's (I haven't heard any of those later albums yet). Of those first three, the debut is an album of covers of classic blues songs, and their final release was a collaboration with Carmen Maki, a Japanese singer somewhat in the mould of Janis Joplin (though again her take on the blues is somewhat inauthentic!) In between those records came the group's only album of all original material, which is our CAOTW.
"Sound Track Recordings from the film Jimi Hendrix" by Jimi Hendrix (rec. 1967-70, rel. 1973)
Jimi Hendrix "Soundtrack Recordings from the Film Jimi Hendrix"  rec. 1967-70, rel. 1973 (USA)
Jimi Hendrix's 75th birthday is this week! He was, and still is, the most important electric guitarist of all time. Since all four of the albums he made while he was alive are already Classic Albums, we move on to my favorite of his posthumous releases: a documentary soundtrack double LP of live recordings produced by Joe Boyd (legendary producer of Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, and Incredible String Band). This LP has never been reissued on CD, mainly because most of the material is available on other albums containing the entire concerts that are excerpted here, including his legendary performances at the Monterey Pop, Woodstock, and Isle Of Wight festivals (as well as a few cuts from Hendrix In The West, another top posthumous release of concert recordings). Which means this is probably the ultimate compilation of his live material, as it includes such gems as "Wild Thing" from Monterey (the song we was playing when he literally set the guitar on fire) and his infamous version of "The Star Spangled Banner" from Woodstock. But my favorites are a psychedelic rave-up version of "Johnny B. Goode" (also found on In The West) and a weird version of "Machine Gun" from Isle of Wight, where the security guards' walky-talkies interfere with Jimi's wireless system, resulting in ghostly cockney voices popping up in the mix (Jimi seems to have fun with it, playing guitar licks in response to their chatter).
"Ragged Glory" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse (1990)
Neil Young & Crazy Horse "Ragged Glory"  1990 (Canada/USA)
Old Neil Young turns 72 this week. With about a dozen Classic Albums already enshrined from his solo career and group work (with Buffalo Springfield and CSNY), I'm only going to be able to find more of his classic records to write about for another century or so (considering he still puts out a handful of new classics every decade: most recently Earth, Psychedelic Pill, Americana and Le Noise have all been winners). But he has also made plenty of duds in his mercurial career. Perhaps the most pivotal of Neil's many revivals was the one that he pulled off starting around 1988, because if came on the heels of four crap records in a row (Everybody's Rockin', Old Ways, Landing On Water and Life - albums even Neil Young fans can barely tolerate; furthermore this run of junk was bookended by Trans and This Note's For You which were two of his most polarizing albums). The lynchpin of Neil's transition from washed-up hippie to "Godfather of Grunge" was Freedom (1989) featuring one of his most memorable hits "Rockin' In The Free World", though serious Neil-heads revere the preceding EP Eldorado (1988) which is the heaviest record he ever made without Crazy Horse. When Neil is on a roll, he always turns to his funkiest band of freaks, those lovably egoless goons Ralph, Billy & Poncho, otherwise known as Crazy Horse. The previous two Neil + Horse records Re-Ac-Tor (1981) and the afforementioned Life (1987) remain their least acclaimed collaborations, while Ragged Glory features epic "oceanic guitar" jams that pretty much rewrote the blueprint for a Crazy Horse record. Though the initial 1969 version of the band also had jams that lasted for more than 10 minutes at a time, that group was a hippie "funky country" outfit, and since 1990 Crazy Horse has come on like a heavy metal jam band with Neil going off on his fuzz guitar like never before. Grunge rockers only wish they could be this grungy! (The album cover is totally 90's man, yet it recalls the fisheye photo from the gatefold of Harvest and features the same old handwritten lettering we've seen on his records since the 70's.)
     
Click here for classic albums from more than three months ago.
          

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