The recent holiday break found Rustedrobot looking to the past quite a bit, ruminating on times gone by and things we used to do – like buy CD’s. Yes, actual compact discs! Remember those crazy little, shiny discs? Oh, how I long for the days. Of course, I am half-serious, but the CD itself is a dying breed. I predicted here some time back that CD’s very well could be dead and buried by this time in 2006. That theory will become reality sooner than we all think. For now, though, this post is about the CD’s I bought during my time off.
1. Jet: “Get Born” – Really, if I wanted to listen to AC/DC, or Cheap Trick, or The Sweet I’d just go buy their albums, right? Right! Jet’s “Get Born” is so embarrassingly derivative of heavy ’70s rock you can almost smell it. But you know what? I’ve not heard such delicious licks in a long time, even if they are copped. Perhaps my favorite purchase of the lot.
2. The Beatles: “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” – not much needs to be said here. Part of my initiative was to stock up on old classic catalog, and these are no-brainers. The Beatles had their cute period and thier stoned period, but these two albums mark that transition from the former to the latter. Two must-haves.
3. Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros: “Streetcore” – this makes me sad because of “what could have been.” I wasn’t so much into the previous Mescaleros offering a couple of years back, but this album really packs a punch, coming closest to capturing the hunger and bite of “London Calling,” one of the best rock albums ever made. Strummer runs the gamut through several of the standard Clash sounds like rock-reggae, punk and pop, etc. A really encouraging, strong set of songs here. Of course we’ll get no more from him.
4. The Black Keys: “Thickfreakness” – Bought on a whim. Had never heard them before, but this album showed up on a friend’s top 10 list and I really admire the guy’s taste, so I risked it. It definitely helped that it was on the Fat Possum label, which rarely releases a crappy album. The result wasn’t crappy. They’re a two-piece (guitar/drums) from Akron, Ohio and while it is reminiscent of grossly overrated White Stripes, it’s a good listen. One can only so much with just a guitar and bass, but these two dudes are headed in the right direction.
5. Damien Rice: “O” – My friend Dave Klug had copied this for me, but I felt the need to support the artist. Isn’t that nice of me? This is a very quiet, almost haunting debut album from Ireland’s newest export. Other than the last song, which seems to drone on for nearly 20 minutes, it’s a great debut. Rice is a terrific songwriter and good singer, whose “Volcano” has been all over the radio. My perception was that this wasn’t even the strongest track, though. There’s one called “Cannonball” that is quite stunning and I’ll be surprised if it’s not the next Rice offering you hear out there in radioland.
6. The Byrds: “Live At The Fillmore West” – I had never really heard a clean-sounding, live Byrds record until this one, so I was pretty excited to find it. Part of the flood of Byrds re-issues over the past few years, this was recorded in 1969, when most people thought they were past their prime, but very few people realized that one of rock/country’s greatest guitar players, Clarence White, held lead duties for the band. Vocals were still handled by McGuinn. A lot of the material is culled from the highly underrated “Notorious Byrd Brothers” and “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” albums and the sound is just pristine. A really great listen!
7. Bruce Springsteen: “Greetings From Asbury Park, NJ” – do I need to say anything about this one? Probably not. Suffice it to say, as much as I hear songs like “Growin’ Up,” “For You,” and “Sprit In The Night,” I never manage to get sick of them.
8. Johnny Cash: “At San Quentin” – this is a serious upgrade from the original vinyl version and also doesn’t need much description. This is the full show, including the song “San Quentin” played twice in a row due to prisoner demand. A classic moment. The first moments of “Big River” are just huge. The man at his peak, perhaps.
Song now playing: Black Sabbath – “Sweet Leaf”