My Five and Why.


I was asked the other day what are my favorite albums? I really couldn’t answer because I have so many, but I was pressed and I gave an answer. Looking back on it, and having time to ponder, I’ve picked the five that I would have to keep. The five you could only listen to for the rest-of -your-life-five.  I made some parameters: only one from any artist/band, no live albums, no greatest hits and no various collections (no K-tel allowed baby).

1. Rubber Soul – The Beatles. No surprise I’m sure, they are intrinsic to my DNA, picking one was almost impossible, but I listen to Rubber Soul at least once a week, how could I not ever hear it again.

2. The Band (The Brown Album) – The Band – A seminal work for me, easing out Music From Big Pink by a guitar string. This album changed the way I heard and thought about music and it’s rich American heritage. Through this piece of work I discovered Bob Dylan, the blues, country and western, gospel and much more. It forked the road for me from British/American pop to another darker less traveled path.

3. Into the Music – Van Morrison. I can’t imagine never hearing Van’s voice again, and this work shines vocally. In his grunts and swoons I can hear Elvis, Jackie Wilson, Tom Waits, Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, Frank Sinatra and many more. I chose this for the vocalists I love, with Van at the top of the heap.

4. Broken Moon – Lowen & Navarro. I cannot put into words how I feel about this album, it has healed me many times. I think Eric Lowen and Dan Navarro are two of the best songwriters, singers and performers I have ever had the pleasure to know. I have given this album to friends almost as much as I have given them Rubber Soul;  it’s that good and that important to me. Lowen and Navarro are the brave working troubadours, carrying on a time honored tradition of  songwriting and truth. And brave may be too weak a word.

5. Honky Tonk Heroes – Waylon Jennings. The greatest country album by one of the greatest country artists. The songs of Billy Joe Shafer brought to stunning life by a crackerjack band and a soulful singer. But it’s on the list for more than that, this album is a chapter of my life in 1973-1975 that remains as some of the best years I had as a young man and with the best brothers- in-arms a friend could ask for… and also because of Lakeside Amusement Park, three fingered whiskey and wiiiiiiild buffaloes.

So there’s my five and why, now you do the same, post yours in the comments below and let’s listen to what your life is like.

10 thoughts on “My Five and Why.”

  1. Tough one…

    The Beatles – White Album – I lierally wore the grooves off that one, so it must’ve been good.

    The Police – Reggatta de Blanc (just for Walking on the Moon. Otherwise it’d have been Zenyatta Mondatta). This was the cassette tape that got constant air time while “parking”…

    Vince Giordano and His Nighthawks Orchestra – Quality Shout – Everyone needs a little Dixieland/Stomp, and I have fond memories of many nights in little, smokey clubs in NYC listening to Vince and his guys tear up some Jazz.

    The Vapors – New Clear Days – This was the signature album of my freshman year in college.

    Choosing the fifth one is a challenge because there are so many — Adam Ant, Erasure, Doc Watson, Beethoven, Cake, Perez Prado, Queen, Ry Cooder, Devo, Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Liz Phair, Jimmy Buffet….

    I’m going to have to go with…
    Elvis Costello – My Aim Is True – The “put it in the dashboard, roll down the windows, crank up the volume, and drive” album.

  2. Stilson, How did I know Waylon Jennings would be on your list? Well, I didn’t really know, but when you listed it, it brought back all kinds of memories of you and “th’ boys” … Way before Lakeside and beyond!

    1. Walking Man – James Taylor. I can not imagine never hearing the song “Walking Man” ever again.

    2. I Know Who Holds Tomorrow – Alison Krauss and The Cox Family. I remember rolling down the car window and listening to this tape. It was in the summer and we were driving up to Mt. Rogers to go camping. I was moved beyond imagining by each and every song; especially by “In the Palm of Your Hand”.

    3. Legacy – Amy Grant. Songs 7, 8 and 9 I have listened to OVER and OVER again. Try it.

    4. All Hopped Up – NRBQ. “Ridin’ In My Car” is another song I cannot imagine never hearing again. “Cecelia” is a favorite of mine as well.

    One more? Really???

    5. America – The Complete Greatest Hits. I just love this album.

  3. CB
    Your love of James Taylor and NRBQ is well known. I love James too, it’s so hard to pick 5 but it makes you focus on the music that’s important to you and music that switches a switch to memories and times you treasure, and the times it heals.


    White Album, my 2nd choice for Beatles, and is double so it’s just more of them! I love EC too, New Lace Sleeves is one of my favorites, I’ll check out the Vince music.

    I love listening to people’s picks.


  4. Stilson:

    I couldn’t agree with you more on Van Morrison.

    Some of my favorite albums are:

    Songbird by Eva Cassidy
    Unplugged by Eric Clampton
    Moondance by Van Morrison
    The Look of Love by Diana Krall
    Supernatural by Santana

  5. Mr. G, Here are my 5 in really no particular order…
    1. Sgt Peppers – there was such anticipation for this one. It might’ve been the first record I actually bought (instead of mooching tunes off my big sister). Also, summer of love. Hippy times were in full bloom and this recording was such a radical departure both aesthetically and technologically (G. Martin finally got the hang of those newfangled multitrack recorders and Pauly was into music montages).
    2. Aja – Steely Dan: what an excellent album! Just the drumming alone gives me gooseflesh. Fagan and Becker at their finest. I think I cried when THEY wrote that one. BTW, I purchased this 3 times… twice for vinyl, once for CD.
    3. Electric Ladyland – Hendrix’s awesome opus.
    4. Ry Cooder – Chicken skin music. For my money, Classic Ry. This was “World” music before it was even a genre. I’ll have some Tex-mex with my slackkey thankyou. Muy caliente!
    5. Stones – Beggar’s Banquet: Stones music doesn’t get any real-er than this. Nobody does american roots music better than the Stones!

  6. Yea Vance

    It was hard for me to leave out a Stones’ work and either Beggars or Exile would have been the one.

    And I won’t tell you how many Rubber Soul and The Band albums I’ve purchased.


  7. I HATE this!! Only five? wow…
    in no particular order:
    -The White Album
    -Blood on the Tracks
    -Nighthawks at the Diner
    -Led Zep I
    -Dixie Chicken
    Honorable mentions go to (ready?):
    Black Sabbath-Paranoid, Hair, Van-Beautiful Vision, Cream, Poco, Steely Dan-Pretzel Logic, Placido Domingo, Blind Faith. ok, ok I need to stop.

  8. Wow Mike, Nighthawks at the Diner – I knew you were cool but brother you’re hipster coolest. 🙂

  9. …. five is hard.
    – Beatles – White Album – 1968
    – John Prine – Diamonds in the Rough – 1972
    – David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust – 1972
    – Crosby , Stills and Nash – Crosby, Stills and Nash – 1969
    – Elton John – Madman Across the Water – 1969

    I don’t want to be in trouble with the following folks:
    ( hey, it’s a blog. I can list a few more )
    – Waylon Jennings – Honky Tonk Heroes – 1973
    – Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti – 1975
    – Jimi Hendrix – Are you Experienced – 1967
    – Marshall Tucker – Searchin’ for a Rainbow – 1975
    – The Rolling Stones – Exile on Main St. – 1972
    – Gram Parsons – Return of the Grievous Angel – 1973
    – Warren Zevon – Excitable Boy – 1978
    – Little Feat – Sailin’ Shoes – 1972
    – Joni Mitchell – Blue – 1971
    – The Who – Who’s Next – 1971
    – Steely Dan – Can’t Buy a Thrill – 1972
    – Stevie Wonder – Innervisions – 1973
    – Neil Young – Everybody Knows This is Nowhere – 1969
    – Jethro Tull – Stand Up – 1969
    – Little River Band – Sleeper Catcher – 1978
    – Emmy Lou Harris – Luxury Liner – 1977
    – Cream – Disraeli Gears – 1967
    – Bruce Cockburn – Stealing Fire – 1984
    – The Cars – Candy O – 1979
    – The Allman Brothers – Idlewild South – 1970
    – Smithereens – Especially for You – 1986
    – Bob Dylan – Desire – 1976
    – Sting – Ten Summoners Tales – 1993
    – Rush – Moving Pictures – 1981

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