My Rock/Love Lifted Me - The Swan Silvertones.
This album contains all of the songs (two LPs worth) that the Swan Silvertones recorded for Specialty (a great gospel and early R&B label in Los Angeles) in the early 1950s. I feel that, at various times in my life, God has spoken to me through these recordings. Is it 'under-rated?' I can't say. I list it here only because so few people have ever heard of this group. Please look into these records - they contain multitudes!
Album of Sin
Can't think of any right now. I don't think I like any records that I fear other people would find despicable. This may have more to do with the world than with my musical tastes, though. The Comiskey Park Disco Demolition days of people bitterly hating certain kinds of music seem to be very much on the wane. Maybe that's because it's so easy to surround yourself only with music that you like, and there isn't much motivation to hate something that's way outside your frame of reference. I could imagine resenting Rascal Flatts or Train if I heard them all the time, but as it is, they're not a part of my life and so I don't really care. There are a lot of people who have to listen to music that they'd rather not, though. A lot of shops and restaurants have little soundtracks that loop every hour or two, and so the employees end up hearing the same music for weeks on end (though it seems this is less common now than it was in the CD era). This was the case when I worked as a dishwasher at Boston Market. They would play really background-y smooth jazz, punctuated by the Beach Boys' 'Sloop John B' every 90 minute or so. The strange thing is, it wasn't one loop of the same songs. Whoever programmed this music used 'Sloop John B' to spice up multiple different e-z listening playlists that they had put together. Now, years removed from this job, the song leaves me cold, and I can't help but feel that my experience at Boston Market had something to do with it. A friend of mine worked in the Disney store, and had a lot of trouble adjusting emotionally to the music they would play. There was only one short playlist (it would repeat every 30-40 minutes) made up of the most 'high-energy' songs from Disney movies, like 'The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers,' and 'Bippity Boppity Boo'. After weeks of hearing these songs repeated for 8 or more hours a day, he began to lose touch with reality. He had trouble remembering things people had just said, and would feel waves of anger rise up inside him for no apparent reason. Was this because of the music? I can't say. He may have had some other stuff going on. In high school, he and a friend decided to become vigilantes, and they trained for weeks, using some videotapes that they found about FBI techniques for subduing suspects and that kind of thing. Once they felt like they knew all they needed to know, they raided a crack house several blocks from where they lived (this was in Memphis, TN). My friend kicked down the back door and ran in with a baseball bat. He immediately starting smashing tables and chairs, just beating the hell out of everything. The other guy busted in through the front with a gun and started screaming at everyone to get out of the house. There were a bunch of people all lolling around on the floor in the corners of the room just like you would imagine in some dumb drug movie, and they all ran out of the house, terrified. Imagine a screaming high school kid running into your house waving a gun around. Whether or not one is high, I'm sure it's terrifying. Once everyone was gone, the two guys stopped busting the place apart and just walked back home. They decided soon afterwards to end their career as vigilantes. All this to say, I don't know how much of his misplaced rage came from the Disney songs, or whether he would have had difficulties in any kind of work environment (and to be fair, I can't say for sure where it was that he worked first; at the Disney store, or as a vigilante. Which one of these things begets the other? Ha! We may never know). Would I be ashamed to admit to him that I liked listening to some of the classic Disney songs? I don't think so (more on this below). Maybe I am a relatively shameless person? I really don't know. Thanks for bearing with me as I work through this. I have no explanations.
Dionne Warwick's hits from the mid-late '60s, the Bacharach/David songs (Anyone Who Had A Heart, Walk On By, Say A Little Prayer, etc). Try listening to these through headphones.
Album From My Youth
The first recordings that I considered my own were several tapes of songs from Disney movies. Each tape had a companion book, with pictures from the scene in the movie where the song was featured, and the lyrics. The oldest songs were probably from Pinocchio (When you wish upon a star, I've got no strings), and the newest was a song called 'Disco Mouse,' a contemporized version of the theme to the mickey mouse club. Here is the recording that was on my tape. Then, this song was always a little disappointing to me, maybe only because it seemed hollow in a compilation full of all these mid-century standards. Listening to it now, I still feel a darkness in it.
The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Even though I've heard it many times, I'm still surprised when the "And never go sleep Annie" loop jumps in after “Day in the Life” finishes.
Record That Reminds Me Of…
JJ Cale - 5
This reminds me of driving through the southwestern US in our old motorhome (a Toyota Dolphin). The most interesting part of the southwest US is northern New Mexico, the least is West Texas (unless you love oil fields and high school football).