#250 – The Dirty South – Drive-By Truckers
Drive-By Truckers are one of those bands you just can’t get out of your head & this album is the best example of their significance. Lead singer Patterson Hood’s voice in “Goddamn Lonely Love” exemplifies more than just about any other song the anguish one feels when losing someone they love. The Dirty South is a great album with a sound that is redefining the resurgent alt-country movement today.
#249 – Frank’s Wild Years – Tom Waits
Tom Waits takes on so many different styles on Frank’s Wild Years that you’d almost think it was a compilation album. From the falsetto samba of “Temptation” to the Sinatraesque big band “Straight to the Top (Vegas)” to what would later become the theme to the gritty HBO drama “The Wire“, “Way Down in a Hole” Waits keeps you on your toes. Never one to be complacent, he does not fit any musical genre, perhaps by design.
Tom Waits – Way Down in the Hole
#248 – Diamonds on the Inside – Ben Harper
Diamonds on the Inside shows off both the versatility of Ben Harper’s vocals & delves into questions of morality as his most gospel offering yet. Harper is truly dynamic in his rendering of “Amen Omen” with a steady crescendo towards the chorus that explodes with cymbals, piano & the heavy strum of an acoustic guitar while Harper remains calm if not pleading in his vocals.
Ben Harper – When It’s Good
#247 – …And Out Come the Wolves – Rancid
In true punk rock fashion Tim Armstrong’s vocals are nearly unintelligible, but could you imagine any other voice singing “Ruby Soho“? The classic hooks made …And Out Come the Wolves a staple in any punk fan’s arsenal when going to see a show at Koo’s Cafe or Chain Reaction or at the now defunct Foothill where I saw Rancid play a surprise free show right after this album came out in 1995. This album was the 90s version of London Calling with raw energy that has yet to be duplicated by them since.
Rancid – Olympia Wa.
#246 – Duran Duran – Duran Duran
Commonly known as “The Wedding Album” this marked the return of Duran Duran after a string of disappointing albums and being written off as a 80s teeny-bopper band. With the underwater feeling that “Come Undone” emits & Simon Le Bon asking you,”Who do you need? Who do you love, when you come undone?” this album proved the critics wrong & kept Duran Duran touring throughout the 90s & made this album an instant classic.
#245 – Otis Redding in Person at the Whiskey-a-Go-Go – Otis Redding
From the beginning of the trumpets of “I Can’t Turn You Loose” to the that final thud of “Respect” you simply can’t stop listening. You can feel the soul in Otis’ voice. You can practically see the sweat dripping off him as he covers James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” but the true jewels of this album are “Pain in My Heart” & his granting a fan’s screaming request for “These Arms of Mine” which he sings with absolute perfection.
Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine