Thursday, December 20, 2012

Y2KT10 June 1999

(Y2K Top Ten)

Greetings class, and welcome to this month’s dissertation on Millennium Musicology.  We are honored to have as guest lecturer singer /songwriter/guitarist /poet and all-around good guy, Frank Saunders of Digital Cricket.  (Warning! Unabashed plug follows: Digital Cricket’s CD Perilous Times can be found in Columbus at Riff’s, The Loft, Toad’s Books and the Columbus Museum and is available in Auburn at Wildman Steve’s, Passaround Sound, and Bigshot Records.  Catch ‘em live at Rae’s Pub 7/23, Rock A Moly Cafe 7/30 and 8/28.)  Let’s go over the ground rules first:  A previously unknown Y2K computer “bug” will erase nearly all recorded forms of music at the stroke of midnight, December 31, 1999.  Fortunately, the crack staff of scientists at Playgrounds Magazine have discovered a method of saving exactly ten pieces of music. You are charged with the duty of preserving our musical legacy for the 21st Century...and I promise, if you send me a list with KC & the Sunshine Band, Milli Vanilli, or the Spice Girls on it, I will trash every shred of music that has a BPM  faster than my resting heart rate! Regardless, send your lists to the address below...

And now, please welcome Frank Saunders to the Millennium podium...

Terry Schaeffer, perhaps my closest childhood friend  and a programming wiz kid at TSYS, compiled this list as a purist, using no box sets or greatest hits compilations.  Terry was my best man and he has great taste in music.  Here’s his list in alphabetical order:

1. Allman Brothers-At Fillmore East
2. Beatles-Abbey Road
3. Cake-Fashion Nugget
4. Gin Blossoms- New Miserable Experience
5. Grateful Dead-Workingman's Dead
6. Iron Maiden- Killers
7. Judas Priest- Unleashed In The East
8. Led Zeppelin- I
9. Ozzy Osbourne- Blizzard Of Ozz
10. Rush -Moving Pictures

(Here’s a guy who starts out with the Beatles, slides into the Allmans and The Dead, and Led Zep, then slams through Maiden, Priest and Ozzy, before coming up on Cake and the Gin Blossoms.  The most eclectic list yet. Thanks, Terry. --Curtis.)

I met Vince Roses at the first Lollapalooza and we have been friends ever since.  Vince has around 900 CDs, but he knocked off this list in about ten minutes.
Vince has a wide range of tastes, and he has really expanded my musical horizons.
Vince added brief notes for each selection and in the order they came to him:

1. Ray Charles - Ray Charles  It converted white people.
2. Rufus Thomas- with the MG's makes classic rock songs his own-Mustang Sally, Midnight Hour, Land of 1000 Dances, etc...
3. The Rolling Stones- Exile On Main Street- Legend says they pirated electricity from Paris Metro to make this while in Tax Exile.
4. Beatles- White Album Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?
5. Replacements- Hootenanny Take Me Down To the Hospital Vince bumped the Tom Waits album Sword Fish Trombones for this seminal Replacements album. (The comment for the Waits album: "The crack of dawn has to be careful around this man.")
6. Johnny Thunders-Hurt Me The last great rock-n-roller- So Alone.
7. Alex Chilton-19 Years: A Collection The High White Priest-Lost My Job (“guess I'm gonna have to steal and rob")
8. Roky Erickson- You’re Gonna Miss Me: The Best of Roky Erickson "The best stuff is on the Pink Dust label."
9. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band -Safe as Milk She's a Hothead.
10. The Velvet Underground & Nico-Banana album "Lou Reed and John Cale can't decide on how much time between songs-great tension, great songs."

(Another very cool list...Ry Cooder played on the Safe as Milk album...Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top cites Roky Erickson & the 13th Floor Elevators as an early influence...while Alex Chilton’s band Big Star found it’s way into the sound of 80s bands like REM and the Replacements...(trivia bonus question: Alex named the band after the supermarket chain...) Vince has made excellent choices that bring modern music into focus --Curtis)

Jim Steers is another friend I found at the first Lollapalooza- a great chef, artist and a budding songwriter.  Jim is an excellent graphic design artist and he designed the Digital Cricket album Perilous Times.  Here is Jim's outstanding list  presented in no particular order

1. REM-Lifes Rich Pageant  “Great REM records preceded and followed it, but this is the one that did it for me."
2. Uncle Tupelo- Anodyne "A perfect blend of rock, country, great writing, and a band in dissolution."
3. Replacements-All Shook Down  "You could call it a last ditch effort or a solo album, but if great songwriting were a crime, Paul Westerberg would be doing life."
4. Rolling Stones-Let it Bleed "When the Rolling Stones could truly call themselves 'The world's greatest rock-n-roll band.'"
5. The Beatles- Revolver "Under the influence of Bob Dylan, among other things, the Beatles still wrote great 3-minute pop songs."
6. Bob Dylan-Desire "Bob Dylan could easily occupy all ten spots on my list, but since I can only pick one..."
7. Miles Davis- Bitches Brew "Equally beautiful and  frightening-the only jazz fusion anyone really needs"
8. The Velvet Underground- The Velvet Underground “Not as groundbreaking as The Velvet Underground & Nico, but for some reason, I still listen to this at least once a month.”
9. Neil Young-Zuma "Neil Young and Crazy Horse, you can't ask for more than that."
10. Janes Addiction- Nothing's Shocking "Quiet, loud, and creepy."

(The Replacements comment is killer, but Jim, who says you can only pick one Dylan CD? --Curtis)

And finally...the list we all waited for...

Well here is my list, damn it!  Creating a top ten list to preserve musical history as I see fit is not a duty I took lightly.  I have struggled and struggled, dude.  At first, I just picked bands that I listened to a great deal in my formative years, but, as Zack put it, “They don’t all hold up now.”  So here it is, my list sans Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rush, the Stones, even the Beatles (sacrilege?).  I decided to go with the music that I both love and have a deep, spiritual reverence.  I tried to be considerate of others, especially my wife.  I picked some great albums that some people would not normally listen to voluntarily...(hey, I will have a captive audience so I could conduct some teaching/indoctrination!)  I picked a few albums that I consider essential to everyone’s collection and these picks happen to hold up like an adolescent boy would at one of Hugh Hefner’s parties (see track 3 of Chuck Berry’s set).

The Most Essential CDs For the Preservation of Music According to Frank Saunders:

1.Neil Young-Live Rust- Neil Young is the greatest guitarist/songwriter ever, ever.
2.Frank Zappa- Apostrophe/Overnight Sensation-Jazz Fusion Rock with nasty sometimes sexy satire.  Frank was a genius and he would have been President in my vision of Utopia. “Is that a real poncho or a Sears poncho?”
3.Captain Beefheart (a.k.a. Don VanVliet)- Shiny Beast- “Tropical Hot Dog Night like two flamingo’s in a fruit fight.  Everything’s wrong at the same time it’s right.”
4.Uncle Tupelo-Still Feel Gone-Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, and D.Boone(TheMinutemen) beam down from The Starship Enterprise to earth and their electrons get all irretrievably mixed up and that is Uncle Tupelo.  This, to me, is their breakthrough album.  It is also a great break up record.  If you ever need to get through a breakup, I highly recommend this album.  Uncle Tupelo inspired this alternative country thing we have now.
5.Roky Erickson-You’re Gonna Miss Me-Roky is like an absolutely insane Buddy Holly with a really hot guitar player filtered through a Black Sabbath sensibility.  ‘If you have ghosts, you have everything…if you call it, surprise there it is…”  Roky reminds me that it is all in ones perception.
6.Allman Brothers Band-Eat A Peach- Me and Terry Schaeffer were camping out with Lance and Sam beside a north Georgia river waiting for Panic to play when someone popped this magical CD in their player.  I wish I could go back and forth to that time as I felt like it.  Great soulful rock and slide does a white man sing like that?
7.Hank Williams-40 Greatest Hits- Hank was the first great songwriter in America.  He has influenced me and that is enough.  Haunting ballads and gleeful waltzes; Hank still is the man.  “I love you baby, but you gotta understand, when the Lord made me, he made a ramblin’ man.” “Praise the Lord! I saw the light”
8.Chuck Berry- The Best of Chuck Berry-How can you leave out the man that created rock-n-roll guitar?  I can’t.  Chuck’s licks and lyrics must be archived!  “My ding a ling, everybody sing…”
9.Bob Dylan- The Bootleg Series (1961-1991)- I could not decide on one Dylan album. “Dylan changed everything.” I think Springsteen said that.  
10.Steve Earle- I Ain’t Ever Satisfied: The Steve Earle Collection-Country with brass ones.

(Frank obviously leans toward great songwriters and creative guitarists, and who could fault any selection here? This also marks the first time the words “Black Sabbath” and “sensibility” were used in the same sentence!--Curtis)

Well class, this has been a highly educational and informative session, especially since I had to do little but enjoy it...the most interesting thing I’ve found about this exercise of choosing only ten CDs is that choosing only ten CDs is virtually impossible...people really perk up when discussing what they would include...if nothing else, I’ve stimulated some lively conversations!  Mucho nachos to Frank Saunders for his contributions this month, and those of Terry, Vince and Steve.

Ahem...everyone please this time, It gives me great pleasure to bestow upon Frank the title of Associate Professor of Millennium Musicology, Performing Artist Category. Good luck in the 21st Century!

Next month, Bill Clinton’s Top Ten, and maybe yours, if you’ll get off your butt and send your lists to:

Playgrounds Magazine
P.O.Box 8154
Columbus, GA 31908

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