KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

GREAT OUT OF THE GATE – My Favorite Debut Albums Part 5

Although I could continue writing about all the wonderful debut albums in my collection, it’s time to wrap up this series with another ten that have made a big impression on me. You might have noticed that many of my favorite artists (Rush, Yes, The Beatles, The Who, Steely Dan, U2, Emerson Lake & Palmer, to name just a few) weren’t included even though they all released strong debuts. In most cases I didn’t think those albums were as consistently strong as the titles highlighted in these posts, even though they all feature classic songs, and those artists’ discographies include many albums that surpassed their initial offerings. Also, sometimes it’s enjoyable to shine a light on some lesser-known artists & under-appreciated records, and I think this series struck a good balance between those & the more obvious choices. I hope you agree and enjoy my final ten selections. 

 

Artist: BAD COMPANY
Album Title/Year Of Release: BAD COMPANY (1974)
Bad Company - Bad CompanyThis was my introduction to the amazingly soulful & powerful voice of Paul Rodgers. He had already established himself as a great singer with Free, but he and his Bad Company bandmates (former Free drummer Simon Kirke, former Mott The Hoople guitarist Mick Ralphs and one-time King Crimson bassist Boz Burrell) struck gold (multi-platinum, actually) immediately with their debut, which was the first release on Led Zeppelin’s newly-formed Swan Song Records. Some of their best-known songs appear here, including rockers “Can’t Get Enough,” “Rock Steady,” “Movin’ On” and “Ready For Love” (the latter previously recorded by Mott The Hoople with Ralphs on vocals) as well as the moody ballad “Don’t Let Me Down” and their dynamic calling card, “Bad Company.” Had they never recorded again, Bad Company still would have been one of the greatest bands of their era thanks to this stellar self-titled debut.

 

Artist: THE ALARM
Album Title/Year Of Release: THE ALARM (1983)
The Alarm - The AlarmThis 5-song EP was part of a triumvirate of releases in 1983 that introduced me to a new generation of great bands, the others being Big Country’s The Crossing and U2’s War. In an era when robotic rhythms & icy synths were the prevailing sounds, these guitar-based bands were a breath of fresh air. The Alarm was probably the most consistently rousing of these groups with anthemic, Clash-inspired songs that cried out for audience sing-alongs. Lead single “The Stand” has an almost military vibe with its call-to-action chorus (“Come on down & meet your maker, come on down & make the stand”), and the other three studio tracks (“Across The Border,” “Marching On” and “Lie Of The Land”) have a similar urgency & immediacy. Mike Peters shares lead vocals with guitarist Dave Sharp (Peters would eventually become The Alarm’s full-time singer when their record label insisted on one frontman), and the rhythm section of bassist Eddie MacDonald & drummer (Nigel) Twist give the songs just the punch they need. The EP closes out with the live track, “For Freedom,” offering a glimpse at one of the most captivating concert attractions of their era. Had I disqualified EP’s from contention in this series, their 1984 full-length debut Declaration would surely have been included. The Alarm continued for nearly a decade before splitting up, and Peters has recorded & toured as The Alarm with a new lineup for the past decade, while also replacing the late Stuart Adamson as lead vocalist in Big Country for a few years.

 

Artist: DIRE STRAITS
Album Title/Year Of Release: DIRE STRAITS (1978)
Dire Straits - Dire StraitsSeven years before Dire Straits became arguably the biggest band in the world with their über-platinum, chart-topping Brothers In Arms album, they burst onto the scene with their self-titled debut that was “merely” a Top 10 double-platinum release. The instantly recognizable vocals & lead guitar work of songwriter Mark Knopfler was augmented by his brother David Knopfler on rhythm guitar and the killer rhythm section of bassist John Illsley and drummer Pick Withers. Their first single, the driving “Sultans Of Swing,” quickly became their defining song and introduced the world to Mark’s brilliant technique on his Fender Stratocaster. After a quiet start, album opener “Down To The Waterline” kicks into a higher gear and would have been an ideal follow-up single. Instead, they chose the slow, loping “Water Of Love,” which made little to no impact on the charts even though it’s a wonderful song. A similar laid-back mood prevails through much of the album, with “Six Blade Knife” and “Wild West End” being particular favorites, while the country-tinged “Setting Me Up” could pass for a Nick Lowe song. Dire Straits is an album that reveals its charms more with each listen, and that’s still the case nearly 40 years after it first appeared.

 

Artist: THE REFRESHMENTS
Album Title/Year Of Release: FIZZY FUZZY BIG & BUZZY (1996)
The Refreshments - Fizzy Fuzzy Big & BuzzyI might be cheating a bit with this album’s inclusion here since they had released the independent Wheelie two years earlier, but 9 of its 10 tracks were re-recorded for their major-label debut (which also included 3 additional songs) and this was The Refreshments’ introduction to the world beyond their local Arizona fan base. The quartet fronted by singer/songwriter Roger Clyne is probably best known for the instrumental theme song from animated TV show King Of The Hill, but they also scored a Top 20 Modern Rock track with the song “Banditos,” its lyrics about Stark Trek and lines like “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people” making them a perfect fit for alternative rock stations. I’ve long been surprised that they didn’t become huge, especially since Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy is loaded with catchy, cool & creative songs, often aided by the inventive drumming of P.H. Naffah. A couple of key ingredients that separated The Refreshments from their contemporaries were the atmospheric desert-inspired moods & Mexican flourishes they added to songs like “Mekong,” “Don’t Wanna Know,” “Mexico” and epic album-closer “Nada.” There’s also a non-stop sense of pure joy throughout the record, which might explain its lack of success in the doom-and-gloom ‘90s, although “European Swallow,” “Down Together” and “Girly” all deserved radio play. Clyne & Naffah went on to form the more successful Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers after The Refreshments split a few years later, carrying the sound of their previous band into the new millennium, but as much as I enjoy everything they’ve released, my love of Clyne’s music will always be tied to this incredible record that was one of the highlights of that decade for me.

 

Artist: FLEETWOOD MAC
Album Title/Year Of Release: PETER GREEN’S FLEETWOOD MAC (1968)
Fleetwood Mac - Peter Green's Fleetwood MacThere were countless white British musicians playing pure blues in the ‘60s but few were as powerful as Fleetwood Mac. Prior to the multiple personnel changes that eventually resulted in the mega successful mid-‘70s lineup, former John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers members Peter Green (guitar & vocals), Mick Fleetwood (drums) and John McVie (bass) teamed up with Jeremy Spencer (guitar, piano & vocals) and unleashed this stellar debut. They combined covers of Howlin’ Wolf (“No Place To Go”), Elmore James (“Shake Your Moneymaker”) & Robert Johnson (“Hellhound On My Trail”) with originals that sat comfortably alongside those classics (most notably, Green’s “Merry Go Round,” “Long Grey Mare” & “Looking For Somebody” and Spencer’s “My Heart Beat Like A Hammer” and “My Baby’s Good To Me”). This version of the band continued for a few more albums of straight-up blues and ‘50s rock ‘n’ roll, and then they briefly expanded their sound before splintering. Their first album and its follow-up, Mr. Wonderful, are the best places to hear why they were such an important part of rock & blues history right from the start. In addition to the 6-string talents of Green & Spencer, the often overlooked rhythm section of Fleetwood & McVie has been the cornerstone of the group throughout its history. It’s no surprise that the band was named after them.

 

Artist: HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
Album Title/Year Of Release: HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS (1980)
Huey Lewis And The News - Huey Lewis And The NewsHuey Lewis & his group of musical cohorts have never gotten the respect they deserve, possibly because of their meteoric rise with third album Sports, the good-natured vibe of their music & videos and Huey’s “everyman” quality. Sure, they’ve never been “cool” or “edgy,” key components for critics & music snobs, but they’re all world-class musicians, songwriters & arrangers (and, after this debut album, they produced their own records) and Huey Lewis is as strong a singer & frontman as anyone from their era or beyond. The hit singles would start showing up on their next album, but most of the elements that made them so popular a few years later were already on display. “Trouble In Paradise” is likely the best-known song here thanks to a live version that appeared on the U.S.A. For Africa We Are The World album in 1985. Throughout the record they combine elements of doo-wop, classic rock ‘n’ roll and soul/R&B with a then-current new wave sensibility, driving rhythms and herky-jerky arrangements. They were likely too modern for traditionalists and too traditional for youngsters, stranding them in no-man’s land in spite of winners like “Some Of My Lies Are True (Sooner Or Later),” “Don’t Ever Tell Me That You Love Me,” “Don’t Make Me Do It,” “Stop Trying” and “If You Really Love Me You’ll Let Me.” I know I won’t convince skeptics or haters to give Huey & the boys a chance, but if you like their later material and never heard anything prior to Sports consider this a hearty recommendation for their debut and its follow up, Picture This.

 

Artist: DAVID CROSBY
Album Title/Year Of Release: IF I COULD ONLY REMEMBER MY NAME… (1971)
David Crosby - If I Could Only Remember My NameI didn’t always appreciate David Crosby’s contributions to The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash (& Young), but once I began paying attention it was clear that he was the most musically adventurous member in both of those groups. He has followed his own rules without ever sounding like he was aiming for a hit. Instead, his songs tend to travel in strange, unexpected directions while staying grounded & approachable, and his voice is a thing of beauty whether he’s belting out a rocker, vocalizing a wordless tune or harmonizing with one of his bandmates. For his debut solo album, he used a constantly evolving group of musicians & singers from bands like The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Santana and even CSNY to help him unspool a collection of intense, hypnotic & often ethereal tunes. Although not officially a song-cycle, it’s an album that should be listened to as one continuous piece of music, as songs seems to flow into one another. In fact, that’s the only way I’ve ever played it, and I often can’t identify specific tracks without looking at the packaging. At the time, Crosby was basking in the glow of his incredible success with CSN & CSNY but grieving the loss of his girlfriend in a car accident, and you can hear elements of celebration, grief & healing throughout the record, often within the same song. Although I will always recommend hearing If I Could Only Remember My Name… in its entirety, “Cowboy Movie,” “Tamalpais High (At About 3)” and “Song With No Words (Tree With No Leaves)” are standout tracks, any of which would be the perfect introduction to this stunning record.

 

Artist: BLUES TRAVELER
Album Title/Year Of Release: BLUES TRAVELER (1990)
Blues Traveler - Blues TravelerBlues Traveler released four albums before hitting the big time in 1994 but everything that eventually made them into a multi-platinum band was in place on their self-titled debut. The New Jersey-based group is lumped in with the jam-band scene, yet their songwriting abilities and the game-changing harmonica talents of then-humongous frontman John Popper were the two key reasons they stood out from the pack and made such a strong impression on me. I bought this CD with no expectations or knowledge about the band shortly after it was released, basing my purchase on someone’s recommendation, but it was a road trip with two of my closest friends that summer which helped me to fully appreciate the scope of their talents. Popper is the obvious focal point but guitarist Chan Kinchla, bassist Bobby Sheehan and drummer Brendan Hill are all top-notch players who stamp their personalities all over these songs. They grab your attention right from the start with “But Anyway,” the tight, nuanced playing setting the stage for Popper’s rapid-fire vocal delivery and jaw-dropping harp work. “Mulling It Over,” “Dropping Some NYC” and “Gina” continue that sonic assault, culminating in the mid-album epic, “Crystal Flame,” which has long been my favorite Blues Traveler song. They also display a lightness of touch on the lovely “100 Years” and the slow blues of “Warmer Days” (both featuring a then-unknown Joan Osborne on backing vocals). I hadn’t played this album in several years before giving it a spin last week and I enjoyed it as much as I did back in 1990.

 

Artist: TRANSATLANTIC
Album Title/Year Of Release: SMPTe (2000)
Transatlantic - SMPTeThe 1990’s were a tough time to be a progressive rock fan. In the pre-internet days we had to rely on fanzines & mail-order catalogs, and then it was online chat rooms & fledgling websites. Record store clerks would look at you with derision but it was worth the effort when a new discovery emerged that excited us like the original prog bands of the ‘60s & ‘70s. For a long time the only progressive band to enter the mainstream was Marillion in the mid-‘80s, but by the next decade there were dozens of exciting artists from all over the world making a name for themselves. When it was announced that key members from four of my favorite prog bands would be forming a supergroup with the sole intention of creating a massive, classic-sounding progressive rock album, naturally I was excited, and I’m happy to say it lived up to expectations. Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas was joined by Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, Spock’s Beard singer/keyboardist Neal Morse and The Flower Kings singer/guitarist Roine Stolt, and they delivered exactly what they promised. There are four originals credited to the four band members, with the opening 6-part suite “All Of The Above” clocking in at 31 minutes, and my personal favorite, “My New World,” making an impression at “only” 16+ minutes. There are also two shorter tracks, Morse’s ballad “We All Need Some Light” (whose melody often reminds me of John Denver’s “Annie’s Song,” believe it or not) and the quirky “Mystery Train,” which sounds like a 50/50 hybrid of Spock’s Beard & The Flower Kings. The album ends with their version of Procol Harum’s gargantuan 17-minute “In Held (‘Twas) In I,” an inspired cover that set the stage for many others they would include on the bonus discs of their three subsequent albums. For anyone who likes their prog over-the-top but filled to the brim with strong melodies & great vocals, SMPTe could be your gateway to the third generation of progressive rock that continues to thrive.

 

Artist: JASON FALKNER
Album Title/Year Of Release: PRESENTS AUTHOR UNKNOWN (1996)
Jason Falkner - Author UnknownIncredibly talented multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter Jason Falkner has been mentioned at this blog numerous times, as a founding member of ‘90s power-pop groups Jellyfish and The Grays, and even in my series on Foo Fighters (since his voice often reminds me of Dave Grohl at his most melodic). His debut is a “solo” album in the truest sense of the word, as Falkner plays every instrument with the exception of a single guitar part on one song. In spite of this one-man-band approach, it’s as catchy & diverse as anything recorded by a full band, and he proves himself to be not just adept but truly skilled at every instrument. All of that wouldn’t mean much if the songs were forgettable but that’s not a problem here. From splashy album opener “I Live” to the moody & intense “Don’t Show Me Heaven,” from the propulsive “Miracle Medicine” to the bright & shiny “Miss Understanding,” from the slow-building “She Goes To Bed” to the chugging “Hectified,” it’s one melodic gem after another. He’s gone on to work with Beck, Air, Paul McCartney, Brendan Benson and many others, and his solo career has been consistently great.

 

Honorable mention goes to the debut albums by the following artists (in alphabetical order), all of whom were considered for this series as they’ve been favorites of mine for many years: Ambrosia, Badlands, Badly Drawn Boy, The Bears, Ben Folds Five, Better Than Ezra, Blackfield, BoDeans, John Cale, Eric Clapton, Billy Cobham, Leonard Cohen, Elvis Costello, Counting Crows, Cream, Crowded House, Steve Earle, Melissa Etheridge, Fish, Steve Forbert, Garbage, Richard X. Heyman, Bruce Hornsby, Rickie Lee Jones, King’s X, The Knack, Lenny Kravitz, Lyle Lovett, Nick Lowe, The Mars Volta, Paul McCartney, Sarah McLachlan, Men At Work, Oasis, Ozzy Osbourne, The Alan Parsons Project, The Proclaimers, Rainbow, REM, Emitt Rhodes, Solas, Stephen Stills, Suede, Swing Out Sister, George Thorogood & The Destroyers, Vanilla Fudge, Dwight Yoakam and Pete Yorn.

Please let me know which of your favorite debut albums didn’t make the cut…and which of my choices you agree with. Thanks for stopping by & spending some time reading these posts.

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57 comments on “GREAT OUT OF THE GATE – My Favorite Debut Albums Part 5

  1. ianbalentine
    May 26, 2015

    I was surprised you didn’t list the Icicle Works debut, it being a very close cousin to the Crossing and U2’s War. I actually think it surpasses those two, in the songwriting but especially the musicianship. Some of the best drumming of the 80’s on that one! However, your choices throughout this series were excellent (natch!), and the write ups as informative and entertaining as ever. I’ve been introduced to many new (to me) artists, and I need to thank you for that. Until next time…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words & feedback, Ian. The Icicle Works had slipped under my musical radar until a couple of years ago when I got their “Best Of” CD, which is excellent. Perhaps I need to delve more deeply into their catalog. Can’t imagine ’80s drumming being any better than Big Country’s Mark Brzezicki but I’ll listen more carefully the next time I hear them. Would you recommend anything besides their debut?

      Please let me know if you end up enjoying anything featured in this post.

      Great to hear from you, as always.
      Best wishes…
      Rich

      Like

    • DanicaPiche
      May 27, 2015

      Initially, I thought, What is this Icicle Works of which you speak? Then I found “Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)”, which I know and love, of course. I see what you mean about the drumming. The songwriting and musicianship are also outstanding.
      Thanks for mentioning this one, Ian.

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      • Normally I would ban the word “icicle” from this blog so soon after a brutal winter but when the music is so good I happily make an exception. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        Haha — we need some Rich’s Rules of Order! Thanks for tolerating us 🙂

        Like

      • We’re fortunate to have a great circle of bloggers which makes “rules of order” unnecessary, but there are some blogs & websites that could use such a doctrine to weed out the loonies.

        My biggest pet peeve, which I rarely see around these parts, is people speaking in absolutes. Everything can’t be the “best” or “worst” of all time.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        That would have to be a very limited all-time. Why close off possibilities? If you let them…”somebody somewhere will change your mind….” and life will be more beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well-said, Danica…naturally. That was the greatest comment I will ever read in my entire lifetime. Hehe.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. DanicaPiche
    May 26, 2015

    Love this list, Rich! Bad Company! Haven’t heard them in too long. I’m off to listen some more….

    Like

    • Thanks, Danica. It’s always a good time to listen to Bad Company & the amazing vocals of Paul Rodgers. I was a huge fan of theirs in high school & college, so much so that my college cover band was named after their second album, “Straight Shooter.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 26, 2015

        Absolutely! Nice choice of band name. Did you major in music? Or just rock and roll? 🙂

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      • It was a good choice of band name but we tried to be a little too clever by calling ourselves Straight Shoot’r. We thought the apostrophe looked cool for some reason. It was certainly better than my next band (with the same bass player), a jam-band called….wait for it…Jam Sam’wich. Ah, the folly of youth.

        I majored in business management & minored in music. Rock & roll was all on my own time.

        Liked by 2 people

      • DanicaPiche
        May 26, 2015

        Love it! We need Jam Sam’wich t-shirts all around!

        Like

      • Jam Sam’wich t-shirts might be too useful. Perhaps mouse pads? Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        Everyone needs a stylish mouse pad 🙂

        Like

      • I have several stylish mouse pads sitting in a drawer, never to be used again. They’re about as useful as Betamax tapes.

        Like

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        Haha 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Phillip Helbig
        May 27, 2015

        It was a good choice of band name but we tried to be a little too clever by calling ourselves Straight Shoot’r.

        Science-fiction often features names with apostrophes. Come one, you are transliterating the name from a foreign, even non-human, language! There is absolutely no need for an apostrophe! The only goal is to make it look cool. It is the exact equivalent of the gratuitous heavy-metal umlaut! (I’m happy to say that none of the heavy-metal bands I listen to have an umlaut in their name!)

        Liked by 2 people

      • As much as I’d like to believe we were trying to be cool with that apostrophe, we were just stupid teenagers who didn’t know what “cool” was (I still don’t know…or care). I’m curious: has there ever been a band called Umlaut? Seems like the ideal moniker for a metal band, right?

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      • Phillip Helbig
        May 27, 2015

        Surely Ümläüt would be more appropriate!

        There is a German punk band called Die Ärzte (“The Physicians”). Ärzte is the normal plural of Arzt. Ä is pronounced something like E, so it is analogous to “men” being the plural of “man”. In a satirical nod to the heavy-metal umlaut, they sometimes write their name with three dots over the A! 🙂

        Of course, Spinal Tap put two dots over the n, which is a letter which can’t even have an umlaut! (Only back vowels can have umlauts. There is an obscure language which can have two dots over an n, but it is not an umlaut, any more than a diaeresis is an umlaut. Of course, it’s just supposed to look cool, but “heavy-metal diaeresis” just doesn’t cut the mustard! Interestingly, the German word for diaeresis is Diärese, which has an umlaut!)

        I often thought that it would be interesting to start a spoof heavy-metal band called Ümläüt, but I think there would be a real danger that some people might take it seriously!

        Liked by 1 person

      • If Umlaut were my band I would purposely avoid using an umlaut. Instead I might be ironic & go for a tilde or accent egu…just to be different.

        That’s very interesting stuff about “diaeresis,” Phillip. Thanks for sharing. This is why we’re all waiting for you to start your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. DanicaPiche
    May 26, 2015

    The Alarm…something familiar…ah, yes! Sold Me Down The River. A perfect summer night song :).

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    • Yep, that’s a great Alarm song from one of their later albums. I was fortunate to see the original lineup of the band a couple of times and they were a blast in concert. Their anthemic music really spoke to me in high school.

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      • DanicaPiche
        May 26, 2015

        My circuits overloaded with musical goodness. Thank you for that, Rich.

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      • Sorry if the overloaded circuits are too much, but just think how I felt preparing this post (and the entire series). Even though I know these albums very well, I hadn’t counted on 10-albums-per-post to be as time-consuming as it turned out to be. Still, I’m proud of this series and I’m thrilled you found some new music to enjoy. That brings a smile to my face.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        Yes. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t imagine that you have time for…anything, really. This series is fantastic and definitely worth it. For us readers, anyway. I still haven’t made it past The Alarm, but am looking forward to making my way through this list.

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      • I would love to win the lottery for just one reason: more time to do the things I love (which mostly involve creating, listening to, learning about & writing about music, naturally). Until that happens (which is likely, right?) I’ll keep squeezing out a blog post whenever I can.

        The Alarm is a good stopping point, but hopefully you’ve managed to move on.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        It is indeed likely and I know I’m not alone in looking forward to that day.
        I understand how you feel; I feel the same way about books. There’s so much out there — the more you discover the more that reveals itself.

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      • I can’t imagine the life of a voracious book reader. At least with music there’s a set amount of time for each album, but one book can take days or weeks to read (and in my case, months or years, since I never have time & I’m always reading music magazines). There are times I wish I didn’t enjoy so many genres & artists. It would save me lots of time & money. Of course, we can’t change the way we’re wired, so I just embrace my obsessions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        Luckily for us, we all get to embrace your obsessions. We’re happier with this than, say, having you out on a golf course somewhere.

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      • Aww, thanks. You’re making me blush. Fortunately I’m not a golfer, but I’m an avid tennis player who hopes to get out on the court frequently this summer. Okay, now I’m off to read your latest post, which I started reading this morning before getting distracted by work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        That is a most excellent look on you! Tennis…hmm…will there be a soundtrack? Thanks for checking out my latest post. Incidentally, it was derailed by your latest post…but I managed to re-focus 🙂
        Work. Sigh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah, the never-ending quest to re-focus. Kind of like what I’m doing right now. Don’t tell my boss. As for tennis, I haven’t figured out a soundtrack. I’m usually too focused on the court, and afterwards I’m too tired to lift a CD.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        May 27, 2015

        The Refreshments are new-to-me and I like this track enough to check out more. It was hard to focus though, because what really grabbed me was Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac. Another favorite that I haven’t heard in too-too long. I like the later incarnation of Fleetwood Mac, but it if pressed to choose I’d have to go with the original lineup. Very nice choices here, Rich.

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      • The Refreshments won’t be for everyone but this album hit me in a big way and it’s still a big one for me. I had passed on an opportunity to see them during the tour for the follow-up album. My friend & I were both exhausted the night of the show so we skipped it, assuming we would catch them on the next tour…and then they broke up. About 5 years ago I finally caught Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers in concert, hoping they would play a couple of songs from Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy. Much to my amazement, they played just about every song and I couldn’t have been happier.

        Not sure I could choose a favorite era of Fleetwood Mac, but there’s no question that the original incarnation was every bit as impressive as the more popular Buckingham-Nicks lineup.

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  4. Vinyl Connection
    May 27, 2015

    What a marathon effort, Rich. Well done.
    My tribute to your stamina is here, a Vinyl Connection review piece entitled “Lasting Firsts”. Think of it as a tribute!

    http://vinylconnection.com.au/2015/05/27/lasting-firsts/

    Like

    • Thanks, Bruce. I will definitely check out that post when I have some time later today. I’m glad this series was an inspiration for you to highlight some of your favorite debut albums.

      Like

  5. John Sturm
    May 27, 2015

    Great article Rich. Was pleasantly surprised to see Transatlantic there. I do love the first album but it’s rarely my go-to record for them. It does feel more of a supergroup/side project album than a “band” album to me. Obviously given the fact that it WAS a side project…. 😀 It’s very much a collection of varying tunes as opposed to one cohesive melting pot (which would begin on Bridge Across Forever and be realised on The Whirlwind).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the feedback, John. I agree with you that SMPTe sounds more like a project than an actual band effort, but I love all the songs & performances, and I still remember the excitement of having those four guys playing together since I was such a big fan of all four “parent groups.” I’m still amazed that they’ve managed to release three more studio albums considering how busy they are with their other projects. The Whirlwind is also my favorite Transatlantic album. Glad we agree about that.

      Best…
      Rich

      Liked by 1 person

      • John Sturm
        May 27, 2015

        I was fortunate enough to catch them in Manchester, here in the UK, on the Whirlwind tour. One of the best gigs I’ve ever seen, up there with Roger Waters’s ‘The Wall’. Amazing stuff. Extra happy that the gig got released on the ‘More Never Is Enough’ set 🙂

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      • John, I’m happy to hear that the Transatlantic gig you attended became the official live video/album. That’s happened to me a couple of times and it’s always fun to re-watch them. I’ve seen the “parent bands” of 3 of those guys (never caught Dream Theater) but haven’t experienced this supergroup in concert. I’ve had to live vicariously through others, and of course I bought all of the official live releases.

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  6. stephen1001
    May 27, 2015

    Cheers to The Refreshments!
    I was at a trivia night around St. Patricks Day where one of the answers was “Patrick Stewart” – the trivia host ended up adding a bonus question of, “which 90s song had the ‘Jean-Luc Picard’ lyrics.” Such a great tune and record.
    I think I’ll break out either that or bottle & the fresh horses today, thanks for another enjoyable series!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Geoff. I’m happy to find another Refreshments fan. Great story about that trivia night. I probably would have forgotten the song title but I would have been screaming “THE REFRESHMENTS” over & over again. Probably why I don’t participate in many trivia contests. Haha.

      Much as I love The Bottle & Fresh Horses, it didn’t have the same impact on me as Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy. I think the time has come to revisit it. Thanks for mentioning it.

      Best…
      Rich

      Liked by 1 person

    • mikeladano
      May 29, 2015

      Imagine my embarrassment as the store Trekkie. People came in looking for “that song where they sing about Jean Luc Picard”. I had no idea what they were talking about. “There’s a song about Jean Luc Picard???” Yeah that was a surprise for me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That doesn’t seem like something to be embarrassed about, Mike, especially since that Refreshments song wasn’t a huge hit. Ironically, as someone who’s not a Star Trek fan, I only got the Picard reference but had no idea what the United Federation Of Planets was. I always keyed in on the line, “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people” since it’s, well, true.

        Like

  7. movingtheriver.com
    May 27, 2015

    Nice one. Did Eric Matthews’ ‘It’s Heavy In Here’ ever come under your radar? It sounds pretty damn good to me all these years on. Also I want to register a vote for Lewis Taylor’s 1996 debut on Island Records – probably the best debut album by a male solo artists to come out of the UK in the last 20 years. Do check it out if you haven’t already.

    Like

    • Hi Matt. Thanks for mentioning Eric Matthews. For some reason I overlooked his debut for this series, which is an unfortunate oversight. I love that record and everything else he’s released (including the Cardinal albums). As for Lewis Taylor, I own two of his albums (Stoned and The Lost Album). Not sure if either of those was his debut, but he would have deserved consideration for this series even though I only discovered him a few years ago & don’t know his records as well as the ones I featured in these posts.

      I really appreciate your feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed this post.

      Like

      • movingtheriver.com
        May 28, 2015

        Oh wow, you’ve gotta try and get hold of the first two Lewis albums Rich. I’m not sure if they’re easily available these days but they should be on Amazon. The first album from ’96 is absolutely superb, it’s kind of ‘Trouble Man’ meets ‘Bitches Brew’ with some mad psychedelic guitar thrown in. Marvellous stuff. The second ‘Lewis II’ is from 2000 and carries on from where the debut left off but adds some more contemporary R’n’B production and is almost as good. There’s definitely a more ‘neo soul’ feel to the first two albums compared to ‘Stoned’ and ‘Lost Album’ but there’s also a prog feel to them too for the more rockist tastes.

        Eric Matthews’ Cardinal albums? These are new to me, tell me more. I love a ‘side project’…

        Like

      • What was the name of the first Lewis Taylor album? Was it simply “Lewis”? I’ll look for albums #1 & 2 based on your recommendation. If they’re as good as, or better than, the ones I already own then I’m in for a treat.

        Cardinal was the baroque-pop duo that Eric Matthews was in with Richard Davies in the first half of the ’90s. They released one self-titled album a year before Matthews went solo with It’s Heavy In Here. Nearly two decades later they reunited for the excellent Hymns album. Both are highly recommended (and note that the expanded edition of their debut with 11 bonus tracks is the one you should seek out).

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      • movingtheriver.com
        May 29, 2015

        Yes, the first Lewis album is self-titled, the second is called Lewis II. Can’t recommend them highly enough. Thanks for the heads-up on Cardinals, I’m gonna investigate that.

        Like

      • Thanks again for the Lewis Taylor recommendation. I will definitely be seeking out those first two albums since I enjoy the two I already own. I hope you like the Cardinal albums if/when you hear them.

        Like

  8. Daddydinorawk
    May 28, 2015

    Aahhhh. The Refreshments! Loved that album when it came out, of course they had it as a mid priced item at Tower Records back in the day and I’m sure that helped some folks take the plunge. I have in my travels come across a couple of people that had that cd in their collection and everyone who knows it loved it. My favorite track (aside from Banditos, natch) is Mexico, man those lyrics are so true. I had a rental car some years back and on the Siruis radio I caught the Banditos after not having heard it in years and I immediately smiled and cranked the song up. What a chorus!!!!

    I’m with Huey for the first 3 albums, after that they kinda…just got too cheesy for me, but those early ones were pretty good, very blue Collar Marin county guys (if there is such a thing. I cannot emphasize the yacht rock thing too lightly in regards to them. They may have fallen off my radar, but I did see them at a small club a few years back (on a whim) with the TOP horns and that show was amazing!! I do have to say though, for a 7th grader in 1987 being a Huey Lewis fan was a one way ticket to outsiderville. 😉

    Oh and btw a minor point, Tad Kinchla wasn’t the original bass player in Blues Traveller. Bobby Sheehan (RIP) played on the first 4 albums before he sadly passed away.

    Like

    • I’m pleased to hear that you’re also a fan of The Refreshments and Huey Lewis. I understand your feelings about Huey’s post-Sports output but there are tons of great songs on their subsequent albums. I’ve never thought of them in “yacht rock” terms, but that’s a relatively new concept anyway and I’m a fan of most of the artists who fall under that umbrella so I don’t see it as a negative.

      Thanks for pointing out my mistake about Blues Traveler. That was a boneheaded oversight on my part, and proves that I shouldn’t write when I’m tired. I’ve already updated the post. RIP, Mr. Sheehan.

      Like

  9. J.
    May 30, 2015

    Great stuff, Rich. Really enjoyed this series – a couple I haven’t heard of, a fair few albums and artists that have flown under my musical radar, and a bunch I absolutely love. This one has threw David Crosby and Jason Falkner back on the playlist. Two very fine albums that I haven’t heard in a while!

    Like

    • Thanks for the feedback, J. I’m glad this post inspired you to revisit the Crosby & Falkner records. If you have a surround sound system, I recommend seeking out the CD/DVD edition of If I Could Only Remember My Name… since it includes a wonderful 5.1 version of that album.

      Like

  10. Pingback: Thirty Year Thursday – HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS “FORE” | KamerTunesBlog

  11. Pingback: Forty Year Friday – CLOVER “LOVE ON THE WIRE” | KamerTunesBlog

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