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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:27 pm 
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My 10 favorite albums of 2017. Several are "tribute", or "reimagined" collection albums, more than what usually shows up in my year-end lists. Overall, there were not a lot of albums I loved when listened to as an entire entity. That, and the quality of the aforemetioned cover/reimagining albums would seem to indicate why this list is what it is.

10. TOMORROW FOREVER-MATTHEW SWEET

Best known for his 1991 song "Girlfriend", Sweet has made plenty of good music since then, including this album. Call it Alt Rock or Power Pop, it's good stuff. 2018's list will probably have at least ONE tribute album, as a collection of Sweet songs by some of my favorite Power Pop artists is scheduled for release. Watch where you audition this, a naughty word or two is hiding within.




9. COKE BELDA 3 (G's)-COKE BELDA

A really terrific album of Bee Gees covers, most of them not well known, most pre-Saturday Night Fever (with NONE of them Disco Bee Gees)...which is what makes it appealing to me. Some interesting choices, all done very very well.




8.MELODY RECORDS-THE MYLARS

Excellent, excellent Power Pop. There's a cool cover of The Cars' "Let Go", and that's not even the best cut on here. The only gripe I've got against this album is that it's so short (only 9 songs!)..




7. CARPENTER/CASWELL-CARPENTER/CASWELL

I don't like a lot of country music, but occasionally I do hear something I like, especially if it's better classified more as "Alternative Country" or "Roots" music. Here's an example of that. I also like the lyrical variety, which runs the gamut from serious to poignant to whimsical to funny.




6. TO THE BONE-STEVEN WILSON

The former mastermind behind the progressive band Porcupine Tree, he's released several solo albums since P. Tree's last record. Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd are the most obvious comparisons for much of thhis record, but he does stretch out into other areas at times. Naughty language alert!




5. ORCHESTRATED-MIDGE URE

The former member of 80's band Ultravox takes songs from both that group and his solo albums, and recasts them with full orchestration, resulting in some truly beautiful and powerful moments.




4. LET ME FLY-MIKE + THE MECHANICS

It's been a long time since former Genesis member Mike Rutherford put out an album I've enjoyed as much as this one. Former vocalists Paul Young (who passed away) and Paul Carrack are not involved here, but the vocals are more than capably handled by the gents on this record. In some cases, the material may have some similarities to previous songs, but it is still strong, well performed, and a very nice listen.




3. THE GAME BEGINS WITH THE LIGHTS OUT-HORNAL

This fella has put in time as a sideman with Jeff Lynne's ELO and 10cc. He shares those acts' gift for melody. Best thing here is the variety of styles, with influences from across the decades, most of them done quite well. This helps keep the album fresh and interesting to listen to throughout, as sometimes an album full of songs that don't vary in style, even if done well, can get boring past the midway point. Here you'll hear bits of CSNY, Beatles, Hall and Oates, Bowie, Eagles, 10cc (two former members make a guest appearance on the last track), and even Lou "Lightning Strikes" Christie! (you youngsters who said "WHO???" may need to look that one up). He has several videos on Youtube which you can look up, but the best I can do for the whole album are 30-second snippets on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/Game-Begins-Ligh ... B01NCMCFXJ


2. LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM CHRISTINE McVIE-LINDSEY BUCKINGHAM & CHRISTINE McVIE

Yes, it's only credited to these two, but make no mistake..it is basically a Fleetwood Mac album, because Mick Fleetwood and John McVie play on much of the album. The only member of the Mac's "classic" lineup missing is Stevie Nicks. In fact, this was SUPPOSED to be a Fleetwood Mac album until Nicks backed out to tour in support of the release of her. Sorry, Stevie devotees, but this suits me just fine, as she is by far my least favorite of the 3 Mac singer/songwriters (I find her voice and "mystical" lyrical imagery grating in more tan small doses, aside from a few favorites like "Landslide" and "Silver Springs"). But back to this album..this is a master class in making creative but totally accessible pop music. Just a very pleasant listening experience, start to finish.




1. A LOVE SO BEAUTIFUL-ROY ORBISON w/ THE ROYAL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA

This took a lot of soul searching over whether or not this should be eligible for a "favorites of 2017" list. It takes vocal tracks from Roy, and backs them with musical tracks newly recorded by musicians that included Roy's children, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. In the end, I decided it was a new creation, and bottom line, there was no other album released in 2017 that I enjoyed listening to more than this one. A couple of misfires but in most cases the full orchestra adds a new dimension to these wonderful songs. Still, the most wonderful instrument here remains the magnificent voice of Roy Orbison. He never..NEVER..lost it, right up until the day he left us, way too young. This is "shivers down your spine" stuff, folks.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:32 pm 
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Entries 10 and 8 for some reason, I can't get the embedded Youtube clip to start playing at Track 1. Easily rectified by clicking the left arrow on the bottom left hand corner of the embedded video. All videos should move on to the next song as soon as the previous song is completed. If not, just click the RIGHT arrow.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:19 pm 
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Looking forward to several of these, especially No. 1. Already bought the Mike + the Mechanics off one of the singles recommendations from a few weeks ago.

I just spent several days in Memphis, and finally got that it was more than just a white boy singing black music (Elvis). It was a time of a legitimate blending of the styles, and that's the city where most of it happened. Lots of the clips they show at the Rock 'n Soul Museum are of a mostly black band with one white guy on keyboards or whatever, and nobody bats an eyelash.

Heard the Delfonics' "Didn't I" a couple of times on the trip, and though it is from a different era and a different city (exemplifies Philly Soul), it just fit.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 9:36 am 
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Ritterskoop wrote:
I just spent several days in Memphis, and finally got that it was more than just a white boy singing black music (Elvis). It was a time of a legitimate blending of the styles, and that's the city where most of it happened.


I saw a film back in 2001 at the Rock Hall of Fame when we took our Vacation in Cleveland and Chicago (Rock Hall and Wrigley Field, and visiting my wife's relatives). It was called, if I remember right, "Mystery Train", and it compared rock & roll to one train (Country music) slamming into another (black R & B). That's about as accurate as it gets.

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