January 25, 2007

January's Records You Should Own

That's right - this blog is kicking off 2007 with two - count 'em - two Records that you should own. Maybe it's because we want to help you exchange those fruitcakes for something enjoyable; maybe it's because I want to break in my new ergonomic keyboard (my old one died); but just maybe - it's because these are two albums that show bands transitioning, that contain just some flat out brilliant music that deserves your attention.

Our first entry shows a band that started off in the midst of the British Invasion with some rockin' singles. Oh, sure, "You Really Got Me" and "All Day and All of the Night" get played on oldies stations, but if radio really loved us, they would play some of the tunes from The Kink Kronikles, which features some of their lesser-heard, but more influential, music. (When most bands were freaking out and expanding their minds, Ray Davies was writing smaller, more matter-of-fact songs). You've obviously heard "Lola", but you have never really lived until you have heard "Waterloo Sunset", one of the most heart-catching, flat-out beautiful songs ever written. This is the kind of music that sounds so amazingly fresh - yet familiar - that you would do yourself a great disservice by not giving this a listen. My personal favorites from this album - "Death of a Clown" (Dave Davies' Dylan copy), "Holiday in Waikiki"(tourism, commericialism, and killer guitar lines), "This is Where I Belong", and "She's Got Everything". One of the great things about this collection is that it serves as a sampler for hearing the Kinks' later albums, brilliantly summarized by the Pop Culture Gadabout.

And now, for our first request (from Lefty Brown, who's sponsoring another Mixed Bag exchange)...a band I was lucky enough to see live in 2006. At the time this record was recorded, Cheap Trick was known as a weird band - almost the Nirvana of its day. A live album - taken from their concert at Budokan - was released. However, years later, you can own the complete concert. That's right, January's second choice is Cheap Trick At Budokan: The Complete Concert Most live records are usually ways of raking in more dough needlessly (and I'm taking about you, Mick and Keith). However, this is a band at the height of its powers - it delivers an example of a band moving from "cult favorite" to "rock powerhouse." Killer melodies, excellent guitar work from Rick Nielsen...oh, man, this is an album that will just blow you away. Then you'll want to hear it again. And be blown away again.

So, have a few bucks that you're looking to part with? Then get these albums. We'll return to the one album-per-month format, but I just wanted to give you a little somethin' extra...because I can.

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