To celebrate two years of blogging, I will publish my favorite 100 albums as of now in a series of roughly weekly installments taking us to 2011. These are solely my choices as I feel right now with a mixture of entrenched favorites and newer discoveries. There is bias aplenty and this is mostly designed to give you an idea of where I come from and hopefully a few ideas for new listening. My first cut was to about 400, so there is a lot of good material that didn't make it. I often cut out good albums with brilliant songs and bands I love, but who spread out their music so a greatest hits album would be the better choice. And I tried to avoid those and compilations like Nuggets which also would have made the list. I limited myself to one album per band, as I hate those lists where the top 50 is split among 20 artists. Anyway, here goes from the bottom up.
100. Meat Puppets - Meat Puppets II (USA) 1982: Early Puppets were too harsh even for my hardcore tastes, while latter work maybe a little too twangy (but still pretty tasty). This one captured the edge best and has a few killer cuts. A good mind opener for the punk scenes as things were getting too compartmentalized.
99. Armando Piazza -Suan (Italy) 1972: This Italian acid-folk-psyche singer songwriter had a couple of albums that have been reissued. He had American guitar whiz Shawn Phillips playing with him and these songs really stay with me and offer a nice southern Europe perspective to this style.
98. Siena Root - Different Realities (Sweden) 2009: A rare recent album on my list, but I just listen to this one so much more than the rest in my many stacks of new music. They really have a great prog-psychedelic style with a mix of long and short songs. Great music from a country always worth keeping your eye on.
97. Pan & Regaliz - Pan & Regaliz (Spain) 1971: The flute makes one think of Jethro Tull, but there is more psychedelic rock going on in this, there only album. Great mixture of styles from a band that got lost in the shuffle, but is known by record collectors and psyche fans everywhere.
96. Veronique Chalot - J Ai Vu Le Loup (Italy) 1977: French artist with medieval feel and classic folk touches which does have just enough of a psyche vibe to create a lot of interest for people like me.
95. Miles Davis - Bitches Brew (USA) 1969: Jazz is a nice diversion for me at times, but this monster is well known for its crossover into the rock arena. Still powerful today and a really exciting record that only a few had the skill (and fewer the vision) to bring forward.
94. John Renbourn - The Black Balloon (UK) 1989: Renbourn is one of my favorite pure finger style guitarists with his work in Pentangle and on his solo records. I wanted to put Bert Jansch, Wizz Jones, and the immortal Davy Graham on the list, but Renbourn's album here is the one I play most as it works from first note to last and is very involving with only an acoustic guitar or two throughout. Well, ok there is a touch of flute and tabor.
93. Third Ear Band - The Magus (UK) 1972: This posthumous release has some of their most accessible music (used in Polanski's "Macbeth"). I suppose real fans prefer "Alchemy", but I think this one has more striking songs in addition to the psyche jams which comprise their earlier work. Purists may disagree, but I would start right here at the end of their career.
92. Quintessence - In Blissful Company (UK) 1969: Krishna rock band that did wonderful psyche chants in between some great rock music of that period. They captured both American, UK and far East styles as well as anyone did back then.
91. Elly & Rikkert - Parsifal (Netherlands) 1971: A great psychedelic folk duo from a country that had more than a few artists that are must haves in this field. Their first three albums are great and a fourth is good, but they transformed into a rather dull Christian straight-folk act that every record collector from Europe warns me away from.