Sunday, November 28, 2010


60. Hawkwind - Space Ritual (UK) 1973: It is not often a live album will become my favorite album of a band (although it will happen again on this list), but this one is the classic way to experience Hawkwind. Some of the studio work is good, but this is the audacious tour with all the wild components in play such as the carefully designed stage (shown in detail in the booklet) along with spacey Robert Calvert verbage between songs. The songs are long spaced out proto punk jams that still inspire countless garage psyche bands. Futuristic? Timeless.

59. Rolling Stones - Let it Bleed (UK) 1969: In past lists, I had Aftermath here due to Paint it Black, but this record plays through a bit better. I am not in the large "Exile" camp and instead find myself mesmerized by the guitar work in Gimme Shelter. I find it amazing that the great interplay is Keith Richards playing both parts which really shows his songwriting talents. Some of the classic bands don't have albums that I really like to play all the way through, but this is one I often go back to.

58. Thomas Mapfumo - Chamunorwa (Zimbabwe) 1991: When I was living on a mountain in Colorado, I had a big satellite dish that had some oddball channels. One was the Caribbean Satellite Network which was the MTV of reggae, salsa, dancehall, etc. They played one incredible video of Thomas Mapfumo playing the title cut to this album. The guitar work is so unique with great passion amongst all the vocalists all on top of infectious percussion. Mapfumo's music of Zimbabwe is my favorite of all the African varieties and he also is an important historical figure for the area as well. I don't see the video on Youtube, so my link is to the song.

57. Igra Staklenih Perli - Igra Staklenih Perli (Yugoslavia) 1976: There was some surprisingly excellent psychedelic and psyche-folk music from Belgrade in this former Soviet country (now Serbia). This band has the biggest reputation and this album will show you why. They have a great understanding of psychedelic music and make some excellent unique moves, yet have accessible songs. Exotic, but the album stands tall with any of the world's best psychedelic rock music.

56. Aigues Vives - Water of Seasons (Germany) 1981: Maybe if I do this list again in five years, this record will fall hard. But for now, it is one of my favorites from the prog-psyche-folk-rock scene. I had it for years, but didn't give it much listen until putting it on my IPOD last year. Whenever there was some great song that shuffled out and I did not know it, invariably it would be this band. The album balances all the sounds of the seventies (and late sixties) perfectly into very catchy music.

55. Bob Dylan - The Times They are a Changin' (USA) 1965: I certainly place Dylan at or near the top of the true genius songwriters of the 20th Century, but I do find Dylan the performer a bit below the pantheon. And the albums are pretty varied for me. I prefer the folkier Dylan and this one is my favorite for now, although sometimes it is "the Freewheelin'...". This one really began opening things up and was profound for its era, although most of his 1960s albums were. Not much more I can add about Dylan, aside from the fact that we were both born in Duluth, Minnesota.

54. Erkin Koray - Elektronik Turkuler (Turkey) 1974: This guitar wizard is credited with brining rock music to Turkey. He did it all, but really hit a great dreamy psyche vibe combining western and eastern music on this second album. This is one album where I almost always want to hear from beginning to end. Although the songs are varied enough, the hypnotic groove is too powerful for me to want to break up. Another great Turkish artist that I could not find room for on this list is Baris Manco. There was some brilliant music being made in Turkey back in the day.

53. Carol of Harvest - Carol of Harvest (Germany) 1978: More intriguing prog-folk from Germany with the emphasis on prog of the dreamy variety. Soothing female vocals atop a great rock band that uses acoustic sounds well. A real underground hit that has gotten more than one reissue thankfully.

52. The Pogues - If I Should Fall from Grace with God (Ireland) 1988: It was bound to happen. Someone would figure out that punk rock spirit would easily integrate with Irish folk music. It took a nobody singer from the Nips (Shane MacGowan) to hook up with some great musicians and figure out the path. MacGowan is the force and a brillian lyricist. The musicians are great and even Terry Woods from Sweeney's Men/Steeleye Span becomes a member for most of the way. This album really covers a wide range of sounds, styles and pace. It also includes "Fairytale of New York" which should make many lists of 100 best songs.

51. The Trees Community - The Christ Tree (USA) 1975: Thankfully, I was able to save $1,000 or more when Timothy Renner reissued this Christian psyche-folk classic a few years back in a massive four-CD set that unfolded into a cross. The bonus material was excellent, but the album is still the place to start. This was a New York Christian commune that somehow came up with this great album comprised of as diverse a set of musicians as I could imagine. There is some amazing Christian psyche-folk out there like Mystery Maker, John Ylvisaker and Sounds of Salvation. But start here, as this one will amaze you.

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