It has been years since I had the knowledge to compile a best-of list for the year’s music. It’s not just getting old … Christgau doesn’t have any trouble, and he’ll be 70 next year. No, the bigger culprit is the one that lots of people theorize about: when you have access to every song ever recorded, this or that particular song gets lost in the shuffle play. The only musical act I obsessed about this year was Wild Flag, partly because they and their album are good, partly because I saw them in concert again. Beyond that? I listen to and like all sorts of music from 2011, but since I’m listening to music from at least 8 decades, the latest from The Roots doesn’t have the same impact it would have in the past.
This doesn’t bother me. I am not pining nostalgically for that time in the past when each and every album was given proper attention. I listen to more good music in a day now than I did in a month back then.
Still, I’m not immune. When I was a kid, I had a handful of singles and even fewer albums. I relied on the radio and my brother’s record collection to fill in the gaps. Those few albums, though, imprinted themselves on my brain, since I played them over and over again. Here are some I can remember.
Most of the tracks on this U.S.-only album (their first to be released here, it’s a compilation) feature Eric Clapton on guitar. Not that I knew this at the time … Clapton’s name does not appear anywhere, and that’s Jeff Beck’s picture on the upper-right. One of the three Beck tunes was Mose Allison’s “I’m Not Talking”:
This album actually had a Yardbirds cover on it (“For Your Love”). Eleven songs remarkably coming in at under 26 minutes (take that, Ramones). (And if you don’t believe Herman was Joey Ramone’s fave singer, check this video out.) (Although I don’t suppose the Ramones ever did a 5 1/2 minute version of “Blitzkrieg Bop”.)
I guess I should classy up the joint a bit: