"On first listen this album (both musically and lyrically) can sound quite monotonous. Only after repeated listening do the lyrics start to make sense and the music reveal it's understated dynamics. By that time it has become like oxygen, and you're hooked. You will find yourself always having to listen to this album one more time."
""Idlewild South" is the first album I ever purchased, but every note of both (the first album) "The Allman Brothers Band", and "Idlewild" is remarkable. They are each included in this double album set, so this one is a no brainer."
"Maybe it's because I played guitar in my high school stage band and we played some Chicago tunes...I don't know...but when I hear this album...it's like summertime...I'm smiling...and, it's all good!"
"All of The Beatles albums are good. Unfortunately, as fantastic as the songs are individualy, most of their albums are a little un-even. Abbey Road just seems to hold together better than anything else they did."
"I removed CSN&Y “Déjà vu” from this list and replaced it with this essential album. While they both mine a somewhat similar musical vein, James Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James” is of a much higher carat gold. It is “the” sound of my youth, and has not only retained its luster, but gotten even more valuable to me with the passing of the years."
"Many prefer "Astral Weeks", but no...this is Morrison's very best. The first 5 songs are so "perfect" (And It Stoned Me, Moondance, Crazy Love, Caravan, Into The Mystic) that you could own this album for years and never hear side 2 (which is awesome), and it still would make the best ever list."
"So much a part of my life that, by now...it's like breathing! Every note played on every Eric Clapton album from this one, 'till the end of the RSO era is part of my DNA. Yes...Cream was awesome, but this is the record that made me LOVE music."
"Steely Dan's first album, and totally fresh and original as when it was released in 1972. The sound is more "organic" here than on their subsequent releases, and that's a good thing since a lot of their later work (Aja for example) is awesome, but a little too sterile."
"Probably, to anyone younger than...let's say 40's surprise, Todd is very progressive, and in the mid 70's, like David Bowie, was not only a "pop star", but a college radio staple. I was still in middle school at that time, but I listened to college radio. That’s where I discovered this...Amazing record/artist."
"This was a hard choice because every album by "Sir John" from "Madman Across The Water", to "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy" (with the exception of "Caribu") is a bonified classic. I'm not saying I like this one best...just I play it more often. They're all perfection!"
"Mention Hall & Oats and most people think “Pop”, or “Blue Eyed Soul”. This album has hints of both of those things…and just about anything else you can think of too! This is definitely the most eclectic album I’ve ever heard. The songs range from simple, to multifaceted, but the overall vibe is kind of “Folksy”, which keeps it all grounded."
"When the Eagles added Don Felder to the mix of characters already in the band, the results were fantastic. Unfortunately, this ultimate line-up would only last for one more album. This one retains the original Eagles sound (Meisner and Leadon), with the added energy of Felders guitar. Of course Hendly and Frey (and their egos) are along for the ride, and as big as ever."
"A little depressing at times, but probably the best lyrics I've ever heard. This album also show-cases David Lindly's excellent guitar and fiddle to the extent that he should share equal billing. As a bonus, the beautiful harmonies provided by The Eagles lift Browne's average vocals to meet the majesty of the music."
"This album covers a lot of territory in terms of style. It's all folksy, but with elements as varied as country, bluegrass, pop, and rock. Joe Walsh is all-over this, not only did he produce, but plays numerous instruments and adds background harmonies as well. Even so, he dosen't steal the show. This is Fogleberg's record, and one of the best I've ever heard. In a word: Beautiful"
"Everything about this album is exactly right. The song writing, the singing, the arrangements, the musicianship, even the packaging, its all just spot-on! ...and the sound...Wow...this has to be the best engineered album EVER! This may be the best I've ever heard...maybe!"
"I grew up in a mill town in the South. I knew nothing about how young people lived in New Jersey or anywhere else. But when I was a "teen", it seemed like these songs were written about my life. Judging from the legendary status of this album, I now suppose everyone, everywhere felt, and still feels the same way."
"The seventies was the decade of the live album. “…At Fillmore East”, “The Last Waltz”, “Live Bullet”, “Too Late To Stop Now”, etc…, but for me it’s Lowell George and the “Feats” 1978 “Waiting For Columbus” that sets the bar for which to gage all others."
"All of TP and the Heartbreakers early albums were good, then…”Damn the Torpedoes” came…and it was great! But on their 4th album, “Hard Promises”, they exceed all expectations and become obvious heirs to the mantle of “Greatest American Rock Band”."
"Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers revived and up-dated the sound of Dylan and the Byrds. REM took that same sound and pre-dated it. It’s sort of like how folk-rock would have sounded had it evolved in an alternate universe. I love every album by this band, especially the ones from the IRS era, and “Fables” is like 101 proof essence of REM."
"“Brothers in Arms” is possibly the most representative soundtrack available of mid 80’s mainstream pop culture. Basically, a great thing, that would have been even better had it not been impeded by its own ambition. The material and the performances here are brilliant. But the sound, although it is crystal clear, is also a little thin ...umm…“superficial”. Representative of the digital age indeed!"
"Yea...I'm small town too! With "Scarecrow", his 6th album, Mellencamp finally perfected his craft, and found his voice...so to speak! And the rest of us...we found someone not ashamed to say it for us. Brillant album...from the heart...for the heartland...thanks John!"
"This is an album that once you’ve heard it…you will never want it to end! It is much like sitting on a porch…on the most beautiful day you can imagine…listening contently to the most interesting person you have ever known, as they weave imaginative yarns of living and loving."
"Proof positive that less is more: This is a great album of simple songs, played in a strait-forward fashion, about something complicated…plain old romance! The title of the album says it all. The sound is suggestive of what you might imagine of a collaboration between “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and early REM. Excellent…everyday music!"
"Over the years, all of Bruce Hornsby’s albums have proven to be a reliable conduit for exceptional music. “That’s just the way it is” ...and probably will be …until he retires. But, this album is likely to always remain his best. It was not quite like anything else in 1986, and that is still true today. Timeless and original…this album will always sound refreshing!"
"The Smith’s are the archetype “alternative” band. The sound defies categorization. Jangly, bouncy, exuberant music, with morbidly depressing lyrics, sang in a scathing tone that is almost prosaic in its delivery. You don’t know whether to laugh, cry, dance, assume the fetal position, or maybe just give it another spin. LTBs …(a collection of singles and “B” sides) does all of “that” …in spades!"
"If you only know Crowded House by their first album, and the hit “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, you probably think of them as the 80’s equivalent to Hootie and the Blowfish. Not there’s anything wrong with HATBF…just this band dug deeper…much deeper! On this, their 2nd album they charge the depths of the human condition with words and music that seem as beautiful and natural as your next breath."
"Radney Foster was half of 80’s alt-country pioneers “Foster and Lloyd” On this, his first solo album, he delivers a record that is decidedly more country than “alt”. That’s not to say there’s no liquor left in the punch (Hammer and Nails)…it’s just a skosh more refined (Louisiana Blue). Few country albums play like “albums”. This one does …and a very fine one indeed!"
"This is certainly Sting’s best album…Police catalog included. That’s probably because the motive for this record seems to be for nothing other than to entertain. For once Sting seems to not be taking himself or his writing so seriously. The result is a free flowing stream of wonderfully expressive lyrics, colored with sumptuously performed instrumentation. The singing’s pretty good too!"
"This is one great album. But, after 17 years the “Crows” haven't been able to deliver #2. To me this album plays like a sad movie about some shattered character that can’t seem to break free from a psychological prison of their own making. The imagery is mostly very bleak. Even on upbeat (Mr. Jones), the raconteur seems tentative. It all makes for high drama on the “Crows” “one” great album."
"One of my top 5 faves, this album was an unexpected breath of fresh air when it arrived in late 1994. Mathew’s songs and arrangements are easily accessible, but like nothing before. The overall vibe is firmly ensconced in the “jam band” tradition. The rhythm section is punchy...sort of like “Little Feat”, and the sax and violin parts recall the “Loggins and Messina” band at their most epic"
"It’s no accident that Bob Dylan’s “Blond on Blond” is the first album in this list. It’s because almost everything that follows is derivative in some regard of that record. 30 years on, his son Jacob’s band “the Wallflowers” sound on “Bringing Down the Horse” continues that tradition. It’s basically a distillation of them all."
"Despite being a favorite “Whipping Boy” of critics and the “In crowd”…Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” holds up as one of the best rock releases of the 2000s. Pat Monahan’s vocals are arresting. Charlie Colin cooks up innovative bass lines that rival Chris Squire (of Yes). And, Paul Buckmaster’s orchestral arrangements are his best since Madman Across the Water (Elton John). Stunning album!"
"This is the perfect summertime, chillin’ on the hammock, ribs on the grill, keg on ice, watching the game, hangin’ with friends and family…etc soundtrack. It’s also good for when you’re just wishing that’s what you were doing!"
"With the words and music of “Sea Change” Beck (along with his father’s orchestration) exquisitely captures the essence of the life altering emptiness one feels after experiencing a devastating loss. It’s not depressing…it’s like a really good cry, and I always feel better after listening to this record"
"Kinda…sorta…a distillation of: Echo and the Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths, The Teardrop Explodes, The Church, and even the Waterboys…XTC...etc. This album sounds like it was released 20 years after (what would have been) its “golden” era. But fortunately… it was released!"
"Of all the albums listed here, this one (as of this posting) is my favorite. It has the epic feel of the records of my youth, and is without a doubt…the best, and most innovative album of this genre since the hey-day of The Byrds, The Band, The Burritos, and The Dead."
"The Jayhawks kept trying to find their way on to this list. I couldn’t decide between 1992’s “Hollywood Town Hall”, 1995’s “Tomorrow the Green Grass”, or even the much (unfairly) maligned “Rainy Day Music” from 2003. This outstanding compilation is a first-rate compromise, and a good overview of their entire catalog."
"This is a great rock and roll album, but if you don’t enjoy rootsy “Americana” style things (folk, bluegrass, or traditional country) you probably will not initially like this record (especially the LP version). Make no mistake folks…this one is “epic”. Time will love this album. If not now…It will ultimately be high on your “greatest ever” list."
"Ray's soul/folk is perfected with the collaboration of the Pariah Dogs. The atmoshere evoked is as obscure...yet expansive as the view from an over-look on a Blue Ridge Mountain morning. Although the songs range from funky "Repo Man", to intro-spective "This Love is Over"; The overall tone of the album somehow manages to be the perfect enhancement for your current mood."