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The Westcoast Albums: Great Musicians Playing On Great Records

André Lindberg
The list author says: "Distasteful to some, almost lifechanging for others. Westcoast is a concept invented by the few supporters who are happy to spend good money on imported albums, originating from California in the late 70's and early 80's. All these albums have one thing in common, they are incredibly skillfully performed by musicians who must have spent their entire childhood in a rehearsal room. Some songwriters are better than others, but all offers chords and harmonies that would otherwise only be heard in jazz music. The reason that many people associate the genre with open Hawaiian shirts and captainhats, is that the music brings feelings to glamorous and summer hot spots on the beach. Strange? Then you have not heard "Westcoast", and then it's about time you do it.

With my list, you can certainly get a boost. These albums, will many fans agree to be the basics and the most important albums in this genre.
Enjoy! (Just for the record.. These are just some of the hundreds of great albums you will find in this genre, of course, this list can continue forever)"
Gaucho (Remastered)
Gaucho (Remastered)
"This would be a good start. Steely Dan is often considered to be the real foundation for all future Westcoast albums. Be sure to get Donald Fagen's first solo album "The Nightfly" which is also a real classic."
If Thats What It Takes
If Thats What It Takes
"Michael McDonald was not only The Doobie Brothers frontman between the years 1976-1980, he wrote songs and sang on many other Westcoast albums. Especially on Steely Dan's albums where he started his career. This is his solo debut, a brilliant album. But be sure to have The Doobie Brothers - "What A Fool Believes" in your collection at a quite early stage."
Christopher Cross
Christopher Cross
"Christopher Cross critically acclaimed debut is a must! Brilliant songs after another with great lyrics about love and the sea. Sometimes it feels like the songs were taken from a diary. Here is the definition of smooth pop."
BOZ SCAGGS HITS
BOZ SCAGGS HITS
"I wasn't originally going to include compilations in my little list because of all outstanding studio albums, but in this case I thought I'd make an exception. This man has made many great albums. But the three he made in California with Paich, Omartian and Foster stands out the most. You'll find them here. It is no wonder that all the talented songwriters and musicians wanted to work with Boz."
Cat in Hat
Cat in Hat
"Now we're getting softer, with Bobby Caldwell, who a few years before made his debut with "What You Won't Do For Love". This is jazzy and refreshing and is a good variety from all the distorted guitars. Once you have found pleasure in these lovely smooth R&B gems, we'll increase the barometer to its fullest. Next stop: Al Jarreau.."
Jarreau (Bonus Track) (Original Recording Remastered)
Jarreau (Bonus Track) (Original Recording Remastered)
"All that was required was a skilled jazz singer and an inventive Westcoast producer to make this music genre commercial. This album along with its predecessors This Time & Breakin'Away, is one of the biggest highlights of this great catalog. If you want to hear more of this glamorous style, I recommend you to get hold of Graydons other works with Manhattan Transfer, Dionne Warwick & Marc Jordan."
Bill LaBounty
Bill LaBounty
"Amidst all the carefree Westcoast songs, Bill LaBounty did an album unlike any other. Sorrow and pain stands out above all on this little gem from 1982, but instead of adding these hurtful texts over a silent piano or guitar LaBounty did the opposite and put them in front of slick and soulful background arrangements. You need to listen to this masterpiece!"
Pages
Pages
"For many, Pages is the ultimate band. Richard Pages and Steve George's incredible songwriter ability together with their amazing voices makes this scary, tight album to one of the milestones. This underrated album was the last under the name Pages, and soon after, the duo created the successful band Mr. Mister and reached new heights on the American radio stations."
Bi-Coastal
Bi-Coastal
"Master producer David Foster did lots of golden works around these years. One of these is definitely Peter Allen's "Bi-Coastal" which contains all of Foster's distinctive ingredients, from the brass arrangements to the piano parts. Peter Allen's amazing voice is really heard on the brilliant songs like "Fly Away" and "When This Love Affair Is Over", where the mood really gets to you."
Airplay: 25th Special Edition
Airplay: 25th Special Edition
"This is one of the most amazing albums, period. What can go wrong when two of the most innovative producers ever, make an album together? Nothing, in this case. Foster and Graydon did this album in the afternoons when they were finished with their regular studio hours. Despite poor sales, this was clearly a breakthrough, when Foster later teamed up with EW&F and Graydon with jazzmaster Jarreau."
Debut
Debut
"Maxus is another example of a truly masterful group. With a mix somewhere between Doobie Brothers and Airplay, Maxus first and only studio album is a big treasure, and a tough and occasionally beautiful album written in the true spirit of Westcoast. You will love Gruska's highpitched voice that characterizes songs like the ballad Keep A Light On and Your Imagination. Have I mentioned the guitar?"
Runaway
Runaway
"A masterpiece by David Foster, Runaway is one of the great highpoints. Despite the almost non-existent sales when it was released, this album is now a given favorite among Westcoast listeners. An exuberant production by Foster and a stunning vocal and songwriting performance by Champlin is only one reason to love this album. Another reason must be the albumcover."
All Dressed Up
All Dressed Up
"If you have come this far, you must apparently like AOR which is a close relative to the Westcoast genre. This means rock with lots of harmonies and hitpotential, often in a tight production with high performances by the musicians. David Roberts, using TOTO behind the instruments, did "All Dressed Up" in such a way, but probably in a league of its own."