Amon Düül II- Yeti (1970)
Krautrock has always conjured up images of cold, teutonic precision, yet this album is about as soulful and heavy as anything Led Zeppelin ever did. However, instead of ripping off American blues inspired pentatonic riffs, these licks have a much more exotic, eastern European, or even Asian flavor. Definitely one of the most captivating album cover sleeves I own, and like Britain’s “Hawkwind” possibly the greatest psychedelic rock band of all time. The crown jewel of my record collection, and a serious trip. I still can’t figure out if they were a legitimate band or a German hippie cult. Probably both.
Talk Talk - Spirit of Eden (1988)
The perfect culmination of rock, jazz, classical and ambient music. I first became of aware of this album and the arduous process of recording this minimalist masterpiece, after reading engineer Phil Brown’s book, “Are We Still Rolling?”. It was probably the last time a major label gave a band an open budget and schedule. Talk Talk discarded almost everything that made them recognisable as a band, eschewing programmed synths and predictable song structures, and forged ahead into new, transcendental territory. It is a work for all listeners who want the most from music. Along with Muddy Waters’ “Folk Singer”, I play this record for anyone who wants a demonstration of headi-fi. They usually get hooked as fast as I did.
Jellyfish - Spilt Milk (1993)
I was born a generation too late to grow up surrounded by the vocal harmonies of Queen, The Beach Boys, The Association, ELO, Supertramp, Badfinger, and the Beatles. Instead I had Jellyfish. Perfectly constructed pop masterpieces fleshed out with harpsichords, organs, banjos, pedal steels, and brass sections whose production has stood the test of time. This album is a college course in musical arranging. Sure they dressed like bellbottom-wearing hippie clowns, but they still managed to solidify a Big Star-like cult following for anyone who didn’t really understand the Seattle grunge movement.
The Felice Brothers - Celebration Florida (2011)
The Felice Brother’s were the first band to capture the accurately depict the corruption of contemporary America in a rusty, punk, dancehall fashion. I consider them to be the American counterpart to Britain’s "Fat White Family”. Ironically, it was a UK producer Phil Johnstone (Robert Plant) who first turned me onto this band of brothers from rural upstate NY. I fondly recall sitting in his studio listening to this record, and then returning to the studio the next morning, and found Phil was STILL there listening to it on repeat. Celebration Florida was a real departure from the rustic folk they had become known for. Everyone expected them to be the next Bob Dylan or The Band, but the brothers were having none of that.