Friday, 18 April 2014

Top 5 Albums of 1975

1975 was the year I discovered football after Fulham reached the FA Cup final for the first, and so far only, time. Both my Dad and my Grandad were Fulham supporters so this was an exciting time in the Harris household. I don't remember much about the lead up games but by the final I had posters of both teams on my bedroom wall along with a Fulham rosette and a bunch of cuttings from the Evening Standard Cup special. Of course Fulham went on to lose 2-0 to West Ham, preparing me for the lifetime of football disappointment that was to come.

1. Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here - I was a massive Floyd fan in my teens but may have overplayed some of their biggest albums. Wish You Were Here has lasted the course though. It is probably their most accessible album but it's also a fabulous LP that I don't think I could live without. I love it from the industrial noises that usher in Welcome To The Machine, through the wonderful melody of the largely acoustic title track, to the epic conclusion of Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

2. Patti Smith Horses - Horses is the only proper Patti Smith album I own (I should probably look into that) but it's an absolute corker. Patti's voice is urgent and powerful when she sings whilst her poetic roots are evident in the spoken word introductions to Birdland & Horses. The reworking of Gloria makes the original seem quite tame and the fabulous Break It Up, co-written with Tom Verlaine, wouldn't sound out of place on a Television album (no doubt partly due to Tom's cameo on Guitar).

3. Dr. Feelgood Down By The Jetty - A relatively recent discovery having finally got over the Milk & Alcohol thing and realising how great a band they were in their early years. This was largely thanks to the soundtrack of Oil City Confidential and the inclusion of She Does It Right as a regular feature in JB & The Wolfmen's setlist. Wilko is an amazing guitarist, a true original with a genuinely unique style, and Lee Brilleaux was a fantastic front man. If you've not seen the film Oil City Confidential I highly recommend it.

4. Black Sabbath Sabotage - Hilarious cover aside this is a fabulous album. The final release of Sabbath's legendary first six after which things went downhill for all the usual reasons. There's a more progressive feel here but it also room for the fairly blatant pop of Am I Going Insane (Radio). Album opener Hole in the Sky is typical of Sabbath at their peak, a crunching Iommi riff backed by the dynamic rhythm of Butler & Ward with Ozzy's vocals managing to find the fine line between tunefulness and unadulterated screaming. The changes in pace and acoustic breaks are what makes this LP one of my favourite Sabbath albums. These are particularly evident in the London Symphony Orchestra featuring Symptom of the Universe. I was at college when I was introduced to Sabotage by a pal who was into Death Metal and wacky backy. He particularly liked the stereophonic madness of the latter part of the record, from Megalomania to The Writ, it's Sabbath at their most experimental but doesn't lose any of their trademark power. Interestingly, Wikipedia lists a David Harris as tape operator and saboteur, he's no relation as far as I'm aware. This is a good thing as it turns out Thrill of it All had to be re-recorded because of the reference tones the technician put on the master tape for the song, resulted in the original track being accidentally recorded over.

5. Bruce Springsteen Born to Run - I'm still getting to grips with Bruce's full catalogue but I had a bit of a Springsteen phase in the mid-Eighties, around the time I was revising for (and eventually failing most of) my O-Levels. I guess this was the album that really broke Bruce big and it's my current favourite Springsteen LP. The E Street band are in fine form, especially Clarence Clemons whose Sax is all over the album none more so than on album closer Jungleland. The production is sumptuous throughout and it seems no expense was spared with Bruce throwing as many instruments & musicians into the pot as possible, this never overwhelms the record though as the songwriting shines through.

Near misses; Camel The Snow Goose, Bob Dylan Blood on the Tracks, Hawkwind Warrior on the Edge of Time, Status Quo On the Level, Tom Waits Nighthawks At The Dinner and Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti.

Albums to try; Brian Eno Another Green World, Curtis Mayfield There's No Place Like America, Neil Young Tonight's The Night, Neil Young & Crazy Horse Zuma and Nils Lofgren Nils Lofgren.


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