Saturday, April 18, 2015

Argument starter: Jeff Gold's '101 Essential Rock Records'

Here's a coffee table book option for that baby boomer vinyl aficionado rock fan in your life: Jeff Gold's 101 Essential Rock Records.

Argument starter: Jeff Gold's '101 Essential Rock Records'

Here's a coffee table book option for that baby boomer vinyl aficionado rock fan in your life:  Jeff Gold's 101 Essential Rock Records.

There's lots of room for quibbling or getting irate about Gold's list, which is here and begins with The Beatles' Please Please Me and runs through Never Mind The Bollocks, Here's The Sex Pistols in 1977.

So we have no Elvis Costello (or Elvis Presley), but are saddled with Jethro Tull's Stand UpEmerson, Lake and Palmer over The Pretenders? Whither Richard & Linda Thompson? And though I'm all for Kraftwerk's Autobahn, it doesn't seem to fit the "guitar-driven" rockist standard that is otherwise a requirement.

And who says the "Golden Age of Vinyl" ended 'round about 1978? Gold does, in a solid enough argument, based on Sony's introducing the Walkman in 1980 and the cassette soon thereafter overtaking vinyl as the most popular format.

But never mind my grousing. The art work, including a spread on censored covers like Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, The Beatles Yesterday & Today and David Bowie's Diamond Dogs, is excellent. Even sumptuous, as they say.

And in addition to analyses by Gene Sculatti of Gold's mostly iconic but occasionally obscure choices - I didn't know Davy Graham's 1964 Folk, Blues & Beyond, so thanks for that - what really makes 101 Essential Rock Records worth grabbing are the guest essayists Gold has corraled.

Among them are such vinyl geeks as Iggy Pop (on Them's The Angry Young Them, and The Mothers of Invention's Freak Out!), and Johnny Marr (on Iggy & The Stooges' Raw Power), as well as fan boy (and girl) exegeses by the likes of David Bowie, Peter Buck, Grahm Nash, Nels Cline and Suzanne Vega.

All speak with religous fervor in praise of vinyl. But hey, if you don't have a record player, you can still listen to the music on the device of your choosing, even if it won't sound as good that way.

More info on the book here. Below, Them and Van Morrison's "Gloria" in 1966, from The Angry Young Them, which was released the previous year.  

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