(meme) 15 Albums

Snarfed from uisna on Facebook: Fifteen albums I’ve heard that will always stick with me. I’ll add: … and explain why… I’ll also note that I’ve been thinking about this as the albums that most influenced my life.

(1) The Rothschilds. Original Cast. This was the first musical I have a memory of seeing, and it will always stick with me. I just love Hal Linden’s voice. I used to wander around UCLA whistling the overture.

(2) Two Gentlemen of Verona. Original Cast. Whenever I’m down, I just need to listen to this album. Brings me up instantly. Clifton Davis. Raul Julia. Diana Davila. Just great voices.

(3) Album 1700. Peter, Paul, and Mary. I have all the Peter Paul and Mary albums, but if I was to indicate the most influential one, this would be it. When I was in Jr. High, “If I Had Wings” was my mantra. I have memories of my brother playing “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “The Great Mandala” on his guitar. This started me into folk music.

(4) Bookends. Simon and Garfunkel. One of their finest crafted albums, from beginning to end. America. At The Zoo. Punky’s Dillemma. Hazy Shade of Winter. Mrs. Robinson.

(5) Cherish The Torah. Wilshire Blvd Temple Camps. The camps were/are a large part of my life, and this album captures my era at camp.

(6) Sing Unto God. Debbie Friedman. It is here that the distinction between “stick with me” and “influential” occurs. I could almost pick any Debbie Friedman album for “stick with me”. But influential? This was the one that started it all. Sure, it isn’t as polished as the later albums (the Concert at the Del is probably the best), but this was the beginning.

(6) Save My Soul. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Probably one of the best modern swing groups out there, this album can’t help but make me feel good.

(7) Politics Live. Tom Paxton. One of my favorite Paxton albums, this captures Tom at his very best. The juxtaposiion of “Peace Will Come” with “Jimmy Newman” with “The Unknown” is just stirring.

(8) Allen in Wonderland. Allen Sherman. Ask kids today who Allen Sherman is, and they will probably give you a blank stare. But Allan Sherman is in the same line as Tom Lehrer and Weird Al, making commentary songs to what were popular tunes at the time.

(9) Employee of the Month. Austin Lounge Lizards. Perhaps at the other end of the spectrum. Satirical bluegrass. I just love this group.

(10) Band on the Run. Paul McCartney. I’m going to use this as the example of the perfectly crafted album. Bookends, which I listed earlier, is another example, as is Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, as is Graceland. Hmmm. I see a pattern with these artists 🙂

(11) 70 Girls 70. Original Cast. Almost all — hell, all — Kander Ebb shows have great music, but this is one of my favorites. The other is Curtains.

(12) Sweeney Tood. Original Cast. In terms of Sondheim, this is perhaps my favorite. Every song perfectly crafted.

(13) Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road. Elton John. One of Elton John’s best. Finely crafted as an album.

(14) Ladies of the Canyon. Joni Mitchell. One of her early best. Always makes me think of my brother.

(15) Hard TimesPeter Yarrow. My favorite solo albums from any of the trio. Again, a pick-me-up.