Rabz’ Radio Show January 2023: Albums

You can write off this medium of music storage as an anachronism at your peril, Cats. I noted various recent stories in the meeja stating that sales of vinyl LPs are at their highest since the medium was declared (finally) dead upon the advent of the compact disc format in the eighties. Thirty-three and third, indeed.

I’m not so much interested in the physical storage medium as the “concept” of an album. Sure, vinyl LPs were a more physical phenomenon given their size and the sheer laboriousness involved in playing the bloody things, not to mention their susceptibility to damage and the maintenance of extremely specialised equipment such as the stylus. My friends who still maintain (or are expanding) their vinyl collections seem to revel in these inconveniences rather than bemoan them. Another one of life’s great mysteries, it seems.

Vinyl LPs also resulted in an emphasis on the artwork, which served multiple purposes. A signal to prospective buyers as well as a keepsake reminder if the musical contents proved more than adequate. Many rock music aficionados denounced the transition to CDs solely because of the reduction in size of the artwork.

When I first started splashing out my own money on albums they were not only expensive but a potential source of much regret if most of the contents were, shall we say, less than musically satisfying.

Which brings us to the most important aspect of this post. Albums that contain no filler, the bane of many a vinyl enthusiast until CDs allowed both random access and the programming of the listener’s favourite tracks.

Lou Reed was the first “artist” (I’m aware of) to refer to an album as being ideally listened to in one sitting, as if it were a book or a movie – New York, 1989, an album played extensively on my Walkman (Cats, does anyone seriously miss cassettes?) when in Manhattan in 1993.

Off the top of my head, two of my favourite albums of all time include “Sparkle in the Rain” (1984) by Simple Minds (the second side is truly spellbinding) and Ed Kuepper’s monumental “Honey Steel’s Gold” (1991).

Anyway, here are the two featured albums for this post, both of which have a visual component and both of which feature no filler.

Talking Heads – Stop Making Sense

Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend

Barely scratching the surface (although thankfully, not of a bloody vinyl LP). Looking forward to seeing the nominations of various Cats – so go for it, you know you want to!

107 thoughts on “Rabz’ Radio Show January 2023: Albums”

  1. Wednesday was a bad day.

    ‘Impossible to continue’: Iconic Australian music retailer Sanity set to close all remaining physical stores (Sky News, 4 Jan)

    Iconic Australian music retailer Sanity has announced it will be shutting up shop and closing all remaining physical stores this year.

    All 50 of the company’s bricks-and-mortar stores will be closed by April 2023.

    Sanity’s owner Ray Itaoui said the business would shift its focus to online trading after the digital revolution forced the company’s hand.

    I hope that means they will still be selling physical musical recordings online. I used to love the second-hand record and book stores in Pitt and Castlereagh Sts, spent hours and hours in them. The vinyl resurgence is nice, but it’s sad Sanity is closing their stores.

  2. I used to love the second-hand record and book stores in Pitt and Castlereagh Sts, spent hours and hours in them

    As did I, BoN – worked up until recently just around the corner from them.

    I’ll be adjourning to the Civic on some Friday evenings shortly. One of my favourite parts of town, although much changed over the last two decades in particular.

  3. One of the earliest vinyls I picked up second hand was the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road double album. I’m reminded of it as in the news tonight the very same artist is currently setting up for his last ever two shows in Newcastle. First of them is tomorrow, fifty years after that album was released. I’ve liked his stuff, even if his lifestyle has been a soap opera. So here’s the title track on vinyl:

    Elton John – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” vinyl 45 rpm (1973)

  4. (Cats, does anyone seriously miss cassettes?)

    I don’t miss the hiss. (of tape and Cats)

    The dirty low-down underhanded piracy practice (which everybody did anyway) of recording songs off the radio was a very useful feature of that medium. The practice continues today in modern digital form with tools such as youtube-dl.

  5. recording songs off the radio was a very useful feature of that medium

    LOL – indeed it was.

  6. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon is my first nomination. I have it on vinyl, pink colour, I expect it was a promotional thing.

  7. Naz Nomad and the Nightmares

    Damned ( 😀 ) if I have to listen to that one, never have hitherto. Thanks Rabz!

    My favourite vinyl cover art is Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. Many fine hours listening to that album.

    The Eve of the War (1975)

  8. Focus from upthread. When they came to Oz and played at the Hordern Pavilion, Sebastian Hardie was the “support group”. Some fans (including The Beloved) thought they were better. Here is The Four Moments. The “Rosanna” track is beautiful.

  9. Elton John – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” vinyl 45 rpm (1973)

    Was played to death by the elder third of my family and I inherited a love of it.
    I still listen to it start to finish and know most of the words. Still can’t hit the notes of Roy Rogers.
    A masterpiece.

    Dire Straits’ Dire Straits is also a start-to-finish listening proposition.
    In The Gallery, Down To The Waterline – mostly unknown but astoundingly good.

  10. Neil Young – rust never sleeps – one side acoustic the other electric
    Springsteen – the river – leaving home, marriage, working life, death

  11. BoN. Know what you mean about Yellow Brick Road. It gets under the skin. Never had much time for EJ when younger. But bought a car in the NT back in the day when there was 8 track players (purchase 1980?). YBR was sole cartridge that came with said vehicle. Fond memories.

  12. ABBA, much pilloried, but I still hear them in Coles fifty years after Ring Ring. I don’t know whether that is a good or bad thing, but their singles are so much better than anything around nowadays. They still give me earworms even now! I don’t know why the woke era has led to such unlistenable music, but it has.

    On the topic of vinyl album covers another one I loved was Oxygène by Jean-Michel Jarre. Loved the music too!

    Oxygene Part 4 (1976)

  13. Grateful Dead; American Beauty. Grateful Dead, and Workingman’s Dead.

    Now we’re talkin’.

    Not really a studio band though, which Live Dead tried to rectify.

  14. Roger, one of my all time favorite albums;

    Grateful Dead.
    Live at the Fillmore East 2-11-69

  15. Come on Steve trickler, I recall you posting rip snorter links to artists on the old cat. What can you come up with for us?

  16. Grateful Dead.
    Live at the Fillmore East 2-11-69

    Speaking of that venue…

    The Allman Brothers, At Fillmore East (1971).

    Splurge on one of the expanded versions released since.

    Duane even copies some of Jerry’s licks by way of homage.

  17. Screamadelica

    Thanks for that Rabz, I’d forgotten how much I loved that single. Gorgeous backing singers and a serious guitar solo! Could never do such today though, it would be racist or something.

  18. One of my all time favourites…

    Love, Forever Changes (1967).

    With blended 6 & 12 string acoustics and gorgeous string arrangements it was a quantum leap from their previous garage band effort and stands up to comparisons with Sgt Pepper’s (of the same year). Arthur Lee took a more cynical view of the summer of love though.

  19. Roger, one of my all time favorite albums…

    As you’ll probably know, Nambas, virtually every live gig of the Dead after 1969 was recorded and bootlegged and they never tried to stop it. There are some real gems out there…At his best, Jerry Garcia on guitar sang like a bird and Phil’s underpinning bass lines are often amazing. A pity about the drugs, but….

  20. All Things Must Pass (1970)

    Who suspected George would come up with the best Beatles’ solo album?

  21. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, East-West (1966)

    A blues rock classic that also prefigured psychedelia.

  22. And speaking of blues rock & psychedelia…

    The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Are You Experienced (1967).

  23. Whenever Unguarded Moment comes on he radio, I crank up the volume.
    They bent those strings so hard they’re out of tune on the last chord.
    Love it. That was pub rock in the studio.

  24. Great post Rabz.

    Not including soundtracks, some of my favourite LPs that I used to have and nearly wore out (during my teenage years in the 70s):

    Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
    Bat Out Of Hell
    The Doors
    The Wall
    Bridge Over Troubled Water

  25. Let It Bleed – Greatest album ever. Well, my favourite anyway.

    TNT – Greatest Australian album ever. Well …

    Get Yer Ya Yas Out and Rock and Roll Animal. Greatest live albums ever.

  26. Groove Armada:

    Vertigo (1999)
    Lovebox (2002)
    Soundboy Rock (2007)
    Black Light (2010)

    The last is one of my favourite albums of al time.

  27. Oh and my favourite classical music LPs:

    Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony “Eroica” – Otto Klemperer conducting the Berlin Philharmonic (1959)
    Beethoven’s 5th Symphony – Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmoic (1974)
    Mozart’s 27 Piano Concertos – Daniel Barenboim piano and conducting the English Chamber Orchestra (1967-1974)

    Of course now I have the same recordings as CDs and now digital but there was something magical about the feel and sound of the LP.

  28. Nat King Cole – Love Is The Thing.
    Still have my Mum’s original of this – on display now, much beloved.
    NKC’s voice is sublime.
    Died at 46 (IIRC). Smoked three packs a day – thought it gave his voice that velvety timbre.

  29. Since nobody else has nominated it:
    Romantic Warrior by Return To Forever – Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, Al Di Meola, Lenny White.
    My LP collection topped out at about 1500 but has been trimmed to 500 or so.
    The religious zeal surrounding LP has been amazing. CD is better.

  30. I’m cleaning up the house and getting rid of stuff. Found the big box of CD’s and DVD’s about 100 of each. I asked my wife if she wanted them as neither of us has played any of them for several years. She didn’t so put the lot on fb for free, only one person wanted them so off they went to him, otherwise it was the tip.

  31. Love Talking Heads. In the early ’80s I was “living in another country under another name”. This wasn’t long after the dictatorship had ended and youth culture was rapidly jumping onto the punk / funk scene….

    Anyhow over at the Mad Club one night they had a special act which was called The Tom Tom Club. Went there in a flash, and my little clique got a lot of attention since we were mostly English speakers…and everything American / British (and similar) was BIG.

    OK, so TT Club were doing their numbers, and then Tina Weymouth said “we have a friend here tonight” and there was David Byrne on stage with them. The Mad Club only held about 200-300 people, so you could say it was an intimate atmosphere: a very special night. Once in a Lifetime indeed!

  32. Several albums sans filler come to mind

    Pink Floyd – as well as Dark Side, Wish You Were Here and Animals are play straight through choices for me.

    A few others:

    Broken English – Marianne Faithfull
    The first four Led Zeppelin albums.
    Some excellent ‘Best of’ style compilations including those of Gene Pitney, Glen Campbell, Dionne Warwick, Al Green and The Bee Gees.
    Spirit of the Age – Hawkwind.

    There are many more, but I tried to mention stuff that others haven’t. Agree with a lot of the selections above.

    Thankfully, there is a heck of a lot of great music in the world!

  33. Thanks everyone for the contributions.

    This is quite timely and may be the subject of a future radio show.

    Rolling Stone: The 200 Greatest Singers of All Time


    A group of avid Celine Dion fans gathered outside of Rolling Stone’s office to protest her exclusion from the magazine’s viral list of the 200 Greatest Singers of All Time. Part of a fan club called The Redheads on Facebook, around 15 dedicated Celine soldiers rode over six hours from Montreal to New York City. “Rolling Stone you’ve hit an iceberg,” read one of the several signs carried at the crossroads.

  34. Wolfie
    In the mid to layer 80s there was a box set of the 9 Beethoven Sympanies – great playing.
    Thank you for bringing the classics in.
    Mantaray – interred to know where you came from – if I may be so forward.

  35. Born Sandy Devotional by the Triffids – the atmosphere.
    It’s like English Archecture – it’s so incongruous to our environment but it’s just so good. Transporting another rea of the world to another environment.
    The triffids recorded this Albumn about Australia in London.

  36. I love the concept of an album — forces you to listen to a band’s other tracks and actually widen your outlook.

  37. forces you to listen to a band’s other tracks
    This was not a problem for The Beatles. Most of their tracks got airplay from the getgo.
    Even George’s lesser ones (his better ones got plenty), although I’m happy that Bluejay Way was ignored.

  38. Calli, I remember that Focus concert at the Hordren, good show from both acts.
    C.L. : like the Roy Rogers song from GYBR? try Kacey Musgraves version from the Restoration album, it’ll melt your heart.
    Yes, Lou Redd was sometimes pretentious but the Intro on Rock and Roll Animal…..OK , it was all Steve Hunter but still the greatest start to an album.

  39. “…being ideally listened to in one sitting…”

    War of the Worlds album.
    To some extent, Pink Floyd’s The Wall.

    “…favourite classical music…”

    Mozart Symphony No 25

    If you don’t particularly want to listen to lyrics nor classical music, my three favourite non-classical instrumentals (in no particular order) are:

    Joe Satriani – Always with Me, Always with You
    Midnight Oil – Wedding Cake Island
    The Living End – Closing in

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.