The 365-Day Album Challenge: Week 13
Fri., Aug. 7. 2020 1:33pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Back in May, two friends asked me to share 10 albums that influenced me on Facebook. I narrowed it down to 365. I post the cover art for a different album every day with a brief explanation of how/why they influenced me. Fans have asked me to include them in the newsletter, too. Here's are this week's entries:
85. Underdog – Atlanta Rhythm Section
My first Atlanta Rhythm Section (ARS) purchase was a 45 of "I'm Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight" but that's on "Champagne Jam." The hits on this album were "Do It or Die" and "Spooky." I also liked "Born Ready," I Hate the Blues," "It's Only Music," and "Indigo Passion." Later on this list I'll include another album by different band that's also titled "Underdog." There aren't a lot of albums that start with that letter, but ApologetiX put one out called "Unconditional Releases." I am so into "u"! If the song "Spooky" sounds familiar, it's not an imaginary cover. The Classics IV had a hit with it in 1967. J.R. Cobb and Dean Daughtry of The Classics IV went on to become members of ARS.
86. Monolith– Kansas
I bought this album because of the two songs I knew from the radio — "People of the Southwind" and "Reason to Be." I'd prefer to stay out of trouble with all the Kansas fans out there, but I must confess that I initially thought "People of the Southwind" was by The Village People. I still don't know why. The only remote connection between the two is the Native American on the cover of this album and the guy dressed like a Native American in the Village People. "People of the Southwind" went to #23 on the pop charts and was the second track on side one. You might not remember "Reason to Be," which only went to #52. It's on the other side.
87. Eat to the Beat – Blondie
My first accidental purchase from Columbia House — oh joy, oh rapture! Nah, that was on Blondie's next album. Columbia would send you a monthly card which you had to return by a certain deadline. If you didn't, you'd receive the album listed on the card. I don't remember ever seeing the card that particular month. Unfortunately, it was for two albums! Tomorrow, we'll see the second one, which was very un-Blondie (no, it wasn't 4 Non Blondes). I already loved the song "Dreaming," and I'd seen Blondie perform "The Hardest Part" on SNL, so it didn't take too many listens for me to like this, especially "Atomic," "Slow Motion," and "Accidents Never Happen" (ironic title, considering how I got the album). "Atomic" went to #1 in the United Kingdom and "Dreaming" went to #2, but they only went to #39 and #27, respectively, in the States.
88. Stormwatch – Jethro Tull
This was part two of my first accidental purchase from Columbia House Record Club. Yep, they paired this one up with Eat to the Beat, because Jethro Tull and Blondie go together like peanut butter and .. uh … clams? The only thing those two had common was the record label, Chrysalis, and I'm sure that's why they did that. I wound up liking this one, too, but by the time I really got into it, the cassette started making that awful squealy/scratchy noise tapes sometimes made when they'd been played too many times. Before the noise became unbearable, my favorites tracks were "North Sea Oil," "Dun Ringill," and "Dark Ages."
89. Revisited – Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show
My first 8-track. It was time to start paying off my Columbia House record club debt on my terms. I liked "Cover of the Rolling Stone" and "Sylvia's Mother," but I was unprepared for the edgy humor that awaited me on the rest of this compilation of Dr. Hook's first four studio albums. All of the songs were composed by Shel Silverstein. My mom has a book or two of his poems that she really enjoys, but I don't know how well his druggy, lascivious Dr. Hook lyrics would have gone over with her. Of course, I was a teenager at the time, so I found that stuff amusing back then. I listened, but I did not inhale. I also got Gary Puckett & The Union Gap's Greatest Hits with this one, but we're going to be here forever if I expound on every album I ever owned.
90. The Best … - Lovin' Spoonful
Another one of my first 8-tracks, courtesy of the cut-out bin. An incredible collection, sporting seven Top 10 hits and two more Top 20 hits, including a song my wife loves for me to sing to her, "Darling Be Home Soon." Twenty songs in all — some joyous, some touching, some funny — all great. I can't pick a favorite. Did you ever have to make up YOUR mind? The producers of The Monkees originally considered The Lovin' Spoonful for that TV show, but the Spoonful was already a popular band who wrote their own material. That would have required the producers to give up publishing rights, so they decided to create their own band instead — a strategy in which you didn't have to be so nice.
91. History: America's Greatest Hits – America
This is for all the lonely people — sitting in their basement with their comic books, baseball cards, and a rapidly expanding music collection. This album was loaded with great tunes. You know the big hits, but my favorite was "Don't Cross the River." The only bad thing about this album is it meant I now had two versions of "Muskrat Love," which is two more than I ever wanted. But I guess it prepared me for having four daughters when I got older. I still think the music of "Daisy Jane" inspired Janet Jackson's "Let's Wait Awhile."
Note: The albums are not listed in order of preference or excellence, but in chronological order of when they influenced me. Also, just because the albums on my list influenced me back then doesn't mean I give them all a blanket endorsement now.
I started actively listening to music in the early 70's and didn't become a born-again Christian until early 1988, so it's going to be a while before we get to the Christian albums, but there will be many of those when the time comes (literally).