The best albums of the '60s & '70s: Wrap UP from Geoff Parr
Published: Thursday, December 6, 2007
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
With this being the last article I write for The New Hampshire, I thought I'd do a wrap-up of what my goal was in writing about what I have over the past year and a half. I love music, all types of music, but specifically music from the 1960s and 1970s. And while my purpose has never been to say that this is what people should be listening to or force anything down people's throats, I have tried to act as a starting point or a template that offered suggestions for people in the hopes that maybe they'll take what I write to heart and give the album I write about a try. Maybe they'll like it, maybe they won't…I recognized a long time ago that people have different tastes in music. There's no way you can force someone into liking something, but still, the albums I write about have a tendency to catch with the listener.
Moreover, what I have tried to do is bring to light some of the albums that you never hear about in this day of "classic rock" radio. There's plenty of good music on those stations, plenty of terrible music as well, and there is plenty of music that you simply don't hear but is just as good and worthwhile to listen to. Everyone knows about The Rolling Stones, yet not a whole lot of people know about their album Between the Buttons, which I wrote about last year. So here, to conclude my series of articles, I thought I would present a list of a few the albums that are a bit forgotten these days but are still some of the great albums to come out of their era and are well worth picking up and giving a chance. Some of these I've reviewed in the past and I have given asterisks next to if you have any desire to go back and read further on them. Thank you for reading and enjoy.
The Band - The Band The Band's debut, Music from Big Pink, is recognized as more of a landmark album, but their self-titled follow up is the better album and one of the greatest in rock history. The Band was able to create an authentic mix of American musical styles, and with stories out of the Americana songbook, the only thing un-American about this album is 80 percent of the group, who hailed from Canada. Key track: "The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down"
The Beatles - Rubber Soul Okay, so most people have probably heard of Rubber Soul and everyone has heard of The Beatles. Nevertheless, this album still manages to get overlooked because of the albums that followed this one in the coming years. Rubber Soul finds the fab-four rising to the challenges set by their peers, expanding their sound, and showing the world why they were the standard for which all pop music was (and still is) measured. And lyrically, there isn't a stronger album in The Beatles' catalogue than Rubber Soul. Key track: "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)"
Bob Dylan - New Morning In 1970, Bob Dylan released Self Portrait, an album that was so astonishingly bad people never knew what to make out of it. Today, when people look back on Dylan's career, they sort of see the five years or so after Self Portrait as an inconsistent period in Dylan's career until he made a huge comeback with Blood on the Tracks. But lost in that vacuum is New Morning, the album that Dylan followed Self Portrait up with that same year. New Morning is consistently solid throughout its running and showed Dylan still had it, even after the puzzling, and possibly intentional, monstrosity that was Self Portrait. Key track: "Time Passes Slowly"
Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska In 1980, Bruce Springsteen was at the pinnacle of popularity up to that point. "Hungry Heart" was his first single to crack the top 10 and The River was his first chart-topping album. Springsteen went the other way though and turned his back on this fame with his follow-up release, Nebraska, a stark album recorded without the E Street Band on a four- track recorder in his bedroom. An incredibly powerful and emotional, yet simple record, Nebraska plays a lot like a demo tape. It also managed to reach No. 3 on the Billboard. Key track: "Atlantic City"
Buffalo Springfield - Buffalo Springfield Again* Everyone knows Buffalo Springfield for the seminal "For What it's Worth." If there was justice in this world, however, everyone would also be familiar with their sophomore effort Buffalo Springfield Again. Again is an album that consists of a great deal of diversity throughout, yet there is still a persistent feel that presides over the record. Again also shows the first signs of true brilliance from Stephen Stills and Neil Young; frankly, neither of them has ever topped what they managed on this album. Key track: "Bluebird"
The Byrds - The Notorious Byrd Brothers When The Byrds first hit the scene in 1965, they were pioneers of the folk rock movement. They then recreated themselves with 1968's Sweetheart of the Rodeo and became pioneers of the country rock movement. In between these two periods lies their January 1968 release, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, somewhat of a transitional album for the group, as they hold on to their original folk rock sound but also foreshadow the country influences they would fully embrace in the coming months. With tinges of psychedelia added in, The Notorious Byrd Brothers is an album that holds together very well throughout and flows beautifully-- a crowning achievement for the most influential American rock group of the 1960s, as well as my all-time favorite band. Key track: "Wasn't Born to Follow"
Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band - Safe as Milk Much of the material in Don Van Vlient, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart's, catalogue is rather strange and tough to approach for most people. That is, with the exception of his first album, 1967's Safe as Milk. A fairly straight blues rock album with some twists, plenty of fuzz, and Ry Cooder's slide guitar work, Van Vlient displays one of the more authentic white blues voices as he shows off his tremendous range. Safe as Milk also happened to be John Lennon's favorite album when it first came out. Key track: "Electricity"