When Was The Last Time You Played This Album?

Rock + Roll

Bonnie Raitt “Nick of Time”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#160 in the Series) is Bonnie Raitt, Nick of Time.

In 1988, Bonnie Raitt was one of many performers that would continuously pound out good release after good release but never really popped!  We’ve seen a ton of these acts. ‘Boy is she good. I’m surprised that she’s not better known.’  There was the odd Me and the Boys or Angel From Montgomery, but the lady from California still wasn’t a household name.  Heck she wasn’t as well-known as her stage star father John Raitt.

Then she met Don Was.  Don was a producer that had done well with the great band Was (Not Was) and had produced a few other acts as well.  Be his career was quite a bit like Bonnie’s. Ok, but not spectacular.

They met when Don was putting together a compilation of Disney songs for an album. The session went well and Raitt and Was decided to continue in to another project that would become, Nick of Time. It was if the title track decribed both of their feeling about meeting the other at this point in their careers.

Nick of Time ended up selling 5 million copies and garnered Ms. Raitt three Grammy Awards.  It was ranked #229 on Rolling Stone Magazines Top 500 Albums of All Time.  It won Grammy’s for Album of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best Female Rock Vocal Performance.

The biggest hit on Top 40 radio was Have a Heart. The biggest hit on rock radio was John Hiatt’s Thing Called Love.  The best song on the album was the title cut, Nick of Time.

Guest artists a plenty were on the album. To name some, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens from Was (Not Was), Paulinho Da Costa, Ricky Fataar, Herbie Hancock and Kim Wilson.

Don Was continued to produce Bonnie on her next album, Luck of the Draw. It sold seven million copies.

Here’s some Bonnie Videos. Nick of Time, Have a Heart and lastly a live version of Thing Called Love from an old Farm Aid show complete with John Hiatt!


The Kinks “State Of Confusion”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#159 in the Series) is the Kinks, State of Confusion.

We’re running with the Kinks today.  I wonder what they’re running away from on that cover anyway.  I guess it was the graffiti, again! They also used a graffiti themed cover on the previous release, Give the People What They Want.

State of Confusion was more later day Kinks.  This release was an album that I really liked. They were still putting out good music until the end.  Ray Davies continues to get it done to this day. His album from a few years ago, Working Man’s Café, is brilliant.

But I digress. State of Confusion actually had the highest charting single in Kinks history. Yes, that is correct. Come Dancing peaked at #6 on the Billboard Top 100 singles chart.  It tied, Tired of Waiting at that spot.  I would have lost a boatload of money if you asked me that one.  I would have guessed Lola, All Day and All of the Night or You Really Got Me.

Back during this era, 1983, I used to see many Chicago Blackhawk games at the old barn, aka Chicago Stadium.  Then captain, Denis Savard was known for his creative skating.  Evertime he would do his Spino-o-rama, the organist would quickly play out Come Dancing.  I caught it.  I don’t know who else did. But that wasn’t as obscure as when this player named Craig Ludwig came to town. I saw him get beat up once on the ice and then our creative minded organist played Todd Rundgren’s Bang On the Drum All Day. Ludwig, get it?

Once again I digress… So back to State of Confusion. Amongst the other great tracks..we have the title cut,  Definte Maybe, Don’t Forget to Dance and Heart of Gold.

The kinks at this time were Ray and his brother Dave Davies on guitars, Mick Avory on drums, Jim Rodford, bass and Ian Gibbons, keys.

Ray Davies wrote and produced the complete effort.

It peaked at #12 on the Billboard Top 200 album charts.


Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young “Déjà Vu”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#158 in the Series) Is Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Déjà Vu.

I was just sharing the story on Facebook about remembering buying Déjà Vu back in 1970.  I purchased it at the famous Chicagoland record chain called Hegewisch Records.  I was spending the summer at a cousin’s in Calumet City. We road our bikes to Hegewisch  and quickly we were in the store.  I plopped down my $3.49 and we were off.  All their LPs were $3.49 back then.  I still remember the sticker on the shrink wrap!   On the way back I wiped out on the bike and the album went flying.  Fear not, it was OK.  I still remember the fear as that brown square cover hit the ground, hard.

Déjà vu was the first album by CSNY, however, it was not their first recording.  That was the single ‘Ohio’ recorded a little earlier.  Ohio never did appear on an album before it appeared on the greatest hits package called So Far.

Adding Neil Young to a band with Steven Stills was not a huge stretch since they had played together for years in The Buffalo Springfield.  In fact, the opening number Stills’ Carry On contains lyrics from The Buffalo Springfield’s song, Question.

Teach Your Children features a fine pedal steel part by Jerry Garcia.

Almost Cut My Hair is David Crosby’s first addition to the disc.  I remember discussing this album when I was a freshman in high school. I told my friend that I didn’t like this song all that much. I distinctly remember him saying ‘If you don’t like that song, then you don’t like rock and roll.’  I think he was wrong.

Neil Young joins with his first solo writing credit on Déjà vu with his classic Helpless.

Side one ends with the Joni Mitchell penned classic, Woodstock.

We open side two with the title cut written by David Crosby, But then again, haven’t we all been here before? Listen for John Sebastian on harp.

Graham Nash makes his first lead vocal appearance with Our House. A song that would remain in his, and their live shows for years.

4 + 20 was always one of my favorite Steven Stills songs.

Country Girl (Young) and Everybody I Love You (Stills, Young) end our journey.

As the front cover told us Greg Reeves, bass and Dallas Taylor drums filled out the band.  This would be the highlights of both of their careers.

Déjà vu was a #1 album on the Billboard Album Chart.

Woodstock peaked at #11 on the Billboard Singles Chart

Teach Your Children hit up to #16 and while Out House made it up to #30.

Here’s a live Carry On from ’74. It’s in two parts. It’s followed by Teach Your Children, 4 + 20 and Deja Vu.


Robin Trower “Bridge of Sighs”

Today’s Cool Album Of The Day (#155 in the Series) is Robin Trower, Bridge of Sighs.

Bridge of Sighs was Robin Trower’s gigantic breakthrough album.

He was in Procol Harem until 1972.  This was Robin’s second solo album and it was released in 1974.

It contained many of the songs that people to this day consider the highlights to his catalog.

The title cut, Bridge of Sighs and Day of the Eagle top that list. However, do not overlook Too Rolling Stoned.  That was a rock radio standard as well.

Robin Trower toured recorded and toured as a three piece back in this era.  His bassist/vocalist was James Dewar.  Reg Isidore was on drums.

Bridge of Sighs reached #7 on the Billboard Albums Charts.  It actually stayed in the Top 200 for 31 weeks.

It was produced by Matthew Fisher.  You know Matthew Fisher for creating the wonderful organ sound on Procol Harem’s 1967 hit, Whiter Shade of Pale.

Here’s some great live video’s!!


The Edgar Winter Group “They Only Come Out at Night”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#151 in the Series) is The Edgar Winter Group, They Only Come Out at Night.

This was a pretty big deal when I was in 8th grade.  I always remember walking across the street because my friend Joe Moncada bought a couple new albums.  To this day I remember it was this and Curtis Mayfield, Super Fly.

They Only Come Out at Night was a HUGE album for Edgar Winter and his band in 1972.

It contained two well known songs.  They were the instrumental Frankenstein and Free Ride.

The Edgar Winter Group was quite the band. Many of the names were or became quite well known.  Rick Derringer and Ronnie Montrose were on guitar.  Dan Hartman was one of the main vocalists.

Rick Derringer had a well known solo career punctuated by the hit, Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo.  Hoochie Koo hit #1 the next year and featured Edgar on keyboards. (Not to mention it also had Joe Walsh on guitar and Joe Vitale on drums.)

Ronnie Montrose would of course, start the band Montrose with then named, Sam Hagar as his front man.  He then would start performing under his name Ronnie Montrose. This is where we first saw drummer Steve Smith.

Dan Hartman was quite the different story.  He went into the disco world and did quite well for him self.  He had a big hit in 1978 with a song called Instant Replay. (It sucked)

But his biggest hit would be in 1984 song called I Can Dream About You.  It hit to #6 on the Billboard Singles Chart. It was featured in the film Streets of Fire.  It actually didn’t suck.

They Only Come Out at Night was produced by Rick Derringer and also was featured a young up and coming technical director named Bill Szymczyk.  He went on to produce such acts like The Eagles, James Gang and The Who.

They Only Come Out at Night peaked at #3 on the Billboard Album chart.

Frankenstein was a #1 hit. (One of few instrumental #1 hits.)

Free Ride peaked at #14 (One of many songs with vocal to peak at #14)

Check out this great extended live video for Frankenstein. It’s follow by Free Ride.


Dave Mason “Let it Flow”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#149 in the Series) is Dave Mason, Let it Flow.

Dave Mason has put out a big ol’ chunk of good music.  From the days he spent with Traffic through a long solo career.  His latest album, 26 letters and 12 Notes is as good as anything he’s done.  It’s too bad radio didn’t go near it.  He commented from the stage at a recent show I saw, It’s like ‘I’m Selling Encyclopedias to them.’

Let it Flow was released in 1977.  Yup, that’s 33 years ago folks!

It contained his biggest hit. ‘We Just Disagree.’  I think it’s one of the best divorce songs ever written.

Memorable moments here include So High (Rock Me Baby and Roll Me Away), Let it Go, Let it Flow, Spend Your Life With Me and Mystic Traveler,.

I was surprised to read that Let it Flow only hit #37 on the Billboard Top Album Charts. I would have bet big bucks that it would have been much higher than that.

Three singles charted. We Just Disagree peaked at 12.  I would have thought that was higher too. Let It Go, Let it Flow peaked at 45. So High hit to 89.

It was produced by big time producer Ron Nevison.  (Bad Company, UFO, Zep Physical Graffiti, Starship, Heart, Chicago.

As alluded to earlier, I had a chance to see Dave Mason recently, He was outstanding.  He played a tiny 400 seat venue.   He played everything from Feeling All Right, 40,000 Headman, Only You Know and I Know, Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave (a real highlight!) World in Changes (opening song). He encored with Dear Mr. Fantasy and All Along the Watchtower.

If you have the chance to see Mr. Mason, Go. . He’s highly recommended.  But be for warned.  You might not recognize him. He looks REALLY different. As you can see below.


Nick Heyward “North of a Miracle”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#148 in the Series) is Nick Heyward, North of a Miracle.

Do you remember Nick Heyward? If you don’t remember his name, you may remember his band before he went out on his own. Does Haircut 100 sound familiar? They had a nice hit called Love Plus One in 1982.  North of a Miracle was released in 1983.

Numerous tracks gathered some nice airplay from this disc.  Whistle Down the Wind comes to mind first.  But we also heard Atlantic Monday, Blue Hat for a Blue Day, Club Boy at Sea and The Day it Rained Forever.

Some players that added to the sound here that you might now included Pino Palladino, Morris Pert and Steve Nieve.

North of a Miracle peaked at #178 on the Billboard Album Chart in 1984.

Whistle Down the Wind hit #20 on the Adult Contemporary Singles Chart in 1983.

The album was produced by Geoff Emerick He was best known for being the long time engineer at Abbey Road Studio.

Here’s a studio version of Whistle Down the Wind and then a live Atlantic Monday.


The Church “Starfish”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#145 in the Series) is The Church, Starfish.

The Church was/is an Australian band that, although still together and touring, had their most success in the late 80s, early 90s.

That success was surrounded by the wonderful album, Starfish.

When I was thinking one day if I should feature this album, my friend Terry Witmer mentioned ‘Sure, You never heard anything like that on the radio at that time.’

That made me think, yup.  Gotta do The Church.

Starfish was The Church’s fifth full album released. They had a bunch of EPs tossed in there as well.  It held their highest charting single Under the Milky Way.

When this was released in 1988, The Church consisted of Steve Kilbey, Marty Wilson-Piper, Peter Koppes and Richard Ploog.

Besides the aforementioned Under the Milky Way, other highlights included Reptile, Blood Money, North South East West and Destination.

One thing I didn’t realize until now was that Starfish was produced by Greg Ladanyi and Waddy Wachtel.   How did I miss?

Starfish peaked at #41 on the Billboard Top Album Chart.

Under the Milky Way peaked at #26 on the Billboard Singles Chart.

Be sure to check out some of the solo album Steve Kilbey and Wilson-Piper also recorded in this era.  I loved Earthed by Kilbey and Art Attack by Wilson-Piper.

Here’s a great unplugged version of Under the Milky Way.


The Notorious Cherry Bombs “The Notorious Cherry Bombs”

Today’s Cool Album of the day (#144 in the Series) is the self titled album by, The Notorious Cherry Bombs.

OK, who knows who these guys are?   I’ll explain.

Rodney Crowell was an original member of EmmyLou Harris’ Hot Band in the 70s.  Gaining notoriety there, he decided to act on a solo career and began forming his own band.  It wasn’t known at the time, but he put together of band of players that would become some of the most well known players (with in the industry, not really house hold names except for one) in country, country rock and even rock in roll.

Vince Gill was brought in play just about every string instrument. Mandolin, guitar, electric guitar, violin, banjo, dobro and on and on.

Hank DeVito would play on everyone’s record and write a ton of hits.

Richard Bennett would play guitar in Mark Kopfler’s band for years. He still does.

Emory Gordy, Jr. and Glen Hardin filled out the lineup.

After 30 years, Rodney decided to ‘Put The Band Back Together!’  This album was the result.

It had a  couple great rock and roll tracks included Let it Roll, Let it Ride and Sweet Little Lisa.

Sweet Little Lisa has been covered by everyone including Albert Lee and Dave Edmunds.

There are a few superb ballads such as Making Memories of Us and Heart of a Jealous Man.

One song however was the one that got the airplay.  How this wasn’t a HUGE country hit I’ll never know.  It’s called It’s Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night that Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long.  What a track.  A must hear.  Last night I watching a Lewis Black stand up DVD and even he was talking about it!

The Notorious Cherry Bombs was released in 2004.

It reached #135 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Charts and #23 on the Country Album Charts.

Here’s Hard to Kiss the Lips followed by Dave Edmunds performing Sweet Little Lisa.


801 “Listen Now”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#143 in the Series) is 801, Listen Now

Some times you have to pull one out that I bet no one has listened to in years!  I’m guessing that’s true for 801.

When was the last time you pulled this one off the shelf?  There even a good chance that you never even heard of this one.

801 is a band put together by Phil Manzanera, Phil is best known as lead guitarist for one of my favorite bands, Roxy Music.

Roxy would take time off now and then and like most bands, many members would work on solo projects.  This was Phil’s

It took two years to record. He started in 1975 and finished in 1977. Oddly enough, while working on putting this together, 801 released a live album in 1976 called Listen Live.

Phil recruited a ton of great players for Listen Now.  When I put this together, I was shocked to see that one of my favorite vocalists Tim Finn!  Who knew!!

Here’s a list of some of the others. Brian Eno, Rhett Davies, Mel Collins, Simon Phillips, Eddie Rayner(!!!!), Eddie Jobson, Lol Crème and Kevin Godley.

The two songs that received the most airplay were the first two tracks on the disc.

Listen Now and Flight 19.