Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#157 in the Series) is James Taylor, That’s Why I’m Here.
“Come on everyone, come on… let’s go! James is recording a new album. We all have to help him out!
Was that the clarion call throughout Los Angeles in 1985 when James Taylor decided to record for the first time in years,who knows? ButI’m guessing it was close. It seems like every hot musician from within 100 miles played on this album.
So before I get into the rest of album, let me make a list of who answered that call.
Here’s who makes an appearance on That’s Why I’m Here.
Don Henley, Leland Sklar, Peter Asher, Randy + Michael Brecker , Russ Kunkel, Tony Levin, Joni Mitchell, Graham Nash, Billy Payne, Deniece Williams, Rory Dodd, Clifford Carter, Greg ’Fingers’ Taylor, Jimmy Maelen, Airto and David Sanborn.
I wonder is songwriters feel the need to write exceptionally well when they know the heavyweights are right outside the studio door?
If James Taylor felt that weight then he certainly delivered. There are some absolute gems on this one.
Some of the best on the disc are the title cut, That’s Why I’m Here, the great ballad, A Song for You Far Away,and Only a Dream in Rio. There’s also one of the few songs I know about a pig, Mona.
James also does a fine rendition of his brother Livingston’s Going Around One More Time.
He also adds a couple of nice covers, Burt Bacharach/Hal David’s …thru Gene Pitney ..(The Man Who Shot) Liberty Valance and Buddy Holly’s Everyday.
I remember seeing James Taylor at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago in 1991. It was an interesting crowd. One half were old hippies, the other half, yuppies. Safe to say I wasn’t one of the yuppies.
It also was the best sound I ever heard at a concert. Sitting directly in front of the mixing board didn’t hurt!
That’s Why I’m here was produced by JT along with Peter Asher and Frank Filipetti.
It reached #34 on the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart.
Here’s a few live cuts followed by Liberty Valance.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#122 in the Series) is Rosanne Cash, “Rhythm and Romance.”
“Rhythm and Romance” is one of my absolute favorite albums of all time. I of course knew about Rosanne Cash before this album but had never really known much about her music. This changed all of that. My respect for her and her music is as high as for any other musician of which I know.
This album did quite well on the country charts. But it was probably the least country sounding album she had done to that point. She definitely did not have a country band on this one.
Her band included Toto’s David Hungate on bass, Willie Weeks on bass, CBS Orchestra’s Anton Fig on drums, Heartbreaker Benmont Tench on keyboards and everybody’s Waddy Wachtel on guitars.
The 1985 production was mainly written by Rosanne herself. She did get a little help from Vince Gill on ‘Never Alone.’
She also included two songs written by others. Ben Tench and Tom Petty wrote ‘Never Be You’ while John Hiatt wrote the rocking ‘Pink Bedroom.’ Then husband Rodney Crowell co-wrote with her one of the best songs here, ‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me.’
Rosanne wrote the remaining six tracks. Best of that bunch included ‘Hold On, Second to No One’ and ‘My Old Man.’ He of course was Johnny Cash.
If you’ve never owned a Rosanne Cash album is indeed a great place to start. There’s not a bad note of music on the disc. She has a library of great music. Here follow up, “Kings Record Shop” was a HUGE seller. “Interiors” and “The Wheel” were a move more into a singer/songwriter type of sound. “The List” was flat out, one of the best albums of 2009.
“Rhythm and Romance” reached #1 on the Billboard Country Charts and #101 on the Top 200 Charts.
‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me’ reached #1 on the Billboard Country charts and #16 on the Adult Contemporary Charts.
‘Never Be You’ hit the top of the country charts while ‘Second To No One’ peaked at #5.
‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me’ earned Rosanne a “Best Female Country Vocal Performance” Grammy.
Check out the rockin’ Pink Bedroom video followed by a great live version of ‘I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me’ also featuring Rodney Crowell.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#115 in The Series) is Prefab Sprout, “Steve McQueen” (or as it was called in the United States, “Two Wheels Good.”
There’s a good chance that you might not be familiar with this band, but let me tell ya, they’re real good!
This is the first time I’ve had a release with two different titles. But Prefab Sprout was not allowed to call their album entitled “Steve McQueen” do to a legal conflict. It was called “Two Wheels Good” here in the US.
Many great tracks here. ‘Faron Young, Bonny, Appetite’ and the single that you might know, ‘When Love Breaks Down.’
Prefrab Sprout was from England.
This album peaked there at #21 and here at #180.
Today’s Cool Album of the Day is the 10,000 Maniacs, “The Wishing Chair.”
But yet another example of a band that I was turned onto by WXRT an album before the rest of radio jumped on board.
This 1985 release was the band’s major label debut (Elektra).
I was shocked when I first heard that they were from upstate New York. They sounded so British.
“The Wishing Chair” contained some real gems. My favorites being, ‘Can’t Ignore the Train, Scorpio Rising’ and ‘Lilydale.’
It was produced by Joe Boyd (Richard and Linda Thompson – Shoot Out The Lights, REM –Fables)
It did not chart.
Far, Far, Far from being Parker’s most popular album, “Steady Nerves” always was a favorite of mine. This was released in 1985 and I had just gotten my first full time music biz job and I remember this being one of the first ‘promos’ I ever received. Maybe that’s why I played it a bunch. Who knows.
It turned out to be his only Electra release. It featured some great tracks like ‘Break Then Down, Wake Up (Next To You), Mighty Rivers’ and ‘Lunatic Fringe.’
Give it a listen…..If you can find it!
Today’s Cool Album of the Day, Graham Parker and the Shot’s, “Steady Nerves.”
The Hooters are yet another band from that hotbed of music, Philadelphia. I’ve always loved the Philly sound, Todd Rundgren, Hall and Oates etc. There must be some thing in that water by the port.
“Nervous Night” was released in 1985 and features The Hooters ever present melodica. Hence the band name.
This is a party record. It has plenty of fun, up tempo rockers in the mix. The best of these include my favorite, the title cut, plus ‘Blood From a Stone, and Day by Day.”
The hits on the record were ‘All You Zombies’ and ‘And We Danced.’
Rob Hyman and Eric Bazilian, handle most of the songrwriting.
That’s enough for tonight. I’m tired. It’s been a rough weekend.