Bring Out Your Lists!

Man, pontificating ain’t easy! KMI, who make the SoftStep controller I use almost every day, solicited a “Albums That Meant a Lot to You” list for their website, and I replied with “Ten Albums That Made My Head Explode,” which just went live on their site. And that made me want to hear your lists.

01_Top 10

I don’t know why exercises like this can be so hard. First you can’t think of enough … and then too many … and then you worry you forgot an important one … and then you spend an hour reflecting on whether Joni Mitchell or Béla Bartók is more important … and then you read the whole thing through and realize how insufferably pretentious you sound. At some point, you just surrender and hit SEND. And that’s the moment you start second-guessing the whole thing.

For such a low-stakes effort, the pressure is high! And now I’m putting the pressure on you: I’d love to read your lists of mind-exploding music. Please post them to comments below, and add as much detail as you like.  (And feel free to use the “runners up” dodge — I certainly did.)

I’m not sure if there’s much difference between “music that altered my mind” and “best music” lists. I guess it depends on how much importance you place on music that leaves brain specks all over your walls. For me, the brain-speck stuff usually is the best music.

I realized after the fact that only about half my picks have audible guitar parts. How about yours?

43 comments to Bring Out Your Lists!

  • In no particular order:

    1. Tom Waits – Rain Dogs (made me want to play guitar.)

    2. Art Tatum – Solo Masterpieces (made me happy I didn’t start with piano. I listen to this any time I feel like I’ve gotten any good. nope.)

    3. Frank Zappa – Make a Jazz Noise Here (if not only because it’s the first record of his that I bought. Zappa runners up would be Uncle Meat, You Cant Do That On Stage Anymore #2, One Size Fits All.. )

    4. Sonic Youth – Dirty (wore my SY tshirt every day of jr high. Sorry, kid who sat next to me. SY’s 6+9 and sus chords + fuzz run deep in my blood)

    4. DEVO – Are We Not Men (first and current favorite band of all time)

    5. Sun Ra – Nothing Is (first of an endless collection of Sun Ra records/boots/live discs I have amassed)

    6. The Move – Shazam / Wizzard – Wizzard Brew (heard them both the same day, instant favorites)

    7. Ethiopiques box set (which I listened to non-stop for a month when I first got it)

    8. Jimmy Bryant + Speedy West – Stratosphere Boogie (duh)

    9. Ween – Pure Guava (might seem out of place, but was largely impactful none the less.. for better or worse)

    10. Aimee Mann – Lost in Space / Bachelor No.2 (both of which knocked my guitar socks off and both of which I ‘borrow’ from on a regular basis when recording. These 2 albums are master classes in how to use fuzz and echo on a ballad, and are regular spins around here)

    Runners Up:
    Anything ever touched by Jim O’Rourke or Jon Brion. Discovering Bobby Conn almost had me moving to Detroit to beg to be in his band. I have never skipped a Supergrass or Ramones song in my life.

  • Thanks you for your list. I will listen all of this music I haven’t heard previously. I made a short video of my top musical fragments, that touched me deeply

    List looks like

    1. Bill Evans at Village Vanguard with Scott La Faro 1961
    2. Bartok – Adagio Tranquilo from “Music for strings” etc 1936
    2a. Bartok – Music For Percussion, Celesta and Strings – 2nd part
    3. Miles Davis – Get Up With It (first track is absolutely great – what’s a tone of Gaumont!)
    4. Shostakovich – Largo from Symphony No. 8
    5. Shostakovich – Piano sonata no. 2 – I consider it’s deep music
    6. Tow Waits – Rain Dogs, Big Time and Night On Earth (thanks for your work!)
    7. Fleetwood Mac – Blues in B flat Minor from 1969
    8. Webern – last part of 1909 String Quartet (version for Symphony orchestra)
    9. Webern – Variatons for Orchestra, 1940
    10. Miles Davis – On The Corner
    11. Duke Ellington – Blanton/Webster Band
    12. Bartok – Notturno no. 97 from Mikrokosmos
    13. Pierre Boulez – Tonbeau from Pli Selon Pli
    14. Stravinski – “Sacrifice” from ROS
    15. Luigi Nono – Due Espressioni 1953
    16. Khachaturian – 1940 Violin Concerto – slow part
    17. Stan Kenton – late 40’s Pete Rugolo things like “Elegy for Alto” etc
    18. Not to fall to deep pression absolutely…it’s possibly Marvin Gaye’s “I want you” and Leon Ware’s “Musical Massage” – it’s subtle as I hear…
    19. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew track – (beginning)
    20 Zvuki Mu – Traffic Policeman – 1989 Russian Band recorded by Brian Eno – this track is on youtube

    etc etc


  • Truman

    Awesome idea for a post, Joe! Here’s my humble list:

    1. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
    There’s really no need to comment on this selection, is there? 🙂

    2. Live at Leeds – The Who
    Townshend and the Who at the height of their powers.

    3. 2112 – Rush
    This was a revelation: a sweeping rock epic with incredible tone. Lifeson!

    4. New Chautauqua – Pat Metheny
    A terribly underated album. Just beautifully played and peaceful.

    5. Dregs of the Earth – Steve Morse
    Steve and the Dregs’ finest hour. This album stands the test of time.

    6. IOU – Allan Holdsworth
    Pure guitar playing mastery without equal – despite the odd choice of vocals and vocalist.

    7. Kind of Blue – Miles Davis
    See comment number 1 🙂

    8. Parkening Plays Bach – Christopher Parkening
    The most beautiful guitar playing ever.

    9. December – George Winston
    Tranquil, lyrical and calming.

    10. Takk… – Sigur Rós
    Music so refreshingly original and yet wonderfully familiar.

  • Martin

    Hi Joe. No particular order.
    1. Eric Clapton 461 Ocean Boulevard.
    My first exposure to Clapton and still one of my favourites.

    2. Fleetwood Macs greatest hits.
    The first incarnation of the Mac. PG at his height.

    3. John Renbourn-The Black Balloon.
    Renaissance, jazz, blues and folk from the mighty John Renbourn.

    4. James Taylors greatest hits.
    Wore this one out figuring out the guitar parts.

    5. Bill Frisell. Good dog happy man.
    Amazing interplay between Frisell and Greg Leisz.

    6. Ry Cooder. Chicken Skin Music.
    Still can’t play like him.

    7. Rickie Lee Jones.
    First album. Unbelievably good.

    8. Pink Floyd The Wall.
    Dark and mysterious.

    9. Donald Fagan The Nightfly.

    10. The Henry’s Desert Cure.
    A recent find and an absolute cracker.

  • Love your list, Joe! And I love that you are still going about the ‘Sympathy’ solo! My theory now is that it’s Steve Winwood: So much similarity to ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ – same producer, studio and basic chord sequence. Winwood is quite Claptonesque but with a faster vibrato – maybe they added tons of treble to ‘disguise’ it a bit. Maybe I’m completely wrong and certainly off topic……

    So here’s my list:

    1. Jimi Hendrix Experience ‘Electric Ladyland’

    Speaks for itself I’d say but what was side 4 of the vinyl is THE most perfect LP side for me : Still Raining, Still Dreaming > House Burining Down > Watchtower > Voodoo Child (Slight Return)

    2. Allman Brothers ‘Live At Fillmore East

    Duane Allman’s first solo on ‘Whipping Post’ feels like riding through the desert on a racehorse. Betts/Allman to me was the greatest guitar team of them all. In perfect sync and never in combat though different enough from each other to keep it exciting.

    3. Julian Bream plays Villa-Lobos: Guitar Concerto, London Symphony Orchestra, Andre Previn / Five Preludes

    Heard this on vinyl at a guitar store in the late 70s and got hooked from the first notes. Pure magic. A neighbour just found a pristine vinyl of this ina thrifttstore and gave to me when I told him it was one of my fave albumsof all time.

    4. Jeff Buckley ‘Grace’

    After decades of listening and playing music the ‘knockout’ moments seem to become rarer and rarer. When I first heard ‘Grace’ shortly after Jeff passed away it simply blew me away. Amazing on so many levels, the harmonies and the sound quality being two of them.

    5. The Kinks ‘Face to Face’

    As good as anything the Beatles ever did in my opinion. Ray Davies is the greatest pop songwriter for my money and his brother Dave is a vastly underrated guitar great with the perfect blend of dirt and finesse.

    6. Led Zeppelin ‘Presence’

    A close race with ‘Houses of the Holy’ for me but ‘Presence’ is so badass and tough. Bonham and JPJ were the greatest rhythm section of them all iIMO.

    7. ‘Bert Jansch’

    His first album, recorded in a apartement in 1965. Magical, mysterious and haunting.

    8. Chris Whitley ‘Dirt Floor’

    Magical, mysterious and haunting. Recorde in the late 90s. It really has much in common with the Jansch record as it draws its power from solo performances with vocals that eschew any blues shouter cliches or folk melisma. Amazing songwriting and guitar playing.

    9. Steely Dan ‘Aja’

    I always thought of this as a ‘feel-good’ record as it always puts me in a great mood despite the cynical and dark lyrics and detail-obsessive working methods of Fagen/Becker. Some of the greatest rhythm tracks captured on tape.

    10. Rolling Stones ‘Beggar’s Banquet’

    Somebody once said that this album proves that acoustic guitars can sound dangerous. This pretty much sums it up for me.

  • John

    1. DC5- Come Home
    2. Jimi Hendrix Experience- Electric Ladyland
    3. John Lee Hooker – Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive
    4. Amboy Dukes – Marriage On The Rocks Rock Bottom
    5. Scorpions – Fly To The Rainbow
    6. Carla Bley – Escalator Over The Hill
    7. Hawkwind – Warrior On The Edge Of Tine
    8. Freddie King – Burglar
    9. Savoy Brown – Looking In
    10. Mahogany Rush – Child Of The Novelty

  • Trevor

    Albums that blew my mind/changed the way I play:

    1) My dad’s white plastic/orange labeled Radio Shack cassette dub of Sold My Soul For Rock and Roll.

    I was 10 when I found this.

    It replaced the Olivia Newton John tape in my diminutive red plastic Sony mono cassette/radio “boom” box.

    2) Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

    How I learned to solo with one note and ragged sheets of feedback.

    3) Yo La Tengo, “Painful”

    How I became an indierocker.

    4) Idaho, “Three Sheets To The Wind”

    More feedback. How I learned to use my pinky to make chords that included half-step intervals.

    5) Bedhead, “Transaction De Novo”.

    How I learned slow can be better than fast.

    6) Ornette Coleman, “This Is Free Jazz”

    My neighbors hated when I bought this record. Harmelodic!

    7) [brown-noser alert) Tom Waits, “Bone Machine”

    How I learned that I wanted to play with people who would bang on trash cans and crowbars. See also: Einstürzende Neubauten’s Tabula Rasa.

    8) Low, “Great Destroyer”/”Drums And Guns”

    How I learned that Alan Sparhawk will always do everything I do before I do, and do it better.

    9) Unwound, “Future Of What”

    How I learned that often it is better to have the bassist not playing anything like what I am playing. Also, Sarah Lund might be my favorite drummer in the world.

    10) Jawbox, “For Your Own Special Sweetheart”

    How I learned to play in a two guitar band.

    Not included: John Zorn/Marc Ribot- I have a bunch of their records, none of which I enjoy half as much as seeing them live.

  • Ten Albums that Made My Head Explode

    1-Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Roach: Money Jungle. Three giants in a trio. Made me realize how much Monk came from Ellington.

    2-Bill Frisell: Rambler. Actually seeing him live with Percy Jones and Dougie Bowne in Stone Tiger made my head explode before I heard any recordings, but this one with Paul Motian on drums, Jerome Harris on bass, Bob Stewart on tuba, and Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, finished the job.

    3-Nils Petter Molvaer: Khmer. Jazz mixed with electronica on ECM—heaven. Eivind Aarset reset my concept of guitar again. And it came with a second disc of remixes!

    4-Jesse Winchester: Jesse Winchester. Americana before there was such a thing. Produced by Robbie Robertson. “Black Dog” the most metaphysically scary song I have ever heard.

    5-Joni Mitchell: Hissing of Summer Lawns. The apogee of her ability to push the song form to its limit and harness the jazzbos to her will.

    6-David Sylvian: Blemish. Who knew you could write a song to a Derek Bailey improvisation and make it work? A triumph of minimalism.

    7-Aldo Ciccolini: Erik Satie. Aldo Ciccolini’s piano renditions of Satie took me to another world and made me require that of music henceforth.

    8-Miles Davis: Miles Smiles. Or E.S.P. It’s a tossup. I discovered both at the same time and learned that rhythm; harmony and melody could be turned inside out if you were good enough.

    9-Robben Ford: Live With Jimmy Witherspoon. A 25-year-old guitarist combines great rock tone (out of a Florentine Super 400 no less) with jazz harmony, swing and sensibility for arguably the first time on record.

    10- Sidsel Endresen/Stian Westerhus: Didymoi Dreams. Stian Westerhus had already made my head explode when he replaced Eivind Aarset in Nils Petter Molvaer’s band, bringing a more noise than ambient approach to the music, but when he joined sing Endresen for a Joe Pass meets Ella Fitzgerald duo from Mars, it put his genius in an even more astounding light.

  • In no particular order.
    My favorites. All mind blowing in their own way
    Tom petty – wildflowers
    Rolling Stones – Goats head soup
    Nine inch nails – The downward spiral
    Weezer – Pinkerton
    Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage
    Prince – Dirty Mind
    The Faces – A nods as good as a wink
    Living Colour – Vivid
    Beck – Sea Change
    King Crimson – Discipline

  • In no particular order:

    / Chris Whitley – Living With The Law /
    I absolutely love every Chris records but I discovered him with this one and spent hours listening to it while staring at the pictures of his National guitar. He’s a major influence.

    / dEUS – Worst Case Scenario /
    This 1st record of this band from belgium had a tremendous influence on me. It’s very hard to describe.. like a mixture of folk, pop, rock, trip-hop, Downtown NY Jazz, No-Wave, very cinematic lyrics, just awesome in every way.

    / Beck – Mellow Gold/Odelay /
    Folk Music, Rock, Hip-Hop, Tropicalia, Bossa-Nova, Psychedelism, Punk etc, etc, etc… What a joyful mess. Before those records, I wasn’t aware you could include ALL this on a single record. And those lyrics… !

    / The Beastie Boys – Check Your Head /
    Like Beck: Why bother with music categories, right ?

    / Tom Waits – Mule Variation /
    I love very Tom Waits records. I ‘m choosing this one because it seems like a good display of what he does.. and also because it has « Black Market Baby » on it.

    / Sonic Youth – Washing Machine /
    The 1st record I got from them. I then saw them live in Paris (with Beck, alone with an acoustic guitar and a harp as an opening act btw) and was blown away when they play « The Diamond Sea » almost exactly like on the record: every noise, feedback note etc.. The mess was so precise.

    / Björk – Homogenic /
    The 1st electronic music record I bought: changed the way I see music forever.

    / Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral /
    I sat an alarm clock at 4 in the morning to wake up and watch I-can’t-remember-who performance at Woodstock 1999. I missed the band I wanted to see but saw this band all covered in mud recreating a smaller version of hell on stage: Wow !

    / Amon Tobin – Supermodified /
    Nobody ever made a record with pieces of other records with such a high level of craftsmanship and musicianship before that one. Tom Waits says songs are just interesting things you can do with the air, Amon Tobin teached me you can inhale this air and exhale it into something entirely different and new: everything is possible !

    / Low – The Great Destroyer (and like Travis, I could include « Drums and Guns » /
    I listened to Low intensively at this time but just realized recently how hugely they have influenced me.

    / PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love /
    The « southern gothic »mood, the space, the lyrics, the guitar tones, Polly Jean’s red sparkle dress… I had the chance to attend a gig from this tour and seeing Joe play guitar with a butcher knife changed how I see guitar playing forever.

    / The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street /
    A record which proves that there’s no right or wrong when making a record and that all the wrongs (instruments separation anyone ?) can be totally right. I put this record on, I’m not only listening to it, I’m transported in it.

    / Nosfell – Pomaïe Klokochazia balek /
    A french singer and guitar player who invented his own language (he sings in english and french too), use human beat box and live-looping a lot and cans sing with a Tom Waits and//or Jeff Buckley kind-of-voice in the same song. His 3rd studio record was produced by Alain Johannes who’s know for his work with the Queens Of The Stone Age. Go check him out, you won’t regret it !

    / Lucinda Williams – Essence /
    For the mood, her voice, the lyrics…

    / Daniel Lanois – OMNI Series /
    I stopped playing upright guitar to play lapstyle-slide guitar only a year ago. Daniel’s approach in lapsteel playing (not hawaïan, not country) and mixing it with electronics and modern production techniques is very inspiring to me.

  • Shizmab Abaye

    1) Zappa/Mothers – Overnite Sensation
    2) David Grisman Quintet – first album
    3) David Bromberg Band – How Late’ll You Play ‘Til?
    4) Jeff Beck – Guitar Shop
    5) Michael Hedges – Breakfast in the Field
    6) Fairport Convention – Expletive Delighted
    7) Todd Rundgren – A Wizard, a True Star
    8) Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica
    9) Ashley MacIsaac – Hi, How Are You Today?
    10) It’s a Beautiful Day – first album

  • In no particular order –

    1. Yuxo by Hans Reichel
    Avant-garde music played on an instrument Reichel invented, that’s like nothing you have ever heard, while still being recognizable music and hysterically funny.

    2. Deviations by Dominic Frasca
    Also fairly avant-guarde multi-part minimalist solo guitar that’s almost impossible for a human to play. At least, it sounds that way.

    3. Signs by the Kathryn Tickell band
    I suppose you might call this “New English Folk Revival” …. maybe.

    4. Orchestra Lumiere by Bob Brozman
    Multi tracked improvised world orchestral music by the late slide master.

    5. Soliloquy by Michael Manring
    Solo bass guitar. Fabulous solo bass guitar.

    6. Continuum by John Mayer
    Mayer doing what he does best.

    7. Electric by Eric Johnson and Mike Stern
    Psychedelic Texas blues meets jazz fusion.

    8. Remember Shakti by John McLaughlin (and friends)
    Mostly east with a bit of west, Indian / jazz rock. Stunning sound quality.

    9. Atom Shop by Bill Nelson
    Surreal pop guitar.

    10. Have a taste of this by Tom Doughty
    Intimate solo acoustic slide and vocal which is just … superb.

    And I didn’t even mention anything from Derek Trucks, Victor Wooten, Greg Koch, Jerry Douglas, Jimmy Hendrix or Jeff Beck ..

  • Ryan

    1. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
    2. Radiohead – OK Computer
    3. Bill Frisell – East/West
    4. Paul Galbraith – French Impressions (You could also swap with the Violin Sonatas and Partitas)
    5. Bad Plus – Made Possible (or Never Stop…both so good)
    6. Players Unknown – George Crumb: Vox Balaenae/Idyl for the Misbegotten
    7. Mingus – Ah Um
    8. Pearl Jam – Ten
    9. Grateful Dead – American Beauty
    10. Miles Davis – Live at the Plugged Nickel (this is only last because it could be anywhere on the list)

    • Ryan

      Nononono. New List!

      1. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
      2. Radiohead – OK Computer
      3. Bill Frisell – East/West
      4. Bjork – Vespertine
      5. Bad Plus – Made Possible (or Never Stop…both so good)
      6. Players Unknown – George Crumb: Vox Balaenae/Idyl for the Misbegotten
      7. Mingus – Ah Um
      8. Pearl Jam – Ten
      9. Paul Galbraith – French Impressions (or the Violin Sonatas and Partitas)
      10. Miles Davis – Live at the Plugged Nickel (this is only last because it could be anywhere on the list)

  • cor

    No particular order. Simply 10 albums that made an impact and, somehow, are still on my playlist. Mostly guitar oriented but not perse.

    1. Rollin thru the Night – Evan Johns and the H-bombs. Wray meets Hendrix on a Johnny Cash song.
    2. Curtis – Curtis Mayfield. A soft spoken poet in a street that’s on fire.
    3. Free your mind – Funkadelic. Awesome mix of funky ass beats and trippy mind grooves.
    4. Future Games – Spirit. Randy California’s dreamy fuzz cuts it’s way through Star Trek and Kermit the frog.
    4. Francis the mute – The Mars Volta. Total chaos that makes sense somehow. Can I say adventure?
    5. Chill out – The KLF. Transcendent Elvis.
    6 L’imprudence – Alain Bashung. Yes, Ribot plays on this one.
    7. Ain’t it funky now – Grant Green. Had to pick one. Grant never made one bad record.
    8. Then Play On – Fleetwood Mac. So you make a record with songs like Coming your way, Manalishi, Oh wel..
    9. 461 Ocean Boulevard – Eric Clapton. Kicking the habit never sounded so good.
    10. Histoire de Melody Nelson – Serge Gainsbourg.

  • Paul D

    I’m taking this quite literally, so these tend heavily towards psychedelia. In approximate order of exploded mind. Apparently my mind was more easily blown in the ’70s. My mind has been exploded so many times that I can’t restrict the list to 10, so I’m providing 16, just because.

    Santana III – Santana (first blown mind experience)
    Brain Salad Surgery – ELP (hey, I was 13, cut me some slack)
    Piper at the Gates of Dawn – Floyd (got into this around ’74, still a mind exploder)
    Taking Tiger Mountain – Eno (Bush of Ghosts a close 2nd, actually could choose any of about a dozen Eno projects)
    Autobahn – Kraftwerk (I got into this a little late and never remember hearing it on the radio which would really have caused mind explosion)
    Horses – Patti Smith (actually, seeing her perform it at the Roxy, front row, 15 years old)
    Never Mind the Bollocks – Sex Pistols (even more than the Ramones)
    Pink Flag – Wire
    Threat to Creation – Creation Rebel (I bought it for the cover)
    Psychocandy – J&MC (exploded mind and headphones)
    Recurring – Spacemen 3
    Orbital 2 – Orbital (almost an improved version of Kraftwerk)
    The 3 EPs – The Beta Band
    XTRMNTR – Primal Scream (more melted than exploded, but whatever)
    Gorillaz – Gorillaz (suitable for exploding minds at parties)
    The White Stripes – White Stripes

    There have been many, many more. Eagerly looking forward to the next exploded mind experience. It’s harder to achieve these days…

  • Thanks Joe. I enjoy your blogs and videos. The following contains just a sample of some of the music that has been of importance to me.

    Sergei Prokofiev—Piano Concerto No. 3

    Al DiMeola—Elegant Gypsy album (and most of Di Meola’s music)

    Michel Camilo—Caribe composition (and most of Camilo’s music)

    Eddie Palmieri—El Rumbero del Piano album (and various Palmieri compositions and interpretations)

    Rubén Blades—Siembra (album); Maestra vida (song) (and some additional Blades tunes)

    Joan Manuel Serrat— “El Mediterráneo”, including “Nanas de la cebolla”; “Utopía” (and others such as “El sur también existe”; “Currículum”; “De árbol a árbol” and “Testamento de miércoles”)

    Astor Piazolla—”Fugata” (what a wonderful composition); “Balada para un loco” as interpreted by Amelita Baltar (and various other Piazolla compositions)

    Rubén González—”Mandinga (Bilongo)” (The interpretation that Rubén González did of Mandinga contains a harmonic structure that is so richly exposed on the piano throughout this particular version of this song which was originally entitled “La negra Tomasa” when it was composed by Guillermo Rodríguez Fiffe in 1937).

    Greg Howe—Sound Proof (album) / Extraction (album)

    Michael Hedges—Breakfast in the field (album)

    Not to mention Dionisio Aguado’s “Rondo in A minor”; Jean Luc Ponty’s Enigmatic Ocean (album); Jorge Morel’s “Danza Brasilera”; Antoino Lauro’s “Valse Criollo”; Chick Corea’s “Spanish Fantasy” (the live recording from the Palladium, May 1977), Charles Ives “Study No. 22 for Piano”, Grover Washington Jr.’s “Mr. Magic” and Marc Johnson’s “Right Brain Patrol” (album).

  • Sunny Ade & His African Beats* ‎– Vol. 4 Late General Ramat Muritala Mohammed

    Sun Ra The Nubians of Plutonia

    Massacre – Killing Time

    Harry Partch- World of

    Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced

    Led Zeppelin 2

    James Brown -Doin’ it to Death

    Olivier Messiaen – Ascension

    Jeff Beck -Blow By Blow
    Xenakis: Orchestral Works, Vol. 1

    Captian Beefheart -Lick My Decals Off baby

    Grateful Dead -Live /Dead

    Tito Puente- Ran Kan Kan

    Gong- Angel’s Egg

    Maurice Ravel – String Quartets

  • Hernan

    A fun game! Let’s see if I can put together a list that’s not too embarrassing…

    There’s lots of albums that one may like, but which ones are the real mind exploders? First, let’s remove all the records from the “formative years”. After all, when you are young and know nothing, even listening to ABBA will alter your mind.

    Then, let’s remove the records one just enjoys at an animalistic level. Again, ABBA goes out the window. What’s left would be the real brain expanders. In my case, I don’t think I will get to ten, but anyway, in no particular order:

    1) Albert King — The Great King Albert. My introduction to the genius that is Albert King. All the records of his that I have are quite equivalent; this just happens to be the first I bought. You have to love King’s approach: can’t afford to learn music? No problem! Just invent your own musical language, with its own grammar and vocabulary.

    2) Grant Green, Sonny Stitt, Don Patterson — Brothers 4. My introduction to the genius that is Sonny Stitt. Remarkably accessible, listening to this record I suddenly realized that I could now understand bebop. Also, the good thing about Stitt is, there is always another album of his that I haven’t yet bought. Completism!

    3) Ella Fitzgerald — Twelve Nights In Hollywood. Another gateway to jazz. A succulent slice of the Great American Songbook in its natural habitat: played live in a small club setting. The band is cooking, the audience goes wild… and now I understand why the standards are “the standards.”

    4) Traveling Wilburys — Volume 1. OK, this one falls mostly in the “animal enjoyment” category, but I include it in the list because it was the record that signaled that the eighties had ended and we could all relax.

    …And I guess that’s it. As I suspected, I’m not a very enlightened person. Mostly I listen to styles of music that I already like, or stuff that try and end up not liking — the usual “I respect it but don’t enjoy it”.

    Lots of very intriguing albums mentioned in this thread; will be tracking down some of them to see if I can expand my horizons.

  • Jussi

    Bartók – String quartets by the Takács Quartet
    Naked City – s/t (First time I heard Frisell, as if it wasn’t enough even without him)
    Wagner’s Ring cycle – early 90’s Barenboim/Bayreuth (DVD)
    Roger Waters – Amused To Death (original mix, Jeff Beck + QSound)
    King Crimson – Red (had to pick one, shortest title to write)
    Richard Thompson – live clip of Put It There Pal
    Neil Young – Weld
    Pentangle – a compilation I no longer have
    Stravinsky – Rite of Spring (whatever the first recording I heard was)
    Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir – Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares

    As I get older my head seems to get explosion resistant (40 in a few years). Latest demolitions expert was Richard Thompson, whose solo career I had totally missed before.
    Love your Youtube channel and playing, by the way.

  • Jeff Maus

    In chronological order of mind blowing-ness…

    1. Phillip Glass – Glassworks

    2. Bela Bartok – String Quartet N0. 3

    3. Popol Vuh – Aguirre

    4.Keith Jarrett – Solo Concerts

    5. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew

    6. Grateful Dead – Blues for Allah

    7. Talking Heads – Remain in Light

    8. Tom Waits – Mule Variations

    9. Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte – Come In Red Dog, This Is Tango Leader

    10. McCoy Tyner – Guitars

  • Roman

    A am relly happy to to learn here from tone junkies…listening nignt and day. It’s priceless resource.

    some subtle “tones” that haunt me, I could add (possibly it will haunt some people)

    1. Guitar Slim – “Suffering Mind” track – his tone is awesome. Zappa loved it….yes, it’s cool.
    2. Elmore James – “Something inside of me” solo is crying right to the sky
    3. Howling Wolf – “My Last Affair” – from 1952, his guitar player was true guitar poet and alcoholic as well…:)
    4. Miles Davis – “I loved him madly” track from “Get Up With It” – Dominique Gaumont is incredible, especially when band starts to swing a litle bit. Bass tone near 15th minute and so on is awesome too… Michael Henderson is cool.
    5. Frank Zappa – Transylvania Boogie track from 1969 – why not? His tone shines there…
    6.King Crimson … only once mentioned here. “Sailor’s tale” Robert Fripp solo from “Islands”, “Fracture” track from “Starless..” (it haunted many paople here in Russia), Lark’s Tongues In Aspic Part 1 from 1973. Robert Fripp is possibly genius.
    7. Henry Cow “Industry” track, opening from “Western Culture” 1978. Frith sound fine!
    8. Abercrombie/Holland/Dejohnette – Gateway 2 – “Opening”, the beginning of the track, when bass and drums strat to play is a true gem..
    9. Terje Rypdal – “Midnite” from Odyssey 1975…it’s cool almost like Miles’ stuff…”open” music…not dead stuff. As well as “Seasons” from Rypdal/Vitous/Dejohnette from 1979. It has some “open” atmosphere too…
    10. Miles’ “Decoy” track from 1983 has some subtle magic from Robert Irving III
    11. James Brown – Ain’t It Funky…it’s cool and original guitar stuff by his guitar player. Horns arrangements. It always make me smile!
    12. Gerry Mulligan – “I want to live”… great haunting arrangement by Mandel. His 1960 live version is even more trancedental. He plays a couple of notes, like Miles…it was great
    13. Warne Marsh “Everything Happens to me” from “Music for Prancing”, 1957 great tone and logic…
    14. Lee Konitz early stuff like live from Storyville, he plays “These foolish things”…I don’t know, it’s more subtle than Miles.
    15. Johnny Hodges is unbelieveable in “Prelude for a kiss” from Ellington Indigos 1956 as well as “All of me” from 1959 Jazz Party. He’s on the sky there.
    16. Serge Chaloff – Stairway to the stars from “Blue Serge”…bari tone is cool
    17. Eberhard Weber’s track “Pale smile” track with Frisell from 1979, he plays a couple of notes that are completely trancendental. Early Weber’s ECM albums are among my favorite on the label.
    18. Lester Young! It’s the president of subtle music… His “Slow Motion Blues” from 1952 is completely amazing. First notes by John Lewis is like spiritual..”Undercover girl blues” too.
    19. “Pyramid” track by Modern Jazz Quartet is a gem, but mostly for John Lewis solo, i think. He was in heaven.
    20. Archie Shepp “Hipnosis” track from Sea of Faces…it’s spiritual. Moncur III composition.
    21. Graham Moncur composition “Nomadic” from 1964 is great original tune with Miles’ guys. Trancedental too as for me. It’s like chess plaiyng. Possibly they listened to Monk “Purple shades”…
    22. Herbie Nichols plays “Mine” by Gershwin. He’s absolutely beautiful Mind, i think.
    23. Japan – “Lovers on main street” – starting guitar riff is amazing! Sparks from guitar. They’re so young and impudent… But not their later albums. Not a big fan of his modal singing…
    24. Was really amazed with yours with Ralph Carney Mancini album with Oranj Symphonette… very cool, as for me, it’s better than Zorn’s soundtracks – swings crazy! And Ellington’s Satin Doll. Some guys here in Russia never heard this project – they were really amazed!
    25. soundtracks… Morricone “Tema Di Ada” from Novecento touches me deeply, it reminds me Prokofiev beginning of 2nd piano concerto – haunting stuff.
    26. Herrmann “Taxy Driver Theme” … when it comes to trumpet – it thrills me, as well as his “The City” from Psycho, it’s Honegger’s 2ng Symphony recollections. Deep thrilling war music, he was genius in writing for strings. Btw – “Funeral March” by Britten from “Frank Brigde variations” – so deep in it’s simplicity!
    27. What a haunting tone of Menuhin, playing Bartok’s First Violin Sonata. Really “God is in house” as Einstein told. Only Menuhin’s. Music to die for…Hot sure it’s on web – I’ve got old USSR vinyl, his Moscow concert.
    28. Solo Monk from 1965 – Ask Me Now, it so haunting, i have read Tom Waits’ top 20. I have never listened this album before, but it’s impressed me
    29. Buddy Guy guitar solo from “Are You Losing Your Mind?” track – “Stone Crazy” album. Not only cool raw tone but how he plays with rhytm! As for me it’s greatest blues solo since T-Bone’s 1947 “Stormy Monday”
    30. Charlie Parker tone in “Laura” from “Bird” soundtrack. It’s so rich arrangement and – in contrast – so touching “living” tone of poor Charlie Parker. It almost makes me cry every time I listen to it.
    31. “Lament” composition by J.J. Johnson is wonderful. Not only in Miles’ Ahead album, but with Milt Jackson in 1983, another version.
    32. Art Pepper plays “Goodbye” from Village Vanguard 1977. It’s unbelieveable solo. Like the “Sound of the human spirit breaking”. Pauses like Miles’ ones…
    33. Bill Evans’ “Lover Man” from 1963 At Shelly Manne’s hole – his improvisation near the end of the track. Even tragical from beginning. Never heard such a fantastic subtle spontaneous composer.

    sorry, it’s possibly too much. I don’t know if the whole album could be good for me. I like fragments…really don’t know which of them is top fo me. I am not so tone specialist, but I am big junkie for listening to subltle tones and trancedental music too.

    Thanks all the musicians here! Tone field is really great place to discover new subtle tones. So much talented people here… Reading all the posts and learning everyday.

  • Chez Voz

    THese are the records that blew my mind at a certain time, when I was becoming aware of the possibilities that weren’t mainstream:
    Television – Marquee Moon
    Per Ubu – The Modern Dance
    The Fall – Live at the Witch Trials (original US version)
    Wire – 154
    Gang of Four – Entertainment
    Public Image – Metal Box
    Patti Smith – Horses
    The Cure – Three Imaginary Boys
    Magazine – Real Life
    Suicide – Suicide
    Joy Division – Closer
    Kraftwerk – Man Machine

  • Napping dog

    Nina Simone at carnige hall
    Van Morrison veedon fleece
    Tom waits rain dogs
    Joni Mitchell don juans reckless daughter
    John cale Paris 1919
    Tim hardin live(3)
    Bert jansch an evening with
    Harry belafinte live at carnige hall
    Sandy Praha and dope Our wild golden year

  • Impossible to put them in order…

    Beatles 67-70 (the Blue compilarion)
    Ella and Louis (Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Amstrong)
    A night at the opera (Queen)
    Fragile (Yes)
    90125 (Yes)
    2112 (Rush)
    Thrak (King Crimson)
    Hunky Dory (David Bowie)
    Entre dos aguas (paco de Lucia)
    La canción de Juan Perro (Radio Futura)
    Sueño stereo (Soda Stereo)
    Misplaced childhood (marillion)
    The Wall (pink Floyd)

  • mngiza

    Keith definitely played the “Sympathy” solo!

    Check out this live version, starting around 4:40 or so:

    Same tone, many of the same licks as the studio version, IMHO.

  • mngiza

    Put any of the following on the stereo on auto-repeat and my eyes roll into the back of my head, and see ya eight hours later…

    “Just Like Us”, Paul Revere and the Raiders
    “Rubber Soul”, The Beatles
    “Let It Bleed”, The Rolling Stones
    “Truth”, The Jeff Beck Group
    “Jack Johnson”, Miles Davis (!!!)
    “Live”, Donny Hathaway
    “Manny’s Car Wash”, Hiram Bullock (great!)

    “Cold Sweat”, James Brown
    “I Was Made To Love Her”, Stevie Wonder
    “Outta Love Again”, Van Halen
    “Jungle Boogie”, Kool and the Gang
    “What Is Hip”, Tower of Power
    “Macarthur Park”, Richard Harris

    Many alternate lists exist in the mind of this “active senior”…

  • Is it bad that this list is so focused on me and my guitar? Is there a narcissism filter on this blog?

    1. Pixies – Surfer Rosa. I literally drove around town for hours listening to this album as it rewired my head.

    2. Television – Marquee Moon. I honestly don’t know why this album hasn’t been ripped off a thousand times; it reinvented rock guitar as far as I’m concerned.

    3. Butthole Surfers – Locust Abortion Technician. Probably my first real exposure to noise music, and quite the giggling hellscape.

    4. DEVO – Are We Not Men? Surely one of the most important records of all time. I vaguely remember it coming out and being confused at the time.

    5. Big Black – Atomizer and Songs About Fucking. I had no idea guitars could sound like that. Then I tried to get that sound for years.

    6. Dinosaur Jr. – Bug and You’re Living All Over Me. The return of the guitar hero, in a form I could relate to. Definitely tried to rip off J. Mascis, a lot.

    7. Sonic Youth – EVOL and Sister. These remain my two favorite SY albums. It’s an understatement to say that they altered the way I (and everyone) looked at a guitar.

    8. My Bloody Valentine – Loveless. Of course. I think I got two bands out of chasing that sound. Luckily for my hearing I wasn’t chasing the volume part.

    9. English Beat – I Just Can’t Stop It. This record halted a slide into endless grunge and stoner rock. Suddenly I wanted to hear happy, percussive guitars a lot!

    10. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets. Took me a while to realize what was happening here, but when it clicked, it did so in a big way, and influenced how I look at collaboration and song creation and atmosphere.

  • NotSoFast

    Probably more about me and my path, but here goes chronologically:

    1. Live Cream Volume II – Tracks 1 -4
    2. Electric Ladyland – Hendrix (although Axis was probably first)
    3. Scary Monsters – Bowie Side 1 The 80s begin with a bang
    4. Pretenders II
    5. Speaking in Tongues – Talking Heads
    6. Fables of the Reconstruction – REM
    7. Live Aid – Miles Davis’s set with Robben Ford (not technically a record but I wish it was)
    8. Miles Davis Best of The Capitol/Blue Note Years – Earlier stuff but I love it
    9. Erroll Garner – Saw a clip of him on a cable access “arts” channel and was transfixed. Have yet to find a recording that is quite as mind blowing (Concert by The Sea is good but not the same).
    10. Sweet Relief – Victoria Williams & friends – love the lyrics and with Victoria covers are better.

    Currently digging Umphrey’s McGee’s Live at Lollapalooza 2006 The guitars are what I would do if I were better. And looking forward to checking out some of the others on this list!

  • Bony FIngers

    Ten Albums That Made My Head Explode

    Beauty In the Beast – Wendy Carlos
    Music like you’ve never heard, the beauty of these cuts is breathtaking, beyond words. ‘Just Imaginings’ features a 144 note per octave scale. This album is all electronic folks, but EDM it ain’t. Wendy has got to be one of the best composers to ever live. It’s like inventing completely new colors before you start painting because the “normal” colors won’t paint your picture. But don’t think this album is a bunch of academic noodling. It’s more like a highly developed electronic folk-music from an undiscovered planet. No 12 note even tempered scales were used on this album.

    2. Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares – by The Bulgarian State Radio and Television Female Vocal Choir
    I know, the group title sounds like you’re in for an excruciating hour of police state approved music by the State Ministry for Musical Propaganda. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    Like the Beauty In the Beast album, this one has the effect of putting my brain in an almost altered state, mentally levitating me off the couch. You’ve not lived until you’ve experienced the beauty of non-western harmonies. A few quotes from the liner notes; “two voices track each other in parallel intervals astounding to our ears-seconds, sevenths, and ninths. … For us the diaphonic seconds want to resolve; for them, they simply float.”

    3. Romantic Warrior – Return to Forever
    Very composed music for “jazz.” An epic album that influenced my playing and compositional concepts like no other. Wonderful, wonderful music at such a high level of development that even Chick or RTF have not since equaled. Almost the creation of a new genre of music, a real fusion.

    4. Aspects – The Eleventh House featuring Larry Coryell
    (featuring Larry my left little toe, featuring is not a strong enough term. It’s more like Larry Coryell melting the frets off his guitar with the stellar support of The Eleventh House.)
    Funk Jazz at it’s zenith IMHO. The album opens with ‘Kowloon Jag’ which showcases the jaw dropping ferocity of Larrys ring modulated/fuzzed/phased/? guitar solo over an insane 11/4 groove.
    While most of the rest of the album sticks to 4/4 funk groves the intensity never lets up. It’s funk, so the harmonic framework is limited. However, Larry never fails to disappoint offering track after track of searing lead work with a guitar tone as sharp as a razor. Killer grooves, intense guitar solos, world class musicians. What more do you need?

    5. Discipline – King Crimson
    Interlocking guitar and Chapman Stick parts built on limited thematic “germs” in different permutations abound. Sometimes each player is in a different time signature playing their rotating part over a 4/4 bass drum groove. A record that’s not just heard, it’s experienced. Meditative and mind-melting all at the same time.

    6. Songs In The Key of Life – Stevie Wonder
    Simply the best “Pop” record ever made. Socially conscious & meaningful lyrics accomplished without being pretentious. Booty shaking grooves. I’ve got it on wax, CD, and the Najee all instrumental cover album. Not many true geniuses in music. Steveland Morris is one of them.

    7. Heavy Weather – Weather Report
    An ear-opening experience for me. Zawinul wrote the book on how to use synths in jazz. And what can you say bout Jaco the musician? Insane chops, like Clark or Wooten, but no one’s playing is as lyrical as Jacos was. This is what “fusion” jazz really is, a totally natural mix, not a record company marketing ploy.

    8. Irakere – (by) Irakere
    My introduction to jazz/funk Cuban style. Polyrhythms anyone?

    9. Eat a Peach – The Allman Brothers Band
    Get’s my nomination for the best southern rock album ever.

    10. Django ’35-’39 – The Quintet of the Hot Club of France
    (I’ve got twice as many fretting fingers as Django, so how come I’m not even half as good?)
    How can 70+ year old music sound this fresh? Easy, when music is this naturally spontaneous it’s automatically timeless. Improvisation at it’s best. Django and violinist Stephane Grappelly were born to play together.

    HONORABLE MENTION: (no particular order, I don’t have five hours to decide)
    These are excellent albums that I love to this day, but not quite up to head explosion levels.

    Bartok The Six String Quartets – Guarneri Quartet

    Switched-On Bach and Clockwork Orange – both albums by Walter (Wendy) Carlos

    Computer World – Kraftwerk

    No Mystery – Return to Forever
    Funk/Jazz RTF style. Dayride, Jungle Waterfall, and Sofistifunk are some of my favorite tunes to this day.

    Rags to Rufus – Featuring Chaka Khan
    The deeply soulful music of Chaka in her prime. And the band Rufus took a backseat to no one in laying down funky grooves for her.

    Royal Rappins – Millie Jackson & Isaac Hayes
    If someone ever asks you to define real R&B, don’t say anything, just hook them up with a copy of this record.

    Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants – Stevie Wonder
    Not your usual Stevie Wonder album. Very experimental using some of the latest electronic instruments of the day. Critics mostly hated it, even calling it goofy. I loved it. I’m goofy as well.

    Beyond Standard – Hiromi / Hiromi’s Sonicbloom
    Time Control – Hiromi / Hiromi’s Sonicbloom
    Brain – Hiromi
    Hiromi is the only “new” fusion artist I’ve heard that really excites me. There may be others, so much music, so little time. A Chick Corea level composer. (almost)

  • Beard Face

    Off the top of my head and maybe in chronological order;

    Mile Davis- Kind of Blue
    This is the album that first opened me up to jazz. It’s a classic, and a great introduction to the world of jazz.

    Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968
    Everything on here is fantastic. it’s a great historical document of what was going on in rock music at the time. Plus it has Spazz by the Elastik Band on it, which is one of the strangest/greatest songs ever.

    Motown- 64 Greatest hits
    Impossible to choose just one Motown album, but this collection has a cross section of some of the fantastic stuff coming out of Detroit at the time

    Zeppelin III
    A perfect departure from their first two albums. I love Page’s acoustic style and his usage of open tunings, it has been very influential on my development as a player. Plus.. The Immigrant Song
    (I remember reading a story that the song was about a concert at a university in Denmark[?] that the school tried to cancel but the students banded together to put the show anyway. It was a great story, kind of made the song for me.)

    Tom Waits- Heart of Saturday Night
    The first three albums are masterpiece’s from beginning to end. Chose this one because it really builds on Closing Time so well, without rehashing everything on it.

    The Ramones- All the stuff and more Vol. 1
    The first three Ramones Albums on one disc! Don’t think it can get much better. I’ve always appreciated the stripped down approach to music the Ramones took. The songs are all so simple, but so good.

    Sonic Youth- Self-titled EP
    Not my intro to SY by any means, but they are a huge influence on me as a musician. Gordon, and Ranoldo’s vocals on I Dreamed I Dream are among the best in their catalog. Plus it opened up my eyes to the SY/ Ferris Buller’s Day Off Connection 😉

    Brainiac- Bonsai Superstar
    This one is the most obscure of the list. Brainiac was a local band in Dayton, where I grew up. The big local heroes Guided By Voices are a much better know band and great in their own right, but they have NOTHING on Brainiac.

    Flaming Lips- The Soft Bulletin
    All I can say here is that if you’ve heard The Soft Bulletin you probably get this choice and if you haven’t heard it you should look it up right now.

    Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
    So great from beginning to end. Poppy, well written, and well produced I think this one is one of the greatest albums of the past ten years. Everything on it is just so good. The Underdog alone merits it’s inclusion on this list.

    There are so many great bands that could go on this list. It’s probably criminal to not include The Stooges, Bowie, REM, Sam Cooke, Buddy Holly, and so many others. Part of me feels like 10 albums would barely allows enough space for The Beatles alone. That is all well trodden area though so I wanted to bring something else to the discussion.

  • Victor

    In no particular order:

    1. Neil Young-Weld. BIG. DUMB. GUITAR. And it’s just perfect. It sounds as warbled, shrieking, and broken as Neil’s voice. The version of Hey Hey My My is the best I’ve ever heard and the simple, soulful, and sublime phrasing on Cortez The Killer is a constant reminder that less is more, more is less.

    2. The Afghan Whigs-Black Love. One of my favorite records of all time. 70’s funk meets mangled film noir. It’s a desperate soundtrack to a broken man’s lament. Schizophrenic yet tasteful slide parts that somehow conjure Duane Allman and Captain Beefheart simultaneously. Dark, anthemic songs that tell the story of one man’s fall from grace. So good it hurts.

    3. Godspeedyou!blackemporer-Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven. Songs don’t always need words. A perfect blend of strings, horns, and modern music make for an incredible listening experience.

    4. Boris/Sunn o)))-Altar. Pitch black, rumbling, unsettling. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but it’s a journey. Difficult listening is always the most rewarding to me, and this one is no exception.

    5. Mark Lanegan-Bubblegum. So many amazing songs, so many great cameos. PJ Harvey’s voice on Hit The City blends perfectly with Lanegan’s junk sick wail. Methamphetamine Blues breaks bad with trashy guitars, rambling vocals, and clanging industrial beats with members from Queens of the Stoneage and the original Guns and Roses line up. The slower songs like Some Strange Religion and 100 days add a quiet and contemplative side to an all around great album.

    6. Blonde Redhead-Misery Is a Butterfly. Haunting. Beautiful. Elegant. Music. A wonderful turning point in this mercurial band’s career.

    7. Tomahawk-Oddfellows. One of the least known supergroups of the past decade. Mike Patton, Duane Denison, and John Stainer unite forces to make a record that is unique and rivals anything that any of them did with their respective former bands.

    8. The Bell Rays-Let It Blast. Iggy and the Stooges meets Motown. Beastly punk riffs with sweet, soulful vox. No other band in the world could pull this off nearly this well.

    9. Darondo-Listen To My Song. Kind of a greatest hits of an eccentric soul singer I’ve only recently discovered. Such great music. I dare you to listen to it and not dance.

    10. Mogwai-Rave Tapes. Somehow primitive and modern, retro and futuristic all at once.

  • Snakefingers

    1. Martin Simpson, Leaves of Grass. The acoustic guitar as a singer.
    2. J. S. Bach, Prelude #1, Christopher Parkening, Parkening Plays Bach. Redefined classical guitar.
    3. Ry Cooder, Great Dream from Heaven. Fingerpicking in effing 3 4 time and smooth as it gets.
    4. Joseph Spence, Happy All the Time. Roots music with dirt clods clinging. Go Joe, go. A musical definition of free spirited.
    5. Amos Garrett, the guitar solo on Maria Muldaur’s Midnight at the Oasis. I was riding the bus home from school and sat transfixed. Good thing I wasn’t driving.
    6. The soprano sax solo at the end of Dan Fogelberg’s Same Old Auld Lang Syne. I’ve see it attributed to both Phil Woods and Michael Brecker. Whoever played it, Damn! Never knew a sappy old melody could wring my guts like that.
    7. Jimmy Page, Black Dog. I know Plant copped the lyrics, but Page’s riff made the song.
    8. Martin Simpson, Boots of Spanish Leather from A Nod to Bob
    9. Ritchie Blackmoor, Highway Star. Dumb song. Incredible solo.
    10. S. E. Roggi, My Lovely Elizabeth.
    11. Samuel Barber, Adagio for Strings. Still leaves me spent and quivering.
    12. Laurindo Almieda & Sally Terry, Bachianas Brasilieras # 5 by Villa Lobos. I was waking from a nap when I first heard this on a CBC broadcast. Couldn’t move for 20 minutes afterward. Just remembering the experience makes me shiver a little.
    13. Richland Women Blues, Mississippi John Burt. Deceptively simple.

  • Snakefingers

    A correction: the title of Martin Simpson’s album of solo guitar instrumentals is Leaves of Life, not Leaves of Grass. Gotta keep pickers and poets sorted.

  • Snakefingers

    And Mississippi John’s last name is Hurt, not Burt.

  • Dan Millard

    A bit late to this, but here is my ten:
    1. Harry Belafonte- Calypso. My dad bought this for me when I was a kid. It was nothing like anything on the radio as a kid in Miami in 1979.
    2. Twisted Sister- We’re Not Gonna Take It. Borrowed the album from a friend, my parents became concerned. Sat through a lecture from dad that clearly involved more thought than Dee and the boys had put into the making of said record.
    3. U2- Under A Blood Red Sky-The Electric Co. My older sister bought this tape and I kinda stole it. The guitar part sounded like nothing on the radio (theme!) The outro sounded like shooting lightening into the sky.
    4. Dire Straits- Concert For Mandela. Hey, that guy in the cool suit can play guitar pretty well, I bet I could do that…
    5. Neil Young- Saturday Night Live- Rockin’ In The Free World. I saw this episode, where they couldn’t follow Neil with cameras, it was great, a bit later, Mom got me a subscription to Rolling Stone, where I learned about Lou Reed, and had my mind expanded by Randy Newman and a good English teacher.
    6. Tom Waits- Bone Machine (et al). Oh, this is how it’s done.
    7. Miles Davis- Sketches Of Spain.
    8. Johnny Hartman And John Coltrane- Lush Life.
    9. Duke Ellington- Blues In Orbit. Yes. You’ll argue this is the best sound ever?

  • These are in order of my discovering them:
    1 Sibelius – Symphonies
    Jukka-Pekka Saraste’s recordings are my faves, though they were not the first I heard
    2 Stockhausen – Stimmung
    I didn’t know music could do that!
    3 Ligeti – Atmospheres
    Or that!
    4 Led Zeppelin – Presence
    The most essential Zep
    5 Captain Beefheart – Trout Mask Replica
    This changed everything
    6 Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians (1st recording)
    So did this
    7 Joni Mitchell – Mingus (or Blue)
    Impossible to choose between them
    8 Ennio Morricone – Once Upon a Time in the West
    IMO the most beautiful melody ever written
    9 Julie Tippetts – Sunset Glow
    Wow, just WOW
    10 Idjah Hadidjah – Tonggeret
    THE most sensuous music
    bonus Deerhoof – Milkman
    if I have to pick just one, but go see them live! Hope for the future…

  • Unwound – New Plastic Ideas
    Shellac – At Action Park
    PJ Harvey – Rid of Me
    Slint – Spiderland
    PIL – Metal Box
    DIrty Three – Self Titled
    Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing
    The Stooges – 1969
    The Cure – Pornography
    The Wipers – Over the Edge

  • Elliot Diggs

    Wheew! Late to the party (again…) but now that I’ve painstakingly copied all these lists for future discoveries, here is my list of 10 albums that blew my mind and made me rethink guitar or music in general.

    1. Robin Trower – For Earth Below
    what a sound! gratuitous saturation and wah, the most vocal guitar work I’ve heard.

    2. Pink Floyd/Flaming Lips – Dark Side Of The Moon
    obviously the first one blew me away, but the second was a surprise. A friend told me about it and I thought it would be awful, I mean how do you cover the 3rd biggest album of all time right?… Well they did it and had the balls to do it completely their way. Totally changed my thoughts on cover tunes.

    3. Yes – Relayer
    “..this is..weird…but I like it, so it’s music right?”

    4. Zappa – We’re Only In It For The Money (also shortly after: Uncle Meat)
    “…is this, music?… I guess I, kinda like”

    5. John Cage – listened to 2 hours of his stuff in a college class, and if I hadn’t started with Yes/Floyd/Crimson/Zappa I would not have been prepared to accept Cage as “music”. I was never the same after that day.

    6. Nirvana – Bleach
    I had never heard music so raw and visceral (mainly a blues and prog guy, all 70s and earlier) It was like marrying the power of Zeppelin with the mania of Zappa.

    7. Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf
    “..wait, what? concept albums aren’t just a 70’s fad?!”

    8. Daft Punk – Discovery
    Justice – Genesis
    The Field – From Here We Go Sublime
    I asked a friend to introduce me to EDM, this was the result and it shook me (drugs do that sometimes…)

    9. Imogen Heap – Speak For Yourself
    I never knew “pop”, music not centered around guitar, could be so damn amazing. I’ve since become a huge fan of all her work.

    10. Year Of No Light – Ausserwelt
    I wanted real heavy metal, not buzzing beedily beedily 100mph noise, but thick monsterous “behemoths leveling mountain ranges in unfathomably ancient wars of apocalyptic proportions” metal. (think Vol4 Sabbath with Tool, Deep Purple and Chevelle, but bigger lower deeper…heavier)
    I had given up on finding it in a sea of Slipknot and Korn, when I stumbled on Persephone and about lost my mind. As a friend aptly put it, the riff in the second half is like a force of nature. It feels like it could level a city, all the power and fury of the ancient gods in a 5 chord riff! I love it

  • Roman

    …I’ve discovered today new Mosaic box “Complete Jimmy Lunceford Decca Recordings”. They did really great job remastering… I was surprised… All those 1934 stuff…and Hell’s Bell’s. Ellington + Debussy.. Lunceford is pure magic, hope you’ll enjoy new box.

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