A couple of weekends ago, the hubby passed me an article from his weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal (January 20-21, 2007). I don't know where I've been, but I didn't know the WSJ published a weekend edition. Anyway, the article was in the paper's music section (huh, the WSJ has a music section too?) and it dealt with Smokey Robinson's top five favorite albums of all time.
At the top of Smokey's list of albums was none other than one of my all time favorites, Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On' (1971). I wasn't surprised by that pick. I'd dare say you'd be hard pressed to find any true-blue, socially conscious R & B fan who doesn't appreciate the raw, bitter soulfulness of Marvin's 'What's Going On'. Even as a teen, I seldom made it through the entire album with tearing up at some point.
Now, Smokey's next choice, Carole King's 'Tapestry' (1971) did come as a bit of a surprise. I can't say that I've ever really sampled any of Ms. King's work, but I trust Smokey's taste and if he says it's a winner, I'm willing to roll with him. Also, the fact that the album sold more than 10 million copies and won four Grammy awards, is an indication that a lot of other folks agree with him.
Third on SR's list was 'Talking Book' (1972) by Stevie Wonder. Why I don't own his album or cd is a mystery to me. Actually, I'm pretty sure the fact that my folks never owned it, and therefore I couldn't steal . . . I mean borrow it from them is a big part of why I don't currently own a copy. I do intend to rectify that situation ASAP! And rest assured, I have heard and do love much of the music from that album, including "Superstitution" and "You Are The Sunshine of My Life."
Coming in at number four on SR's list was Natalie Cole's 'Unforgettable With Love' (1991). I can't say that I'm a big fan of Ms. Cole's voice. Some of her early work was all right, but she generally sounds like she's whining and singing through her nose to me. But if I were to buy any of her work, I'd probably choose 'Unforgettable' too.
Last on Smokey's list was an album, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't even know existed! Maxwell's Ascension (Never Wonder) 1996 was released shortly before his platinum-selling, full length 'Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite' (1996). I'm a HUGE Maxwell fan, so how this got past me is a mystery. 'Ascension' only contains six tracks and I've probably heard them, but I need to own that bad boy . . . Anyway, the fact that it made Smokey's top five, is interesting. As much as I truly love me some Maxwell, I can't say that I would put him in my top five . . . possibly my top ten, but not my top five of ALL-TIME.
What would I include on my top five list of albums? Good question. I know I once said if I were ever on a deserted island and could only listen to 3 albums, they would be the following by Marvin Gaye, 'What's Going On', (1971) 'Let's Get It On' (1973) and 'I Want You' (1976). But you know, after reviewing Smokey's list, I think I'd like to make a few tweaks to my own top 5.
Certainly, at the top of my list, just like Smokey's would be Marvin's 'What's Going On' (1971). According to Smokey, Marvin told him the album was written by God. I don't doubt it. Divine inspiration is all up in that bad boy.
Next would probably be something by Aretha . . . either 'I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You' (1967) (I'll be dog if my mama didn't play the heck out of this album when I was growing up) or else Sister Ree's gospel classic 'Amazing Grace'.
Of course, I'd have to have some jazz. My first choice would be 'Kind of Blue' (1959) by Miles Davis, which contains my all time favorite jazz tune 'Blue In Green.' Just recently I learned a couple of interesting facts about the album 'Kind of Blue': it was recorded in just 2 days and it's the best-selling jazz album of all time. As messed up as Miles was, his genius for music is undeniable.
My next jazz choice would be Kirk Whalum's 'Cache' (1993). For those of you who don't know, (you durn well oughta) brother Whalum is a tener saxophonist with Memphis roots. 'Cache' is one of those cds the hubby and I enjoy listening to when we take our road trips. My favorite cuts on the album are 'Fragile' (which was written by Sting) and 'Love is A Losing Game.'
The last selection on my list . . . and I know those of you who have been counting are saying, hey that's 6, but no, I'm counting my Aretha selection as 1 (smile) . . . the last selection is one a lot of folks, even those who think they know me, will find odd. 'Bang!Zoom' (1995) by Bobby McFerrin rounds out my top five. And before you go there, NO, this is none of that sickning, 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' crap.
The album/cd 'Bang!Zoom' is nothing like that. There's something pure and almost tribal about the way McFerrin uses his voice as an instrument on this album. It owns the distinction of being another one of those rare albums that the hubby and I are in mutual agreement about and listen to when we're on the road. When our son was a toddler and we were still cutting his hair and using our kitchen as a makeshift barbershop, we'd always start by popping 'Bang!Zoom' into the cd player. I think because it was soothing.
The album/cd 'Bang!Zoom' is nothing like that. There's something pure and almost tribal about the way McFerrin uses his voice as an instrument on this album. It owns the distinction of being another one of those rare albums that the hubby and I are in mutual agreement about and listen to when we're on the road. When our son was a toddler and we were still cutting his hair and using our kitchen as a makeshift barbershop, we'd always start by popping 'Bang!Zoom' into the cd player. I think because it was soothing.My favorite song on the album has to be 'Freedom Is A Voice'.