Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Albums that let these ears see; Chp 4

Two For the Ages;

Full Moon Fever – Tom Petty

It’s not a career defining album, it’s not even a classic, but it is damn good. It’s pure, American and it speaks to us all. This was my first Tom Petty album and it reinvented the artist for me. Once I thought of him as just one of those radio guys, never delve into the tunes and mostly wrote off a lot of what I heard as just good Top 40. For simple radio listening Tom ranks among those I love to hear the most. His songs are staples of the American way of life. He is just so damn earnest it’s hard to not like him.

This album changed things for me. It brought to focus my inner passion for rockabilly and alt country timing. I never got into Dylan and the Yardbirds were too old for me at this point, but Petty reached me. There is something so endearing about a slightly off tune scratchy voice when it’s filled with the right mix of emotion and the truest of lyrics.

Then there’s the band itself. The lineup born to make good old fashioned, down to earth rock ‘n roll. They look everybit the part and sound even more so. This album marked Tom’s first real attempt at singles and explored some more of the Pop motivated sound of Into the Great Wide Open, possibly a better album just didn’t know that at the time, and took them on a more focused route.

Full Moon Fever sounds a lot like Tom’s just talking to ya. Telling you stories of his life, his dreams and his beliefs; this album just feels right. If nothing else it taught me to disregard stereotypes and to seek out the music that appealed to me alone. This after all was in the crucial social age of middle school. Not a lot of Tom Petty t-shirts floating around the halls of my school.

I even recall scrawling the TP logo onto a picnic table at lunch one day. The following lunch I noticed someone had added “and Garth Brooks RULE!” in complete sarcastic jest. Punk was probably wearing a NOFX shirt.

Chronicle Vol. One – Creedence Clearwater Revival

It may be a greatest hits album, but who cares it’s one of the most astounding collection of songs to be found on one album. This is without a doubt one of the most important bands in American history and this collection belongs in the home of every red-blooded American.

Brandon Flowers of the Killers once noted something to the effect that he wasn’t sure what the tag Emo really meant but if it were up to him he would tag CCR as Emo, because no one sings with as much emotion as John Fogerty.

The songs are relentless here. Hit after hit after hit, each one with it’s own attitude. There are love ballads, free wheelin’ hippy songs, pure American songs, anti-war songs, country rock songs and even an epic take on I Heard It Through the Grapevine…what other rock band can pull that off?

Some argue the merits of this album are against the notion of a true album as this is a collection, namely a packaged assembly of the best material the band had put out to date. It’s almost cheating to take all of a band’s best songs and put them on a record and say it’s an album. Those people are just jealous that they do not have the magnitude of songs to compose such a Chronicle.
Do yourself the honor and abide to your American birth rite and get a copy of C 1:CCR if you do not already own it. If that album is among your collection already, break it out, roll down your windows and let the summer heat blow through your car as you crank the volume dial down to the right.

Play it loud and play it proud!

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