Monday, March 09, 2009


I found this list via digg, and it's got me thinking about the whole enterprise of the list. Which I love, I think by now it goes without saying.

The list under our discussion, "75 Albums Every Man Should Own," is one of Esquire's millions of lists of 75 things (in honor of their 75th anniversary), and comprises a scintillating mix of things I haven't heard by artists I like or admire (Willie Nelson, David Bowie, Dire Straits), artists I've never listened to, or at least not much (Minor Threat, Cody Chesnutt, Bill Callahan), and artists I hate, viscerally (KISS). Oh, and recordings I know and love: What's Going On, Rubber Soul, The Bends, Blood on the Tracks, Combat Rock, Who's Next, Grace.

Now: What recordings would I say that every human needs to hear? I cannot give you 75, but perhaps, in honor of my blog's almost 4th anniversary, I could choose four, or eight, or twelve. Or maybe I could, instead of saying what's essential, or required listening, or de rigueur, or something like that . . . I could just say, here are a bunch of artists who hardly ever, if ever, let me down:
  • Emmylou Harris
  • Gillian Welch
  • Keith Jarrett
  • Brad Mehldau
  • Lindsey Buckingham
  • any of them there Wainwrights
  • The Beatles, Beck, The Who
  • Mavis Staples
  • Van Morrison
  • Neil Young
  • Nellie McKay
  • Patti Smith
  • Richard Thompson
  • Rickie Lee Jones
I'll add Joni Mitchell, who has become so cranky lately that it's hard to say she never disappoints, but still. That's eighteen, not a multiple of four in any way that I can think of, but it's a little list of, maybe, kind of, some of the crucial artists for me.

And yours?


kathy riordan said...

I was just thinking about Joni Mitchell. And dulcimers. And California. And you. And I wrote about you. Here:

Sheonagh said...

What an eclectic list. Luna and Pavement (hmm nice said bloke scratching chin thoughtfully). But Pulp's This is Hardcore over Different Class that's just all wrong.

Bloke likes a good list. Have you noticed how often music magazines resort to lists, fills pages effortlessly so it does...

kathy riordan said...

Oh, since I've dropped by, here's my list, of sorts:

The Beatles
Bruce Springsteen
Johnny Cash
Johnny Mathis
Elvis Presley
Elton John
Bob Dylan
Leonard Cohen
Joni Mitchell

Yeah, just one woman. Go figure. The ninth one could easily be interchanged for Judy Collins. But Leonard Cohen is her muse. They're really the same person, in case no one told you. And I made it an even ten, well, just because. After that I start going directions like The Frames and Calexico. Or Crosby, Stills, Nash and. . .

susansinclair said...

I heart Patti Smith. I was vicariously tough and bitchy through her, once upon a time.

isley said...

What about James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Shawn Colvin james Taylor, Radio Head Butt hole surfers Hanson Lauryn Hill

I am kidding about the surfers and hanson like I hope you are kidding about the Who. (never let you down) what about tommy yuck.

kathy riordan said...

What was I thinking? It's an Esquire list. And it's for, not humans, men. It's all seduction stuff. Uh-huh. The one album everyone must own? Tumbleweed Connection, Elton John. Okay, I've said it. And that includes humans. Not just men. Pfffft Esquire.


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