Sound Choices

At Five Katz antiques, we love music.  Whatever format you choose, compact discs, digital mp3s, reel to reel tape or vinyl, we love it all. Blues, Jazz, Classic Rock, New Wave, Punk, Classical, Folk, it’s all great.

Since we sell vintage vinyl at the store, and have recently added new records to our inventory, I thought I would take a moment to list some titles that no true audiophile should be without in their collection. Well actually, they are some of my own favorites, but even if you don’t own them, they are albums that everyone should have at least listened to at one time or another.

A few of my picks will seem obvious to everyone, and others not so. I am always scouring the internet for new sounds. I buy CD’s in thrift stores based sometimes just on the cover art and I am surprised many times with awesome new sounds. I love finding new music that I can add to my collection that expands my experience and gets me excited. I hope this list may help you do the same.

In no particular order here they are. Well, that’s not completely true; I have owned more copies of Dark Side of the Moon, in more formats, than any other album I have ever owned. I guess that’s why it’s first. The rest are in the order I remembered them. Enjoy!

 

Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon

Released March 1st, 1973 by Harvest Records. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, London.

Many Pink Floyd albums were concept albums that dealt with a myriad of topics. Dark Side of the Moon is no exception exploring themes such as greed, existence and death as well as mental illness. One of the greatest albums of all time, it charted for 950 weeks (over 18 years) and has sold over 45 million copies, having been re-engineered and re-released several times. This album is still amazing with a quality set of headphones.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska

Released September 30th, 1982 by Columbia Records. Recorded at Thrill Hill East – on a 4-track tape recorder. This album was originally recorded as a demo intended to be re-recorded with the E Street Band, but the tone of the recording very much suited the dark theme of the record. It is limited in which instruments were used, with emphasis on Springsteen’s voice.  It is not an album for everyone as the subjects covered range from spree killers to the downtrodden with little hope. It is however a haunting tribute to emotion and music.

 

Tom Waits – Nighthawks at the Diner

Released October 21st, 1975 by Asylum Records. Recorded at Record Plant Studios. Wait’s third album, it was recorded over four sessions in front of an invited small audience set up to re-create an atmosphere similar to a small jazz club. The album meanders between small spoken word segments and story like songs and the entire album has an interactive and rambling feeling to it. It is easy to imagine yourself in both the audience and also at the locations and experiences that Waits sings about.

 

Lindsey Buckingham & Stevie Nicks – Buckingham Nicks

Released September 5th, 1973 by Polydor Records. Recorded at Sound City Studios.  Their only studio album, it was a commercial failure on its original release and has gained a cult following since. It has never been re-released in any official format and despite the duos later success as part of Fleetwood Mac, there have been no plans or attempts to do so. There are many different bootleg versions that can be found, but the original vinyl is difficult to find and expensive if you do. If you are a Fleetwood Mac fan, look this one up. I was fortunate to find a sealed copy a few years ago, which Is still sealed. Someday I may even open it and play it.

 

Mike Oldfield – Tubular Bells

Released May 25th, 1973 by Virgin Records. Recorded at The Manor, Oxfordshire, England. Mike Oldfield’s debut instrumental album on which he played nearly every instrument (by his account 20). It was accomplished by recording nearly 300 overdubs on a 16-track tape recorder and had nearly 2000 additional effects added in. Not an easy album to record, especially from someone only 19 years old at the time. The opening track is most easily recognized due to its use in the soundtrack of the movie “The Exorcist” in 1973. The album was also very instrumental in the success of the newly formed Virgin Records label. It was Virgin’s very first release.  In addition to his other voluminous work,  Oldfield has released several follow-up alternate versions as well as re-recordings of this amazing album. Another one for good stereo speakers or headphones.

 

Steve Miller Band – Book of Dreams

Released May 1977 by Capital Records. Recorded 1975-76 At CBS Studios, California. Book of Dreams was the band’s 10th studio album. The album personifies 1970’s rock with a solid sound and songs such as Jet Airliner and Jungle Love have a timeless quality to them and are enjoyed now as much as they were then. Great tempos, great lyrics and great talent make this a staple in any quality record collection. A fun listen that takes you back.

 

Yes – Fragile

Released November 1971 by Atlantic Records. Recorded September 1971 at Advision Studios, Fitzrovia, London.  The bands 4th album premiered their new keyboard artist Rick Wakeman. A classically trained pianist, he brought talent and new electronic instruments such as the mellotron and minimoog synthesizer into the band’s sound. Fragile features four “Group tracks” and five individual artist tracks, one by each member of the band. The album is the first to feature the art of Roger Dean who would illustrate many of the bands future albums. Fragile has been released and re-mastered many times, giving credence to its double platinum standing. A true classic.

 

Supertramp – Crime of the Century

Released September 13th, 1974 by A&M Records. Recorded February to June 1974 at Ramport Studios, Scorpio Sound & Trident Studios. London. The third album by this progressive rock band proved to be their commercial breakthrough. The final eight songs that appear on the album were selected from 42 recorded demo tracks. Depending on what country you are in, the album is certified gold to diamond, selling more than a million copies in Canada. As the breakout hit for the band they would reach greater commercial success in the near future with Breakfast in America. Crime of the Century  has a straight up quality sound and feels bigger than life at times.

 

Tears for Fears – Songs From the Big Chair

Released February 25th, 1985 by Phonogram/mercury Records. Recorded at Wool Hall Studio, Beckington, England in 1984. After a successful start with their first album, Tears for Fears were part of the British MTV invasion. Songs from the Big Chair features several classic and timeless pop songs and captures the era perfectly. The album features several concepts including primal scream therapy and the title was derived from a line in the TV movie Sybil. Head over heels, and Everybody wants to rule the world were the two top hits. Strong vocals as well as deep sound make this a must listen.

 

Toto – Debut Album – Self Titled

Released October 15th, 1978 by Columbia Records. Recorded at Studio 55, Hollywood, CA. Toto is an interesting band because they were made up of members who were already very strong sessions players. Although the band had many members join and then later leave the band, they maintained a cohesive sound that was easily identifiable. Initially the band said the name was from Toto the dog, however that’s not quite true. In the beginning they wrote toto on their demo tapes to identify them at the studio, but after someone explained that in Latin, Toto meant “all encompassing” they adopted it as the band’s name to reflect that all the band members had played on so many albums for so many different groups. A great solid record that has stood the test of time.

 

Well there you have it. Ten of my favorite albums from my youthful years. They are still favorites and unlike many others, I can listen to and enjoy the entire albums, not just a few hits. These have surely held up over the 49 years that this list spans and it’s hard to believe I have enjoyed them for over four decades. Great music is timeless and I hope to enjoy them for a couple decades more!

 

Published in Vintage Finds Magazine August/September 2020