Is there a quantifiable distinction, from piece to piece, that marks an album as worthy of being called a masterpiece? Is it the melody? The rhythm and groove? Or is it the statement buried within the lyrical subtext? Beyond that, is a masterwork simply a product of its time? A necessary snapshot of an instant, written in both sound and stone, or in this case, vinyl.
Joan Baez’ 10th album, Any Day Now was released in 1968 and marked her return to the folk genre she had put aside for the two preceding albums. Baptism– which came out earlier that same year – was an album of both sung and spoken poetry, and 1967’s Joan contained folk renditions of pop and rock n’ roll songs by artists like John Lennon and Paul McCartney and Paul Simon. Continue reading “Joan Baez – Any Day Now”
It takes a great album to speak to the events of the time without using any lyrics while still being revered over five decaqdes after the initial release date. Herbie Hancock’s 1965 album Maiden Voyage does just that. In a time ravaged by racial and political tension, Hancock is able to parlay his skill in modal jazz into an album that is just as erratic as the time when it was released. Continue reading “Herbie Hancock – Maiden Voyage”
In February 1957, the world of country music was forever altered. Capitol Records signed “singer, songwriter, and guitarist” Buck Owens and his newly formed band, the Buckaroos. The band consisted of four other members— guitarist and fiddler Don Rich, bass guitarist Doyle Holly, steel guitarist Tom Brumley and drummer Willie Cantu. On July 26, 1965, the band released a double-sided LP album titled Before You Go that consisted of a total of 12 songs. (“Buck Owens.” Newsmakers. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Biography in Context. Web. 23 Oct. 2016.) Continue reading “Buck Owens – Before You Go”