by Kevin Burton
Today’s album challenge post will close the curtain on the series.
This thing could go on forever. There are enough musical paintings in my mind’s eye to fill multiple galleries.
I am charting a new course for Tuesday blog posts about music. For the occasion, I talked with old pal Rollie Dean, who lived through those old musical eras with me. We’re playing “20 questions.”
Rollie: First question, is it true, are you wrapping up the album challenge?
“Yep. Today is the last installment.”
Q2: Why didn’t you make it an even 20 acts on your list? You got so close.
“I am actually. The 20th is Stevie Wonder and “Stevie Wonder’s Original Musiquarium 1.” I won’t go into great detail on that record though because I talked about Stevie on his birthday earlier this year (“The Great Stevie Wonder Turns 70” May 19).
But I will ask, what level of mega-superduperstar do you have to be to outgrow Motown?
Motown was awesome in the 60s and Stevie Wonder helped make it so. But when the child prodigy came of age, his talent, the scope of his work and goals, could no longer fit within the walls of the Motown hit factory. He left the company for two years in the early 70s, returning only when granted full musical autonomy. That was previously unthinkable in Berry Gordy’s universe.
Q3: Come on, change your mind. Don’t you have any other records you want to honor?
“Well, now that you mention it, “Songs In The Attic” by Billy Joel deserves to be on this list. For a while in my 20s I moved every year or two. “Songs In The Attic” served as my good-bye or era-ending record.
The songs “Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway),” “Say Goodbye to Hollywood,” and especially “I’ve loved These Days” all have that feel.
But I’ve already done “52nd Street” by Billy Joel and I want to keep it one album per artist. If I started allowing second albums, then “City To City” by Gerry Rafferty would be mandatory and it goes on and on.
It’s time Rollie, time to move on.
Q4: Wasn’t that you crying real tears when Helen Reddy died? Shouldn’t she be on the list?
“I Am Woman” is a soaring anthem that you have to embrace even if like me, you are not female but a member of some other minority. “Wisdom born of pain” says it all. But the rest of the songs didn’t bring true inspiration.
Q5: What are three acts that almost made the list?
“I would honor Steely Dan, but then I would have to explain their lyrics. Also, Carole King Greatest Hits, Evita Soundtrack.
Q6: Why didn’t you do a post on Richard Pryor? Were you chicken? He did do albums man. He influenced everybody in the 70s.
“Didn’t want to quote too many of his ‘lyrics.’ I may get around to Richard in some other context.”
Q7: Who is a rock and roll villain you discovered during the album challenge?
“Agnes Carpenter, mother of Karen and Richard. Despicable human being. Read “Little Girl Blue” by Randy L. Schmidt for details.
Q8: Beside the Joel and Rafferty sets, what are three other records by the acts you featured that you recommend?
“You’re Welcome Here” by Cynthia Clawson, “Priority” by The Imperials, and “20 Millas” by Flans.
Q9: You’re aware that I don’t speak Spanish and can’t understand the Flans music, right?
“Try “Gentle Moments” by Evie, “Luck of the Draw” by Bonnie Raitt, and “Wakened By The Wind” by Susan Ashton. Gave you some extras to show my heart is in the right place. But check out the Flans tunes, man. Don’t be so closed-minded.”
Q10: You’re out of space and I only have nine, uh, ten questions in. What are you going to do now genius?
“We’ll wrap this up next week–”
Rollie: “But you said this was the last post–”
“Rollie my phone is about to die. Talk to you next week. Get your questions ready, OK? (click).
Next Tuesday, with Rollie’s help, we’ll talk about what future music posts might look like.