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Happy 20th Anniversary to These Rarely Mentioned 1991 Albums


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I believe 1991 was the year I discovered the Internet, which opened up a whole new world of musical possibilities. This was before B1FF@psu.edu and his ilk got AOL accounts (DC Talk R00LZ, D00D!!!!), and there were actually substantive, lengthy discussions happening on newsgroups. Anybody else remember newsgroups? I got in trouble for continually highjacking conversations on rec.music.christian, turning them into more general music discussions. At some point someone suggested that we take our tangents elsewhere, so we did, actually forming a little mini-newsgroup called "Tangents" that exists to this day. I know Denes House was there as a young pup. Shortly thereafter the VoL group formed, and maybe Orphans of God, and that's probably where I first encountered many of you, as well as the guys from Paste.

Ah, memories. I don't know if B1FF is still out there, but I'm certain that he R00LZ.

By the way, Pitchfork notes today that Talk Talk's Laughing Stock has just been reissued, more or less on its 20th anniversary. They awarded it a coveted "10" and for once they're correct.

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Andy Whitman wrote:

: Anybody else remember newsgroups? I got in trouble for continually highjacking conversations on rec.music.christian, turning them into more general music discussions.

That's funny. I discovered both the internet and rec.music.christian in 1994 -- three years after you did -- and yours was a hallowed name there, one that people often invoked in a sort of "I wonder what Andy Whitman would say about this?" or "Andy Whitman had some great things to say about this" sort of way. :)

I don't know when this practice started, but by the time I made my first trip to Cornerstone in 2000, there was an annual "RMC barbecue" there, so I met a bunch of those people in person there, and a number of us still keep in touch via an e-mail discussion list.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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How I went from Husker Du, REM, Camper Van Beethoven, Dylan and Lou Reed to a strict diet of only "annointed" Maranatha Praise, Keith Green and Kelly Willard, is still utterly baffling to me twenty years later. I'll leave that one to a qualified professional some day.

I wouldn't be able to help you with this one. In the mid-80's, I'd gone from Top 40 pop to CCM, so by 1991, my listening choices were mainly the likes of Wayne Watson and Petra. It took an immersion in classical music a couple of years later to let the healing begin.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa


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I was a freshman in high school the Fall of '91, which was the perfect time to play Nevermind on repeated rotation. I still listen to Side 2 (yes, i had it on tape) fairly often, as in once every few years.

I'd forgotten until now, but the other 1991 album I ran into the ground was the self-titled Galactic Cowboys debut. It still sounds pretty good, My School in particular.

(I enjoyed the Out of Time songs on the radio, but Automatic was the first REM album I actually owned).

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I remember 1991 as being a big year in music for me. Listened repeatedly to Chagall Guevera, DA's Kalhoun, the Galactic Cowboys album, U2's Achtung Baby.

Another couple of albums that really stood out for me: Drivin 'n Cryin, a regional band that was big in the Georgia/South Carolina area where I lived at the time, put out their best album, Fly Me Courageous, good old fashioned muscular rock and roll. Also, Randy Matthews, after years of retirement and spokesmanship for World Vision, put out an independent release called The Edge of Flight, which I would call the best CCM album nobody has ever heard of, and possibly the best CCM album I've ever heard. Touching stories of family and children, and the struggles of the less fortunate in society.

Also that year stood out for me in that it was the first time I went to the Cornerstone Festival. I got to see Chagall Guevera, The Throes, The Violet Burning, The Choir live for the first time, as well as an incredible midnight show by Adam Again I will never forget. I remember Gene Eugune singing a song named “Resurrection Blvd,” that totally floored me, mesmerizing and haunting. And the guys from the Scattered Few came over to sing background by the end of the set. Also I heard my first Over the Rhine song, “If I’m Drowning," from a cassette Cornerstone gave to everyone at the fest, a number of different bands. “If I’m Drowning” immediately made me an OTR fan, which I am to this day. Naturally, I heard the song after they played their set that year and I missed it, but I've made up for that in the years hence by seeing them probably 15-20 times in concert.

Another memory that stands out to me. A CCM group from Australia called Scary Cats was visiting the states, on tour with Whiteheart. Our little church in Augusta, GA, was trying to do a Friday night club/coffeehouse kind of thing, and was booking tiny local Georgia bands to play. Scary Cats was passing though between Whiteheart tour shows in Atlanta in Charlotte, and they stopped by to do a show for us. Most of the bands we ususally weren't that good, but Scary Cats played a set of INXS-knock-off dance rock, and they were a lot of fun, and a blast to hang out with (not to mention they had a couple of incredibly cute backup singers with charming Australian accents)_. They had a cassette for sale with six songs on it, but I never heard anything from them again. A shame, they were a lot more fun than Whiteheart.

There were some other things about that year that were a little less cool: incessant playing of Amy Grant's Heart in Motion album from all my CCM-loving friends, and for a brief moment, I developed an obsession with CCM hip-hop acts like SFC, PID, and the Dynamic Twins. That phase quickly passed, though.

Edited by Crow
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AMG also made their lists. Tim Sendra recommended the Pooh Sticks Great White Wonder, so I purchased and got it in the mail yesterday.

Not much from this year stuck with me. But let me make you listen to this and this (second song from the same album - Osez Joséphine - but in a 1995 live version)

Edited by Hugues
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Guest Thom Jurek

Hughes is my HERO for mentioning this brilliant album by Bashung!!!! This is his masterpiece but he has many fine recordings including late ones such as Fantasie Militaire (1998) and L'Impudence (2002), which are well worth taking the time to discover--even if you don't understand a word of French. Thanks Hughes for bringing this up; I totally forgot it was released in 1991.

Edited by Thom Jurek
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So far in this thread I have to say that Bandwagonesque is the single best record mentioned. Sounds as glorious today as it did then.

Granted, back then it had to fight with Nevermind for time in the tape deck of my Corolla, but it held it's own in every way.

..and a few more also-rans from '91:

Screaming Trees, Uncle Anesthesia - still a couple of years out from their biggest commercial success on the Singles soundtrack...UA was their first major label release and although they were on the way to doing so, they hadn't yet stripped out the swirling psychedelic edge that permeated their first few records.

So it's a transitional record of sorts, from what I considered then (and pretty much still do) to be the finest non-grunge rock band of the grunge era.

Chickasaw Mud Puppies 8-track Stomp - Last (of two) records by the Athens,Ga based duo that had close associations with the REM camp. Performed an extremely lof-i greasy Southern blues on many home-made intruments. Recently took back up and have been performing here and there for most of this year.

The Feelies, Time For A Witness - The one album they recorded that sounded like they did when they played live. In short, it rocked. They were at the peak of their powers as a band.

But The Feelies never did fit in any movement or scene and once again their record was ignored, even among "music" people who were looking to Seattle and to hip-hop for all their music (and I include myself in the category).

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