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I'm sure there are plenty of albums that we love, cherish, etc., but just get shot down by the remaining population of the world. The sort of albums that even fans of the band hate (I'm sure Cheap Trick's the Doctor has a fan, somewhere. Maybe). OR, you might have an album that vanished from radar before it had a chance to make an impact, an album that you want other people to hear but no one takes you up on it.

A few of mine:

-Urge Overkill- Exit the Dragon: not only do I enjoy this album, it's probably on my Desert Island top 5 (maybe even top 3). But the disc bombed, and aside from Amazon.com's usual glut of 4-to-5 star reviews, I haven't seen much in the way of praise. I think it's a fantastic album.

-the Lemonheads- Car Button Cloth: I heard it once described as an aural turd. Really? I think it's their best album. Seriously.

-Rich Creamy Paint- s/t: Christian teenager (and nephew of John Mark Painter) plays all of the instruments and makes a big, fun power pop album. And on a fairly big label. Am I the only person that heard this? Worth mentioning: in the liner notes, Rich thanks "Doug, Rivers, Mac and Matthew." It took me a few years to figure out who they were, but turns out those four names wrote some of my favorite songs of the past 10 years.

-Frank Black- anything he did after Trompe Le Monde: I'm looking at you, MLeary. Aside from a few rabid fans like me, no one seems to like Black's solo material (especially anything after and including Cult of Ray). I think CoR was the disc that may've got me onto underground rock: I was 13 or so when it came out, read a review of it somewhere and thought it had a wacky cover, and bought it. I've been in love since.

Tell me about your beloved "hated" albums, dear A&F reader.

Edited by Jason Panella
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The Best of Bread - I hear the snickers already, but David Gates was a really, really good songwriter and Bread's trademark, west coast ballad cheese has an odd, kitchy magic. On the last three Flaming Lips albums i can distinctly hear Wayne Coyne dialing up some of Gates layered major sevenths. You watch-- some hip, Pitchfork-favored band is gonna do a Bread cover any day now and suddenly they will be cool.

Ramsey Lewis-- The In Crowd I've known a couple of jazz pianists in my life and they both derided Lewis' playing with scalding fervor. Limited as he is, me still like this.

Saxon, Wheels of Steel-- All hail Bif. Another album/band mocked and jeered now that will be cool in a couple years, even if only for 15 mins. No its not "great" by any stretch and yes it is Spinal Tap-ish in many respects, but it was one of the best of the NWBHM albums back in the day.

I'm sure i'll think of some more tomorrow.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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I met a man. He was a good man. Sailing and Shoring...

Roger Waters - Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking. I have had a hard time understanding why everyone doesn't have this disc in their collection. It is Roger Waters' best solo outing, all material he never got to play with while Pink Floyd was around.

Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians. Any Sufjan fan needs to listen to this disc, as it seems like it is basically where he gets a quarter of his ideas. It is a remarkable listen.

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Well, I'm probably volunteering to become a target for even mentioning The Thompson Twins, and I'm in even bigger trouble if I admit that I really liked the music on their last album as a band... Queer.

But I wouldn't say I love or cherish it. I just think it's cool.

There are a couple of Suzanne Vega album that I love, but I don't know anyone else who cares about them: Days of Open Hand and Songs in Red and Gray. The latter is one of her best works, and she's never put out a bad album. I think she's still one of the most interesting songwriters writing today, but the popularity that accompanied Solitude Standing just seemed to diminish after that. I don't get it.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

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I'm sure there are plenty of albums that we love, cherish, etc., but just get shot down by the remaining population of the world. The sort of albums that even fans of the band hate (I'm sure Cheap Trick's the Doctor has a fan, somewhere. Maybe). OR, you might have an album that vanished from radar before it had a chance to make an impact, an album that you want other people to hear but no one takes you up on it.

In the former category, I offer:

John Denver -- Poems, Prayers, and Promises -- John was an earnest little muppet, and the hug-a-tree sentiments became very annoying very quickly, but this album, one of his earliest, also shows that he was a fine songwriter. This one has "Take Me Home, Country Roads," which still brings a tear to the ol' rural eye. "Almost heaven, West Virginia" actually became a state motto. Never mind that the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River are in Virginia, not West Virginia. Nobody ever said that those gap-toothed holler dwellers were geography majors. Or that John Denver was, either. It's still a fine song, one of the best examples of the laid-back country/folk that the hippies latched on to after Woodstock. It's totally uncool to like this album, or John Denver. Nevertheless, I like it.

Rick Wakeman -- Journey to the Center of the Earth -- Wakeman was the keyboard player for Yes. He liked to wear capes and dress in armor, and he would occasionally toss in Prokofiev quotes into the middle of rock songs. Eventually he had a solo career, and this was his second album. In typically overblown fashion, this one featured not only Rick's phalanx of pianos, organs, and synthesizers, but the London Symphony Orchestra, the English Chamber Choir, and several classically trained actors and actresses portentously intoning passages from Jules Verne's early sci-fi/fantasy novel. This is classic Spinal Tap fodder, and as such it has its comic elements, but it also features some astounding keyboard work from Wakeman. Strip away the ostentatious trappings and there's some great music here.

Steve Earle -- Shut Up and Die Like An Aviator -- By most accounts, this is the nadir of Earle's career. He was deep in the throes of heroin addiction when he recorded this live album, and he sounds like it. His voice, always an acquired taste, barely rises above a raspy whisper, and his band is loose in all the wrong senses of the term. The drummer can't keep the beat. The guitarist really likes that D chord, and plays it continually, whether it fits the music or not. Steve's long monologues in between songs are rambling and incoherent. But I like this album for the same reasons that I like to rubberneck at car accidents on the freeway. The carnage is fascinating. And these songs of desperation sound even more desperate.

There are so many albums that fit the latter category, but for starters I'll offer:

Tir Na Nog -- A Tear and a Smile and Strong in the Sun -- Good luck finding these albums. Tir Na Nog were a couple of Irish folkies who rose to what could charitably be thought of as their ascendance at the same time as Nick Drake and the early solo Richard Thompson, and they were clearly influenced by those artists on these early '70s albums. Nobody cared. They cover several Drake tunes (long before anybody knew who Nick Drake was), they write sweetly aching, melancholy originals, and they intertwine their acoustic guitars in breathtaking ways. Of course, they sank without a trace. But these are gorgeous albums, right at the top of my Best Music You've Never Heard list. Imagine Nick Drake harmonizing with himself, and you're in the ballpark, or on the soccer pitch, or whatever.

Chris Whitley -- Din of Ecstasy -- I will continue my one-man crusade (okay, two-man -- Thom Jurek may chip in here) for the greatest songwriter and guitarist you've never heard. Whitley caused quite a stir with his debut album, Living With the Law, an eerie mix of Edge-like atmospherics and raw Delta blues. Then he disappeared from the scene, and re-emerged four years later with this, his "grunge" album. At the time it was brutally slagged as a derivative attempt to jump on Kurt's bandwagon, and it effectively ended whatever chances Whitley had for hitting the big time. But listen to it now. It's raw, it's searing, it's gloriously explosive. And then there are the words -- a heroin addict chronicling the desperate battle between soul-numbing escape and the desire to matter, to mean, to recapture some semblance of life. It's profane and it's angry. It's a man at the end of his rope, and it's a prayer. It's one of the most harrowing albums I've ever heard.

The Weakerthans -- Fallow, Left and Leaving, and Reconstruction Site -- Granted, these guys aren't exactly unknowns, but they are nevertheless criminally underappreciated. The transformation that lead singer/songwriter John K. Samson has wrought from Punk Brat (best shown in his former band Propagandhi) to Thoughtful Poet is nothing less than spectacular. The band mixes it up quite eclectically, tossing in influences from folk, country, and loud, abrasive rock 'n roll. But the secret ingredient is Samson's songwriting. He's one of the few songwriters whose words can stand alone as poetry. He tackles all the big subjects -- love and the loss of love, God, death, loneliness and alienation, the hole in the soul -- and he does so with compassion, warmth, humor, and something that sounds uncannily like wisdom. And he rocks like crazy.

-Frank Black- anything he did after Trompe Le Monde: I'm looking at you, MLeary. Aside from a few rabid fans like me, no one seems to like Black's solo material (especially anything after and including Cult of Ray). I think CoR was the disc that may've got me onto underground rock: I was 13 or so when it came out, read a review of it somewhere and thought it had a wacky cover, and bought it. I've been in love since.

It's not that bad for ol' Frank, is it? It seems to me that at least the first couple solo albums (Frank Black, and Teenager of the Year) received some very positive reviews. Lately (okay, for the past ten years) he's been hit and miss, but every album has at least a few really good songs.

Edited by Andy Whitman
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I think dcTalk's Nu Thang -- probably the least respectable dcTalk album -- is an awful lot of fun, excepting those times when they try to be too serious (it's the abortion song! it's the race-relations song!).

I also think Newsboys' Going Public is one of the two best albums released on a Christian label in the mid '90s, which is a pretty contrarian opinion.

Also, Sufjan Stevens' Illinois -- no one here likes that, do they?

Dale

Metalfoot on Emmanuel Shall Come to Thee's Noel: "...this album is...monotony...bland, tripy fare..."

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I think dcTalk's Nu Thang -- probably the least respectable dcTalk album -- is an awful lot of fun, excepting those times when they try to be too serious (it's the abortion song! it's the race-relations song!).

Heh... I have fond memories of this album. No, it's definitely not their best, but it definitely has a nostalgic appeal.

"Ya know He's doin' it/Yo! Who's doin' it?/God is doin' a nu thang..."

And word up to MLeary for mentioning Music For Eighteen Musicians. That album deserves much more love than it gets, especially from the kids, who probably don't realize how much of an impact it had, not only on Sufjan, but also on so much electronic music.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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I also think Newsboys' Going Public is one of the two best albums released on a Christian label in the mid '90s, which is a pretty contrarian opinion.
I'm in total agreement. I love that album. I also think it was a 90's era high water mark for Taylor's lyric writing and producing.

My confession of the week: I actually went out with a paper bag on my head and bought a replacement copy as recently as last year. Just had a hankerin' for When You Called My Name.

"The things we enjoy are channels through which the divine glory strikes us, and those who love and delight in any good thing may yet learn to love God." --Gilbert Meilaender

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I personally thought the Taylor-produced Bottle Rocket by Guardian was a whole lot more meaty. But I don't want to start naming Christian metal bands, cuz then I'd have to come out of the closet once and for all. What can I say? They just make me smile. And when I pounded the fist at their shows, I never put up the middle finger, NO! -- Not even once. :)

Probably the first serious CD that comes to mind for me is Jai Agnish's Automata. I think I listened to it for a year straight and barely anything else. But it's not a record that people frown on, it's just from an indie company that is too small to get it out to the crowd Jai deserves. It is different, bizarre, and boldly made music.

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In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

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Barry Goudreau.

I had it on vinyl, but haven

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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The Cure - Faith

Everyone talks about Pornography and Disintegration, and rightfully so, but Faith is the album where Robert Smith and Co. really started delving into the gloomy atmospherics that would become so prevalent on their later albums. It's a little raw around the edges -- the band was still shaking off the post-punk stylings of their roots -- but songs like "All Cats Are Grey", "The Funeral Party", and the title track are pure elegaic Cure goodness. Plus, it had "Charlotte Somtimes" as a b-side, one of the best Cure songs not on an album.

U2 - The Unforgettable Fire

Like Faith, The Unforgettable Fire seems largely forgotten by even devoted fans, who lavish (deserved) praise on later albums -- such as The Joshua Tree -- and yet seem to forget that the band's latter work would have been vastly different without The Unforgettable Fire's experimentation and transition. The Unforgettable Fire is where they first started putting out the atmospheric sounds that folks became so enamored with on later albums (thanks to the work of Eno and Lanois). And while U2 had written charged political songs since their inception, The Unforgettable Fire aspired to even more grandiose, anthemic heights. The album lagged a bit in parts, but it opened with "A Sort Of Homecoming" (one of the band's most exuberant songs), the title track made even synth orchestral hits sound majestic, and it had freakin' "Pride (In The Name Of Love)".

Bark Psychosis - Hex

You might have heard the term "post-rock", which has been used to describe groups ranging from Tortoise and Stereolab to Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Mogwai. That term was invented (by critic Simon Reynolds) to describe Hex. Hex features a lot of identifiable elements -- a little bit of rock, a little bit of jazz, a little bit of techno -- but the results are totally unique, sounding nothing like its various components. The songs are long and sprawling, full of graceful seques containing hints of melody and rhythm, with breathy vocals, shoegazer-y guitars, and tons of atmosphere. And despite it being released over 10 years ago, it will always sound like it came from some alternate future.

Scaterd-Few - Sin Disease

If more Christians had heard this album, CCM might never have been the same. It's messy, chaotic, raw, sloppy, and utterly exhilirating, and nothing like it has come out of Christian circles since (even the band's subsequent efforts pale). Speed metal, funk, reggae, punk, and even some lounge get thrown into the blender, with Allan Aguirre's doing his best David Bowie-meets-a-banshee impression.

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I don't think I've ever heard an album as insanely fun, as ridiculously funny, or as memorably entertaining as Meat Loaf'sBat Out of Hell.

I also enjoy the sequel.

Also, Amazon.com may list it as an "essential recording," but I've still yet to find an actual human being who shares my love for Joe Henry's Fuse.

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Also, Amazon.com may list it as an "essential recording," but I've still yet to find an actual human being who shares my love for Joe Henry's Fuse.

Here's one. I wouldn't say I like it better than any of Henry's post-Trampoline albums, but I certainly love it. Except for the ersatz jazz of "Curt Flood" (an aberration, thankfully), it's very, very strong from start to finish. Joe Henry is my favorite contemporary songwriter, and there's ample evidence for why that's the case on Fuse.

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I listing my albums that get no love runs dangerously close to my guilty pleasures. I differentiate the two by classifying a guilty pleasure as an album that I know isn't any good but I enjoy it anyway where an album that gets no love is an album that others think is bad and I think is good.

Most of my favorites that get no love are from my emo phase of the mid to late 90's. The two that stand out are:

Jimmy Eat World - Clarity I wonder how much of the distaste for this album stems from their lackluster live performances. Overall, I think this is a great album. Songs like "Lucky Denver Mint" and "For Me this is Heaven" are gems. While critics seem to disagree, the swelling "Just Watch the Fireworks" is superb. I think the production this album is great, the lyrics are earnest but not overly sappy. It's a good time.

The Promise Ring Very Emergencey - 30 Degrees Everywhere and Nothing Feels Good get a fair amount of respect, but Very Emergencey is so ridiculously over the top it gets no love. Sure it sounds like the muppets on uppers but it is so fun. There are more hooks per minute in this gem than one could think possible. I still enjoy cranking this up in my car while driving around in the summer.

Others that I can think of: (some) Get Up Kids, Braid, Mineral, and Ninety Pound Wuss.

Edited by Kyle

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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An album that I think is criminally underrated is Bran Van 3000's Discosis. It's a fantastic combination of hip-hop, electronica, soul, and whatever. I wasn't a big fan of the Bran Van collective's earlier work (and the single "Drinkin' In LA"), but this album is one of my favourites and is just solid all the way through. The opening track featuring Curtis Mayfield, "Astounded," check it out.

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Jimmy Eat World - Clarity I wonder how much of the distaste for this album stems from their lackluster live album. Overall, I think this is a great album. Songs like "Lucky Denver Mint" and "For Me this is Heaven" are gems. While critics seem to disagree, the swelling "Just Watch the Fireworks" is superb. I think the production this album is great, the lyrics are earnest but not overly sappy. It's a good time.

The Promise Ring Very Emergencey - 30 Degrees Everywhere and Nothing Feels Good get a fair amount of respect, but Very Emergencey is so ridiculously over the top it gets no love. Sure it sounds like the muppets on uppers but it is so fun. There are more hooks per minute in this gem than one could think possible. I still enjoy cranking this up in my car while driving around in the summer.

Ahh....you just listed basically every band I loved my last year of HS and first year of college. Clarity--at least in my group of friends--is a fairly well-regarded album. In fact, I think it's their best album (especially since their recent stuff is just one giant pre-chorus/chorus).

But Very Emergency is a gold mine of power pop tunes. I'm not sure why I traded it in for something else, but its probably the P. Ring's most fun album. Oh, they put on a great show in Pittsburgh for that tour, though Rich Creamy Paint blew them off of the stage.

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Steve Reich - Music for 18 Musicians. Any Sufjan fan needs to listen to this disc, as it seems like it is basically where he gets a quarter of his ideas. It is a remarkable listen.

This is a pretty well-regarded record, although I agree that more people should hear it. "Music for 18 Musicians" is one record I can definitively point to and say, "that changed the way I approach listening to and making music". Such a great piece.

bvl

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Jimmy Eat World - Clarity I wonder how much of the distaste for this album stems from their lackluster live album. Overall, I think this is a great album. Songs like "Lucky Denver Mint" and "For Me this is Heaven" are gems. While critics seem to disagree, the swelling "Just Watch the Fireworks" is superb. I think the production this album is great, the lyrics are earnest but not overly sappy. It's a good time.

Oh! Oh! Oh! I was just guiltily humming along with a Jimmy Eat World song in the climbing gym last night (it is VERY good climbing music and the gym periodically throws it in the mix). I do feel the pressure to listen to Jimmy Eat World secretly, and my favorite album is most definitely Clarity. Though I would vote for "Table for Glasses" as the favorite song on that album.

And while we're listing guilty pleasures, I feel my guilty pleasures in music are much more respectable than my guilty pleasures in TV (which isn't saying much).

I have a very big weakness for Euro pop. The type I like is probably the most cheesy, but I don't care...I can't understand the lyrics anyway.

Old Spanish Shakira albums...the pre-blonde-lost-30-lbs.-I-sing-in-English Shakira. My reservations melt and hips start to sway and then shimmy. What is a girl to do?

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And while we're listing guilty pleasures, I feel my guilty pleasures in music are much more respectable than my guilty pleasures in TV (which isn't saying much).

Well, I probably should've been more explicit in my intro, but I wasn't looking for guilty pleasures per se. Kyle said it well:

"I listing my albums that get no love runs dangerously close to my guilty pleasures. I differentiate the two by classifying a guilty pleasure as an album that I know isn't any good but I enjoy it anyway where an album that gets no love is an album that others think is bad and I think is good."

These are albums no one seems to like, but you think are really good. Like, "those haters missed the point!"

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Guest thom_jurek

Ramsey Lewis-- The In Crowd I've known a couple of jazz pianists in my life and they both derided Lewis' playing with scalding fervor. Limited as he is, me still like this.

I know LOTS of jazz critics who love this album--and I am one of them. I dig anything of Ramsey's on Cadet, and even dig Sun Goddess on Columbia.

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Ahh....you just listed basically every band I loved my last year of HS and first year of college. Clarity--at least in my group of friends--is a fairly well-regarded album. In fact, I think it's their best album (especially since their recent stuff is just one giant pre-chorus/chorus).

But Very Emergency is a gold mine of power pop tunes. I'm not sure why I traded it in for something else, but its probably the P. Ring's most fun album. Oh, they put on a great show in Pittsburgh for that tour, though Rich Creamy Paint blew them off of the stage.

Oh! Oh! Oh! I was just guiltily humming along with a Jimmy Eat World song in the climbing gym last night (it is VERY good climbing music and the gym periodically throws it in the mix). I do feel the pressure to listen to Jimmy Eat World secretly, and my favorite album is most definitely Clarity. Though I would vote for "Table for Glasses" as the favorite song on that album.

Well, we can form a club that proudly proclaims Clarity is not medicore!! Let us listen loud and proud. Incidently, I'm pretty sure the drummer for Jimmy Eat World is a big fan of Jesus. When I used to frequent their band's webpage, he always listed books along the lines of Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller as his favorites. I'm not sure what that means, but I think it is at least interesting.

Ruthie, I'm with you on your assessment of "Table for Glasses". It is one of the reasons why I think its a good album. It is such a great start to the album, it sets the tone well and segues nicely into "Lucky Denver Mint".

"It is scandalous for Christians to have an imagination starved for God." - Mark Filiatreau

I write occasionally at Unfamiliar Stars.

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Others albums that I love, but rarely meet others who do:

David Bowie: 1. Outside My favorite Bowie record. And it was so unpopular, Bowie seems to have given up on the "sequels" he had planned.

Elvis Costello: All This Useless Beauty My favorite Costello album.

Daniel Lanois: Acadie As beautiful today as the day it was released.

Lone Justice: Shelter A lot of people felt they were selling out with this record. I think it's roaring wildfire of a record.

Maria McKee: Life is Sweet I know Josh shares the love for this one. I like it as much or more than any of her albums, solo or with Lone Justice.

Sam Phillips: Omnipop - It's Only a Flesh Wound, Lambchop Even her fans rank this one as a misstep. Not me. I think it's wonderfully weird and strange, and a few of the tracks here are among my favorites she's written.

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I'm sure there are plenty of albums that we love, cherish, etc., but just get shot down by the remaining population of the world. The sort of albums that even fans of the band hate (I'm sure Cheap Trick's the Doctor has a fan, somewhere. Maybe). OR, you might have an album that vanished from radar before it had a chance to make an impact, an album that you want other people to hear but no one takes you up on it.

Steve Earle -- Shut Up and Die Like An Aviator -- By most accounts, this is the nadir of Earle's career. He was deep in the throes of heroin addiction when he recorded this live album, and he sounds like it. His voice, always an acquired taste, barely rises above a raspy whisper, and his band is loose in all the wrong senses of the term. The drummer can't keep the beat. The guitarist really likes that D chord, and plays it continually, whether it fits the music or not. Steve's long monologues in between songs are rambling and incoherent. But I like this album for the same reasons that I like to rubberneck at car accidents on the freeway. The carnage is fascinating. And these songs of desperation sound even more desperate.

Chris Whitley -- Din of Ecstasy -- I will continue my one-man crusade (okay, two-man -- Thom Jurek may chip in here) for the greatest songwriter and guitarist you've never heard. Whitley caused quite a stir with his debut album, Living With the Law, an eerie mix of Edge-like atmospherics and raw Delta blues. Then he disappeared from the scene, and re-emerged four years later with this, his "grunge" album. At the time it was brutally slagged as a derivative attempt to jump on Kurt's bandwagon, and it effectively ended whatever chances Whitley had for hitting the big time. But listen to it now. It's raw, it's searing, it's gloriously explosive. And then there are the words -- a heroin addict chronicling the desperate battle between soul-numbing escape and the desire to matter, to mean, to recapture some semblance of life. It's profane and it's angry. It's a man at the end of his rope, and it's a prayer. It's one of the most harrowing albums I've ever heard.

I am SO with Andy on both of these.

Let's see, for me they would be:

Marvin Gaye - In Our Lifetime

While AMG lists this as four stars, there are very few people who feel that way--and I did not review this record. In Our Lifetime was marvin's last for Motown, Barry Gordy wanted him off the label and he wanted to be off. It followed 1978's commercially disastrous double album Here, My Dear--recorded as part of a divorce settlement to Anna Gordy, Barry's sister--it was ill received by the public but fared better with critics (and it remains among my fave Marvin albums). Anyway, In Our Lifetime was originally conceived as a "party" album called Lover Man. Gaye recorded part of the set, then nixed the idea in favor of focusing on on his spiritual and religious concerns. The end result was split almost down the middle and showed better than anything he ever released just how torn this man was between the flesh and his soul. From the parody of the party guy in Ego Trippin' Out," to "Praise," I would venture that the spirit wins out here, but I've been wrong before.

John Prine

Storm WIndows

Recorded at the end of his Warner period, Storm Windows has a lots of rootsy rock material that pissed off the Prine purists. It still contains two of his finest songs--the melanchoply title cut and "Living In the Future."

Every single album by Danny O'Keefe.

Danny O'Keefe made a name for himself with Goodtime Charlie's Got The Blues. His one off single. He also charted in a minor way with Magdalena SPread Your Wings a few years later, but the guy was covered more successfully than he ever recorded (Jackson Browne's cover of "The Road," Gary Stewart's hit version of "Quits." He issued five records for Warner Brothers--all of them very different from one another--in the 1970s before they gave up on him. From country to blues to classy Tin Pan Alley styled ballads to jazz finer-poppers, O'Keefe could do everything not only as a songwriter, but as a singer and as a guitarist. HIs own versions of the three songs mentioned above are better than anyone's who copvered them by far. His versions of "Quits" perhaps the greatest and most heartbreaking divorce song written in the 70s or 80s (and that's saying something) is simply desolate. His read of the Road is not nostalgic, but chilling with its resignation. Thankfully Wounded Bird has isseud all five albums recently on CD.

John Martyn

Grace And Danger

A work of desolate pop like no other. Grace and Danger is the chronicle of Martyn's divorce to Beverly. It's the beginning of his Phil Collins period (who played drums on at least four of his albums), but Martyn never sounded as honest or as truly human as he did here--"Baby Please Come Home," "Hurt In Your Heart," "Sweet Little Mystery" the title cut, "Some People Are Crazy," "Save SOme For Me," Our Love." Devastating stuff.

This is just off the top of me noggin....

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Others albums that I love, but rarely meet others who do:

Elvis Costello: All This Useless Beauty My favorite Costello album.

Mine too! It may not be as innovative as some of his earlier works, nor as ambitious as albums like Imperial Bedroom, and it may not pack the emotional punch of the Bacharach collaboration, but I think it's the best batch of songs the man ever wrote.

Sam Phillips: Omnipop - It's Only a Flesh Wound, Lambchop Even her fans rank this one as a misstep. Not me. I think it's wonderfully weird and strange, and a few of the tracks here are among my favorites she's written.

I like that album a lot too. A few songs feel a bit thin-- like great ideas that are stretched a bit too far-- but it's a fine, adventurous, bold collection.

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