Top Album Meme.
List your favorite five [or six] albums and explain what draws you to them. Album means original order of songs, not remixed CDs or MP3 lists. All too often these days, albums are merely vehicles for singles with some other crap tacked in there for filler. An album should be something you listen to from start to finish, with perhaps favorites in between. This list can include soundtracks, single artist albums, greatest hits, classical symphonic compositions, it matters not. What does matter is that you can look the album up on, say, Amazon, and purchase it as is.
1. Stones in the Road, Mary Chapin Carpenter - Still one of my favorite all-time albums. It contained a couple of big hits for her, namely "Shut Up and Kiss Me" and "Tender When I want to Be" but some of my favorite songs on the album never saw the light of radio play. The whole album begets a vulnerable person constantly thinking through the realities of their life finding unexpected joys and sorrows from the mundane to the heartbreaking. My favorite songs were probably the title cut "Stones in the Road" (an autobiographic, yet non-nostalgic look back on childhood) and Jubilee.
I can tell by the way you're walking
That you don't want company
I'll let you alone and I'll let you walk on
And in your own good time you'll be
Back where the sun can find you
Under the wise wishing tree
And with all of them made we'll lie under the shade
And call it a jubilee
And I can tell by the way you're talking
That the past isn't letting you go
But there's only so long you can take it all on
And then the wrong's gotta be on its own
And when you're ready to leave it behind you
You'll look back, and all that you'll see
Is the wreckage and rust that you left in the dust
On your way to the jubilee
And I can tell by the way you're listening
That you're still expecting to hear
Your name being called like a summons to all
Who have failed to account for their doubts and their fears
They can't add up to much without you
And so if it were just up to me
I'd take hold of your hand, saying come hear the band
Play your song at the jubilee
And I can tell by the way you're searching
For something you can't even name
That you haven't been able to come to the table
Simply glad that you came
And when you feel like this try to imagine
That we're all like frail boats on the sea
Just scanning the night for that great guiding light
Announcing the jubilee
And I can tell by the way you're standing
With your eyes filling with tears
That it's habit alone keeps you turning for home
Even though your home is right here
Where the people who love you are gathered
Under the wise wishing tree
May we all be considered then straight on delivered
Down to the jubilee
'Cause the people who love you are waiting
And they'll wait just as long as need be
When we look back and say those were halcyon days
We're talking 'bout jubilee
Other great songs include "Why Walk When You Can Fly", "A Keeper for Every Flame" and "John Doe #24". It is an album I have been able to listen to for the past 10-12 years at least once a week and never tire of.
2. O Brother Where Art Thou by various artists [soundtrack]. Alison Krauss's voice is hauntingly beautiful, especially on songs like "Down in the River to Pray" and the guy from Union Station who sings the movie's hit song, "Man of Constant Sorrow" has real enthusiasm that is contagious and palpable. This album contains the best of Americanna and many bluegrass or bluegrass inspired hits that really struck a chord (no pun intended) with Southerners. If you don't believe there is something unique about the South, you're much more likely to believe it after listening to this album.
3. Throwing Copper, Live - Go ahead, make fun, but this was my high school soundtrack and I still love listening to it. This is one of those albums that brings memories flooding back, and although many of the songs start to sound the same, I still really enjoy it.
4. There Goes Rhymin' Simon by Paul Simon - Arguably, Simon's best album ever. Includes great hits like "Kodachrome" and "Loves Me Like a Rock" and could very well be a greatest hits album. My favorites are "American Tune" and "Take Me to the Mardi Gras". American Tune is mentioned in King's, The Stand and was one of those songs I listened to on repeat after September 11th.
5. From the Cradle, Eric Clapton - I would be remiss if I didn't include an Eric Clapton album on my list. Even though this album didn't receive a lot of good press, I find that it is one of my favorite Clapton albums, with lots of authentic hard-hitting blues tracks, there are some good ones on the Unplugged album and a couple on Pilgrim, but From the Cradle offers more bang for your buck. A must own for any Clapton fan or any blues fan, or any human being who likes music, really.
Anyone else want to play? It's sort of like the favorite song meme, except not.