Lists

My Top 200 Music Albums

Yes, I know this is likely to change as time goes on, but it’s a start. The rules are;

  1. My site, my rules
  2. No more than one album by any artist is permitted (although solo albums by members of a group are allowed – for example David Sylvian gets three in the top 200 – Japan, solo and Rain Tree Crow. Paul McCartney gets four (Beatles, solo, Wings, Fireman).
  3. Asterisked * albums are by artists where I could have put at least three of their albums in my top 200, had the rules allowed.
  4. I can change the order and the list and replace albums at any time – tastes change, and ‘Thick as a Brick 2’ is due out in the spring!
  5. There is no rule 5

So, here we go…

  1. The Beatles – Abbey Road *
  2. Neil Young – Arc/Weld *
  3. Joe Walsh – Barnstorm
  4. Joni Mitchell – Shadows and Light*
  5. King Crimson – Red
  6. Beach Boys – Surf’s Up *
  7. The Magnolia Electric Company – The Black Ram (from Sojourner Box)
  8. Leonard Cohen – Songs of Love and Hate*
  9. Gerry Rafferty – Gerry Rafferty (early recordings – mainly Humblebums)
  10. The Nice – Elegy
  11. G.T. Moore and the Reggae Guitars – G.T. Moore and the Reggae Guitars
  12. The Sound – All Fall Down
  13. Jethro Tull – Thick as a Brick
  14. Kraftwerk – Trans-Europa Express
  15. Saint Low – Saint Low
  16. Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom *
  17. Jackie Leven – Creatures of Light and Darkness
  18. Richard Thompson – Daring Adventures *
  19. R.E.M. – Document *
  20. Television – Marquee Moon
  21. Richard and Linda Thompson – I Want to see the Brights Tonight
  22. Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter – Reckless Burning
  23. Gene Clark – No Other
  24. Various  – The Music of Cosmos (Carl Sagan)
  25. Van Morrison – Poetic Champions Compose *
  26. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks
  27. Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard
  28. Roy Harper – HQ
  29. Philip Glass – Koyaanisqatsi *
  30. Ry Cooder – Bop ‘Til You Drop *
  31. Cowboy Junkies – The Caution Horses
  32. Rain Tree Crow – Rain Tree Crow
  33. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road*
  34. Fleetwood Mac – Then Play On
  35. Bob Pegg and Nick Strutt – The Shipbuilder
  36. Bill Laswell – Hear No Evil
  37. Nick Bicat – Under the Eye of Heaven
  38. Home Service – Alright Jack
  39. Songs: Ohia – The Magnolia Electric Company
  40. Randy Newman – Good Old Boys
  41. The Fireman – Rushes
  42. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – No More Shall We Part
  43. Jackson Browne – I’m Alive *
  44. Virginia Astley – From Gardens Where We Feel Secure
  45. Love – Forever Changes
  46. Wings – Band on the Run
  47. Al Stewart – Past Present and Future
  48. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
  49. Led Zeppelin – IV
  50. Wishbone Ash – There’s the Rub
  51. The Teardrop Explodes – Wilder
  52. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Welcome to the Pleasure Dome
  53. Mary Poppins (OST by Sherman Brothers)
  54. Roxy Music – Avalon *
  55. Terry Reid – Seed of Memory
  56. Sparks – Hello Young Lovers
  57. Kate Bush – The Hounds of Love
  58. John Cale – Paris 1919
  59. Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator)
  60. Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain
  61. Jesse Colin Young – Lightshine
  62. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life
  63. The Doors – The Doors
  64. Jim Moray – In Modern History
  65. Paul McCartney – Flamin’ Pie *
  66. Amiina – Puzzle
  67. The Who – Tommy
  68. Chicago – Chicago Transit Authority
  69. John Fahey – Of Rivers and Religion
  70. Mike Oldfield – Incantations
  71. Peter Gabriel – Up *
  72. The Ozark Mountain Daredevils – It’ll Shine When It Shines
  73. Geoff Berner – The Wedding Dance of the Widowed Bride
  74. ABC – The Lexicon of Love
  75. Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, David Freiberg – Baron Von Tollbooth and the Chrome Nun
  76. Procol Harum – A Salty Dog
  77. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band – Songs of New Orleans
  78. Talk Talk – It’s my Life
  79. Joan as Police Woman – Real Life
  80. Steely Dan – Pretzel Logic
  81. The Pasadena Roof Orchestra – A Talking Picture
  82. John Grant – Queen of Denmark
  83. Red Light Stylus – Festival Selection 2001
  84. Clem Snide – The End of Love
  85. The Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops
  86. Brice Springsteen – The River*
  87. Tom Waits – Heart Attack and Vine *
  88. The Veils – Nux Vomica
  89. David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
  90. Eels – Souljacker
  91. Kate and Anna McGarrigle – Kate and Anna McGarrigle
  92. Donald Fagen – The Nightfly
  93. Pink Floyd – Meddle*
  94. Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  95. Mogwai – Shiny Songs for Happy People
  96. Gavin Bryars – Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me
  97. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets
  98. Neil Diamond – 12 Songs
  99. Various – Stay Awake (The Music of Disney)
  100. David Sylvian – Gone to Earth
  101. The Big Dish – Swimmer
  102. John Martyn – Solid Air
  103. Phosphorescent – Here’s to Taking it Easy
  104. Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
  105. Laura Viers – July Flame
  106. Elbow – Leaders of the Free World
  107. Tom Petty – Wildflowers
  108. John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett – John Otway and Wild Willy Barrett
  109. Aimee Mann – Whatever
  110. Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons
  111. Mazzy Star – She Hangs Brightly
  112. Focus – Hamburger Concerto
  113. Emerson Lake and Palmer – Trilogy
  114. Urban Myth Club – Helium
  115. Sigur Ros – Takk
  116. Ofra Haza – Yemenite Songs
  117. Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die
  118. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
  119. Antony & the Johnsons – I am a Bird Now
  120. Billy Cobham – Crosswinds
  121. Low – The Great Destroyer
  122. Vangelis /Various – The Music of Cosmos
  123. Our Broken Garden – When Your Blackening Shows
  124. L Pierre – Dip
  125. Steve Earle – Guitar Town
  126. Jennifer Warnes – Famous Blue Raincoat
  127. The Handsome Family – Singing Bones
  128. Midlake – The Trials of Van Occupanther
  129. Family – Fearless
  130. The Pointer Sisters – That’s a Plenty
  131. Teenage Fan Club – Songs from Northern Britain
  132. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band  – Framed
  133. John Williams and Itzhak Perman – Schindler’s List OST
  134. Danny Wilson – Meet Danny Wilson
  135. P.J. Harvey – Let England Shake
  136. The Owl Service – The View From A Hill
  137. The Human League – Dare
  138. Mr Scruff – Keep it Unreal
  139. John Tams – Unity
  140. Happy Particles – Sleeping Wave
  141. The National – High Violet
  142. The The – Infected
  143. Traveling Wilburys – Traveling Wilburys
  144. Deep Purple – Machine Head
  145. Lynyrd Skynyrd – Pronounced Leh-Nerd-Skin-Nerd
  146. Propaganda – A Secret Wish
  147. The Art Farmer Quartet – To Sweden With Love
  148. Siobhan Donaghy – Ghosts
  149. Rosie Vela – Zazu
  150. Dick Gaughan – A Different Kind of Lovesong
  151. Duran Duran – Rio
  152. Rammstein – Mutter
  153. North Sea Radio Orchestra – North Sea Radio Orchestra
  154. John McCusker – Under One Sky
  155. The Mahavishnu Orchestra – The Inner Mounting Flame
  156. Madonna – Ray of Light
  157. Espers – Espers II
  158. Pepe Deluxe – Queen of the Wave
  159. Caravan – For Girls Who Grow Plump in the Night
  160. Elvis Costello – Spike
  161. Steve Reich – Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint
  162. Micheal O’Suilleabhain – The Dolphin’s Way
  163. Sun Kil Moon – April
  164. Steve Forbert – Jackrabbit Slim
  165. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
  166. Peter Hammill – Over
  167. Nine Inch Nails – Pretty Hate Machine
  168. Robert Fripp – At the End of Time
  169. Supertramp – Crime of the Century
  170. The Besnard Lakes – Are the Roaring Silence
  171. Kevin Ayers – The Confessions of Dr Dream
  172. Aidan O’Rourke – An Tobar
  173. Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
  174. Julie Fowlis – Cuilidh
  175. Juana Molina – Segundo
  176. Tindersticks – Curtains
  177. Ultravox! – Systems of Romance
  178. Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men
  179. Mew – No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away
  180. Calexico – The Black Light
  181. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief
  182. Mary Chapin Carpenter – Come On Come On
  183. Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral
  184. The Strawbs – Grave New World
  185. Various – The Buena Vista Social Club
  186. Roger Waters – Flickering Flame
  187. Camel – The Snow Goose
  188. Ian McNabb – Head Like a Rock
  189. Tony Childs – Union
  190. Jonathan Elias – The Prayer Cycle
  191. Moshic – Hiloola
  192. Bert Jansch – LA Turnaround
  193. Dead Can Dance – The Serpent’s Egg
  194. Jane Siberry – When I was a Boy
  195. Graham Parker – Squeezing Out Sparks
  196. King Creosote and John Hopkins – Diamond Mine
  197. Remember Remember – The Quickening
  198. Japan – Oil on Canvas
  199. The XX – The XX
  200. Michael Nesmith – And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

Which, by my reckoning, means that my Top 25 Scottish albums are:

  1. Gerry Rafferty – best ever ‘lost’ album – early Rafferty when a member of the Humblebums, mainly – songwriting at its best
  2. Jackie LevenCreatures of Light and Darkness – a well-named album – why Jackie was not more popular amazes me
  3. Al Stewart – Past, Present and Future – the best ever Sunday morning record
  4. Mogwai – Shiny Songs for Happy People – the best ever music to work to
  5. The Big Dish – Swimmer – pop perfection
  6. Red Light Stylus – Festival Selection 2001 – my second greatest ‘lost album’ – very early KT Tunstall (and much better than anything she’s done since)
  7. The Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops – close call between this and ‘Hats, but the amazement on first hearing this one is still with me
  8. L Pierre – Dip the third greatest of great ‘lost’ or ‘unknown’ albums by Aidan Moffat (of Arab Strap)
  9. Teenage Fanclub – Songs from Northern Britain – much singalong janglyness from the Fannies
  10. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – Framed – memories of live shows and air guitar sessions in the 70s (when we all had hair to swing!)
  11. Danny Wilson – Meet Danny Wilson
  12. Dick Gaughan – A Different Kind of Love Song
  13. John McCusker – Under One Sky
  14. Julie Fowlis -Cuilidh
  15. Bert Jansch – LA Turnaround
  16. King Creosote and John Hopkins – Diamond Mine
  17. Primal Scream – Screamadelica
  18. Gary Clark – Ten Songs About Love
  19. Jerry Burns – Jerry Burns
  20. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
  21. David Byrne – Rei Momo
  22. Karine Polwart – Faultlines
  23. Roddy Woomble- My Secret is my Silence
  24. Waterboys – A Pagan Place
  25. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy

 

And nowhere to be seen…

Artists I have enjoyed over the years – and still enjoy – but no individual album cuts the mustard…

  1. Rolling Stones
  2. Nirvana
  3. The Clash
  4. The Eagles
  5. 10CC
  6. Barclay James Harvest
  7. Mott the Hoople
  8. Nick Drake
  9. Simon and Garfunkel
  10. Thelonious Monk
  11. Yes*
  12. Genesis*
  13. Bob Marley (I like the compilations though)
  14. Queen
  15. Santana
  16. Julian Cope
  17. The Smiths
  18. Weather Report
  19. John Lennon
  20. Rod Stewart
  21. Talking Heads
  22. Spirit
  23. Moody Blues
  24. Michael Jackson
  25. Horslips
  26. James
  27. Steeleye Span
  28. Little Feat
  29. Paul Weller
  30. Blur
  31. The Byrds
  32. Scott Walker
  33. Fairport Convention
  34. Sandy Denny
  35. Emiliana Torrini
  36. Manfred Mann (all versions)
  37. Chris Rea
  38. The Police
  39. Emmylou Harris
  40. Tim Hardin

 

Best ‘lost’ albums

OK, so these are not really lost, but are great (and, I think, relatively unknown or unloved) albums.

  1. Gerry Rafferty – Gerry Rafferty (early recordings)
  2. G.T. Moore and the Reggae Guitars – G.T. Moore and the Reggae Guitars
  3. Various  – The Music of Cosmos (Carl Sagan)
  4. Red Light Stylus – Festival Selection 2001
  5. L Pierre – Dip
  6. The Fireman – Rushes
  7. Gary Clark – Ten Short Songs About Love
  8. Global Village Trucking Company – Global Village Trucking Company
  9. Golden Smog – Weird Tales
  10. Grace Slick – Dreams
  11. Richard and Linda Thompson – First Light
  12. Jerry Burns – Jerry Burns

 

Top 5 Overrated (IMO) artists 

I agree that the following  are all OK. But GREAT? Worth their levels of adulation? Methinks not. I just don’t like these very much

  1. Coldplay
  2. Deacon Blue
  3. Amy Winehouse
  4. Manic Street Preachers (what’s all that about?)
  5. Arcade Fire

 

* ASTERISKS (and others) ahoy

 

MY Beatles Top 5

  1. Abbey Road
  2. The Beatles (White Album)
  3. With the Beatles
  4. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  5. Rubber Soul

(yes, I know – no ‘Revolver’)

MY Neil Young Top 5

  1. Arc/Weld
  2. Ragged Glory
  3. Zuma
  4. After the Goldrush
  5. Rust Never Sleeps

(and no ‘Harvest’)

MY King Crimson Top 5

  1. Red
  2. Lizard
  3. Islands
  4. Starless and Bible Black
  5. The Great Deceiver

(and no ‘Court of the Crimson King’)

MY Ry Cooder Top 5

  1. Bop ‘Til You Drop
  2. Chavez Ravine
  3. Music By Ry Cooder
  4. Jazz
  5. Into the Purple Valley

MY Joni Mitchell Top 5

  1. Shadows and Light
  2. The Hissing of Summer Lawns
  3. Court and Spark
  4. Hijira
  5. Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter

MY Roxy Music Top 5

  1. For Your Pleasure
  2. Avalon
  3. Roxy Music
  4. Stranded
  5. Manifesto

MY Van Morrison Top 5

  1. Poetic Champions Compose
  2. Into the Music
  3. No Guru, No Method. No Teacher
  4. St Dominic’s Preview
  5. Common One

(and no room for ‘Astral Weeks’)

MY Beach Boys Top 5

  1. Surf’s Up
  2. Holland
  3. Smiley Smile
  4. Pet Sounds
  5. Summer Dreams

MY Paul McCartney Top 5

  1. Flamin’ Pie
  2. Ram
  3. Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard
  4. McCartney
  5. Memory Almost Full

MY Philip Glass Top 5

  1. Koyaanisqatsi
  2. Heroes Symphony
  3. 1000 Airplanes on the Roof
  4. Songs from the Trilogy
  5. Songs of Liquid Days

MY Tom Waits Top 5

  1. Heartattack and Vine
  2. Rain Dogs
  3. Alice
  4. Orphans
  5. Blue Valentine

MY Peter Gabriel Top 5

  1. Up
  2. Peter Gabriel 3 (Melt)
  3. Peter Gabriel 1 (Car)
  4. Passion
  5. So

MY Genesis Top 5

  1. The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway
  2. Selling England by the Pound
  3. Foxtrot
  4. A Trick of the Tale
  5. Trespass

MY Yes Top 5

  1. Close to the Edge
  2. Fragile
  3. The Yes Album
  4. Tales of Topographic Oceans (really!)
  5. Yessongs

MY Robert Wyatt Top 5

  1. Rock Bottom
  2. Cuckooland
  3. Nothing Can Stop Us Now
  4. Shleep
  5. EPs

MY Richard Thompson Top 5

  1. Daring Adventures
  2. Mock Tudor
  3. Strict Tempo
  4. Henry the Human Fly
  5. Guitar, Vocal

MY Pink Floyd Top 5

  1. Meddle
  2. Atom Heart Mother
  3. Wish You Were Here
  4. The Dark Side of the Moon
  5. Pulse

MY Bruce Springsteen Top 5

  1. The River
  2. Darkness on the Edge of Town
  3. Born to Run
  4. Live 1975/1985
  5. We Shall Overcome

MY Jackson Browne Top 5

  1. I’m Alive
  2. The Pretender
  3. Late for the Sky
  4. Running on Empty
  5. For Everyman

MY R.E.M. Top 5

  1. Document
  2. New Adventures in Hi-Fi
  3. Automatic for the People
  4. Murmur
  5. Fables of the Reconstruction

MY Leonard Cohen Top 5

  1. Songs of Love and Hate
  2. Songs from a Room
  3. I’m Your Man
  4. 10 New Songs
  5. Recent Songs
and…

MY Favourite Live Albums

(I’m not a huge fan of live albums, but these 10 cut the mustard for me – and, perhaps not surprisingly,  three from Old Mr Shakey himself)

  1. Neil Young – Arc/Weld
  2. Joni Mitchell – Shadows and Light
  3. Jackson Browne – Running on Empty
  4. The Band – The Last Waltz
  5. The Who – Live at Leeds (deluxe, with ‘Tommy’ stuff)
  6. Bob Marley – Live!
  7. Nirvana – Unplugged in New York
  8. Neil Young – Live Rust
  9. Neil Young – LIve at Massey Hall
  10. Van Morrison – It’s Too Late to Stop Now

 

THAT’S ALL FOLKS!