I took a second look at the 25 album list in the previous post and decided that there were still a number of albums missing. So I added five to bring the total up to thirty. Here are the first ten also-rans, presented in a purely alphabetical order:
J.S. Bach – Goldberg Variations (Glenn Gould, 1981)
I’m sure connoisseurs still discuss whether Gould’s original 1955 recording or the 1981 recording is the best. They are as different as day and night. The 1981 version was the one I encountered first and my gateway to the heavier parts of J.S. Bach’s work. Gould’s Bach also works magic when I have a writing assignment.
The Beatles – A Selection of Beatles Oldies
An odd 1966 greatest hits album which covered 1963-1966, the peak years of Beatlemania, and which has been out of print for ages. Still, that was the Beatles album my parents owned when I was a boy. I could perhaps have chosen Beatles 1967-1970 which we bought in London in 1977, instead. (Think about it: How cool was having an album bought in London back in the late 1970s?). In case anybody is interested, I’d rate Rubber Soul, Revolver and Abbey Road (I remember the silly Maxwell’s Silver Hammer being played on Danish radio) as the best Beatles albums – but then again: Do you really want to choose?
David Bowie – The Buddha of Suburbia
I’ll readily admit that this is an odd choice. The Buddha of Suburbia is not really a sound-track to the BBC series based on Hanif Kureshi’s novel but grew out of Bowie’s title song for the series. It is somehow related to Low and possibly “Heroes” with its mix of sketch-like songs and instrumental pieces. I guess the album’s attraction lies in Bowie’s revisiting of suburban London and recollections of the urge to get out and into the city and out in world. The 1960s and early 1970s seen from the 1990s. Also, Bowie doesn’t overdo things here and you don’t have to meet the album with the expectation that this is Very Important Art. Otherwise my Bowie album pick would be the paranoid, cocaine-fuelled masterpiece Station to Station.
Chopin – 14 Waltzes (Krystian Zimerman)
An early recording by Krystian Zimerman and long out of print as Zimerman felt it didn’t live up to his artistic standards. Still, it had its place in my parents’ collection. I have a recording by Vladimir Ashkenazy in my current library.
The Clash – London Calling
How could I forget London Calling? I mean, I first heard the album back in 1980 and it has been a part of my record collection ever since. Maybe it was so obvious a choice that it failed to enter the original list. In a curious way, London Calling is to punk rock what Clube da Esquina 2 is to MPB. Obviously Milton Nascimento was a much better vocalist than Joe Strummer but we cannot imagine punk rock without Joe Strummer – everything and the kitchen (not to mention the entire plumbing) sink comes together here and it works brilliantly.
Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach – Painted from Memory
I’m not a huge fan of Elvis Costello but he does have his very bright moments. Like King of America and Painted from Memory. On a theoretical level, Costello and Bacharach shouldn’t work at all, in practice, it’s a wonderful record. Also, memories of the time I lived in Östersund – I bought my copy in Åhlen’s music department.
Brian Eno – Before and after Science
Just as Buddha of Suburbia, so is Before and after Science related to David Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy”. Brian Eno recorded this album at about the same time as Low was recorded. Eno really, really, really can’t sing, the lyrics are complete and utter nonsense and even after thirty years I continue to find new sounds every time I listen to the album. I think I discovered Brian Eno in the early 1980s through Roxy Music. At the risk of repeating myself: Hooray for the music department of Gladsaxe Public Library.
Bill Evans Trio – At The Village Vanguard
Bought this one in Paris of all places. A sampler of Waltz for Debby and Sunday at the Village Vanguard.
Lars Hug – City Slang
This must be one of the weirdest and most ambitious Danish rock records ever. Copenhagen set to music. Period. Heard it for the first time in 1985. Has stuck with me ever since. The strange thing is that Hug’s intense techno-soul is miles away from Søren Ulrik Thomsen’s classicism. Just like, say, Costello and Bacharach it shouldn’t have worked, but it did and on a massive scale.
Jan Johansson – Jazz på svenska
I’ve forgotten the exact year but my cousin bought the LP for me as I birthday present. Cool jazz meets Swedish folk. Every note counts, plus Johansson had a wicked sense of humour. If you want to hear Johansson in a more conventional jazz setting, try Jan Johansson in Hamburg.