Two lists that support my perspective of “Best of…” lists are from Rolling Stone magazine.
They asked a group of musicians, critics and writers to pick their favorite artists and guitarists respectively, but then they promote the list as the ultimate authority on great artists & guitarists. Dress it up however you'd like Rolling Stone, it's still a list of favorites! Any way, here are the lists
2. “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” Note: Jack White is way above Mark Knopfler, Dickie Betts and Steve Howe.
There used to be a weekly music magazine, The Rocket, which was available at any Puget Sound record store. Every issue of The Rocket included reader submitted Desert Island Disc lists. The idea is you are stuck on a desert island and have to choose 10 discs to listen to. Please don't ask how you'd play the discs on a desert island. Maybe I'll be address that in a future column. Here’s my DID list alphabetical by artist.
The Allman Brothers – Fillmore Concerts. Eat A Peach used to hold this spot, but then they released the concerts as a set.
The Band – The Band. Most fans would pick Music From Big Pink, but then they'd be without the songs Rockin’ Chair and Unfaithful Servant.
The Beatles – Abbey Road. Trying to pick a favorite Beatles disc is like trying to pick a favorite appendage. How does one choose between such greats as The White Album, Revolver, Rubber Soul & Sgt. Pepper? For my money Abbey Road, the group’s final recording together, is their best work.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Four Way Street Four Way Street. A fantastic live recording by America’s first “super-group” (even though one was British and one was Canadian), has something for everyone. Acoustic love songs, electric jams and harmonies that will make you weep!
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue. I can listen to this disc non-stop for days, weeks at a time. Miles was a god.
Bob Dylan – Blood On the Tracks. While Dylan single-handedly changed popular music in less than five years, his greatest recording didn’t happen until his second decade as an artist, after he’d gone electric and returned to his roots.
The Grateful Dead – Europe '72. If I was limited to one band to listen to for the rest of my days it would be The Grateful Dead. Granted their live shows could be a gamble and they didn’t always have the greatest vocals (Brent Mydland?) but Europe ’72, even without Dark Star, is stellar.
Jimi Hendrix – Electriclady Land. My friend Merritt and I used to listen to this on his older sister’s quadraphonic 8-track.”I’m standing next to a mountain, chop it down with the edge of my hand,” need I say more?
Led Zeppelin – II & IV (tie). I feel a need to clarify the tie for Led Zeppelin II & IV. I couldn't choose between the two because "Stairway to Heaven" is Led Zeppelin's greatest composition as well as one of the greatest Rock songs of all time. I must admit, when I heard the opening arpeggios drifting up from my family room two years ago, as my son was learning the song on his Stratocaster, it brought a tear to my eye. However, Led Zeppelin II is full of great songs with thick rhythm guitar & juicy licks that most aspiring guitarists attempt to duplicate at one time or another. Didn't every 14 year-old boy from my generation want to be Jimmy Page?
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon. DSotM, one of the biggest selling albums of all time and a great soundtrack for Wizard of Oz.By the way, this title has been on my DID list since 7th grade.
Bruce Springsteen – The Wild, the Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle. The best thing The Boss ever did!!!
Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street. Jagger wants to remix it, Keith finally likes it and Allen Klein wishes he had a piece of it. Captured during their most creative period, it’s the finest example of the Rolling Stones sound.
Doc Watson – Memories. If Bill Monroe is the king of bluegrass then Doc is his ambassador. He’s responsible for bringing that sound to the masses.
You've probably noticed that I have more than 10 titles. In fact I have 14 titles. Hey it’s my list. You can choose 25 titles if you’d like. The point: When it comes to deciding your favorites, you are the expert. So go out and build your own DIDs and support your local music scene.
More to follow…