Lost Masterpieces

Posted on 19 March 2010

Continuing my “Historical Perspective” series, this article was originally posted on October 17th, 2003.

The other day Kenny asked a group of us what we would consider our favorite “underrated” albums. As I’ve pointed out before, Kenny has a music (mostly rock) collection that far outstrips my own but I did manage to come up with these 4 albums. These are not necessarily my favorite albums but I do listen to these CDs quite a bit and never seem to tire of them. If you get a chance I’d suggest that you take a listen to them.

Ween — “White Pepper” 2000

Definitely Ween’s most polished album, most of the songs fall outside the wierd norm for what constitutes a Ween “song”. Still, with songs like “Bananas and Blow” it’s obvious to see that they haven’t lost their quirky sense of humor and, with “Stroker Ace”, it’s clear that Gene and Dean Ween still know how to rock. Definitely well worth the listen but not indicative of other works from Ween.

Stan Ridgeway — “Partyball” 1991

I love the storytelling on this album. The music is “interesting” (a good interesting, but not melodic by any means) but songs like “Harry Truman”, “I Wanna Be a Boss”, and “The Roadblock” are amazing. These are songs that I have to stop everything I’m doing and focus on because I don’t want to miss a single part. A few of the songs are goofy but overall the package is great.

School of Fish — “School of Fish” 1990

The first album by these guys came out just before grunge went huge and hair metal died the quick death. I remember hearing them played on the radio just prior to going over to live in Germany for a year and, while in Germany, it was as though the American cultural-clock had pretty much frozen right were I left it. When I came back I had adopted a few German musical tastes but TOTALLY missed out on what was happening to American musical tastes. School of Fish could have had a chance if Nirvana and Pearl Jam, et al hadn’t blindsided everyone. Listening to this tape (yes, I still have it on tape and haven’t upgraded) always takes me back to that year.

Pink Floyd — “Meddle” 1971

“Animals”, “Dark Side of the Moon”, “The Wall”, and “Wish You Were Here” usually get more limelight than this album, but it’s one of my favorites and (for me) marks their true entrance into the production of albums with unifying themes and motifs (like “Sgt. Peppers” or “Animal Sounds”) but there are still a few holdovers from the Syd Barret days. The sound of Pink Floyd on “Meddle” is not yet so refined that each note has been scripted and choreographed precisely. And then there is the ending of “Echoes” which — after the quick pace of “One of These Days”, the yelping dog in “Seamus”, and the freaky screams in the beginning of “Echoes” — gives such an unexpected and calming feeling.

The Rolling Stones — “Their Satanic Majesties Request” 1967

This album isn’t the Stones best and I think some songs are downright hokey, but its such a drastic departure from their other stuff that I actually get a kick out of it. “She’s a Rainbow”, “Sing This All Together”, and “2000 Man” always gets me wondering about how the producers ever got Mick, or Keith or the whole rest of them, to stay sober long enough to actually write and record this album. One look at the cover and you can tell that they’d blown a cylinder and their synapses were mis-firing.

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