Music plays a big part in my life and it has since I was very young. When I got my first job at 16 I started buying LPs of all different kinds to a point where now, I have many hundreds and even more compact discs. The collecting now tends to be from charity shops and other sources where I don’t so readily have to splash my cash but also sometimes I get given music for free when people need to clear out rooms or houses.Recently a friend lost her father and was clearing and sorting his things and asked us if we’d like any of his LPs.Of course I said yes and managed to pick out five that I’d not yet acquired. The five included a classic or two and some lesser known ones but even so they’re albums which I think over time will get a lot of playing.
These are the ones:
Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player is the sixth studio album by Elton John.Released by DJM Records, it was John’s sixth normal studio album release, and was his second straight No. 1 album in the US, yielding his first No. 1 single in both the US and Canada: “Crocodile Rock”.”Daniel” was also a major hit from the album, giving him his second Canadian No. 1 single on the RPM Top Singles Chart and just missing the top slot south of the border, stalling at No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and reaching No. 4 in the UK, one place higher than achieved by “Crocodile Rock”.
Oxygène (English: Oxygen) is the third studio album by French electronic musician and composer Jean-Michel Jarre, and his first album not intended for use as a soundtrack. Oxygèneconsists of six tracks, numbered simply “Oxygène Part I” to “Part VI”. It was first released in France in December 1976, on the Disques Dreyfus record label licensed to Polydor, with an international release following in the middle of 1977. The album reached number one on the French charts, number two on the UK charts and number 78 in the US charts.Jarre recorded the album in a makeshift home recording studio using a variety of analog synthesizers, one digital synthesizer as well as other electronic instruments and effects. It became a bestseller and was Jarre’s first album to achieve mainstream success. It was highly influential in the development of electronic music from that point onward and has been described as the album that “led the synthesizer revolution of the Seventies”and “an infectious combination of bouncy, bubbling analog sequences and memorable hook lines”.
Fate for Breakfast is the fourth solo studio album by Art Garfunkel released in March 1979 on Columbia Records. It was his first album to miss the U.S. Billboard Top 40 and his first album containing no U.S. Top 40 singles. However, the European release of the album does include a different version of the song “Bright Eyes”, which was featured in the film version of the novel Watership Down, and reached the number-one spot in the United Kingdom, and became the biggest selling single of 1979 there. Likewise, the album itself garnered international success, reaching the top-ten in some European countries. The album was issued in five different sleeves, each with a different shot of Art Garfunkel at the breakfast table.
In Search of the Lost Chord is the third album by The Moody Blues, released in July 1968 on the Deram label.In Search of the Lost Chord is a concept album around a broad theme of quest and discovery, including world exploration (“Dr. Livingstone, I Presume”), music and philosophy through the ages (“House of Four Doors”), lost love (“The Actor”), spiritual development (“Voices in the Sky”), knowledge in a changing world (“Ride My See-Saw”), higher consciousness (“Legend of a Mind”), imagination (“The Best Way to Travel”), and space exploration (“Departure”). Space exploration would go on to become the theme of the Moodies’ 1969 album To Our Children’s Children’s Children, inspired by and dedicated to the Apollo 11 mission. The mysterious “lost chord” of the title is revealed to be the mantra”Om” (in the last stanza of Graeme Edge’s poem “The Word”). According to keyboardist Mike Pinder, the title was inspired by Jimmy Durante’s humorous song, “I’m the Guy that Found the Lost Chord,” itself a reference to The Lost Chord by Sir Arthur Sullivan.
After using the London Festival Orchestra for the interludes (but not the songs) on Days of Future Passed, the Moody Blues played all instruments themselves – approximately 33 – on In Search of the Lost Chord. Indian instruments such as the sitar (played by guitarist Justin Hayward), the tambura(played by keyboardist Mike Pinder) and the tabla (played by drummer and percussionist Graeme Edge) made audio appearances on several tracks (notably “Departure”, “Visions of Paradise” and “Om”). Other unconventional (for the Moodies) instruments were also used, notably the oboe (played by percussionist/flute player Ray Thomas) and the cello(played by bassist John Lodge, who tuned it as a bass guitar). The mellotron, played by Pinder, produced many string and horn embellishments.Having already experimented with spoken word interludes on “Morning Glory” and “Late Lament” on Days of Future Passed, The Moody Blues tried the practice again on In Search of the Lost Chord, on the Graeme Edge-penned pieces “Departure” and “The Word”. The latter was recited by Pinder, who was the primary reciter of Edge’s poems on this and other Moody Blues albums. “Departure”, which escalates from mumbling to hysterical laughter, is a rare studio example of Edge reciting his own words.
Track Record was A&M’s initial attempt to present Joan Armatrading’s best music on a single disc. The label has since released several more compilations that expand the field slightly by adding material that appeared before and after the vintage years of 1976 to 1983, diluting rather than enhancing Track Record’s original selection. Compilations by their very nature can only do a few things well: draw neophytes in with unflinchingly good music, provide fans with the kind of selection they’d put on a homemade tape, and collect unreleased or hard-to-find tracks on an easy-to-obtain album. Track Record hits the trifecta, distilling the best moments from her most popular albums and adding two non album tracks recorded with Steve Lillywhite: “Frustration” and “Heaven” (which did appear together on a single in 1983). The songs are presented in a kind of reverse chronology, beginning with the two singles from her album The Key and following with selections from Walk Under Ladders (three selections, which is warranted) and Me Myself I. The remaining tracks are warmer in tone, as they draw from Armatrading’s pre-rock catalog: the eponymous Joan Armatrading and Show Some Emotion. Track Record excels by omission; corporate logic often demands an offering from every album, but this album fights the temptation to play “senate selection” with her catalog, and it’s better for it. The addition of “Rosie” from the How Cruel EP over anything from To the Limit isn’t the easy choice, but it is the right choice. For both fans and neophytes, Track Record is a runaway recommendation, since a better selection of Joan Armatrading’s songs won’t be found anywhere.
It’s strange too though, just stopping to think of the person these records belonged to and just what kind of life and pleasure they had listening to these well crafted classic albums.