15 Favourite LPs

VariousArtists Top 15 LPs 16 Covers16 covers?  You’ll have to read to find out why.

Originally published on OS on September 3, 2010 as part of an open call to writers on the site.

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This post was part of an Open Call here on OS for people to list and discuss 15 albums they have their greatest emotional attachments to.  Since I create associations between albums/songs with, well, just about everything, trying to pick 15 LPs that are memorable owing to specific parts of my life or events would be an insurmountable task.  Therefore, I zoomed through my collection, made a (long) short list and picked my 15 favouritesor what passes as such at this momentbut will briefly discuss each more in terms of memories, time and place, etc than as a critique. (The full long list appears at the bottom.)

My Favourite Album

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June 1, 1974: Eno, Cale, Nico, Ayers — 40th Anniversary

BLOG June 1 1974 Cover

While I’m a fan of both recorded music and live performances, I’m not frequently overly enamored with the results of their intersection: the live album.   More often than not, they are merely contract fillers, between-project marketplace bookmarks or low cost quickie $$$ generators.  They are rarely creative high points in an artist’s output.

Just because a particular artist can consistently wow ‘em live doesn’t necessarily mean that the live document will have the same effect.  Concerts are not just heard, but experienced, in person and in real time, and that in-the-moment vibe rarely translates fully to the recorded medium. Read the rest of this entry »


024. Discopravity: Psychic TV … & NYC, Nov. 17, 1983

BLOG Danceteria ad FACE Dec 84An ad for Danceteria from the December 1984 issue of The Face. (Scan by VA.)

024. Discopravity: Psychic TV, Danceteria, New York City, New York, November 17, 1983. $n/a

NOTE: While this second of a two-part entry covers Psychic TV’s gig at Danceteria (part one included a look at a Circle Jerks’ show at The Reggae Lounge), its focus is more on the hijinks, buffoonery and events experienced among my friends and I over several days in NYC in late ‘83.

Now this was a club!  Danceteria was utterly brilliant: a four-storey funhouse that was exactly what the doctor ordered (especially if he’d been Dr. Robert).

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(Get) Lucky ’13: My Musical Faves & Re/Discoveries of 2013

BLOG GET LUCKY 13 with dice

BLOG RW1 AK

BLOG RW2 QJ10

BLOG RW34 9to2

BLOG Cards EXTRA ROW FINAL

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174. Walk Like A Giant: Neil Young and Crazy Horse with Patti Smith, November 24, 2012

Neil Patti 2012 Ottawa Ticket

Tonight’s the night … to walk like a giant.

174. Walk Like A Giant: Neil Young and Crazy Horse with Patti Smith, Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday November 24, 2012, $73.11.

You can never be sure which iteration of “Neil Young” you’re going to get when you see him live — or which segments of his fanbase will predominate at a given show.  This was my sixth time seeing Neil in four decades and most of those gigs have certainly been distinct from one another, with sometimes decidedly different patrons at the fore. Read the rest of this entry »


155. Hanging Around: Hugh Cornwell from The Stranglers featuring Blondie’s Clem Burke, November 5, 2010

Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers with Blondie's Clem Burke, Zaphod's, Ottawa November 2010

 The line up in the freezing cold not pictured.

155. Hanging Around: Hugh Cornwell from The Stranglers featuring Blondie’s Clem Burke, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, Ontario, Friday November 5, 2010, $18.

I have three primary associations regarding The Stranglers.  The first dates back to that trip to England in 1977 that I have written about.  Their debut album, Rattus Norvegicus, was a major hit over there that year, and the band’s menacing glares peered out from record store windows throughout the UK. Read the rest of this entry »


020a. You Won’t See Me: 20 Acts I Wish I’d Seen (1920s-1980)

20 Acts I Wish I'd Seen Colour Block by VariousArtistsk BLOG

(Top 20 Colour Cube by VA)

For those of you who go out to see live music, you know that part of going to shows is not going to shows. Concerts are cancelled, plans change, unforseen events present themselves, and sometimes people plain up and die (luckily, Johnny Thunders made a full recovery from his early-evening overdose on the night I went to see him, living to play the show, albeit barely).

As I work my way through my series, I wanted to have an entry that honoured those concerts and performers who I did not get to see … and here it is, also doubling as a celebration of working my way up to No. 020 (they say that hindsight is 20/20, so I felt this was a fitting number for the piece). Read the rest of this entry »