music blog lou reedJohn Cale and Lou Reed – Songs for Drella
Often described as a eulogy for Andy Warhol, what it actually is, is two guys who don’t really like each other but adored Andy Warhol differently, duking it out on record and it’s just fascinating. On ‘The style it takes’ delivered in Cales beautiful clipped accent, he sings ‘lets do a movie, right here next week, we don’t have sound but you’re so great, you don’t have to speak’ and it’s one of many lines that give us an intimate peek behind the curtain of what life was like at The Factory. Reed doesn’t disappoint either with a withering and vicious attack on would-be Warhol assassin Valerie Solanas.

Bare-Naked-Ladies-–-Rock-SpectacleBare Naked Ladies – Rock Spectacle (Live)

There are fewer acts who have as much fun on stage than these guys and this is exemplified by the effortless, whimsical yet articulate unselfconsciousness of every lyric. ‘If I had a million dollars’ contains the line ‘I’d buy you a green dress…but not a real green dress that’s cruel’ which is a riff on the studio version’s original line replacing ‘fur coat’ with ‘green dress’. Funny, charming urbane and sensitive, the whole album experience is like joining a gang.

music blog bill withersBill Withers – Live at Carnegie Hall

Bill has a way of sharing the common experiences of everyday folks without $20 resorting words to move us. In Grandma’s Hands we have a snapshot of the life of poor, urban, blacks and what got them through the day, which was church, love and each other. In this version we also have a cool, utterly charming and very funny spoken intro delivered in his endearing laconic drawl.


Burt Bacharach - The Definitive Burt Bacharach SongbookBurt Bacharach – The Definitive Burt Bacharach Songbook

A compilation on this list? Well Bacharach and David are writers not performers. This double album has all their finest work by some of the best performers and it contains a song that should be the anthem for this website Alfie….
‘I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie.

The whole album is like, really good, rich and expensive box of chocolates, varied, delicious and contains a few delightful surprises.


Tom Waites The Heart of Saturday NightTom Waites The Heart of Saturday Night

Forget the cartoon version of Tom Waites that popular media types have so tediously and lazily mischaracterized, he’s more than the ‘chainsaw voice’ so much more. Tom writes lines like ‘a solitary sailor who spends the facts of his life like small change on strangers’ from The Ghost of Saturday Night and that isn’t even the best line in that song. That honor is reserved for ‘As he dreams of a waitress with Maxwell House eyes, and marmalade thighs with scrambled yellow hair’ and that’s not the best line from the best song best song on the album. That honor is reserved for ‘The Heart of Saturday Night’ where we join in the anticipation of what that one night once meant and maybe still means to every single man I know.

There’s also a duet with Bette Middler and we eavesdrop on a conversation between two singles at a bar, the song finishes with a spectacularly harmonized line ‘Coz only suckers fall in love with perfect strangers’ which seems an controversial way to sign off a Nerve article.