The Ten Album Challenge

Created: January 31, 2020

10 Albums that I liked and which most influenced me

This was like the Seven Book Challenge in my Scholar section. Here, the challenge came from Robin Mayer. On January 19, 2020, she challenged me to challenge to "choose 10 of my favorite albums that have had an impact on me. Rules are to place one album cover per day in no particular order, no explanation. You must also nominate someone new every day."

Much like the books, I wanted to preserve the list and explain my selections. It was surprisingly easy to come up with my list, until I realized "albums" weren't necessarily music. Someone HAD to go. So I'm going to add two honorable mentions and give you twelve! Two don't belong in the music section. Deal with it.

Day 1, On Tour, The Weavers

My brother Chip was in college as I became aware of the world, but for Christmas he would bring home record albums for me and my sister Ann. This was perhaps my favorite, but stands in for The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul, and Mary. I loved that musicians of this type could make a crowd react the way they did.

I wanted a banjo just like Pete, and even made one out of cardboard. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I wound up playing guitar instead, though I've owned banjos almost as long and am now working on making more credible sounds on my current one.

It wasn't until years later that I found out they had been blacklisted by Joseph McCarthy's ilk. By the time I heard them, McCarthy had lost out. Thank God! This challenge went to my brother for obvious reasons.

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Day 2, Sgt. Pepper, The Beatles

An obvious choice for me. Some argue that this was a mere extension of the groundbreaking "Revolver", and of course for the sheer amount of great stuff on the White Album is utterly remarkable, but this one probably cemented the legacy of the Fab Four. 

Rock and roll was no longer just the simplistic, formulaic music it had been. Producer George Martin really stepped up his game.

I challenged Ed Glantz, who plays Ringo's drum parts better than anyone I know.

Day 3, Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow - Right

My salute to cognitive dissonance. This challenge was easy until I realized that "album" didn't have to be music. I immediately thought of some record albums our family got for Christmas, four performances by Bill Cosby, of which this was one. I listened to some of the routines to the point I memorized them.

 

I actually planned the timing of my annual trip to Las Vegas one year to coincide with a performance there. I thought his performances in the TV series "I Spy" were remarkable. His original story of Fat Albert with the transition of "I told you that story to tell you this one..." was nothing short of brilliant. Yes, Bill Cosby was one of my all-time favorite performers, until...

Yeah, it was a dirty damn shame what we eventually learned. Cognitive dissonance is the unsettled emotional feeling we get when we are confronted with seemingly contradictory information. (Wikipedia has a good article on it.) Recognizing that people who have achieved greatness can also be greatly flawed is often difficult. This is a reminder to be wary of hero worship.

I challenged anyone who took offense at my posting this as one of my ten albums. I still have to say he was indeed a very funny fellow.

Day 4, Mr. Tambourine Man, The Byrds

An opening lick is a musical passage played at the beginning of a song by some instrument (typically guitar). The title song of this album had one of the greatest of all time. But this album represented so much more.

Day 1 of this challenge was a tribute to my roots, folk music. Rock and roll was for a time something I didn't like, probably because my sister didn't like it (though she eventually came around.) But suddenly, the genre of folk-rock was proving that the two could not only co-exist but could have a flourishing partnership. Buffalo Springfield, America, Tom Petty, CSN&Y, and a host of others would follow. I still like listening to their stuff.

I challenged Gail Williams-Beck on this one because we always kid each other about how we should have done a duet or formed a group, but we went our separate ways after high school and it never happened. I suspect this is the style we might have chosen.

Day 5, Greatest Hits / the Guitar, John Williams

This was a Christmas present from my aunt Muriel, I think when I was in my early twenties. I was very much influenced by classical music from a very young age and remember with great fondness seeing the likes of Andres Segovia and Carlos Montoya perform with the Detroit Symphony.

This collection of iconic classical guitar pieces was performed by one of the greatest classical guitarists of the day, but isn't the same John Williams who composed the music to Star Wars and led the Boston Pops. I loved the arrangements on the album and his take on Vivaldi's "Concerto in D Major for Lute (II. Largo)" is as beautiful a piece of music as I've ever heard. I prefer it to Segovia's.

One of several instances of an inexpensive Christmas presents that was both meaningful and greatly appreciated. I thanked her for it many times through the years.

I challenge Steve Carrillo, an outstanding guitarist in his own right.

Day 6, To Our Children's Children's Children, Moody Blues

The expression "soundtrack to your life" fits. I was already a fan of this group and anxiously awaited every album. As iconic as "Days of Future Passed" was, this one was my favorite. The song Watching and Waiting was a perfect conclusion to an album which, to me, had no weak tracks. Even if the overall tone of the music was over-the-top, well, moody, it's where I was at, and it has stood the test of time with me.

 

What a pleasant surprise to find out that my niece Linda was also a huge fan of this album! I naturally chose her to challenge on this one.