While collecting John Power’s (him of Cast and The La’s) upcoming UK acoustic tour dates (see below for full list) Louder Than War asked the man himself for his all time top ten albums.
From Bob Marley to Bob Dylan his top ten is stacked with classics and reads as follows …
1/ Forever Changes
Released November 1967 on Elektra Records Arthur Lee’s Love ”Forever Changes’ was the final release by the original line up, initially seen as a commercial failure the album spent 10 weeks on the Billboard 200 album chart peaking at #154. Though proving to be a much more successful album in Great Britain it reached #24 on the UK album charts in 1968, it later went on to peak to #63 in 2001 when the album re-entered the charts.
2/ Safe as milk
The debut album from Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band released just a few months prior to Arthur Lee’s Love ”Forever Changes’, September 1967. ‘Safe as Milk’ included songs such as Yellow Brick road’ ‘Drop out Boogie’ and a version of Robert Pete Williams “Grown So Ugly” which was one of a few tracks arranged by a 20 year old Ray Cooder who also played guitar on the album. Not recognised at release as the epic it is today ‘Safe as Milk’ was later remastered and re-released in 1999, along with 7 extra bonus songs.
3/ Beggars Banquet
The 7th UK Rolling Stones studio album was released December 1968 and would have been released earlier if not for the dispute over the albums front cover art work which depicted a graffiti-covered lavatory wall. As the bands original choice for the cover they were reluctant to compromise but in the end both Decca UK and the Stone American label ‘London Records’ rejected the album image forcing the Stones to in the end use an alternative simple white cover which imitated an invitation card. Beggars Banquet was finally released with its original cover art on a remastered version of the album in 1984.
Coming out just weeks after England’s World Cup win in August 1966 Revolver is cited as one of the most influential of all the Fab’s long-players. Before coming up with the albums title the band went through a number of ideas like ‘Abracadabra’, until they discovered another group had already used it. Next came Lennon with ‘Four Sides of the Eternal Triangle’ with other titles such as ‘Magic Circles’ ‘Beatles on Safari’ ‘Pendulum’ until they finally settled on ‘Revolver’.
5/ Whats Going On
Marvin Gaye’s Whats Going On was released May 1971 and was the first of its kind featuring introspective lyrics and socially conscious themes of drug abuse, poverty, and the Vietnam War. What’s Going On was both an immediate commercial and critical success and has endured as a classic of early-1970’s soul.
6/ The Times They are a Changing
Dylan’s third studio release was his first album to only feature original compilations covering subjects such as racism poverty and social change, Many critics took note of the stark pessimism with songs such as ‘With God on our side’, ‘Only a Pawn in the Game’ and the title tune itself. Nevertheless, by the time it was released on January 13, 1964, Dylan was already entering a new phase in his career, pulling further away from his popular image as a protest singer.
7/ Catch a Fire
Catch a Fire, which is Jamaican slang for “catching hell” was released April 1973 and featured many backing musicians like Wayne Perkins who played on ‘Concrete Jungle’ and ‘Stir it Up’. The original 1973 vinyl release, designed by graphic artists Rod Dyer and Bob Weiner, was encased in a sleeve depicting a Zippo lighter in which only 20,000 copies were pressed up. Copies of those original pressings have since become collectors’ items.
8/ Early Blues Comps, feat-Howling wolf,Son House, Little Walter, Johnny Cash, etc (home made)
A self put together compilation by John Power made up of ‘early blues’ artists consisted of influential blues masters like Howlin’ Wolf. Born 1910 in Mississippi and at 6 feet, 6 inches (191 cm) and close to 300 pounds (136 kg), he was an imposing presence with one of the loudest and most memorable voices of all the “classic” 1950’s Chicago blues singers. One of the many talented ‘Chess’ artist his songs included tracks like ‘Smoke Stack Lightening’, ‘The Red Rooster’ and ‘Back Door Man’.
9/ Hunky Dory
Released by RCA records in 1971 Hunky Dory was David Bowie’s first release on the label, it was also the first production to feature all the members of the band that would become known the following year as Ziggy Stardust’s Spiders From Mars. Its massively influential track list consisted of tunes such as ‘ Changes’, ‘Life on Mars’ and ‘Queen Bitch’ with Bowie himself considers the album to be one of the most important in his career.
10/ Kind of Blue
The influence of ‘a Kind of Blue’ over the years has reached beyond jazz, as musicians of such genres as rock and classical have through time been heavily influenced by the record. Recorded in New York City and released in August 1959 Miles Davis’s album is rated by many critics as the greatest Jazz album of all time.
May 30 Longfield Suite, Bury
May 31 Cenral Station, Wreckham
June 1 The Horn, St Albans
June 2 The Cellars at Eastney, Portsmouth
June 6 The Nines, Cumbria
June 7 The Light, Scunthorpe
June 8 Full Moon, Newcastle-under-Lyme
June 9 Beat Bar, Widnes
June 13 The Donkey, Leicester
June 14 The Live Lounge, Blackburn
June 15 Warehouse, Wakefield
June 16 The Dog House, Nottingham
June 29 The Liquid Room, Edinburgh
July 4 Pure, Sunderland
July 5 The Admiral, Glasgow
July 6 Bakers Nite Club, Kilmarnock
All words by Carl Stanley. More of Carl’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.