November 5: Johnny Cash released American IV: The Man Comes Around in 2002

johnny cash the man comes around

The selection here is at once so obvious and so inappropriate it feels redemptive–as if that old softy Rick Rubin gently advised his fast-failing charge that if there was ever a song he wanted to sing he’d better not put it off till next time, ’cause there probably wasn’t gonna be one.
~Robert Christgau (robertchristgau.com)

Cash’s first three albums with producer Rick Rubin won Grammys, and this one should keep the streak alive. Supplementing his own material with songs from such varied sources as Nine Inch Nails and Hank Williams, it’s an eclectic collection whose highlights convey the adventurism and heart that have characterized this country music great’s best recordings for half a century.
~Robert Hilburn (LA Times)

The Man Comes Around:

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November 4: The Allman Brothers Band released their eponymous album in 1969

allman_brothers_band

 “It might seem strange to apply the adjective “lovely” to a heavy-white-blues album, but that is what this record so paradoxically is. Sometimes it sounds like what Led Zeppelin might have been if they weren’t hung up on gymnastics. Sometimes it sounds like the more-lyrical Louisiana cousins of Johnny Winter. But what it is consistently is subtle, and honest, and moving. “
– Lester Bangs (Rolling Stone Magazine)

The Allman Brothers Band, released in 1969, was the debut album of  the Allman Brothers Band.

“Dreams” and “Whipping Post” would become the basis for two of The Allman Brothers’ most famed epic concert numbers.

In April 1969 the Allman Brothers Band moved from Jacksonville, Florida to Macon, Georgia. They first rented a house at 309 College Street. The front album cover photo was taken at the entrance of the College House (now owned by Mercer University) right next door at 315 College Street. The back cover photo of the album was taken at the Bond Tomb at Rose Hill Cemetery located at 1091 Riverside Drive in Macon. “Don’t Want You No More” is a cover of a 1967 song by The Spencer Davis Group.

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November 1: Grateful Dead Released American Beauty in 1970

grateful-dead-american-beauty

Taking notes on vocal harmonies from friends Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, the Dead used the softer statements of their fourth studio album as a subtle but moving reflection on the turmoil, heaviness, and hope America’s youth was facing as the idealistic ’60s ended. American Beauty was recorded just a few months after its predecessor, both expanding and improving on the bluegrass, folk, and psychedelic country explorations of Workingman’s Dead with some of the band’s most brilliant compositions.
– Fred Thomas (Allmusic)

It took me a while to get into Grateful Dead, but when they hit me, they hit me hard! This is my second favorite of their albums (my number one is Workingman’s Dead) I should say studio albums, because I really love their early 70s live stuff.

American Beauty is the sixth album by the rock band the Grateful Dead. It was recorded between August and September 1970 and originally released in November 1970 by Warner Bros. Records. The album continued the folk rock and country music explored on Workingman’s Dead and prominently features the lyrics of Robert Hunter.

grateful dead

In 2003, the album was ranked number 258 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

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October 25: Electric Ladyland by The Jimi Hendrix Experience was released in 1968

hendrix-electric-ladyland

undoubtedly a rock album, albeit rock on the point of evolving into something else.
– David Stubbs

one of the greatest double-albums in rock.
– John Perry

Electric Ladyland is the third and final album of new material by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, released in October 1968 on Reprise Records. It is the only Hendrix studio album professionally produced under his supervision. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart for two weeks in November 1968.

Released October 25, 1968 (some sources says October 16…worth celebrating anyhow)
Recorded Olympic Studios, London and Record Plant Studios, New York, July and December 1967, January 1968, April–August 1968
Genre Psychedelic rock, blues rock, acid rock, hard rock
Length 75:47
Label Reprise, Track, Barclay, Polydor
Producer Jimi Hendrix

 

All along the watchtower, the best Dylan cover of all time!:

This is a perfect Hendrix album. It is poppy and funky and original at the same time, and what a great soul singer Hendrix was! I also think it is very inventive, sonically speaking. Jimi Hendrix really searched for “new sounds” on this record, he produced an album that has stood the test of time marvelously.

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October 17: The Rolling Stones recorded the Brussels Affair in 1973

Brussels-Affair

The Rolling Stones have finally begun to assemble and release their vast archives.  Setting up The Official Rolling Stones Archive online, their first release was The Brussels Affair ’73.

Long hailed by die-hard Stones fans as one of the band’s greatest live performances, The Brussels Affair has been a mainstay in the underground music world for years. The album is pulled from the two gigs that took place at the Forest National arena in Brussels, and was originally recorded by Andy Johns on the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. Bob Clearmountain applied the final mix in 2011.

Buy it here

Keith talking about the two shows:

As i said it is compiled from two shows recorded in Brussels on 17 October 1973 in the Forest National Arena, during their European Tour. The album was released exclusively as a digital download through Google Music on 18 October 2011 in the US and through The Rolling Stones Archive website for the rest of the world in both lossy mp3 and lossless FLAC format. The 2011 digital edition has been bootlegged on physical CD.

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October 17: Johnny Cash – American III: Solitary Man was released in 2000

In the liner notes, Johnny Cash writes:

“The song is the thing that matters. Before I can record, I have to hear it, sing it, and know that I can make it feel like my own, or it won’t work. I worked on these songs until I felt like they were my own.”

Released October 17, 2000
Genre Country, americana
Length 42:15
Label American Recordings
Producer John Carter Cash, Rick Rubin

American III: Solitary Man is the third album in the American series by Johnny Cash released in 2000 (and his 85th overall album). The album was notable for being Cash’s highest charting (#11 Country) solo studio LP since his 1976 One Piece at a Time, an album that reached No. 2 Country based on the title cut. To the present day, Cash’s studio albums for American have continued to sell & chart extremely well, as evidenced by the platinum #22 POP, #2 C&W American IV: The Man Comes Around (released one year before his death) and the gold, #1 on both charts, American V: A Hundred Highways.

I see a darkness (with guest Will Oldham, the composer of the song):

Between Unchained and Solitary Man, Cash’s health declined due to various ailments, and he was even hospitalized for pneumonia. His illness forced Cash to curtail his touring. The album American III: Solitary Man contained Cash’s response to his illness, typified by a version of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, as well as a version of U2’s “One”.

One (so much better than any other versions!):

American III: Solitary Man, just like Cash’s two previous albums produced by Rick Rubin, was a Grammy winner, taking home the award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for Cash’s version of the Neil Diamond classic “Solitary Man”. Cash continued to receive critical appreciation for his American series of albums—on aggregate review site Metacritic.com the third album in Cash’s American series received a score of 80 (despite middling reviews from publications such as L.A. Weekly and Rolling Stone magazine) (from Wikipedia)

Track listing:

  1. I Wont Back Down
  2. Solitary Man
  3. That Lucky Old Sun
  4. One
  5. Nobody
  6. I See A Darkness
  7. The Mercy Seat
  8. Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)
  9. Field Of Diamonds
  10. Before My Time
  11. Country Trash
  12. Mary Of The Wild Moor
  13. I’m Leavin’ Now
  14. Wayfaring Stranger

“You can stand me up at the gates of hell/ But I won’t back down”

Pitchfork:

Ryan Kearney

But American III‘s high point is its two-song centerpiece. The first is Will Oldham’s “I See a Darkness”, on which it becomes clear that, perhaps because of his neurological disorder, Cash’s voice isn’t as sure and strong as it once was. When he quavers, with Oldham singing backup, “Is there hope that somehow you can save me from this darkness?” the effect is absolutely devastating. You won’t listen to the song the same after this. The shivers will eventually leave your spine, but the residue remains.

The Mercy Seat:

That song’s transcendent power also stems from its production, which, although still sparse, is relatively lush. The organ and piano that rise to match the guitar remain in use for Nick Cave’s “The Mercy Seat”. Chronicling the first-person thoughts of a man being executed, this song, more than any other on the album, was written for Cash. Building to a rumbling crescendo, he belts out, “And the mercy seat is smokin’/ And I think my head is meltin’.” This would’ve brought even Gary Gilmore to tears.

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