January 22: Aretha Franklin released Lady Soul in 1968

…1968’s Lady Soul proved Aretha Franklin, the pop sensation, was no fluke. Her performances were more impassioned than on her debut, and the material just as strong, an inspired blend of covers and originals from the best songwriters in soul and pop music.
~John Bush (allmusic.com)

Chain of Fools – Live 1968:

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January 18: Warren Zevon released Excitable Boy in 1978

“The further these songs get from Ronstadtland, the more I like them. The four that exorcise male psychoses by mock celebration are positively addictive, the two uncomplicated rockers do the job, and two of the purely “serious” songs get by. But no one has yet been able to explain to me what “accidentally like a martyr” might mean–answers dependent on the term “Dylanesque” are not acceptable–and I have no doubt that that’s the image Linda will home in on. After all, is she going to cover the one about the headless gunner? A-”
– Robert Christgau

Excitable Boy is the third album by Warren Zevon, it was released in 1978. It includes the top 40 success “Werewolves of London”. The album brought Warren to commercial attention and remains the best-selling album of his career. A remastered and expanded edition was released during 2007.

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January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969

One of her most overlooked ’60s albums, on which she presented some of her jazziest material, despite the title. None of these cuts were significant hits, and none were Aretha originals; she displayed her characteristically eclectic taste in the choice of cover material, handling compositions by Percy Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, and, at the most pop-oriented end of her spectrum, John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” and Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”

Her vocals are consistently passionate and first-rate, though, as is the musicianship; besides contributions from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, session players include respected jazzmen Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, David Newman, and Joe Zawinul.
– Richie Unterberger (allmusic) Continue reading “January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969”

January 13: Johnny Cash recorded At Folsom Prison (album) in 1968

“Folsom Prison looms large in Johnny Cash’s legacy, providing the setting for perhaps his definitive song and the location for his definitive album, At Folsom Prison. The ideal blend of mythmaking and gritty reality, At Folsom Prison is the moment when Cash turned into the towering Man in Black, a haunted troubadour singing songs of crime, conflicted conscience, and jail.”
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)

One of the best live albums in recording history was taped on this date in 1968, hell, it’s one of the best albums period. Today it is it’s 48-year anniversary.

folsom

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January 12: Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin (debut album) in 1969

Led Zeppelin is the eponymous debut studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released on 12 January 1969 in the United States and on 31 March 1969 in the United Kingdom by Atlantic Records. Featuring integral contributions from each of the group’s four members, the album was recorded in October 1968 at Olympic Studios in London and established their fusion style of blues rock.

Although the album was not critically well-received when first released, it was commercially successful, and critics have since come to view it in a more favourable light. In 2003, Led Zeppelin was ranked at #29 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and keeping that position after the list was updated in 2012. In 2004, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Continue reading “January 12: Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin (debut album) in 1969”

January 11: Lyle Lovett released Pontiac in 1988

“The preacher asked her and she said, ‘I do’
The preacher asked me and she said, ‘Yes, he does too’
The preacher said, ‘I pronounce you 99 to life
Son, she’s no lady, she’s your wife.’ “

– Lyle Lovett (She’s No Lady)

“Writes like Guy Clark, only plainer, sings like Jesse Winchester only countrier.”
– Robert Christgau

“While Lyle Lovett’s self-titled debut album made it clear he was one the most gifted and idiosyncratic talents to emerge in country music in the 1980s, his follow-up, 1987’s Pontiac, took the strengths of his first disc and refined them, and the result was a set whose sound and feel more accurately reflected Lovett’s musical personality.”
– Mark Deming (allmusic)

This classic country album was Lyle Lovett’s second album, and to me it’s his best still. The Texas singer-songwriter uses the same elements that made his 1986 debut such a delight, dry humour, observational storytelling told in a personal and devastating way. Relationship stories as dark and as funny as they sometimes are…and with great singing and music.

Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris visits on this first of many masterpieces from Lyle Lovett.

Pontiac (official video):

The release date is uncertain, some sites said it was released in 1987, but most reviews started coming out  mid January 1988. Anyway that’s not the important part, what’s important is to celebrate a very fine album no matter if it was released December 1987 or January 1988.

– Hallgeir