Hey, welcome to my "guide" to a few of my favorite rock and pop records. This isn't a definitive list, by any means, just some random comments about a few records that have stood out over the years, or that I've found the time to review.
This page covers the letter "T"
Talking Heads "77" (Sire, 1977)
Talking Heads "More Songs About Buildings And Food" (Sire, 1978)
Talking Heads "Fear Of Music" (Sire, 1979)
Talking Heads "Remain In Light" (Sire, 1980)
Talking Heads "Speaking In Tounges" (Sire, 1983)
Teenage Fanclub - see my Scottish pop guide
Them "The Story Of Them" (A&M/Deram, 1997)
Sometimes, when you see a collection as good as this, a little voice inside your head will tell you, "Get this now! You may never have such a chance!" I shall play the part of that little voice. "Them" was the Van Morrison's first band, a colossus on the Belfast blues scene during the mid-'Sixties, and this 2-CD set collects the bulk of their legacy -- some of the best soul-drenched R&B to have come out of the UK... ever! Contemporaries such as Eric Burdon or Manfred Mann were pale reflections of the richly immediate, sometimes slashing power that Them had at the tips of its fingers. Their vibrancy was due in no small part to the presence of Van Morrison, who even then was on a collision course with his artistic godhead, and whose performances ooze charisma beyond all reasonable expectations. Taken in one sitting, the numerous blues-based rave-ups may start to feel repetitive and stylistically limited, but Them's greatest material -- songs such as "Here Comes The Night", "Gloria", "Mystic Eyes", and their version of Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" is simply stunning. On a few tracks, like "Friday's Child", you can hear Morrison groping towards his later, more expansive, folkie mysticism... but on the best of these rock numbers, there's a crackling energy that can match anything he did on the solo gig. Highly, highly recommended.
Kevin Tihista's Red Terror "Don't Breathe A Word" (Atlantic, 2001)
A genuinely seductive album, full of whispered, cynical lyrics and endlessly clever pop hooks. By now, the bag of tricks unleashed by Teenage Fan Club and soft-pop cohorts such as Belle & Sebastian and their Sarah Label predecessors are pretty familiar to the indiepop crowd. Naturally the temptation is to say, "oh, look, this is on Atlantic Records -- it's just some big, major label cooptation of mopey, poetic pop..." Whatever. All I know is, is that this is an engaging record, gimmicky, but well-produced and pretty-sounding, harkening back to the sexiness of old Squeeze albums as well. It's made its way back into my stereo several times already, and is likely to be played a few times more before the night is out... Recommended!
T-Rex/Marc Bolan "20th Century Boy: The Ultimate Collection" (Universal/Hip-O, 2002)
A tasty best-of from one of the '70s most charismatic and artistically searching pop artists. Bolan almost singlehandedly defined the androgynous look and piercingly treble-heavy sound of the early '70s "glam" genre, and his records remain the best of the lot, along with Bowie's Ziggy-era albums, and the random hits by David Essex or Sweet. By now, everyone in the free world must be familiar with the mega-anthemic 1971 hit, "Bang A Gong," although this collection includes nearly two dozen other goodies of near-equal caliber. Bolan, who died in 1977, was a prime example of the experimentation with celebrity image and musical expression that came about after the Beatles/'60s hippie rock scene solidified the rock'n'roll starmaking machinery. Some of his stuff -- including a few songs on here -- was a bit formless, but his best songs have a keen, clear-cut melodicism that is irresistible and the creative imperative is tangible in everything he did. Even when his seductive smashes were offset by the occasional flat number, he still gave the impression of an actual artist at work. Although several of his original albums are worth picking up in their own right, this is an excellent collection which does a nice job picking out the juiciest tunes from the Bolan/T-Rex catalog. Recommended!
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