I Am a Collection of (play)Lists

…please know me…

(Southside Johnny – I Don’t Want To Go Home. One of my all time favorites.)

My brief time on Facebook (3 weeks at the time of this writing) has made me realize that I really need to get my list together.

Facebook is an environment that promotes brevity if not succinctness, and the preferred method of quick self-expression would appear to be the top five list, followed closely by brief questionnaires that quickly associate us with some cultural icon representing our true self. "If this were a parallel fantasy-adventure life you would be Gandalf!"

We’ve done this before in any number of ways. The mix tape comes to mind. A collection of music we assemble and bestow, that cannot help but profoundly move the recipient. Maybe the mix will impress with its originality, or maybe it will open a window into the deepest emotional and spiritual underpinnings of our profound self. Well OK, that might be a bit much. But the mix tape (or CD), takes a little more work to put together than the one-offs provided by Facebook and no matter what music we assemble, what we’re hoping to say with it is, "There is more to me than meets the eye. This music is helping me communicate that."

Our Facebook lists are quickie mix tapes and they serve to place us, to locate us, at some discernible point in the cultural landscape. Our lists say, "This is how I’m like you, this is how I’m not like you, but mostly this is how I’m like you."

I’m not suggesting that we Facebook users actually consider these lists to define us in any very meaningful way. I’m suggesting that they represent a meta discourse that translates to "Please know me."

And on that note, here’s a list.

I decided to make a list of albums that were special enough for whatever reason, that I played them over and over, start to finish, in some cases until the original vinyl wore out. I thought this would be a relatively short list, but as it grew, I found it necessary to enforce some additional qualifications. Only albums that I would still play over and over upon returning to them now made the cut. I played Head East’s Flat As A Pancake hundreds of times back in ’75 but to my ears it has not aged well. Not on the list. Also, this is a list of albums that I played in their entirety on most occasions. The albums you play so many times that years later when you hear a song from them on the radio you remember which song comes next. Hundreds (thousands?) of individual tracks that would make any number of my favorite playlists are not here. The albums are ordered (roughly) by release dates, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s when I was listening to them. I was one year and 15 days away from being born when Kind Of Blue came out.

Artist Album Year
Miles Davis Kind Of Blue 1959
Bennie Green Catwalk 1960
Oliver Nelson Blues And The Abstract Truth 1961
Bill Evans Trio Waltz For Debbie 1961
George Gershwin Concerto In F/Rhapsody In Blue (Entremont/Ormandy) 1964
Herbie Hancock Maiden Voyage 1965
Neil Young After The Gold Rush 1970
Van Morrison Moondance 1970
Allman Brothers At Fillmore East 1971
Elton John Madman Across The Water 1971
J.J. Cale Naturally 1971
Elton John Honky Chateau 1972
Pat Martino Live! 1972
Elton John Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only The Piano Player 1973
Elton John Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1973
Led Zeppelin Houses Of The Holy 1973
Stevie Wonder Innervisions 1973
The Who Quadrophenia 1973
Maynard Ferguson Chameleon 1974
Stevie Wonder Fulfillingness’ First Finale 1974
Jeff Beck Blow By Blow 1975
Art Pepper Living Legend 1975
Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 1975
Toshiko Akiyosi Tales Of A Courtesan 1975
Linda Ronstadt Hasten Down The Wind 1976
Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes I Don’t Want To Go Home 1976
Ray Charles & Cleo Laine Porgy & Bess 1976
Stevie Wonder Songs In the Key Of Life 1976
Jeff Beck Wired 1976
Earth Wind & Fire Best Of Vol. 1 1978
Tom Waits Blue Valentine 1978
Tom Petty Damn The Torpedos 1979
Mark Murphy Bop For Kerouac 1981
Tom Waits & Crystal Gayle One From The Heart Soundtrack 1982
Donald Fagen The Nightfly 1982
Rufus & Chaka Khan Live: Stompin’ At The Savoy 1983
Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas Flood 1983
Stevie Ray Vaughan Couldn’t Stand The Weather 1984
Bob Marley Legend 1984
Talking Heads Stop Making Sense 1984
Paul Simon Graceland 1986
Van Morrison No Guru, No Method, No Teacher 1986
Anita Baker Rapture 1986
U2 Rattle & Hum 1988
Tone-Loc Loc-ed After Dark 1989
Blues Traveler Blues Traveler 1990
Black Crowes Shake Your Money Maker 1990
Beethoven Sonatas (Zoltan Kocsis) 1990
Temple Of The Dog Temple Of The Dog 1990
Soundgarden Badmotorfinger 1991
Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik 1991
Matthew Sweet Girlfriend 1991
Pearl Jam Ten 1991
Rage Against The Machine Rage Against The Machine 1992
The Brand New Heavies The Brand New Heavies 1992
Counting Crows August And Everything After 1993
Sarah McLachlan Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 1993
Gin Blossoms New Miserable Experience 1993
Big Head Todd & The Monsters Sister Sweetly 1993
Sting Ten Summoner’s Tales 1993
Tool Undertow 1993
Jackopierce Bringing On The Weather 1994
G. Love & Special Sauce G. Love & Special Sauce 1994
Seal Seal 1994
Son Volt Trace 1995
The Wallflowers Bringing Down The Horse 1996
Dave Matthews Band Crash (Just for Carter Beauford’s drumming) 1996
Barenaked Ladies Rock Spectacle 1996
The Meters The Very Best of the Meters 1997
Ben Folds Five Whatever And Ever Amen 1997
Martin Sexton The American 1998
Aimee Mann Magnolia Soundtrack 1999
Keith Jarrett The Melody At Night With You 1999

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