Category: Feature LP

Tuesday 5/26/20 12:30am ET: Feature LP: Elvia Costello & The Attractions – Armed Forces

Armed Forces is the third studio album by British musician Elvis Costello, released in the UK by Radar Records and in the US by Columbia in 1979. It was his second album with the Attractions, and the first to officially credit the Attractions on the cover. The album had the working title Emotional Fascism.

The North American version omitted the track “Sunday’s Best” and replaced it with Costello’s version of Nick Lowe’s “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding,” which had been released the previous November as the B-side of Lowe’s “American Squirm” single. Initial pressings of the album in the UK and US also included a promotional three-song EP, Live at Hollywood High.

Armed Forces has appeared on various “greatest albums” lists in both Q magazine and Rolling Stone magazine.

1. “Accidents Will Happen” 3:00
2. “Senior Service” 2:17
3. “Oliver’s Army” 2:58
4. “Big Boys” 2:54
5. “Green Shirt” 2:42
6. “Party Girl” 3:20
7. “Goon Squad” 3:14
8. “Busy Bodies” 3:33
9. “Sunday’s Best” 3:22
10. “Moods for Moderns” 2:48
11. “Chemistry Class” 2:55
12. “Two Little Hitlers” 3:18
12. “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding”

Tuesday 5/26/20 12am ET: Feature LP: Elvis Costello and The Attractions – This Years Model (1978)

This Year’s Model is Elvis Costello’s second album and his first with the Attractions, released in 1978. It was mainly recorded at Eden Studios in West London.

It was voted the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. In 2000 it was voted number 152 in Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums. In 2000, Q magazine placed This Year’s Model at number 82 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 1987, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it number 11 on its list of the best albums of the period 1967–1987. In 2003, the album was ranked number 98 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, maintaining the rating in a 2012 revised list. In 1985, Robert Smith of the Cure cited it as one of his five favorite albums.

2. “This Year’s Girl” 3:17
3. “The Beat” 3:45
4. “Pump It Up” 3:14
5. “Little Triggers” 2:40
6. “You Belong to Me” 2:22

1. “Hand in Hand” 2:33
2. “(I Don’t Want to Go to) Chelsea” 3:07
3. “Lip Service” 2:36
4. “Living in Paradise” 3:52
5. “Lipstick Vogue” 3:42
6. “Night Rally” 2:41
7. “Radio Radio” 3:05

Monday 5/25/20 12am ET: Feature LP: Steve Earle & the Dukes – Ghosts of West Virginia (2020)

Steve Earle is a songwriter with a gift for telling stories with his lyrics, and he’s also a leftist populist who likes to sing of the lives and challenges of working people and how they often struggle against an economic system not meant to favor them. Once upon a time, that wasn’t an unlikely combination for someone working in folk or country music, yet in an era where “country” is mostly a lifestyle brand and “folk” means just about anyone who plays an acoustic guitar rather than an electric, that makes him somewhat more unusual. Given his talents and inclinations, Earle was the ideal choice to write songs for Coal Country, a play written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen about the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, in which 27 West Virginia coal miners lost their lives in 2010. There is a certain irony that Earle created a song cycle about the real costs of being a blue-collar worker in America in the 21st century for an off-Broadway play staged by New York’s Public Theater, where the majority of people who lead the lives he’s singing about will never see it. That said, that does nothing to change the emotional power and honesty of Earle’s songs, and thankfully they can be heard outside of the context of the show on his 2020 album Ghosts of West Virginia, with Earle joined by his road band the Dukes.

The record doesn’t explicitly tell the story of the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster; instead, the lives of the men who work the coal mines and the many ways the legacy and dangers of their job define their existence shapes these songs, and the arc of the individual numbers coheres into an effective larger tale. From the working man’s spiritual of “Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” and the holy trinity of “Union, God and Country” to the defiant pride that comes from dangerous work in “Black Lung” and the outrage and betrayal of “It’s About Blood,” Earle’s songs bear the tough ring of truth. The muscular blend of bluegrass, country, and rock summoned by the Dukes — guitarist Chris Masterson, pedal steel player Ricky Jay Jackson, fiddler Eleanor Whitmore, bassist Jeff Hill, and drummer Brad Pemberton joining Earle on guitar and banjo — gives the music vivid, forceful, and unsentimental life. Country radio probably doesn’t have a place for music this raw and direct in the year 2020. That hasn’t stopped Earle from trying to make music that reaches out to the working-class audience whose stories aren’t much heard in the mass media, and with Ghosts of West Virginia, he’s created some of the most eloquent music he’s written in two decades. AllMusic Review by Mark Deming

1 Heaven Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere
2 Union, God and Country
3 Devil Put the Coal in the Ground
4 John Henry Was a Steel Drivin’ Man
5 Time is Never on Our Side
6 It’s About Blood
7 If I Could See Your Face Again
8 Black Lung
9 Fastest Man Alive
10 The Mine

Sunday 5/24/20 11pm ET: Feature LP: Rush – Hold Your Fire (1987)

Hold Your Fire is the twelfth studio album by Canadian rock band Rush, released on September 8, 1987. It was recorded at The Manor Studio in Oxfordshire, Ridge Farm Studio in Surrey, Air Studios in Montserrat and McClear Place in Toronto. Hold Your Fire was the last Rush studio album released outside Canada by PolyGram/Mercury. ‘Til Tuesday bassist and vocalist Aimee Mann contributed vocals to “Time Stand Still”, appearing in the Zbigniew Rybczyński-directed video.

The album was not as commercially successful as most of the band’s releases of the 1980s, peaking at number 13 on the Billboard charts, the lowest chart peak for a Rush album since 1978’s Hemispheres. However, it was eventually certified Gold by the RCAA.

1. “Force Ten” 4:31
2. “Time Stand Still” 5:09
3. “Open Secrets” 5:38
4. “Second Nature” 4:36
5. “Prime Mover” 5:19
6. “Lock and Key” 5:09
7. “Mission” 5:16
8. “Turn the Page” 4:55
9. “Tai Shan” 4:17
10. “High Water” 5:33

Friday 5/22/20 12am ET: Feature LP: Rosanne Cash – River & the Thread (2014)

The River & the Thread is the fourteenth studio album by Rosanne Cash, released in 2014 by Blue Note Records. The album received critical acclaim from music critics. The album won 3 Grammy Awards on February 8, 2015. The album swept all the categories that it was nominated for: “Best Americana Album”, “Best American Roots Song” and “Best American Roots Performance” for “A Feather’s Not a Bird.”

1. “A Feather’s Not a Bird” 3:18
2. “The Sunken Lands” 2:56
3. “Etta’s Tune” (featuring John Paul White) 3:44
4. “Modern Blue” 3:02
5. “Tell Heaven” 2:40
6. “The Long Way Home” 3:17
7. “World of Strange Design” 3:25
8. “Night School” 3:48
9. “50,000 Watts” 2:58
10. “When the Master Calls the Roll” 5:08
11. “Money Road” (featuring Allison Moorer) 4:01
12. “Two Girls” 3:40
13. “Biloxi” 3:26
14. “Your Southern Heart” 2:09

Thursday 5/21/20 12am ET: Feature LP: Alabama & Friends (2013)

Alabama & Friends is a tribute album to American country rock group Alabama. It was released on August 27, 2013 via Show Dog-Universal Music. The album includes two new tracks, “That’s How I Was Raised” and “All American,” performed by Alabama.

The album debuted at No. 8 on Billboard 200, and No. 2 on Top Country Albums, selling 32,000 copies in the United States in the first week.

The artists on the album also later performed a tribute concert in Nashville, Tennessee at the historic Ryman Auditorium. The show was filmed. The film was released on 2-disc DVD, titled “Alabama & Friends – At The Ryman”, on September 30, 2014 via Eagle Rock Entertainment.

1. “Tennessee River” (Jason Aldean) 4:22
2. “Love in the First Degree” (Luke Bryan) 3:23
3. “Old Flame” (Rascal Flatts) 3:12
4. “Lady Down on Love” (Kenny Chesney) 3:57
5. “The Closer You Get” (Eli Young Band) 3:38
6. “Forever’s as Far as I’ll Go” (Trisha Yearwood) 3:35
7. “She and I” (Toby Keith) 3:56
8. “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why)” (Florida Georgia Line) 2:51
9. “That’s How I Was Raised” (Alabama) 3:40
10. “All American” (Alabama) 3:13
11. “My Home’s in Alabama” (Jamey Johnson) 6:37

Wednesday 5/20/20 12am ET: Feature LP: Pam Tillis – ReCollections (2012)

The daughter of country legend Mel Tillis, Pam Tillis made her own way in the music business, eventually becoming a contemporary country star in the ’90s. Tillis was born on July 24, 1957, in Plant City, FL, but raised mostly in Nashville and started taking piano lessons at age eight. She switched to guitar at 12 and played in talent contests during her teenage years. Somewhat wild and rebellious, she survived a near-fatal car crash at age 16 that required extensive facial reconstruction. Fortunately, she recovered fully and pursued music aggressively at the University of Tennessee, singing with the High Country Swing Band (which played country-rock and jug band music) and in a folk duo with Ashley Cleveland. She quit school in 1976 and worked at her father’s publishing company, placing her composition “I’ll Meet You on the Other Side of the Morning” with Barbara Fairchild. She also formed her own backing band, which soon relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and renamed themselves Freelight; they developed an adventurous style based on jazz and rock, not country. Tillis returned to Nashville in 1979, though, and sang backup for her father while raising her first child as a single parent, fronting an R&B band, and continuing to write songs, a couple of which were recorded by Gloria Gaynor and Chaka Khan.

ReCollections was released in 2012.

1 Maybe It Was Memphis
2 Don’t Tell Me What To Do
3 All The Good Ones Are Gone
4 Let That Pony Run
5 Deep Down
6 Blue Rose Is
7 Spilled Perfume
8 Shake The Sugar Tree
9 Mi Vida Loca
10 Cleopatra, Queen Of Denial
11 In Between Dances
12 The River And The Highway
13 When You Walk In The Room
14 I Said A Prayer