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Bloviating Zeppelin: Desert Island Discs

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Desert Island Discs

Here's your challenge:

You can only pick ten ultimate discs, of any format, when you're stranded on the proverbial Desert Island. These must be discs the likes of which you simply could not live without.

You can choose from CDs or DVDs.

Here is my Desert Island Disc list, in something of a primary order:

1. PINK FLOYD: Wish You Were Here
My all-time favourite piece of music, bar none. It's a threaded masterpiece that sounds as valuable and "modern" today as it did in 1975. An astounding linkage of sound and lyrics. I saw Pink Floyd live many times; I regret I never saw them perform this album.

2. KING CRIMSON: Lark's Tongues In Aspic
My first foray into "unlearned" music. Robert Fripp is a guitar genius, though few recognize his merits. This album featured the finest iteration of Crimso. Released in 1973, I was witness to the first ever live American presentation of Larks at the Agora Theatre, in Columbus, Ohio. This is the concert in which drummer Bill Bruford took hits of oxygen from a bottle to continue his playing.

3. YES: Tales From Topographic Oceans
Reliving the 70s, am I? That would be a clear "Yes." 1973's TFTO expanded the borders of this band like never before. Lyrics, expansive and airy, moody synths, wondrous transitions, Yes embodied all the best aspects of what became known as ProgRock or "progressive rock." The combination of Jon Anderson on vocals, Steve Howe on guitar, Rick Wakeman on keyboards, Chris Squire on bass and Alan White on drums (sorry, Bill) was unbeatable.

4. GENTLE GIANT: Free Hand
No one remembers these gents. But I do; certainly, having watched them in concert a number of times, GG managed to combine rock with blues, classical, jazz, Renaissance madrigals, a capella, and in time signatures to drive one crazy. Completely and utterly unappreciated, with amazing individual and collective musical skills. Please. Try this one album.

Beyond description. Beyond music. Beyond their time. Signatures and otherwise. So far ahead of its time as to be considered played by aliens. Its prototypical piece? Take Five. Stellar. Perhaps even beyond stellar.

Released in 1971, this album features the ubiquitous Roy Wood, a continuously amazing and multi-talented artist who became outshined by his contemporary, Jeff Lynne. Jeff took the road to more popular music, whilst Wood continued as the iconoclast. Lynne achieved multiple years of success helming ELO while Wood continued to expand his personal horizons. I admire Lynne for the popularity he achieved; I admire Wood for the boundaries he pushed.

7. BLACK SABBATH: Master of Reality
It is widely credited that Tony Iommi "invented" most every heavy metal riff known to Man and God. And I would second that thought. A left-handed guitarist, Iommi lost the tips of the middle and ring finger of his right hand in a sheet metal factory accident at the age of 17. Iommi then strung his guitars with extra-light strings (using banjo strings, which were of a lighter gauge than even the lightest guitar strings of the time) and wore plastic covers over his two damaged fingers. With Bill Ward on drums, who hulked over his set, Geezer Butler on bass (and his amazingly-rapid fingerstyle vs. plectrum, such as Chris Squire's flatpick style of Yes) and the legendary John Michael (Ozzy) Osbourne on vocals, the album MOR cemented Sabbath as the bulwark of heavy metal.

This DVD series originated by the Stephen Ambrose book needs to be watched by everyone who claims to be an American. We owe The Greatest Generation a debt that can, essentially, never be repaid. Imagine what those of Saving Private Ryan endured but for months and months and months.

9. GUSTAV HOLST: The Planets
Classical music that encompasses both old and new orchestrations. This surpasses the boring and the commonly-acknowledged. Incandescent.

Released in 1970, this was my very first purchased piece of rock vinyl that I can remember, and the beginning of my incredibly extensive vinyl -- then CD -- library. I've worked for years in radio, and my vinyl collection consists of at least 2,000 albums, whilst my CD collection duplicates this collection and, by itself, stands at over 3,500 individual albums.

Here are my ten Desert Island Discs, both in CD and DVD.

What might yours be?



Anonymous Ranando said...

The first eight Led Zeppelin albums would be a must.

DVD's would have to include, A River Runs Through It and Dances With Wolves.

To tell you the truth I wouldn't need any of these if I was on a Desert Island, a surfboard, fly-rod and a lighter is all I would need and I could live happly ever after.

Well OK, "Debbie Does Dallas" would be fun.

Sun Aug 30, 05:31:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Ranando, nice job. I too wouldn't disagree with anything Zep produced. I saw them twice at the Forum in LA in the 70s. And? "A River Runs Through It", I must admit, is one of my FAVORITE movies. Absolutely beautiful. "Dances With Wolves"? Another stellar performer.

Remember "Jeremiah Johnson" -- another of my favorite movies? I finally picked up the book which was the original source for that movie, "Mountain Man" by Vardis Fisher, from 1965. Glorious book.


Sun Aug 30, 05:52:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Ranando said...


I was probably setting right next to you at the Forun, you didn't hand me a joint did you? I also saw them in Long Beach and the Led concert of all times, in the Diamond Head creater on Oahu all in the 70's.

Those were great days.

Jeremiah Johnson is also a favorite, with my buddy Robert.

Sun Aug 30, 06:21:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous Ranando said...

We got to get some pack mules and get the hell out of here.

Bolivia is nice this time of year.

Sun Aug 30, 06:23:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Miss T.C. Shore said...

1. Diana Krall - Live In Paris (DVD Version)
2. Dave Matthews Band - Before these Crowded Streets
3. John Mayer - Village Sessions
4. Tal Wilkenfeld - Transformation
5. Chris Tomlin - The Early Years
6. Ben Folds - Rockin the Suburbs
7. Third Day - Offerings I
8. Casting Crowns - Lifesong
9. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Greatest Hits
10. Eric Clapton - Sessions for Robert J.

Sun Aug 30, 09:49:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Miss TC Shore: thanks, great list!


Mon Aug 31, 08:03:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Chris said...

Well, I'm not sure if any of you guys are an avid punk rock fan, but my list would include:

Anything by Black Flag
The Ramones
Sex Pistols
Blondie "when she was punk"
Prince (i know, but he has some good tunes)
Lenny Williams
Curtis Mayfield
The Who

Richard Wagner : The Ring Cycle
Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind
or maybe 12 Angry Men (the original)

Mon Aug 31, 08:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

Can't really say I listen to much music. Really, if I'm on a desert island the only thing I would want would be ear plugs to shut out the sound of the surf at night. And there are very few books I would be happy reading over and over on a ten day reading cycle... of course without medications I might not survive that long... amazing how knowing that if the rest of society screws up civilization you will end up dead on the fast track.

Sharpens the mind no end, that.

Tue Sep 01, 05:22:00 PM PDT  
Blogger la isla d'lisa said...

As to iyem #8 ... TOTALLY agree. We pass the CD set around the family all the time. In my experience nothing compares.

Tue Sep 01, 05:53:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Chris: hey, nothing wrong with what you like! In your list, I saw The Who in concert in SF, at the Cow Palace.

AJ: your mind counts as ten.

La Isla: thanks for visiting and thanks for taking the time to comment. I concur: EVERYone, especially in high school, needs to view this series. This is recent history that MUST be understood in terms of sacrifice and predecession.


Tue Sep 01, 07:27:00 PM PDT  

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