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Charles Martel’s Top 1000: Part 51

posted October 8, 2014, 12:30 am by CharlesMartel | Filed Under Recommendations from the Writer's Mind, Video | comment Leave a Comment


Compilation albums – boon or bane? The jury is out on this one in my view. Generally, I dislike compilations because they take songs out of context and put them together. On the other hand, without compilations there would some music which I did not have (remember I want hard copies). The first group of artists – those like Bob Dylan and Van Morrison – have such a vast back catalogue that I could not go through the whole thing and pick out the albums I wanted. Then there are other bands, like the Hollies or the Kinks, where I genuinely do not want the whole album, but maybe one or two tracks off it and find that applies to all their work. Under these circumstances, I will, with some reluctance, go for a compilation. Of course, in past days, poverty was one reason for choosing a compilation, but poverty largely overcome, I have now added excellent albums to the compilations I already have, and accepted the duplication of tracks. The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix are two artists for whom this applies.

Into the top 50.

Charles Martel’s 50-41

50. The Cure – “A Forest” (Concert)

The live version of this is even more haunting and sinister than the studio version. Robert Smith puts in a superb vocal performance over some shimmering guitar work.

49. Deep Purple – “Highway Star” (Made in Japan)

One of rock music’s greatest all time motoring songs, this opened the band’s seminal live album, slowly building until it crashes into a pedal-to-the-floor-hands-gripping-the-wheel epic.

48. The Cars – “Just What I Needed” (The Cars)

This song takes me back to a time and a place and the people I shared both with. Happy memories of probably what the last time ever in my life when I was free from worries, cares and responsibilities.

47. Martha and the Muffins – “Echo Beach” (Metro Music)

The highest ranked Canadian song on the list, despite being over thirty years old it still sounds fresh and modern. And everyone who has ever heard it will remember that amazing sax solo as long as they live.

46. The Pretenders – “Middle of the Road” (Learning to Crawl)

The Pretenders tackle third-world poverty with this number. What makes it stand out is the first solo, on guitar, contrasting with the second solo on harmonica.

45. Bauhaus – “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” (12” Single)

Quite possibly this was the song which launched the Goth-culture in late seventies UK. It is a partly tongue-in-cheek tribute to Bela Lugosi, the actor who will always be remembered for his film performances as Dracula.

44. The Chameleons – “Don’t Fall” (Script of the Bridge)

The Chameleons deliver a powerful performance in this track off their stunning debut album. It is a driving track powered by some impressive drumming overlaid with twin rhythm guitars.

43. Bragg, Billy – “To Have and to Have Not” (Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs Spy)

Billy Bragg sets out the failures of the capitalist system to deliver prosperity for all in one of the earliest musical critiques of the failed trickle-down economic theory:

“The factories are closing and the army’s full
I don’t know what I’m going to do.
But I’ve come to see in the Land of the Free
There’s only a future for the chosen few.”

42. The Milltown Brothers – “Cool Breeze” (Valve)

My favourite feel-good song. Every time I hear this it makes me feel happy and full of optimism. It is all about the simple pleasures in life and makes you realise that happiness lies in them and not in illusory wealth or material things. Could not find a video for this unfortunately.

41. Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Free Bird” (Pronounced Leh-nerd Sken-nerd)

Dominated by that incredible, multiple-guitar jam session at the end, this was undoubtedly the highlight of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s career. Delivered with pace and a level of skill which would be hard for anyone to duplicate.

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