Forget the whales — save these poor, neglected albums

 
 

I like music. I listen to it
frequently. (My current obsession is Anne Murray‘s Duets — Friends
and Legends
.
It is soooo good!) I believe it’s even fair to say I appreciate music
— which is a good thing, apparently, because it seems that not all music
is appreciated. I just read a seemingly random list of “10 Unappreciated
Albums
” on Musicouch.com.
The author did not provide any context or standards, and I kind of agree with
the only comment posted in response to the list: “I
hav[e]n’t even heard of most of those bands. This article is pointless.” Yet I feel like making my own similarly
pointless list.

So I’m considering my own CD
collection and pondering which CDs are unappreciated — or at least underappreciated.
And I mean which albums are unfairly maligned, or, more likely, unjustly
ignored? Here are six, because that’s how many came to mind.

1. A Cheap and
Evil Girl
(2000)

— Bree
Sharp

Bree Sharp had one fairly big
single off this album: “David Duchovny,” a catchy gimmick song that
got her some attention, and probably led to her second album, More
B.S.
. Her first album, however, should have been bigger than the one
song. It is absolutely fantastic. I stumbled across it at at a record
store (remember record stores?), listened to a few tracks, walked away
and then went back the next day to buy the album. I still listen to
it regularly. The tracks “America,” “Walk Away” and “Faster,
Faster” floor me every time.

2. Really Rosie
(1975)

— Carole King (story and lyrics by Maurice Sendak)

I suspect that Really
Rosie,
the soundtrack to the Maurice Sendak television special, is
often dismissed as a children’s album. While it is a great children’s
album — and listening to it brings me right back to the television special
— it is also a clever, interesting album in its own right. As a review put it,

“Carole King’s 11 songs for
the Really Rosie TV special … from characters found in Maurice Sendak’s
books The Sign on Rosie’s
Door
and Nutshell Library, but it can easily be argued that
the characters never really lived until given voice by King.”

I’m not going to argue that
this is Carole King’s best album. That’s Tapestry. But it’s great
listening.

3. Suzanne Vega
(1985)

— Suzanne Vega

Suzanne Vega hit it big with
her second album, Solitude Standing, in 1987, but her eponymous
debut was an album worth recognizing. Three singles made it to the charts
in the U.K.
, but
I believe that only “Marlene on the Wall” was at all big in the
U.S. I would argue, however, that “The Queen and the Soldier” is
one of her all-time best songs.

4. Grease: A
New ’50s Rock ‘n’ Roll Musical — The Original Broadway Cast Album

(1972)

The soundtrack from the movie
Grease
is one of the best
selling soundtracks of all time
.
But I am among the few who prefer the original Broadway cast album
to the movie soundtrack. The Broadway recording is consistent with the ’50s theme
of the show. There are no anachronistic, disco-era songs. The album
provides a rare opportunity to hear Adrienne Barbeau sing. And, frankly,
although “I’m All Shook Up” has never had its own mega-mix, I think
it’s a better song than “You’re the One That I Want.”

5. Maria McKee
(1986)

Maria McKee

Former Lone Justice
lead singer Maria McKee is another underappreciated performer. (It probably
wouldn’t be fair to call her unappreciated.) Her debut solo album has
some strong country influences and is bookended by two great songs,
“I’ve Forgotten What It Was in You (That Put the Need in Me)” and
“Drinkin’ in My Sunday Dress.” This album is also the source of
the single made famous by the Dixie Chicks, “Am I the Only One (Who’s Ever
Felt This Way?)”. She followed up with the bluesy You Gotta Sin
to Get Saved
in 1993 and the alternative Life Is Sweet in
1996, but she’s never gotten the appreciation I believe she deserves.

6. There Goes
the Wondertruck
(1989)

— Mary’s Danish

Mary’s Danish was one of the great bands of the
late ’80s/early ’90s

that never really went anywhere. I may be biased because I went to college
with (but did not know) singers Julie Ritter
and Gretchen Seager. In fact, I stumbled across a free concert
on campus, bought the tape that afternoon and have been listening to
their rock/funk sound ever since. There Goes the Wondertruck

is a rare perfect album. Every song, beginning with “Don’t Crash the
Car Tonight” and ending with “Dodge City” is excellent, and I
wish the album was generally recognized as the thing of beauty that
it is.

So those are my picks from
my CD collection. What are your picks? What poor unappreciated albums
deserve the recognition they’ve been denied?

 
 

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