Ray Charles & New Library Cards

I had to drive to the county next door to mine recently for a library card, and I listened to The Genius of Ray Charles by Ray Charles on my way home. I’m hoping by now that you’re wondering two things: Why the road trip for a library card and how was the Ray Charles album? I’ll answer both.

I now have two library cards. The first is for my own county’s library system, which seems to hate having a robust digital library. Yes, it grants us access to ebooks and audiobooks, but the selection isn’t that great. A few years ago, a librarian friend of mine suggested checking with other counties in my state to see what they offered and how much their library cards are for non-county residents. It might be a cheaper option than an audible subscription. My friend was correct. I found several counties in Florida that have much more extensive library systems and more content, especially digital content. I was tempted to drive to Duval County (Jacksonville) for their $40 library card when I discovered that the county to the north of mine allows ALL Florida residents to have a free library card. So, I’ll give it a shot for a while and see if it meets all my needs. If it does, my audible account it targeted to be Thanos’d.

Ray Charles entertained me on the trip back. The Genius of Ray Charles currently resides at number 265 on the Rolling Stone list. This particular album feels very big-band to me. It reminded me of the days of my youth when we visited my mom’s family in Ohio. Grandpa always had big, old Caddy’s and listened to big-band music. It’s a fun album. I’m not sure the backroads of Florida do it justice, but it made the trip more enjoyable.

267 The Real Who

Who?

No. The Who.

Quadrophenia was dropped in October 1973. It was The Who’s sixth studio album and second rock opera. Someone I worked with, years ago, loved this album. They once told me a story about how it had blown their mind. He would arrange his speakers around him and listen to it for hours. I had never heard it before. I didn’t know that W.A.S.P.’s The Real Me was a cover of a song on this album. I kinda feel like I should have known. I don’t know why. I can identify the popular tunes from The Who when I hear them and I didn’t need to be told that the CSI’s where using them as intro music. Basically, this boils down to, yeah, I think The Who is a great band but this particular album didn’t do much for me.

MCA, 1973

268 Down in the School Yard

First, happy New Year. I hope you have a great holiday season. I’ve been doing a lot of work stuff and melding with my couch. Whatever. Let’s just get back to things and see how this goes.

Paul Simon. I like Paul Simon. I mean, I guess I like Paul Simon. I haven’t extensively listened to Paul Simon. While Rolling Stone seems to love his first post Simon and Garfunkel (released in 1972). I had high hopes for it but was disappointed. Julio is on this album. I like the Julio song. Other than that, I don’t get it.

Columbia, 1972

269 I don't even care

Yeah, I know. I disappeared for a bit. I’m not even sorry. Super busy at work lately and I might be applying to grad school so maybe even busier. Anyway, in at number 269 is The Jesus and Mary Chain and their 1985 debut album, Psychocandy. If you care, The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band. I also found it labeled as: noise pop and post-punk. I got one way to describe it.

270 The Pizza Is Burning

Have the Rolling Stones ever not been around? Does Keith Richards have some kind of cockroach DNA that has allowed him to survive this long? I dunno. Anyway, Some Girls is their 14th British and 16th American studio album released in 1978. I’m not sure how that works and I don’t care to research it. It was a critical and commercial success. It was even nominated for a Grammy. This is album were Mick Jagger proclaims that he won’t burn your pizza. I enjoyed it. It reminds me that the Rolling Stones really like the blues. Although I’m not terribly sure why. I’ve read that Jagger says he was influenced by dance music. Despite this, I felt an underlying bluesy feel to it. I’m no expert and could be wrong.

Rolling Stone Records, 1978

271 Help him out, Ronda

Not too long ago, like within the last month, I was sitting at my desk when I got a text message from my bestie. For some reason, she had just noticed that the some “Seventeen” by Winger is a little pervy. Okay, a lot pervy. She wondered why she had never noticed this before. I replied that we were 15 when the song was released and Kip Winger was hot, why would we care? Funny how this works, right?

That little antidote has nothing to do with The Beach Boys, except that I misunderstood a lyric in one of the songs and had the thought that there are a great many songs by even the cleanest cut of musicians that are very much not clean cut. The Beach Boys Today! is the eighth studio album from The Beach Boys that was released in 1965. It’s kind of a boring album. From what I read on Wiki, this album was intended to be a departure from the beach tunes of previous albums. The only song on this album I had really heard before is “Help Me, Ronda.” Some of the others kinda made me wonder if this is when Brian Wilson’s drug use increased. I dunno, despite the lack of beach-themed tunes the album was a commercial success. Maybe one had to be around in 1964 to be appreciated.

Capitol, 1965

272 Oh Great! More Punk!

Sleater-Kinney is something I’ve never heard of before. Apparently, it was (and maybe still is) an American feminist punk band formed in Olympia, Washington around 1994. Their third album is the one that makes the list. It’s called Dig Me Out and was released in 1997. Critics seem to love it and it looks like who ever the listening audience for KEXP 90.3 (public radio in Seattle) also enjoyed it. I think we all know how much I just love punk music and this album doesn’t change my mind one bit.

Kill Rock Stars, 1997

Kill Rock Stars, 1997

273 Times Two

Too much time had passed from the time I first listened to this and the time I sat down to write a few lines about it. This has happened before. I listen to something then I get busy and don’t have time to write about it. Usually, I remember enough of what I thought about the album to write something. Occasionally, and in this case, I remembered listening to the album but had zero memory of the music or my thoughts while listening to it. That bode well for the album, because then I have to listen to it again and remember that I didn’t like it and there isn’t really anything memorable about it. I’m sorry Smokey.

Going to a Go-Go is a 1965 album from the Miracles and the first one to call the group Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. It topped many charts and everyone seemed to love it. At least they did in 1965. I don’t. Even after listening to it a second time, it has left absolutely zero impression on me.

Tamla, 1965

274 gitchi gitchi ya ya da da

So, here’s something I didn’t know. “Lady Marmalade” is actually by an all-female singing group called Labelle, which Patti LaBelle happened to be a member of. I always just thought the song was by her. Anyway, it’s home is on Nightbirds, a 1974 album by the group Labelle. “Lady Marmalade” is the group’s most successful hit. It’s a decent album but hey sister, go sister, soul sister is what I like the best about it.

Epic, 1974

275 The real Slim Shady

I was a little surprised to find that The Slim Shady LP wasn’t already in my library. I like Eminem and I like this album, violence and misogyny aside (I know, bad feminist, whatever). It was the second studio album from Eminem released in 1999. It was his first on a major label. And it brought him both commercial and critical success. Rolling Stone mentions that Eminem’s mom sued him over this album. I’m not surprised. But, still, it's catchy.

Aftermath, 1999

Aftermath, 1999

276 Here is the Funk!

Parliament’s fourth album dropped in 1975 and was called Mothership Connection. Never heard of Parliament? Me neither, but have you heard of George Clinton and the P-Funk Band? No? Where the hell have you been? Anyway, it’s basically the same thing. George Clinton led both Parliament and Funkadelic. It was the first P-Funk album to be certified gold and platinum. It’s a weird fun album and home "Give up the Funk". I might have danced around the house with this one.

Casablanca, 1975

277 The Return of Ms. Jackson

This is sooooo, totally, 1989.

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 dropped in September 1989. It was her fourth studio album. Much of the subject matter, if not all, is still relevant today. I don’t think I ever listened to the entire album at the time of its release. It isn’t really what I listened to at the time. Still isn’t. Looking at the track listing, I only recognize three songs, out of 20! There was a fourth that I recognized upon hearing it. It appears to have been a critical and commercial success for Jackson. She received nine Grammy Award nominations, including becoming the first female artist to be nominated for Producer of the Year. I don’t know how well it has held up. The songs I recognize are pretty much the only ones I like. Although, I’m not racing to make sure they are in my personal music library. I don’t mean to imply that I didn’t like the rest of the album. I understand that some of the lyrics are bigger than me and not for me. I appreciate that. Ms. Jackson had something to say and it still resonates.

A&M Records, 1989

278 Another Skip

In at 278 is the Anthology of American Folk Music edited by Harry Smith. My mom grew up listening to folk music and I was looking forward to listening to this. I can’t find a copy of it. I’ve found a ton of others, but not the one on the list. Sorry.

Folkways, 1952

279 A Lad Insane

I don’t wanna not like David Bowie. I don’t. He’s amazing. Just because something is older than me, sorta, doesn’t mean I can’t like it. But, I didn’t like Aladdin Sane. It was Bowie’s sixth studio album released in 1973. It became his most successful album on both sides of the pond at that time. The only thing that I recognized about it was the cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Let’s Spend the Night Together.” I didn’t even like that. Ugh. I’m a tad bummed about this. I dunno why. I’m not really familiar with the glam rock era of David Bowie so, maybe, I shouldn’t be. But I had been looking forward to this and I’m bummed I don’t like it.

RCA Records, 1973

RCA Records, 1973

280 Elevation

I mostly enjoy U2. Admittedly, I do enjoy the early ‘80s stuff more than the current stuff. Well, that might not be true. I don’t know what the current stuff is. They even gave me an album via iTunes a few years ago and I never listened to it. A lot of people got pissed off about that free album but that’s another story that I don’t care about. All That You Can’t Leave Behind is the bands tenth studio album (released in 2000) and I don’t remember it being released. I was living in Italy and traveling too much to pay attention to a band that I’ve never really followed before. This album wasn’t on my radar until 2005 when I began to hate “Beautiful Day.” Why? Because I was deployed with a squadron onboard the USS CARL VINSON and some jackass liked to play “Beautiful Day” every damn morning during FOD walk down. For some reason, it was play inside the skin of the ship and I worked nights. This means that during the morning FOD walk down I was usually in my rack trying to get to sleep and the last thing I wanted to hear was Bono singing about what a beautiful fucking day it is. I do, however, like “Elevation,” a lot. Mostly because a version of it was released as a Tomb Raider mix for the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. I don’t have many thoughts about the rest of the album.

Island/Interscope, 2000

281 My Life

Mary J. Blige was obviously going through some stuff while recording My Life, her second studio album released in 1994. Apparently, it was her breakthrough album and I had many bad things to say about it but I’m going to refrain. This was the last album from the Rolling Stone list that I listened to during a road trip to North Carolina. I hated it. I thought I might have liked it if I was a moody teenager. Which kinda makes sense when I started reading about it and found that the depressive, moody songs were biographical and Mary J. Blige was dealing with depression, drugs and alcohol, and an abusive relationship while working on this album and It does shine through. The writing gets the point across. I still don’t care for it. It just didn’t appeal to me.

Uptown, 1994

282 Muddy Waters

Folk Singer is Muddy Waters fourth studio album released in 1964. Doesn’t look like it sold that well but it received critical acclaim. It’s an acoustic album that tried to appeal to fans of folk music with the title. I dunno. This is another one that I listened to during my road trip and it didn’t help that much. I mean, yeah, it’s the blues and it feels like it but I just couldn’t get into it.

Chess Records, 1964

283 I've Had More than Enough, Thanks

Barry White’s Can’t Get Enough (1974) is best listened to while attempting to set some sort of romantic mood with your significant other, I suppose. I’m not really an expert in that department. I know that hurling down the interstate at above speed limit speeds is not the best time for me to listen to Barry White.

Can’t Get Enough is White’s third studio album and, obviously, he was very much in love when it was written. Rolling Stone says that he had just gotten married, which was not surprising to learn. The album topped charts and had two number one hits. “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” was one of those hits and is, maybe, the song you know best by Barry White. At least, it is for me. Not a great road trip song though.

20th Century, 1974

284 What Kind of Car?

Let’s talk about cars. Personally, I drive a gas saving Prius and a gas guzzling RAM truck. They offset each other and because I drive the Prius more days out of the week than the truck, I don’t really spend that much on fuel.

Wait. No. I meant The Cars.

The Cars are an American rock (really? New wave, maybe?) band formed in 1976. Their self titled debut album hit the record stores in 1978. With songs like “Good Times Roll,” “My Best Friend’s Girl,” and “You’re All I’ve Got Tonight” the album was a success for the band. While I remember many of these songs from my youth, they are not the first songs I think of when it comes to The Cars. The ones that standout for me came in 1984 (“Drive” and “You Might Think”). This is still a fun album.

Elektra, 1978