|Capercaillie - "Delirium" (1992) This album is, in my humble
opinion, a musical mastepiece and an absolute necessity for everyone who
considers him/herself a fan of Celtic music. Like no other band, Capercaillie
have managed to point out the actuality and richness of traditional Celtic
music by updating it with today's technological possibilities and by carefully
enriching it with influences from all over the world. The result being
a mesmerizing sound that takes you far, far away from your daily life.
Capercaillie's strength is due to excellent songwriting and musicianship
(one of the greatest live bands on the entire planet) and, above all, the
crystal-clear voice of lead singer Karen Matheson. This record will both
make you wanna dance and send shivers down your spine -- no matter when
or how often you play it. I really wonder why Capercaillie still haven't
become very popular here in Germany.Unlike our greasy German "Schlager
music", Celtic music never becomes kitschy; on the contrary, it always
remains beautiful and authentic. Folk-pop at its best.
I highly recommend this album, and if you don't like it instantly, you're very likely either deaf or dead!!!
|Joni Mitchell -- "Hejira" (1976) When people will look back
on our contemporary popular music from future centuries, Joni Mitchell
will be among the 3-4 musicians they are likely to come up with, the rest
being long forgotten, unworthy of preserving. "Hejira" being the name of
Mohammed's flight from Mecca, the main topic of this album is moving,
travelling, escaping from the setbacks letdowns of our all too superficial
social life, freeing oneself of limitations and restraints. Change in its
broadest meaning. The lyrics throughout this record have poem quality.
The music creates a melancholic, sometimes even monotonous atmosphere,
but close listening will reveal stunning complexity and terrific beauty.
More and more people are discovering that this album might indeed
be one of the most important artistic works of the 20th century. This almost
prophetic review already appeard in a 1976 issue of Sounds Magazine:
Intellectual and inspired, this is music for the mind.
Rhythmic and subtle, this is music for the body.
The music of tomorrow, this is the tip of the iceberg.
Don't hear this album. Listen to it.
|Joni Mitchell -- "Turbulent Indigo" (1994) Compared to "Hejira",
TI is probably a better choice for someone who wants to familiarize himself
with Joni Mitchell, because the lyrics and melodies are a bit more accessible.
Saxophone genius Wayne Shorter plays some beautiful stuff in the background.
The old girl still has much to say, for instance this very necessary reminder for us lawyers (from "Sex Kills"):
I pulled up behind a Cadillac;/ We were waiting for the light;/ And I took a look at his license plate -/ It said "JUST ICE."/ Is justice just ice?/ Governed by greed and lust?/ Just the strong doing what they can/ And the weak suffering what they must?
|Dee Dee Bridgewater -- "Love and Peace A tribute to Horace Silver"
Funky, funny, joyful, swinging jazz, beautifully sung by a true jazz diva.
|Dire Straits -- "Love Over Gold" (1984/digitally remastered 1996)
In the liner note it says "This remastered reissue of a classic album can only add to what is already acclaimed as an extraordinary achievement. 'Love Over Gold' has never sounded better than this."
Couldn't have said it better myself!
|Joe Jackson -- "Body and Soul" (1984)
Another splendid example for pop music not having to be primitive and boring, this album has accompanied me through half of my life since I accidentally bought it in 1984. Joe Jackson has always been one of the most uncompromising artists putting more effort in exploring new sounds and possibilities rather than trying to please broad audiences. Nevertheless, this is a fairly easily accessible album with beautiful songs, soul-searching lyrics and much Latin influence on it. It's also a good album for testing stereo-equipment, since even14 years after its release, it's still one of the best-sounding and most dynamic recordings available on the market. Check out the liner notes as they contain great information on the making of the album, along with excellent introductory interpretations of the songs. Why can't all albums provide information like this one does?
|Jan Garbarek Group -- "Twelve Moons" (1993)
Jan Garbarek is a Norwegian saxophonist who had played "world" and "new age" music already well before this phrase was invented for every kind of music that didn't fit into conventional categories and somehow was employing elements of traditional ethnic music. Whereas sometimes the labels "world" and "new age" serve as a mere excuse for throwing terrible trash on the market, this album really keeps what it promises. It draws heavily on traditional Norwegian music including melodies of the Sami people, and you really can hear where the music is coming from. Picture yourself a Norwegian Fjord -- water and mountains, bathing in magical Northern light. My favorite song on this album is called "Psalm" -- an old church song from the Sogn og Fjordane region. "Twelve Moons" justly received the prestigious award "Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik".
|Søs Fenger -- "Camouflage" (1996)
Denmark isn't only worth a visit because of its sandy North Sea beaches, but (among many, many other reasons) also because it is the home of some very fine musicians! These are represented here by Søs Fenger and her great album "Camouflage", which is full of sexy and melodic pop songs. Så er det helt beklageligt at de allerfleste af os tyskere ved slet ingenting om dansk musik og man derfor ikke kan købe det her!!!
|Erykah Badu -- "Baduizm" (1997)
For me, one of the relevations of 1997 in the R & B sector. Erykah Badu has a unique voice and a unique way to use it. I hope we'll hear more from her in a not too distant future.
|Van Morrison -- "The Best Of Van Morrison" (1990/remastered 1998)
Usually not a big fan of "best-of" compilations, I like this one very much since it enables me to enjoy all of Van's major hits. He's produced so many albums, it's simply impossible for a student like me to buy all of them. Until it *will* be possible, "The Best Of Van Morrison" will do extremely well!
|Laura Nyro -- Stoned Soul Picnic (The Best Of Laura Nyro) (1997)
Several people's recommendations convinced me to check out this extraordinary musician and poet, and I'm forever indebted to them! Laura Nyro had her most successful period in the late 60s and early 70s. Her music is at least as innovative and ground-breaking as the Beatles' music, and the only reason why she didn't receive the same amount of attention is that she herself chose not to become a superstar for the sake of unspoiled and uncompromising artistry. Instead, songs she had written became hits for other people, such as Peter Paul & Mary, Barbara Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, to name but a few. The liner notes quote the Concerts East magazine: "The music she made was a building block for an important group of contemporary artists, particularly in the way they cross-bred jazz, R&B, and pop, while poetically exploring the range of their emotions." Laura Nyro died in 1997 of ovarian cancer, the assembling of this compilation being her last finished project.