October 26, 2020

1980-01-26 – The Bismarck Tribune

1980 01 26 The_Bismarck_Tribune_Sat__Jan_26__1980_



19703 rock reviewer
says ‘The who’ is best


The dawn of the 19805 in music couldn't be
more significant

There‘s no way a strict top 10 list can
show how fruitful 1979 was musically. For
example. a number of worthy artists releas-
ed not one but two albums of merit in 1979,
In fact. the two forces who contributed the
most did just that.

“Artist(s) oi“ the Year“ accolades are
justly due to Neil Young and The Who. both
surviving and thriving despite the tension
and adversity that colors their lives and
music. Both have been with us since the
‘605. but are in no way merely leftovers or
remnants. Their promise for the '805 seems

Though the Who's The Kids Are Alright
and Quadrophenia both reiterate music
familiar to their followers already. there‘s
no better way one could summarize a whole
decade and longer of that marvelous band.
The films from which those albums came
are most impressive, and their reemergence
as a live band proved their stature as one of
rock’s finest band of talents ever.

With Rust Never Sleeps and Live Rust,
Neil Young both broke new ground and
solidified his heritage with his first live
album (one of the few live sets worth
owning). From his still-vibrant folk roots to
a sympathetic embracing of new wave.
Young points the way into a new decade.

Three acts prove themselves also ready
for the ‘805 with two lps in the meritorious
category, though almost unknown a year
ago: The Boomtown Rats with A Tonic For
the Troops and The Fine Art of Surfacing,
The Police’s Outlandos d‘Amour and Regat-
ta de Blanc, and Joe Jackson with Look
Sharp andI’m The Man.

And, of course, the dynamic duo of rock
alter egos — Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe
— score once again with Dave's Repeat
When Necessary (album title of the year)
and Nick’s Labour of Lust. Their band.
Rockpile, is a close runner-up behind the
Who and Young and Crazy Horse for band of
the year.

England proves itself a most prolific
nation with albums like Squeezing Out
Sparks by Graham Parkers and the Ru.
mour, Stateless by US. expatriate Lene
Lovich, Cool For Cats by Squeeze, The
Records, The Sinceros’ The Sound of Sun-
bathing, and Strange Man. Changed Man by
Bram Tchaikovsky.

Single of the year honors goes to Ian Dury
and the Blackheads for “Reasons to be
Cheerful, pt. 3."

America can hold its own just on the
merits of such a fine lp as Talking Heads’
Fear of Music. but in addition such records
as Phonetics by Jules and the Polar Bears.
The Beat, John Hiatt‘s Slug Line. and
Present Tense by Shoes all shone brightly
this year. Not to mention Rachel Sweet's
Fool Around, or all that The Roches did to
elevate the recently sorry state of neo—tolk

If you've noticed an amazing amount of
new bands here, that doesn’t mean I'm
ignoring such important contributions by
veterans such as The Kinks' Low Budget,
Into The Music from Van Morrison. and Ry
Cooder with his Bop Till You Drop.

In the rhythm and blues field we have
another double whammy — Angela Bofill
with Angie and Angel of the Night, though
r&b artist of the year must be Michael
J ackson with his wonderful 0!! The Wall.

ln country music, the kudos are swept up
by the Cash-Carter axis, with Rosanne
Cash's Right or Wrong and step-sister Car~
lene Carter’s Two Sides to Every Woman
both pointing out their own line new direc-
tions (marriage of the year honors go to
Carlene and Nick Lowe). while Johnny
Cash's Silver brings his considerable talent
back to light. What Goes Around Comes
Around is the best from Waylon Jennings in
a coon‘s age, but Hank Williams Jr. takes
country artist of the year title with Whiskey
Bent and Hell Bound and Family Tradition
(there seems to be a magic in having two
albums out this year ).

As {or the future. the most promising
trend must be England‘s mod-reggae fusion.
as exemplified by Madness and The Spe~
cials, though it among the aforementioned
you don't find a lot of promising trends and
sounds for the ‘805 you‘re deafi

So now after dispensing with 1979 by
awarding 37 lps the title of “year's best." I
turn right around to list the 10 best of the
'705. since to do otherwise would take me a
book. Besides. ‘79 was the best year of the
decade anyway)

My top 10 of the decade are, (alphabeti-
cally. by artist )2

1) The Allman Brothers Live At Fillmore
East (1971): The exemplars of Southern
blues—rock at their finest moment. before
tragically losing Duane Allman and Berry
Oakley in the band's prime.

2) Elvis Costello — My Aim Is True
(1978): One could argue for This Year’s
Model, but Costello’s debut set the music
world on its ear, for which I thank him.

3) The Eagles — Desperado (1973): A
concept which coheres, and the zenith for
this band and California country-rock.

4) Don McLean — American Pie (1971):
McLean is an overlooked American musical
genius, but he wasn't missed on this one,
which includes what must be the song of the

5) Gram Parsons — GP (1973): A woeful—
ly obscure lp by the artist who put straight
country and a rock sensibility together as if
the two were never far apart. Were it not
for his untimely death. Parsons may have
dominated the country-rock trend of the

6) Rolling Stones — Let It Bleed (1971):
Most critics prefer Exile On Main Street,
though I feel this one album hangs together
more tightly.

7) Steely Dan — Pretzel Logic (1974): Any
or all of Steely Dan's albums could occupy
this spot, so great and of high quality their
musical contribution to this decade has
been. I choose this one as it stands at the
crux between their more rock (early) and
jazzier (later) periods.

8) Various Artists — The Harder They
Come (1972): On this album one not only got
a hearty introduction to the pleasures of
reggae, but the form’s top artists in some of
their peak performances.

9) The Who — Quadrophenia (original
album - 1973): Another concept that really
works, as witnessed by the film six years
later. Misunderstood and overlooked when it
was released, it was always my favorite
work of theirs.

10) Neil Young — After The Goldmsh
(1970): Out of the '605 and into the '70s; out
of the blue and into the black. Neil Young
set a standard with this album he continues
to achieve.

Close contenders include Layla by Derek
and the Dominoes; The Kinks‘ Lola: Rod
Stewart‘s magical Gasoline Alley; Bruce
Springsteen‘s second and third albums The
Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle
and Born to Run: Stevie Wonder‘s Innervi-
sions. Talking Book and Music of My Mind:
Van Morrison's Moondance; Willie Nelson‘s
Red Headed Stranger and Stardust; and the
cult masterpiece of Big Star‘s No. [Record

It‘s been quite a year and decade, but one
thing remains true (to quote Neil Young):
"Rock ‘n‘ roll will never die

Newspaper E nterpnse Assm nation

THE WHO: John Entwistle, Kenney Jones.
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend. Their
reemergence as a live band proved their

Saturday. January 26, lsao—Page 13 ,

stature as one of rock‘s finest band of