Thursday, October 01, 2009

10 albums a day #54

- The Joshua Tree (1987, CD)
- Rattle and Hum (1988, CD)
Uli Jon Roth
- Earthquake (1979, LP)
- Fire Wind (1981, LP)
- Beyond the Astral Skies (1985, LP)
- Vienna (1980, LP)
- Lament (1984, LP)
Uriah Heep
- Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble (1970, LP)
- Demons and Wizards (1972, CD)
- The Magician's Birthday (1972, CD)
- Return to Fantasy (1975, LP)

Those are the only two U2 albums I have on CD. I have all the others before those on LP, except I don't think I ever got Boy (their first). It was after plowing my way through Rattle and Hum that I actually thought out loud to myself: that's it boys, I'm outta here. I still think the old albums are great, but I haven't kept up with them since 1988 and I don't really care what they're doing now, because I'm sure whatever it is, it will be immaculately politically correct, overwhelmingly pompous, obnoxiously condescending and immensely popular.

I discovered Uli Jon Roth on a mall run with some co-workers at some music store in San Antonio. They were playing it over the store's sound system and I liked what I heard so I asked about it. The girl I asked said that there was only one left on the shelf and if I bought it she was going to buy their demo record before she left that night. That one was Beyond the Astral Skies. I found the other two some weeks later at a different store, probably Sundance Records. Roth was in a group called Dawn Road that merged with the Scorpions, but after a few albums he went his own way and formed his own group Electric Sun. All three of these albums have both his and the group's name on the cover, so I'm not entirely sure how all that went down but if you want all the details check his Wikipedia entry. Roth is part of that sub-genre that I would have been much more interested in if I had understood what it was all about at the time: neo-classical metal. In any case, I have always enjoyed these albums quite a lot, especially the last one.

One night in the mid-80s I was listening to an interview with Geddy Lee on the radio, and it was one of those shows where listeners could actually call in and ask the questions. Somebody asked him about his influences, not as a bass player, but as far as his synthesizer playing went. He mentioned Ultravox and their album Vienna. Well, it wasn't long before I was at Hastings looking for it, but since it was already several years old they didn't have it. They did have the more recent Lament, so I bought it. Later on I found Vienna at another store. I always meant to get more of their stuff, but I never did. I like Vienna the better of the two, but I enjoy them both. The music is electronic pop that tends toward a certain darkness of atmosphere.

My first-year college room-mate had an old scratched-up LP of The Magician's Birthday, and I listened to it a lot. Later when I was home I found Demons and Wizards at Hastings, but then had to special-order Magician to get it. Still later I stumbled across the CDs for both those albums at Sundance Records. I don't remember the particulars of buying the other two albums; they were picked up somewhere along the way. I like them all, but my favorite is still The Magician's Birthday. I used to play (and sing) "Rain" on the piano when I was in college (I didn't have the sheet music for it, I just picked it out by ear--I sort of have a minor knack for that). I have two later albums on LP that I haven't ripped (Abominog and Rockarama), but they are from later incarnations of Heep and aren't as good.

Album count: 559.

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