1 – Mingus – Joni Mitchell – In today’s world, Joni Mitchell is a forgotten voice. That’s a shame, because she’s brilliant and creates great music. Albums previous to this featured James Taylor, members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and even Cheech and Chong. This album seems to be more forgotten than others, and its a shame because this album, to me, is a superior group of songs. First, Mingus was one of the all time great jazz bassists, and this would be his last musical effort. On the album itself, not only do we have Herbie Hancock, but the immortal Jaco Pastorius. With Jaco alone I would have listened to this album. There are also a couple other weather report members to round it out – Wayne Shorter and Peter Erskine.
2 – Are We Not Men, We Are Devo – Devo – It’s nerd music. Many people may have heard of Devo, but other than Whip It, they couldn’t name any of their music. If you want a great intro to Devo, this is the album. Not the very least reason for me to like Devo – I am, in a very distant and convoluted way, kind of related to Mark Mothersbaugh and he has a music studio about 20 minutes from the house.
3 – Surf’s Up – Beach Boys – this was an early 70’s album by the Beach Boys and its evident that the battle with the Beatles has influenced these songs. Gone are most of the catchy surf tunes and replaced with more experimental sounds. I love the Beach Boys, even at their lower points.
4 – Paul Simon – Paul Simon – While Paul Simon can’t really be said to be forgotten, he’s never been very mainstream. this album, particularly, has some great music. Catchy, interesting rhythms and subjects to sing about. While not his first solo album without Garfunkel, I think this one really helped define his sound.
5 – More Songs About Buildings and Food – Talking Heads – While almost anyone in the rock realm knows David Byrne, it’s Tina Weymouths great bass work and funky rhythms that I love. There are a couple recognizable tunes (Take Me to the River), the whole album is another under rated and under listened to set of songs.
6 – Bitches Brew – Miles Davis – While I know my jazz friends have worn out this LP, many of my rock friends haven’t listened to it. They may know the name Miles, but probably haven’t heard too much. Change that. Go out, get this album (can you get an lp?) and enjoy a sonic session. Miles pushed the boundaries, and this album opened the 70’s with one of the all time greatest albums.
7 – Maggot Brain – Funkadelic – A band that has inspired so many others, even if those others don’t know it. Like many of my choices, the bass work is just spot on for the type of music. Don’t stop at Maggot Brain – check out their whole discography, including what they did with Parliament.
8 – Urban Chipmunk – The Chipmunks – a country chipmunk take on the Urban Cowboy craze. OK, so it was actually released barely into the 80’s, I put it here. This album (along with Chipmunk Rock and Chipmunks Go Hollywood) are some lesser known of the chipmunks, but I think these are fantastic albums. Fun and funny, cute and recognizable, these are the chipmunks at their best. Chipmunk Punk should also be mentioned in this esteemed group.