These are just a few of the records Dad and I call our own. Chances are you'll find something that you want to go out and pick up for yourself! It'll also give you a sense of some of the artists I love to play on the radio and chill out with at home.
But that doesn't mean I don't do requests!
Go to the Contact/Requests page and send me a message with your request or dedication. If I don't have the record side or song you request, I'll do my best to hunt it down and throw it on the air that week. If you use our Request Form, you'll get an email with the date you can expect to hear your request. You can also tweet your requests to @mydadslps.
This also grows my own music library and makes the episodes more eclectic every week!
Like all music, this is subjective. So if you don't see it here, it doesn't mean I don't have it!
NOTE: Albums marked with a * are My Dad's LPs, curated by your host, A.J. Smitrovich.
Janis Joplin, Pearl, 1971
what'd i say (1959)
His first Gold Record, it also introduced the world to its title track and netted Ray Charles his first Top 10 single. Featuring a slew of talented bassists, saxophonists, trumpeters and drummers, it is a seamless journey though R&B, soul, jump blues and simmering ballads, all punctuated by the sublime piano work and signature vocals of Ray Charles. The exploration across genres is ahead of his time and is a tribute to his genius. This album flung America headlong into the 1960s and there are some serious gems here: the chilled-out instrumental "Rockhouse", Ray's cinematic duet with Mary-Ann Fisher on "What Kind of Man Are You" and one of his most criminally underrated songs, "That's Enough". Two years later, he would reject the "Chitlin' Circuit" treatment he had endured all his life. He refused to play a segregated show at Bell Auditorium in Augusta, Georgia in March of 1961. From a musical perspective, it was one of the most important moments in the American civil rights movement..
It was produced by two heavy-weights, Jerry Wexler and Ahmet Ertegun, and Ray was about to make a switch. Wexler's Swing Time Records had just folded and with Ertegun working for Atlantic Records, Charles signed on with Atlantic that next year, just before releasing this album, on which Wexler and Ertegun share credits.
It is a masterpiece of a record and one that holds historical significance. This album gave Ray the ability to control the tone of his sound, and with the help of his friend and partner Ahmet Ertegun, he was able to push the boundaries of R&B music into the strange new waters of Country & Western and Jazz.
live at the regal (1965)
If you love the blues, you need to own this record. In what is widely regarded to be the greatest blues album of all time, B.B. defines the the genre as only the "King of the Blues" can. And boy, does he. Recorded in November 1964 at the Regal Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, it is a truly commanding performance from start to finish. He covers Memphis Slim's "Every Day I Have The Blues" with a rollicking horn section and takes John Lee Hooker's "It's My Own Fault" to new heights, adding a plaintive soulful sound where Hooker prowls and growls his way through the mire. The power of this record is such that folks like Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and John Mayer use it as a primer before live performances.
The Regal was not a large venue and this is evident in the mixing of the crowd into the record and the call-and-response repartee that King shares with his audience. They are so close to the stage mics you can almost smell the whiskey on their breath and the smoke in the air. If vinyl is an experience, this is a door to the past that you can open and walk through, moving into another time and space. Definitely a record (and an artist) that gets a lot of play on My Dad's LPs.
A much-overlooked folk-rock/garage-rock group from my hometown of Los Angeles, they were one of the first artists signed to the Elektra Records label, and a copy of this album was given to their eventual label-mates
The Doors by producer Paul Rothschild to help in crafting their sound. The band loved the record and there is quite a bit of sonic cross-over between the two bands, especially in the playing of guitarists Johnny Echols and Robby Krieger. In fact, they also inspired other artists, like Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett, with their track "My Little Red Book". Syd altered the guitar line for his "Interstellar Overdrive" on Piper at the Gates of Dawn (1967). They also inspired The Rolling Stones. Many speculate that their 1966 single "She Comes In Colors" (Da Capo, 1967) heavily inspired the lyrics to "She's Like a Rainbow" (Their Satanic Majesties Request, 1967).
The album art was shot in the backyard of their L.A. headquarters, a house they dubbed "The Castle". You can see why they may have chosen that name, the band leaning against a stone parapet. Between inspiring legendary groups, changing the footprint of Album Rock and pioneering Psychedelic Rock, they're a group that deserves far more play than they get. Often drowned out by the very groups they inspired, their contributions simply cannot be ignored. That's why you'll find them here.
the jimi hendrix experience
are you experienced (1967)
This was the first CD I ever owned (thanks, Uncle David) and when I found a near-mint vinyl copy (with original press brown labels) I was absolutely beside myself. In my top ten, if not my top five. A lot of people throw around the phrase "Oh, there's not a bad track on this whole record!". I do not say this lightly: this album is flawless.
It is the greatest debut record of all time, making Jimi Hendrix, Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding instant superstars. This album stayed at #2 for 33 weeks in 1967, ultimately unable to bump The Beatles' prolific Sgt. Pepper.
Think about that. The only album they couldn't beat was Sgt. Pepper.
Europe already knew and loved The Experience, as they had already been touring in the U.K. and France for a little over a year. Paul McCartney remembers when Jimi played the title track from Sgt. Pepper in London, just three days after its release:
"The curtains flew back and he came walking forward playing
'Sgt. Pepper'. It's a pretty major compliment in anyone's book. I put that down as one of the great honors of my career."
But America wouldn't discover him until later on in 1967, when he lit his guitar on fire at Monterey Pop. After that, America was enthralled. He would break up with The Experience in the months leading up to Woodstock in August 1969, but this album stands as a monument to Jimi, as a man and a musician. Blues, jazz, psychedelic, soul, rock 'n' roll, not one stone is left unturned. It also stands to forever remind the world of a genius we would lose just three short years later.
living the blues (1968) *
One of the first double-albums to actually sell, this is a psychedelic blues masterpiece. From "Refried Boogie" (a song that spans an entire record), to era-defining hits like "Going Up The Country" and the 20 minute trip-fest that is "Parthenogenesis", it is a wonder to behold. Special guests John Mayall and Dr. John also make their presence heard. Produced by their usual production crew of Rich Moore, Skip Taylor and Ivan Fisher, it's also a testament to sound engineering and production as a whole. With so much modulation and manipulation going on, keeping the music front and center is key and the engineers achieve this masterfully.
This was their third record, and the first of two to be released in '68. That other record is "Boogie With Canned Heat" which includes their mega-hit "On The Road Again" plus my all-time favorite Canned Heat tune, "Boogie Music".
"We must make "Boogie Music" is an essential factor in the life of all. In presenting the song to the world we must then explain and justify our position by formulating a definition of "Boogie Music" in setting forth its main principles in such a way that they all understand instantly that their souls, their lives, in every relation with every other human being in every circumstance depend on "Boogie Music", and the right comprehension and application thereof."
- Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson
I consider this a great jumping-off point for those who are uninitiated with The Dead. According to rock critic Robert Christgau, it "contains the finest rock improvisation ever recorded.", Robert Hunter and Jerry Garcia's "Dark Star". It is one of the many definitive versions of their 24-minute long-form-jam concert staple. I say "one of many" since The Dead were always re-defining their sound in some way and DeadHeads always have their favorites, but for the novice Head, this is a fine place to start. It's a double-album that gets you as close as you'll ever come to standing in front of Jerry himself, re-arranging your mind as he sees fit.
From their genesis in 1965 until 1969, unlike virtually every other era of their career, their set-lists stayed largely the same. However it always included the medley of "Dark Star" > "St. Stephen" > "The Eleven", which they rehearsed (and played) several times a week and ultimately is what makes this album so good. The boys had time to hone the music, come into the studio and proceed to unlearn everything.
The recordings took place in their hometown of San Francisco, California at the Fillmore West on February 27th, 1969 and at the Avalon Ballroom on January 26th, 1969.
& the blue nebulae
love me mama (1969) *
Luther Allison had ten brothers, a sister and two half-sisters who all migrated from an Arkansas plantation to Chicago in 1951. He learned guitar at age 10 from his older brother Ollie and by listening to the sounds of Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Nighthawk and Joe Hill Louis along with broadcasts from the Grand Ole Opry, which brought the blues into his home. He would even become friends with Muddy’s son in high school and would go over to the Waters house to hear him rehearse. After ditching high school for music, he met up with and was mentored by blues legend Freddie King, who was playing the Chicago circuit at that time. He would get Allison gigs and help him along as best he could, which was a tradition with many bluesmen. You help those below you and in turn, help yourself. It was released on Delmark Records in 1969 and its a record that is woefully missing from many conversations about the blues in the '60s and even into the '70s. It is, in my opinion, one of the great live recordings committed to wax in the vinyl era.
From the liner notes:
"This evening was only one in a series of performances in which I have seen Luther positively destroy a crowd. He returned to Michigan again in August for the first Ann Arbor Blues Festival. Even a broken guitar string and a faulty amplifier in the middle of his set couldn’t break the rapport Luther was able to build with an audience of 10,000."
- John Fischel, Ann Arbor Blues Festival Program Director
fathers and sons (1969) *
Fathers and Sons is a legendary double-album headlined by the great and powerful Muddy Waters backed by a who’s-who of rhythm and blues. Guest artists include guitarist Paul Butterfield, drummer Donald “Ducky” Dunn (of Booker T & the MGs) and Sam Lay on bass. The album consists of live performances and studio sessions over a 72-hour span between April 21st and 23rd, 1969 at TelMar Studios in Chicago, Illinois and at the Super Cosmic Joy-Scout Jamboree the next day on April 24th, 1969.
The album began simply enough: Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield both knew Muddy Waters would be in town and wanted to do an album with him, since they would also be in Chicago for a charity concert (The Jamboree). Chess Records went to work and rounded up Dunn, Lay and blues pianist Otis Spann for the record. This came just after the release of Waters’ Electric Mud album, a psychedelic blues experiment that had gone over less successfully than anticipated. This was a return to form for Muddy, bringing back his 1950s blues sound with that signature late-60s Muddy Waters power and a lot of talented friends. “Got My Mojo Workin’” and “All Aboard” are engineered get you up off your ass and into your dancin’ shoes, while "Long Distance Call" and "Standin' 'Round Cryin'" are some of the most soulful blues ballads you're likely to find from Mr. Waters.
live at leeds (1970) *
This was their first live album, but it was also the last to feature the original Daltrey/Townshend/Entwistle/Moon lineup. This was one year after Tommy in 1969 and the band, I'm sure, felt a great sense of pressure coming off of one of the greatest rock operas/concept albums of all time and this live recording was just what the doctor ordered.
It's cover was designed after a Rolling Stones bootleg also released that year, Live'r Than You'll Ever Be. It has the same off-white color with a similarly faded blue stamp as its only decoration. The packaging is also quite unique: the sleeve is essentially a manila folder with a paper-wrapped record on one side and copies of things like lyrics to Tommy, tickets to the shows and other unique tangibles related to the Leeds University and Hull shows in the Summer of 1970.
Biographer Chris Charlesworth said the band had a "sixth sense" and that "they achieved a rock 'n' roll nirvana which most bands can only dream about". The first side certainly exemplifies this with powerful versions of "Young Man" and "Substitute". The 12-minute "My Generation" on side two may stray from time to time, but on the whole this record is a classic. Who Fanatics will barely bat an eye.
l.a. woman (1971)
This is probably The Doors most recognizable and well-known album, but would be the last with their shaman Jim Morrison, who would make his final move to Paris, France with his wife Pam Courson shortly after the sessions concluded. Three months later, he was gone.
L.A. Woman saw the band continue their "return to the blues" they had started on Morrison Hotel in ’70 and burst into psychedelic blues here with tracks like “Riders on the Storm” and “Cars Hiss By My Window”. They retain their blues roots on tracks like “The WASP”, “Been Down So Long” and of course, on “Crawling King Snake”, their tribute to blues legend John Lee Hooker. It was received very well by critics, making “Riders” one of their most legendary tracks. The album came at a rocky time for The Doors however, with their label releasing the album “13”, a compilation album for the Christmas market without the permission of the band. This led to threats by Jim to leave the group after they had fulfilled the contract with Elektra Records.
Paul Rothschild was also dissatisfied with the result and left sessions shortly after recording began. He notoriously called “Love Her Madly”, “cocktail music” and that he said this publicly “to get them mad enough to do something good”. This was 1971, the year Janis Joplin would pass away suddenly and sadly, following Jimi Hendrix who had died the year before. It took quite a toll on many, but it especially ate up Rothschild. He was heavily involved helping her produce what would be her first posthumous album (Pearl, 1971) and was undoubtedly shaken by her sudden, stark passing. Regardless of the circumstances, art wins out and is on full display here, from the beginning of Side A to the end of Side B, a true long-player.
george harrison & friends
the concert for bangladesh (1971)
The first benefit concert of its kind and size, The Concert for Bangladesh was organized to fund relief efforts for refugees of and raise international awareness for the Bangladesh Liberation War and its senseless, bloody genocide. Ex-Beatle George Harrison recruited fellow Beatles ex-pat Ringo Starr, plus Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell and the Apple Corps repped band Badfinger. In addition, Harrison asked his sitar mentor Ravi Shankar and his sarod player Ali-Akbar Khan (both of whom have ancestral roots in Bangladesh) to play an emotional and powerful opening set.
The concerts were held at 2:30pm and 8:00pm at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Sunday, August 1st, 1971. Both shows together drew about 40,000 and raised $243,418.50 in ticket sales for relief funds, which were then distributed by UNICEF to the people of Bangladesh. There were problems, however, getting the money from the album sales into the right hands. Due to a mis-filing, there was no tax-exempt status on the concert or the money from hard-copies sold and millions were held in an IRS escrow for nearly a decade. The Beatle-Owned Apple Corps was also audited, but not before approximately $2 million of the original $3.5 million generated by album sales had been distributed. Today, the United Nations owns the rights to the recordings and close to $45 million has been made from the concert proceeds and continuing album sales, being used to help those in need. Regardless of the controversies it remains a poignant, important album.
The Allman Brothers Band
eat a peach (1972) *
This 1972 album is a treasure for many reasons, the most glaring of which is that it is the last album the feature guitarist Duane Allman, who would be killed in a tragic motorcycle accident before the album was completed. The album's title came from a quote by Duane Allman: "You can't help the revolution, because there's just evolution ... Every time I'm in Georgia, I eat a peach for peace." Comprised of recorded material from studio sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami, FL in late 1971 and live tracks from their highly successful concert at the Fillmore East, March 12-13, 1971 in New York City, it's a live album that defines Country Rock. The studio recordings of “Melissa” (Duane’s favorite tune) and Dickey Betts’ “Blue Sky” became radio staples.
After the album was recorded, a tour was put together and the band reluctantly hit the road without their guiding light. Capricorn Records mates Wet Willie, Cowboy and Dr. John opened for them but there was a significant vacancy and the band felt it. Barry Oakley was hit exceptionally hard by Duane’s passing and Butch Trucks has been quoted as saying: “We were playing for him and that was the way to be closest to him”. This album shines brightly with his music and his memory and is an incredible tribute to a bright, shining luminary of country, blues and rock ’n’ roll and his exceptional band of brothers.
The kicker? It's Dad's favorite album.
houses of the holy (1973)
Their fifth album, it marked a change in the band's direction. Instead of focusing solely on hard-driving, blisteringly-loud blues covers, this was their first album composed of entirely original material. It redefined "Hard Rock", which was already a vague term, and flatly rejected the notion that it can have just one sound or idea. It also gave rise to Heavy Metal, inspiring the Black Sabbaths, Iron Maidens and Judas Priests of the world. An album brimming with history, in no uncertain terms.
It was recorded in the Spring of 1972 using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio at Stargroves, a manor house in Hampshire County surrounded by beautiful English countryside. Other sessions took place at Olympic Studios in London and at Electric Ladyland Studios in New York City. Songs recorded in these sessions included "Walter's Walk", "Black Country Woman", "The Rover" and the would-be title track "Houses of the Holy", all of which would be shelved for later releases.
Even without its title track included on the record, its journey into the unknown might only be paralleled by The Beatles psychedelic turn away from Pop Rock on Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. It's also one of the few records to close a side with spoken word:
"Excuse me, have you seen the bridge?"
"I haven't seen the bridge!"
"Where's that confounded bridge?!"
the dark side of the moon (1973)
What do you say about one of the greatest albums ever recorded? For Pink Floyd, it all started when they would play pieces of this album in their live shows in the early '70s. Two sessions at Abbey Road Studios in London would be all the band would need to create the new material for the album. It pioneered advanced recording techniques like multi-tracking and tape-loops, and raised the lyrical bar significantly, not just for Pink Floyd but for popular music as a whole. It features philosophical quotations from their road crew and others who were present at the time, Alan Parsons being responsible for these groundbreaking sonic decisions. He had already gained significant experience helping The Beatles to create Abbey Road and Let It Be, and these two sessions prepared him for anything Pink Floyd would throw at him. The iconic artwork was designed by Storm Thorgerson, following keyboardist Richard Wright's note of "simple and bold".
Lyrically, the album soars. The band, and Roger Waters in particular, thought that their previous lyrics had been far too indirect and they wanted to shake people up and talk about things that, in Waters' words, "made them mad". It deals with greed, excess, distrust and self-discovery unflinchingly. This refusal to euphemize, which was always there, was used full-force in creating Dark Side of the Moon. Somewhere around "Any Colour You Like", a kind of peace is found. Fittingly enough, it's masterpiece ends in the same place where man first peered into the void of space, looking away from our Pale Blue Dot, to quote Carl Sagan. The dark side of our lonely moon.
blood on the tracks (1974) *
This is a record about changes and Bob was going through quite a few when he made "Blood on the Tracks". The first is that it was a return to Columbia Records after a two-album stint with Leon Russell's Asylum Records. The deal with Columbia not only re-united Dylan with the label that had made him famous, it also gave him increased control of his own masters. The second change was a personal one. After touring with The Band in '74, he began a relationship with Columbia Records employee Ellen Bernstein. His marriage to his wife, Sara, would not out-live the record. Ironically it contains some of the most beautiful and poignant love songs of the twentieth century, fueled by a marriage in crisis. While all ten songs (he wrote 17 initially) were written on a farm in Minneapolis near his home, half were recorded in New York City. It's a record that, like any relationship, has a myriad of emotions and thoughts, all expressed from a point of love. With that Minneapolis farm in your mind's eye, this record takes on a depth not found in most recorded material, then or now.
But then again, it is Bob Dylan.
bob marley & the wailers
"This, I wanna tell you, is a Trenchtown Experience...all the way from Trenchtown, Jamaica...Bob Marley and the Wailers!"
Recorded at the Lyceum Theatre in London on July 19th, 1975 using the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio, it is just one of the many brilliant concerts we have recorded perfectly thanks to that brilliant machine. Often held up as one of Marley's most indelible performances, side two gave us the versions of "No Woman, No Cry" and "I Shot The Sheriff" while side one holds smokin' renditions some of Marley's lesser-known tracks like "Trenchtown Rock" and "Burnin' and Lootin'". The band consisted of Bob Marley (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Carlton Barrett (drums), Aston "Family Man" Barrett (bass), Tyrone Browne (keys), Alvin "Seeco" Patterson (percussion), Al Anderson (lead guitar), plus Bob's wife Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths (backup vocals). Together they were known as the I-Three's.
Of course, we would have never known about Bob Marley had it not been for Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records, one of the most eclectic record labels in history. Raised in Jamaica, he discovered artists ranging from Steve Winwood and The Spencer Davis Group to Curt Cobain and Nirvana. He has added a dimension to popular music that prides itself on cultural diversity and advancing the human race through music. This record stands as one of Chris Blackwell's greatest achievements and one of Bob Marley's most enduring live performances.
the last waltz (1978) *
On Thanksgiving Day, 1976, The Band played their final concert. They invited their friends Bob Dylan, Paul Butterfield, Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Ringo Starr, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, Neil Diamond, Bobby Charles, The Staple Singers, and Eric Clapton. In true Bill Graham fashion, they also served Thanksgiving Dinner to a hall of 5,000 while simultaneously melting the beams of the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco.
It was committed to film by Martin Scorsese, making it the soundtrack to one of (if not the) greatest rock documentaries of all time. The performers took the stage at 9:00pm and ended at 2:15 the next morning when The Band played their final song together, "Don't Do It". In between are some of the greatest live performances ever committed to wax: Ronnie Hawkins' "Who Do You Love?", Paul Butterfield's "Mystery Train" and the heart-wrenching "I Shall Be Released" featuring Bob Dylan, Ronnie Wood and Ringo Starr with Charlie Manuel absolutely singing his heart out. It's truly one of those records that shows, even with all of the squabbling and fighting that surrounded it that at its heart, it was simply friends playing with each other.
screaming for vengeance (1982)
Aside from having the most bad-ass cover art ever, Screaming for Vengeance will put some hair on your chest and make your throat burn. Their 1980 album British Steel is considered the band's opus, but Screaming for Vengeance was North America's introduction to Judas Priest (and sold like gangbusters). From "The Hellion", which begins the album, to their hit single "You Got Another Thing Comin'", this record Rocks with a capitol "R".
Americans and Canadians alike latched on, not just to the albums hits, but the relentless, pile-driving sound that blasts out of this record with tracks like "Riding On The Wind", "Fever" and "Devil's Child". It went platinum in Canada and double-platinum in the United States and produced two or three radio hits for Priest making it, financially, an extremely successful album. It was also their first to sell over 5 million copies. Unsurprisingly, some call it overly commercial in its sound. Even drummer Les Binks called it quits in 1979 for that exact reason. It's not the be-all-end-all of heavy metal, but on the whole, the album is a fine example of what Judas Priest was capable of in the 1980s, which was pumping out rock-radio staples geared for a good time.
stop making sense (1984) *
If an album spends two years (118 weeks) in the Billboard 200 Chart, you know you did something right. Of course that may have to do with Jonathan Demme's insanely good live concert film, which is a feast for both eyes and ears. Regardless of that fact, David Byrne (vocals/guitar), Tina Weymouth (bass/vocals), Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison (guitar/keys/vocals), Bernie Worrell (keys) and Alex Weir (guitar/vocals) are mind-melded to one other during this performance. The results are magnificent.
There's a great build to this album, with ebbs and flows, truly giving you a sense that you are there, in the space with them. Even without the aid of video, it transports you. From the reverse of the record:
Why "Stop Making Sense"?
Why a movie? Why tour?
Why do musicians come out gradually?
What will the band do next?
Where do the odd movements come from?
Are live concerts better or worse than records?
Why no "special effects" in the movie?
Why a big suit?
Why was a digital system used for the sound?
& The E street band
live: 1975-1985 (1986)
Five records, forty tracks, eight venues, ten years. Those are the numbers. Here's another one: 1.5 million. Its how many pre-order copies this sold in 1986, a record at the time. Although that record has been shattered many times since, this album set showcases the deep love that this band has for one another, to the depths of Hell and back. It debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts, a rare feat not achieved since Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life was released ten years before in 1976. Two songs charted, their cover of Edwin Starr's "War" and "Fire", a Springsteen original covered by The Pointer Sisters in 1979. They only reached #49 and snapped Bruce's hit streak of ten consecutive Top-10 singles.
This is the kind of box set you can listen to either all the way through or pick at and root around in, including (if you can find it intact) a beautiful full-color booklet with lyrics and photographs that suck you into each venue and song. I'm a sucker for booklets with lyrics and with a guy like Bruce, you almost have to read along. His songs are like a well-told story or an old tall tale. Every word, every syllable has purpose and weight.
From the liner notes:
"We listened to 10 years of tapes, the music did the talkin', and this album and its story began to emerge. We hope you have as much fun with it as we did. I'd like to thank the E Street Band for 1,001 nights of comradeship and good rockin'. They're all about the best bunch of people you can have at your side when you're goin' on a long drive."
- Bruce Springsteen