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Three Albums Featuring Organs

June 30, 2016

Like a lot of people my age, I have opinions about music that I think you should hear. I am qualified to speak about music because I have listened to it all my life and for a few months a few years ago I tried to learn how to play a banjo.

For most of my childhood, I was raised by my grandparents so I am intimately familiar with the vinyl record. My most cherished possession is probably the Tennessee Ernie Ford 45 my grandpa gave me. He used to play it every year during blackberry season.


Today’s post is three albums you should hear and it’s best that you should hear them on vinyl. Why? Because that’s the way I listen to them so that must be the best way for everybody.

“Odessey and Oracle” by The Zombies

I’m sure you’ve hear the song “Time Of The Season” at some point in your life. It has been used in Tampax commercials, sporting events and as a touchstone for the late 60s in movies and on TV. The song is a perfect representation of the album on which it first appeared. The Zombies deliver keyboard-driven rock and roll laced with airy psychedelic vocal harmonies. “Odessey and Oracle” is a revelation. Having been raised to think the only good pop rock from the sixties was produced by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, it is astounding to discover The Zombies are capable of as much musical creativity as The Beatles and deliver it without pretension. Almost every song on this album sounds like a hit and you wonder where these songs have been all your life. Why do radio stations only play the same ten bands? Stand outs on this album include “This Will Be Our Year” and “Beechwood Park”

“Mendocino” by The Sir Douglas Quintet

Fronted by Doug Sahm, a pioneer in country rock, The Sir Douglas Quintet present a unique sound. Fueled by rhythm guitar and driving organ, “Mendocino” answers the question “What happens when psychedelia meets Tex-Mex?” If there is a narrative thread to the album, it is a Texas country boy lost in the strange world of Northern California in the late 60s, as evidenced in the title track and the song “Lawd, I’m Just A Country Boy In This Great Big Freaky City” and others. Who can’t relate to feeling like a fish out of water? It is another album that makes me mourn the state of radio. “She’s About A Mover” is probably the most popular track but my favorite is “Lawd, I’m Just A Country Boy In This Great Big Freaky City”.

“Brothers and Sisters” by The Allman Brothers

Recording of “Brothers and Sisters” began not long after the death of Duane Allman, the band’s leader and guitarist, in a motorcycle accident. Berry Oakley, the band’s bassist, was distraught and buried his grief in drugs and drink. Less than a year later, Berry Oakley crashed his motorcycle less than three blocks away from where Duane had crashed his. He died from his injuries. The band carried on, led by guitarist Dickey Betts and keyboardist Gregg Allman. Somehow in spite of the tragedy, the band was able to create it’s most commercially successful album to date. It immediately dominated the charts and with good reason. The musicianship on display throughout the album is enough to justify its success. The interplay between guitars and keyboards, bass and drums is amazing. Add to that the perfect number of great songs. There are only seven songs on the album and they leave you perfectly satisfied. It is neither too long or too short. Take your country psychedelia, add an extra drummer and sprinkle it all with jazz and you have “Brothers and Sisters”. You probably know “Ramblin’ Man” and maybe “Jessica” but make sure to listen for “Southbound” and “Pony Boy”.


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