Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, you name it, they’re here on this 1971 Columbia House release of classical classics covering two LPs. Titled 120 Music Masterpieces Highlights, 120 instantly recognizable melodies are displayed across 20 cuts on four sides of wax. Even if you’re not (always) into mood-setting classical charm, this catch-all is a perfect place to start for those of you curious, classical kids on a cent-saving budget.
My long life of thrift store shopping can (kinda) be traced back to this album… It was found, rather discarded, among brick-a-brack drivel in rural Wisconsin at a converted thrift store where I used to hunt down vintage Star Wars figures (it was called the Value Village, but I called it the Ewok Village, because, well, I was a kid). Having known the heavy hitting songs, but not the cover, I inquisitively searched the item for any semblance of tagging, which I found only on the record labels. I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I was so old (16) before I understood this album (a bit of self-loathing here). I’ve since acquired a copy in much better condition, but I keep this version around as a reminder. A sort of symbol of much-needed things yet to be discovered.
I’ll admit that I’ve only spun this album once, MAYBE twice, and I remember not thinking too much about it at the time. Wild Life was the third Paul McCartney release since the breakup of The Beatles, and was recorded with his wife Linda at Abbey Road Studios. It was released in 1971 to lukewarm reviews and is considered a haphazard offering from one of rock music’s most prominent front-runners. Listening to it again… it’s certainly an enjoyable spin, if somewhat unfocused and meandering, but still worthy of a respectful and deserving listen.
Certified Platinum and third studio album by London’s prog rock adventurers, Yes, The Yes Album launched in February of 1971 to both commercial and critical success. See that word Platinum in the opening sentence? That’s a pretty good indication of this album’s popularity. The Yes Album would be the last for keyboardist Tony Kaye and guitarist Peter Banks, both founding members, and would be the first with the group for Steve Howe (later of Asia fame). Progressive rock isn’t necessarily my immediate number one go-to (it’s more 17 or 18 down the line), The Yes Album is a whimsical and spirited hike, deserving of a reverent stroll. Yes’ classic album cover art (those illustrated by Roger Dean) would begin later that year (November) with Fragile.
I’m so absolutely beside myself to finally own a working copy of Muswell on 8-track that I’m thoroughly on board with the complete reworking of the playlist for this bass-heavy medium. Have a Cuppa Tea, followed by Skin and Bone, wait… TO CLOSE OUT THE ALBUM?! I continue to tell myself how fortunate I am to have finally found this 12-song, 8-track cartridge of perfection, and will, obviously, welcome it into the family with open, outstretched arms despite its, lets say, unorthodox and creative reordering. I now own Muswell a total of four times, but really, who’s counting?
The Prudent Groove (among several other members of his abundant family) welcome into this conscious, baby Leif (last name undisclosed to protect the congratulatory). The Who, you ask? Great companions and their adorable newborn. With all the extended family (read: friends) and their bulging, baby bellies, we pose the inevitable, Who’s Next?