FINALLY completed the much anticipated (and surprisingly elusive) discography with, what appears to be, the last recorded songs by this embarrassingly underrated legend, Tim Hardin. Unforgiven was released in 1981, after Hardin’s unfortunate, yet unsurprising death. As the hype sticker indicates: These are the last eight memorable tunes written and recorded by Tim Hardin (Dec 1980). This is now the second time I’ve purchase this album, which I was (obviously) reluctant to do. You see, I’d shelled out $40 for this exact pressing just under two years ago, but it never arrived, and I was out the $40. This time around, Unforgiven arrived sealed. Virgin vinyl, kids! Like with anything Tim Hardin touched, this is essential spinning material.
Presented here is a live album featuring three unquestionable legends: Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. The album, containing 12 songs, was recorded in West Germany back in 1981 when all three artists were on tour. The collaboration was an improvised little piece of country music history as Perkins and Lewis, during their night off, joined Cash on stage for what was originally intended to be a Cash-only performance. The result, is three Sun Record kings performing the songs that made them famous. Thanks again for the folks for this little gem. The Survivors comes highly recommended.
Men at Work debuted in 1981 with Business as Usual. With the help of two, knockout singles (Who Can it Be Now? and Down Under), it’s (fairly) easy to see how BaU spent 15 weeks at the No. 1 spot on the US Billboard 200. One of the (if not the) most successful Australian-released pop albums, Business as Usual would serve as the band’s high water mark, and would be one of only three studio albums released (1983’s Cargo, and 1985’s Two Hearts). If in the mood, she still holds up, some 37 years later.
Shake It Up is The Cars’ fourth studio album and contains the band’s first Billboard top ten hit with the title track. Released in 1981, Shake It Up sees the band continuing their unprecedented string of unquestionable classics (1978’s The Cars, 1979’s Candy-O, and 1980’s Panorama). Though I’m partial to their self-titled debut, Shake it Up, in addition to the band’s other early releases, are strikingly inexpensive to obtain. One could obtain their first five albums for roughly $2 a pop. Definitely worth the charge of admission.
Squeeze out another indispensable new wave experience with 1981’s East Side Story. Though not as electrifying as their 1978 debut (Squeeze), or as pop-friendly as their second album (1979’s Cool for Cats), East Side Story shows, I believe, the greatest jump in maturity between their early, and essential albums. Whether you’re in the mood for a very well-written, new wave classic, or if you’re longing for the chorus to Tempted, East Side Story is just a 33 1/3 revolution away.
Happy to welcome my first colored Tim Hardin record into the library. To my knowledge, it’s the only one, and a German pressing to boot. Titled The Homecoming Concert, this live performance was recorded in the songwriter’s home town the same year of his untimely death, and is rumored to have been his last live performance, though, the jury is still out on that claim.
Bauhaus’ sophomore effort isn’t as head-splitting as their monstrous debut, which would be an impossible feat in and of itself, but 1981’s Mask is certainly deserving of the same analytical repeated listening treatment as 1980’s In the Flat Field. I can only speak for these two albums as, within them, exists the limits of my exploration, but I will say, albeit obviously, that I’ve not heard a Bauhaus track that I didn’t absolutely adore. Dig it.
I’ve recently exhausted (in a good way, and mainly on trips to and from the office), Bauhaus’ debut masterpiece, 1980’s In the Flat Field. Mask, the band’s second album, waits impatiently on the shelf for the cloud of brilliant indecency to subside. Tracks 1-4 on …Field rival anything released in the past 40 years, and I challenge anyone who says otherwise.
With arguably the most recognizable keyboard intro to any track to kick off any album in all of rock (save maybe for Baba O’Riley), Freeze Frame, the title track on 1981’s appropriately titled Freeze Frame by The J. Geils Band took second seat to the the band’s most successful incarnation, Centerfold. That’s right, both Freeze Frame AND Centerfold are featured on this album. Shocking, I know.
The band’s sound (somewhat) drastically shifted over its tenure, but it’s humbling to imagine a band can (finally) hit its stride on its 12th album. The J. Geils Band would ride on the success of Freeze Frame (the album, not the track) for another two albums until calling it quits with 1984’s You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd. For a damn fine radio-friendly example of early 80s mind-numbing awesomeness, check out Freeze Frame. Your yester-self (it exists) could use a solid, loving punch in the shoulder.