Winners 6-1

From: Neal Miller

Hi John,

These are my favorites that bring back the best memories for me.

Here goes:

1) Steely Dan: Aja.

This one jumps out because at first I really could not stand it—it felt kind of jarring and almost atonal to me, so I put it away. After hearing "Black Cow" on the radio some months later, and realizing that it came from Aja, I gave it another spin, and the light went on! It's been one of my favorites ever since.

2) Doobie Brothers: What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits.

Not only was the rock and roll great, more than anything it introduced me to the country music/Americana roots music that I now cherish.

3) Peter Frampton: Frampton Comes Alive.

It was my good-time party album in college, and I've never heard a more fun with a live album since. The sheer joy of the performance of a band at the top of its game stays with me forever.

4) Tonio K: Life In The Foodchain.

Sounding like a lot of '70s rock influences, but instantly uniquely all its own, he tells great stories very cleverly written, played and sung with his own unique charms, plus, it's great to dance to. It's a shame that he never broke big.

5) Reverberi (Gian Piero): Timer.

Like Eumir Deodato, Reverberi took some classical sources and original compositions, played his heart out on piano and added some great instrumentation, and ended up with something great that I've never heard before or since. Unfortunately, Reverberi barely got any distribution here in the States, and I feel lucky to have heard his music.

I'd like to add another half-dozen great recordings, but five is the limit.

Neal Miller

From: Jay Powers

1) Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass: "A Taste of Honey," from Whipped Cream and Other Delights (1965).

The silhouette cartoon of the band on the Astrodome lite-brite Jumbotron; and, of course, the girl covered in whipped cream.

2) Harry Nilsson: "Let the Good Times Roll," from Nilsson Schmilsson (1971).

Dance party thrown by a friend's Cajun parents in two or three covered parking spots behind their apartment building.

3) Tomita: Snowflakes Are Dancing (1974).

Rainy days spent hanging out, quoting Monty Python, playing PanzerBlitz.

4) Oscars Motettkör: "Cantante Domino" (by Marco Enrico Bossi), from Cantante Domino (1976).

First exposure to real high fidelity (Linn Sondek, Naim, Linn Kans) at Audio Concepts. I was disappointed but enlightened when Kans sounded terrible in my system from Pacific Stereo.

5) Seal: "Kiss From a Rose," from Seal (1994).

Not my usual cup of tea, but ubiquitous on a long car trip to reevaluate life following death, divorce, and other calamities.

From: Jack Williams

Hi John

What a struggle! I can't believe I left out people like Pres, Monk, Diz, Bud Powell, and a personal fave, Tete Montoliu.

Thanks for the opportunity to do this.

1) Jimmie Lunceford: "White Heat/Jazznocracy" (1934, 78 rpm; probably Bluebird B5713).

My sister gave this 78 to me when I was eight. I remember playing it over and over and "dancing" the living room (when my dad was out). Whatever it was I loved it—It was jazz. Then it got broken.

2) Lionel Hampton: "Jack the Bellboy/Central Avenue Breakdown" (1940, 78 rpm; RCA Victor 26652).

Hampton plays drums and piano with Nat Cole trio. One of my first purchased 78s. An admittedly flashy record, I hadn't realized that Hampton could dazzle on other instruments besides the vibes.

3) Duke Ellington: "Cotton Tail" (1940, 78 rpm; RCA Victor 26610).

One of my first Ellington 78s, this wonderful arrangement featured the incredible tenor of Ben Webster. I subsequently came to see the Duke as the most important North American contributor to the world of music.

4) Charlie Christian: Charlie Christian Jazz Immortal (1940; 10" LP, Esoteric ESJ-1).

The ability to let musicians stretch out on LP was just beginning to be realized when this record was released. Historic performances of length could now also be made available. Each time I played (and play) this recording I just don't want him to stop playing.

5) Miles Davis: "Blues by Five" from Cookin' (CD, Prestige OJCCD 128-2).

On a trip to Seattle in the mid 1950s with a friend we passed a record store with Cookin' by Miles and the first release by Mose Allison, Back Country Suite on display in the window. Both albums are treasures. "Blues by Five" exemplifies the wonderful Prestige date that for me is the apex of Miles's jazz career. I wore out the LP.

From: Edward Budzilowicz


More of a challenge than I anticipated. Here goes...

1) Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade (preferably the CSO with Reiner, on RCA—a perfect recording).

My dad was an ardent socialist. His small classical collection consisted entirely of the Russian masters. At age three, I attempted my own revolution by standing on the turntable.

2) Mary Martin, "Never Never Land", from Peter Pan, Original Broadway Cast of 1954, Sony Masterworks CD 756201.

The show that had a short run on Broadway, but soared into our living rooms year after year, first in live broadcasts and then on tape.

3) Del Shannon, "Runaway" (various reissues).

An angst-ridden cry in the night (along with a wicked organ solo), that reached the ears of lovelorn adolescents everywhere.

4) Jimmy MacCarthy, "Mystic Lipstick", from Song of the Singing Horseman, 1991, Mulligan CD/LP/Cassette (If not available, the song is covered by Maura O'Connell on the MacCarthy tribute album, Warmer For the Spark, CD or download.)

First heard while driving through the Irish moors. A heartbreaking and at times bitter tribute to Mother Ireland.

5) Iron Butterfly, "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", from the album of the same name.

Why, in God's name, you ask? If you weren't there, man, I can't help you out.

From: Paul Kacprzak

Great column. Here are my 5.

1) Lennon & McCartney: "She Loves You."

I was a 4-year old Polish immigrant child on the floor in front of a TV with The Ed Sullivan show on in Buffalo, New York. I was Americanized that night.

2) Brian Wilson & Mike Love: "Good Vibrations."

"I, I love the colorful clothes she wears/And the way the sunlight plays upon her hair." I was 12 years old, and had a crush on a girl two years older after I saw her on the bus with colorful clothes and sunlight on her hair.

3) Aerosmith: "Back in the Saddle."

Full-throttle male hormones as teenager with this as the anthem.

4) Parliament: "Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)."

My Black friends noticed that I like bass and baptized me with funk. I worked in a stereo store downtown at the time. Never lost my love for funk or audio.

5) Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, William Steinberg and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Now I had another avenue to explore in how music captures emotions, and vice versa.

From: Jussi Melartin

1) Beethoven: "Moonlight" Sonata, Wilhelm Kempff (45 rpm single on Deutsche Grammophon).

2) Eartha Kitt: "Uska Dara—A Turkish Tale"/"Two Lovers" (45 rpm US RCA; 47-5284). Click here and here.

3) The Four Lads: "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)" a 78 RPM labeled a foxtrot. Click here.

These three form my musical base—I knew them pre-natally, and I can trace their influence on music I've liked ever since.

My parents' mono hi-fi: Thorens turntable with speeds from 16 to 78 rpm; Quad QC II/II into a Tannoy concentric speaker in a big sand-filled reflex enclosure via 300 ohm antenna cable. So even the hi-fi was formative. The mystical, crossover, exotic, danceable, campy music in organically good sound opened up the sea of possibility—and the desire to return to the source—ever since.

[True fact: my parents listened to "Uska Dara" at 16 rpm to learn the words—we were in Finland at the time, so even the English was foreign.]

4) The Jeff Beck Group: Truth EPIC BN 26413/EMI SX 6293.

The first LP I ever bought on my own. Introduced me to many things: the musicians, and the blues (I had to find out what "stolen riff from Howlin' Wolf" meant). I still sing all the parts to myself.

5) Patti Smith: Horses Arista 4066.

I did some darkroom work for a friend and asked for Horses as payment. I wasn't the same afterward.

End of Official Awards