By Ken Sharp
Through their four-decade career, Hall & Oates were skilled musical chameleons, equally adept essaying folk, R&B, rock, blues, prog-rock, power pop and new wave. Taking a peek at John’s Top 10 albums selections reflects his broad musical taste.
1. Mississippi John Hurt – The Immortal Mississippi Hurt”
I had the chance to spend time with him when he slept on my guitar teacher’s couch in Philadelphia and learned to finger pick from watching his hands.
2. Doc Watson – “Doc Watson”
I learned every song on this album from listening and watching him play. He was a true American original.
3. Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions – “The Anthology”
In the 1960s, Curtis was one of the very few R&B singers who played guitar and sang while he performed. That was unusual in those days, and I loved his playing and singing style. I also loved the Impressions’ three-part harmony vocals. His social consciousness was also innovative and inspiring.
4. James Brown – “Live at the Apollo”
Pure excitement captured in a live show … the tempos were off the charts and the energy jumped off the grooves of this record.
5. The Temptations – “The Temptations Live!”
This record perfectly represents the original Temps lineup at its peak. The five-part harmony, the dance steps and the unique lead vocals of all the members are unsurpassed.
6. The Band – “The Band”
A true classic album in every way — songs, mood, playing and singing. It sounded fresh and contemporary and at the same time sounded as though it came from a bygone era.
7. Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland
A ground-breaking progressive recording of soundscapes with the undertone of R&B taken to another planet.
8. Joni Mitchell – “Blue”
The perfect album … there’s nothing else to say.
9. Nickel Creek – “Why Should the Fire Die?“
A unique combination of traditional and progressive Americana with provocative songs and superlative playing.
10. Frazier and Debolt – “Frazier and Debolt (With Ian Guenther)”
A study in the use of “silence” as a dynamic device.
The above article appeared in Goldmine‘s Hall and Oates issue (June 2015, Volume 41, No. 7, at left). If you would like a digital copy of the issue, click here. It’s only a $4.95 download! Or if you would like a print copy (the cover itself is worth framing!) call 1-800-726-9966, Ext. 13369, or e-mail email@example.com.