September 25, 2020

1978-01-06 – Rapid City Journal

1978 01 06 Rapid_City_Journal_Fri__Jan_6__1978_

Ronkroese

I am not audacious enough to claim
that these are the best pop albums 0!
um. but they are ten of my favorites.

0! the hundreds of lps I heard last
year. these are the ones I keep coming
back to, when 1 want to listen for the
pure pleasure of it.

“Luxury Liner" Emmylou Harris:
Although her friend Dolly Parton cap-
tured most of the media attention in the
past year, and newcomer Crystal Gayle
had the biggest country-pop crossover
tune. ‘Don't It Make My Brown Eyes
Blue." Emmylou's third lp is easily the
best album to emerge from any female
country artist in 1977. Equally at home
singing old time rock 'n’ roll (her ver-
sion of Chuck Berry's “You Never Can
Tell" went to number one on the
country charts), old time country (she
covers songs from the Carter family
and the Louvin Brothers on the album).
as well as contemporary progressive
country. “Luxuiy Liner" firmly estab-
lished Emmylou as country music's
brightest star.

"Nothing But A Breeze" Jesse
Winchester: Employing Emmylou
Harris’ husband-producer. Brian
Ahern. and most of her superb Hot
Band, Winchester came up with the
most consistent effort yet. Lighter in
subject matter than his earlier albums.
“Breeze" provided the perfect back-
drop for Winchester’s celebrated re-

turn to the US. following a 10-year ex~ '

lie to Canada in opposition to the Viet-
nam War. It contains what should have
been the biggest country duet oi' the
year — a Winchester composition en-
titled. “My Songbird." a beautifully
performed love ballad sung with
Emmylou. i
“Night Moves" Bob Seger: If this
album had nothing else on it but the ti-
tle song it would still make my list.
“Night Moves" is the rock single of an
otherwise disco-dismal year. The
album also spawned two other suc-
cessful singles and finally put this hard-
working rock journeyman from De-

{Sounds'78

trait in the spotlight where he belongs.

“Snowhlind Friend" Hoyt Alton:
This lp. along with Hoyt's 14 other
albums. failed to make even a little rip-
ple on the record charts. despite its ex-
cellence. His duet with Tanya Tucker.
”You Taught Me How to Cry.” had all
the requisites of a country hit. but went
nowhere, as didn't his cowboyon-the-
run vignette “Water For My Horses”
or his harder-rocking "Never Been to
Spain," which makes the Three Dog
Night version sound wimpy by com-
parison. Most intriguing is the beauti-
lul “Funeral For the King." which al-
though written several months before
the King’s death. seems to have been
written for Elvis.

“Simple Dreams" Linda Ronstadt:
“It's so easy to fall in love with this
album. as its huge sales indicate. “Sim-
ple Dreams” has knocked Fleetwood
Mack’s “Rumors" from its record resi-
dence at the top of the album charts;
this despite the fact that the album’s
strongest single. “Tumblin' Dice." has
yet to be released as a 45. “Simple
Dreams" contains her strongest and
most assured singing ever and the best
material since 1973's “Heart Like A
Wheel."

“In the Falling Dark" Bruce
Cockburn: The music on this album is
most easily labeled “folk-jazz." a term
that also applies to fellow-Canadian
Joni Mitchell's recent albums. Cock-
bum’s material equals Mitchell’s in ar-
tistry, but is less inscrutable. with his
charming. often devotional. poetic im-
agery drawn primarily from the splen-
dor of unspoiled nature. Cockburn is a
superb guitarist and he's accompanied
expertly by piano. flute and occasional-
ly muted trumpet. Cockburn "is another
rare gift from our neighbor to the north
— a gilt that so far has found little ac-
ceptance. _

“Hotel California" Eagles: The
latest from the Eagles noses» out
“Rumours" as the quintessential
Southern California rock album. which
is what Glenn Frey. Don Henley. et al.

Peter Townshend and Ronnie Lane

obviously set out to create. With the ad-
dition of lead guitarist Joe Walsh. it's
their hardest rocking set so far. Self-
conscious and seemingly auto-
biographical. the album astutely blends
lyrical content with the “language" of
the music. Though the Eagles feel as
though they're in a play. they are
anyway. It will be a tough one to lol-
Iow-up.

“Little Criminals” Randy Newman:
Newman is finally receiving the popu-
larity he deserves with “Little
Criminals" — thanks mostly to his first
top-40 song ever. "Short People." the
catchy little ditty which many smaller
folk have a hard time accepting as a sa-
tire on prejudice. which it is. There are
a half dozen other gems on the album
too. including a tongue-in-cheek exer-
cise in country rock. “Rider 1n the
Rain." performed with members of the
Eagles.

“Rough Mix" Peter Townsend and
Ronnie Lane: Punk rock‘s main virtue
is its return 10 the basics of rock and

roll. Pete Townsend. one of the original
British punks. never had to be told.
After orchestrating such grandiose
Who efforts as “Tommy" and
“Quadrophrenia.” he returns to basics
on "Rough Mix." yet without forsak-
ing his years of experience. hard-won
wisdom and essential honesty. Basical-
ly acoustic. with just enough electric
guitar to add some spark to the
rockers. Townsend is joined by a varie-
ty of veterans Britons. including Eric
Clapton.

“Say it in Private” Steve Goodman:
Alter 1976’s comparitively weak al-
bum. “Words We Can Dance To,”
Goodman is back in top form with
another batch of clever. insightful and
often touching tunes. Goodman has the
socially-conscious eye of a serious folk
artist blended with a charming wit and
sense of humor. and a musical sen-
sibility spanning a variety of American
popular music genres from urban blues
to hillbilly country to modern light
rock.