These are my records: At Fillmore East

The Allman Brothers: “At Fillmore East”

I don’t usually dig live albums, at least for rock bands, and that goes double for double-live albums. But then again, this isn’t just a rock record – it’s what you’d get if you put together a band with Elmore James, Jerry Garcia and Art Blakey, more blues and jazz than anything else. Masterful slide guitar playing over long jams that don’t feel like they’re 23 minutes long (true, not all of them are, but it’s my blog and I will exaggerate if I wanna). Great, great record.

These are my records: Axis Bold as Love

The Jimi Hendrix Experience: “Axis: Bold as Love”

This is both Hendrix’s best and least-known album. For most people, the only familiar song will be “Little Wing,” and even then it may only be recognizable from another artist’s cover version. There’s an impressive range to Hendrix’s songwriting, and his playing is somehow both a bit more understated than usual and as innovative as you’d expect. High points include the cool rainforest shimmer of “Up From the Skies” and “One Rainy Wish,” and the head-bobbing drive of “You Got Me Floatin’,” but really—if you ignore the first two minutes of side one (a strange bit of radio theater that probably made sense at the time)—there’s not a weak link to be found.

Pink Floyd: “The Final Cut”

A deeply underrated album, The Final Cut had the twin misfortune of being Pink Floyd’s followup to The Wall (which is probably one of rock’s most overrated albums), and of allowing Floyd fans four long years to imagine what that followup would sound like; by then, just about anything was bound to disappoint. Musically, this album might have more in common with the version of the group that reunited in 1987, but lyrically, it continues The Wall’s exploration of unresolved (and perhaps unresolvable) emotional loss. Parts of it are so good, I can almost even forget that it also contains some of the most trite lyrics ever pressed on vinyl (“And no one kills the children anymore”? Seriously?).