Sly and the Family Stone: “There’s a Riot Goin’ On”
I paid 33 cents for this record, and it shows when I listen to it. It’s worn and battered, just like the jacket in this picture. But that only adds to the character of this classic album – dark, sparse, urban and tense, so evocative of the era it comes from.
Lou Bond – “Lou Bond”
I love this record now, but when I was young, I would have used it for second base. The lush orchestral string arrangements (and do I hear a flugelhorn in there somewhere?) threaten, at one point or another, to swamp each of the album’s six songs, and Bond’s guitar style of purposefully plucking his way through each chord (instead of giving it a good strum once in a while) gives several tracks an almost antagonistically unhurried feeling. But the vocals, though—Bond’s voice is so smooth, he can almost lull you to sleep with lyrics that, in parts, take an unflinching look at the social turmoil of the early 1970s. Without that voice, the whole thing would fall apart. But thankfully it doesn’t, and we’re left with a mellow, urban album that is one of the most soulful and heartfelt records I’ve ever heard.