Shamelessly copying RAM album club

The premise is simple: listen to a great/seminal album you’ve never listened to before, and write about it. For the original concept and some absolutely great writing, visit [website no longer there!]

There’s no rota, or limit to how many times you post as long as you do a little write up on your experience. Doesn’t have to be war and peace. The only rule is you have never to have listened to it before.

There are dozens of genre defining and “essential” albums I’ve missed out on. I’m going to start with

OK, the first thing to note is the cover. I notice this album was recorded in 1975, but the cover looks fresh and contemporary. Patti Smith looks like she would give Chrissie Hynde a good kicking, frankly. And although I’ve never seen braces worn like that, I’m totally OK with it.

So what’s going on in 1975, music wise? I looked a few albums up: Led Zep are engorging themselves to unsustainable proportions with Physical Graffitti, Queen are being Queen, Status Quo have got an album out, something is happening with Parliament and a band called Jefferson Starship exists. All pretty standard.

So here’s my first question relating to this album: WHERE THE FUCK DID THIS JUST COME FROM? Seriously, who or what in 1975 are Patti’s influences? My mild annoyance that she kicks off covering (sort of) a song, Gloria, which predates this by 10 years is quickly blown away by how fresh and new this sounds. And not even in a proto-oh-yes-you-can-hear-how-indie-developed kind of way. This album could be released RIGHT FUCKING NOW and no-one would bat an eyelid.

It’s the exact scene from Back To The Future where Marty hops in a DeLorean, pops into 1980s, steals rock’n’roll and unleashes it on his unsuspecting 50s audience. Patti’s done this with indie rock. It’s the only plausible explanation for this. Patti Smith was on speaking terms with Doc Brown.

On first listen, I keep thinking PJ Harvey would love to make this album. 30 years after it was already made. And don’t get me wrong, I really like PJ Harvey.

The production, from what I can tell on my PC speakers, is totally boss too. Already I’m wondering is this readily available on vinyl.

There are two 9+minute tracks on this album, and they both have drive, purpose and a proper narrative, i.e. there is a point to them being 9 minutes long. They are both stunningly good.

The album closes with a cover of My Generation, which sounds like she was having a bit of laugh and blowing off some steam, so I’ll let her off.

Rating: 9.5/10 (lost half mark for the covers)


Good idea for a thread/series

I’ve never listened to Tales from Topographic Oceans. Ever. Fuck.

Yep, good thread idea.

OP updated.

Yep. Good idea.

Need to get my bloody finger out and get back listening.

Sounds like a good idea

Good thread!
Patti Smith - Horses is a superb album. There’s a lot of CBGB influenced US punk stuff that’s worth looking up too!
HMV recently had vinyl copies of this album for £10 Mark, plenty of original copies can be found for a fiver though!

Great idea for a thread.

Excellent album (I have it on original vinyl, there’s plenty around ) and yes, it sounds great!

Weirdly (I’m guessing someone’s Friday afternoon project) google has inbuilt “classic albums” queries.

Try this, but obvs you can substitute in a decade of your choice.

It also appears to do genres. However “progressive rock” didn’t work. Make of that what you will :grin:

edit: ok, the genre thing is a bit flaky, sometimes you get the nicely presented list, sometimes you just get search hits …

edit edit: ah nice, once you’re in it has dropdowns for genres and decades

That was pretty much the basis of my extensive research for releases in 1975. Rumbled.

Before I listen I’m giving the reasons why I don’t listen to jazz much so my prejudices can be aired, and challenged or confirmed afterwards.

  1. Jazz has the wrong instruments. I don’t like trumpets, trombones, clarinets etc and the preferred electric guitar tone is too warm and mellow.

  2. Jazz has too much dissonance. Jazz musicians, more than any other, like to play chromatically. This means all the white notes and all the black notes on a piano, for example. The rest of musical humanity mainly use a selection of notes which musically compliment each other, or sound consonant. I don’t like the overuse of dissonance, it starts to sound wanky boring quite quickly.

  3. There’s too much of it, as witnessed by vacdac’s stream of amazing jazz consciousness. It would take me years to find a niche I might like!

My choice…

Apparently the album below was a defining moment in jazz. The wiki describes ‘a looser, rock-influenced improvisational style’ so there could be something here for me. It’s also a double so I may be some time.

Bitches Brew - Miles Davis

Should anyone have any suggestions on which tracks I should concentrate on… ?

This was the very first Jazz album I bought, if you don’t include Sade in Jazz. It was 50p in a charity shop so I thought I’d give it a punt, and I liked the artwork.

Not the easiest entry into a genre for sure, but I liked it, and I now have an expanding Jazz collection, up to around 40 LP’s now.

For me the stand out tracks are Pharaoh’s Dance, Bitches Brew (so that’s the entirety of disc 1…) and Miles Runs The Voodoo Down. They’re quite diverse, and Pharaoh’s Dance in particular is very complex.

Cheers Rob. I’ll cue up those tracks you suggest first.

I think you should listen to the album from beginning to end. I think it has an ebb and flow that you will miss if you don’t. Don’t be scared, it’s only music!


Correct, that’s really the whole point.

If, at the end, your considered opinion is that it was “utterly fucking incomprehensible sax-wank”, then I think we’ll have all been informed and entertained.

Although he was a trumpeter so not that informed.

We’re more about the entertainment here.

Bloody experts. You blow into it and a noise comes out. Virtually no difference.

Anyway, Wayne Shorter was on soprano saxophone so in your face, Kettle. :smiley:

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This should be interesting as I think there is very wide taste in music between us all and our music threads regularly throw up some incredible albums - AG’s Cecil Barfield album from the Youtube thread being a case in point. :+1:

Cue Ozzy listening to some reggae. Fuck that ! Not gonna happen :blush:

Try some foo cables, the difference would be night and day.