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He Is Back . . . Guest Writer Ed Sugar Has Something To Say . . .

Last night’s game went into overtime, so Merrill asked me to cover for him today.

As I have mentioned on previous posts, I have many passions in life (baseball, English soccer, food, travel) and high on the list is music.  Growing up I was always listening to and purchasing music. 

Sometime ago, my friend (JH), who teaches elementary school and has a seventeen year old daughter, commented to me that kids today, due to the popularity of downloading individual songs (MP3 files) often have no concept of what a music album is. This statement resonated with me as I have always been one who has had a greater appreciation for a full album of recorded work and the sequence of the songs, rather than just the individual single hit song. 

I thought:

"Are we truly seeing the demise of the recorded album?"

"Will the future of music consist of nothing but a series of unrelated individual MP3 files?"

"Are we witnessing another seismic shift in the decline of western civilization?"

I am happy to report that in the past year, there has been a new trend that has eased this concern of mine. Some noted bands and performers have started playing full length albums, from beginning to end in the proper song order/sequence.  I was first aware of this in 2008, when a reunited Fairport Convention played their 1973 classic album "Leige And Lief" from beginning to end.  Early in 2009, Van Morrison toured performing his acclaimed 1971 "Astral Weeks" album.  This summer Steely Dan’s tour consisted of every night playing, from beginning to end, one of their classic albums.  I went to one their shows in Los Angeles and saw them perform the entire "Gaucho" album from 1980. 

With the demise of the album has being put on "the back burner", this trend of devoting an entire concert to one classic album got me day dreaming:

"If I could see any singer or group (past or present), what album would I like them to perform from start to finish? And what unique concert venue would this concert take place?"

I easily thought of a dozen of acts and albums that I would like to see and topping my list was:

Brian Eno and John Cale, at the Roxy Theatre (West Hollywood) performing their 1990 album "Wrong Way Up" .  This is probably my all time favorite album and seeing/hearing it performed live at the Roxy circa 1976 (when the joint had tables and seats) would be a dream come true for me. 

My runners-up were:

The Jam, at the Marquee Club (London) playing "All Mod Cons" from 1978.

Dave Edmunds and Rockpile, at a county fair, performing "Repeat When Necessary" on a flat bed truck — that would be classic.

Lee Morgan at Dante’s (LA jazz club) performing his 1963 album "The Sidewinder"

Bob Dylan and the Band, at the Santa Monica Civic, playing "Blood On The Tracks". 

So now it is your turn.  Pick a singer or band, past or present.  Put them in your favorite concert hall, club or arena. 

What album would you like to see them perform from start to finish in the exact order as they appeared on the initial release? 

  • Are you a Sinatra fan who would love to see "Ol’ Blue Eyes" perform "Songs For Swingin’ Lovers" at the Sands in Vegas?
  • How about the Beatles playing "Sgt. Peppers" at the Royal Albert Hall?
  • Or Luciano Pavarotti performing Puccini’s "La Bohème" at La Scala?
  • Would you like to see Bruce and the E Street Band play "Born To Run" at the Stone Pony (Asbury, NJ)?
  • Or Miles Davis and his classic "Birth of The Cool" at Birdland?

I look forward to reading your picks and hearing if you agree with me about the importance of music albums versus individual songs.

~ Guest Blogger Ed Sugar ~

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