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rubber soul 01-05-2018 05:46 AM

Rubber Soul's Top 25 Extravaganza (1955-2017)

Call this the foreward to what I think is a very ambitious project. The idea is to try to talk about my top twenty-five albums for each year starting with 1955. Of course that means I have to listen to a lot of albums, especially as we get closer to the present, so I expect this to take a while. Hopefully I’ll make two posts a week until I get caught to where I’m still reviewing albums (as of this writing I’m reviewing 1976), then it may slow up a bit.

I’m also going to throw in some trivia for the hell of it. You know, like the most important events of each year like when Elvis Costello was seen at a gas station and mistaken for the other Elvis? You know, stuff like that.

But it will be mostly about the music, I promise. So keep an eye out for Monday when I debut with my top fifteen (yeah I know, I said twenty-five but you try and find twenty-five quality albums from that year) albums of 1955. See you then. :D

rubber soul 01-07-2018 06:35 AM

Hello, I guess before I kick off the beginning of my top twenty-fives, I guess I should give you an idea what to expect.

For the most part my tastes range from folk, jazz, and blues in the early years to folk rock and psychedelia in the sixties. In the seventies, I tend to lean towards glam rock and punk/new wave though I certainly will have different genres from metal and r&b and even some singer songwriter type stuff.

In the eighties, expect to see more post punk and post wave as well as what was then known as college rock (REM and their ilk). It won't be as much metal and only a little bit of hip hop, but hopefully I'll still be pretty varied. Later on I'm more into indie folk and rock and even some alt-country, so it could be a slightly mellow period for me overall.

Basically don't expect a lot of metal save maybe Led Zeppelin and Queen. Don't expect a lot of country either (Johnny Cash and Steve Earle will be the main ones there). Do expect a lot of Beatles, REM, Bowie, Costello, and some others.

And of course there will be a ton of some one shot deals. Anyway, I hope you're interested in what makes the Rubber groove so to speak.

So, I'll see you here tomorrow with 1955 (I told you it would be ambitious). So be there or I'll sick my friend on you.

Sweet Dreams :)

Akai 01-07-2018 08:34 AM


Originally Posted by rubber soul (Post 1911832)
Basically don't expect a lot of metal save maybe Led Zeppelin and Queen

aha you funny guy.

Ol’ Qwerty Bastard 01-07-2018 09:13 AM

this should be good! look forward to reading

rubber soul 01-08-2018 05:13 AM

And away, we go…


The first year of my slightly ambitious project. It wasn’t an especially great year for albums needless to say. Indeed I only have fifteen albums listed this year (I’ll only have twenty for next year, meaning my first true top twenty-five will be in 1957).

Event of the year: Marilyn Monroe’s skirt blows up.
Fad: Smelly Dave Crockett coonskin caps.
Babe of the Year: Peter Pan
Scandal of the Year: There are gay men in Boise, Idaho, and Rock Hudson didn’t even know about it.
Movie or TV show to barf to: Mickey Mouse Club
What we could have done without: Duck and Cover
Pet of the year: Lassie

Other Tidbits: James Dean becomes a teen idol in death, The US capital is moved to Disneyland, Lunatics wearing coonskin caps mug Mickey Mouse, Winston Churchill takes his marbles and goes home, Johnny Cash shoots a man in Reno just to watch him die, US and China play Chicken over Formosa and Taiwan loses, Marty McFly invents rock n roll, Chuck Berry becomes a duck.

Again, things were just starting up so this is an abbreviated list. I’ll mention some highlights at the bottom of the list. So you ready, Steve? Here we go…


1) Bill Haley and the Comets- Rock Around the Clock
2) Clifford Brown and Max Roach- Study in Brown
3) Julie London- Julie is Her Name
4) Modern Jazz Quartet- Concorde
5) Louis Armstrong- Satch Plays Fats
6) Fats Domino- Rockin and Rollin With Fats Domino
7) Miles Davis- Blue Moods
8) Billie Holiday- Music For Torching
9) Frank Sinatra- In the Wee Small Hours
10) Kenny Dorham- Afro Cuban
11) Sarah Vaughan- In the Land of Hi-Fi
12) Webb Pierce- Webb Pierce
13) Dinah Washington- For Those in Love
14) Errol Garner- Contrasts
15) Thelonious Monk- Plays the Music of Duke Ellington

Highlights- As noted before this is a pretty lean year but what do you expect when record albums and rock and roll were just starting out? It was a great year for singles though as I could rave about the singles from the likes of Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and all sorts of rhythm and blues artists. Album wise though, it’s mostly more of what might have been described as easy listening later. Rock Around the Clock, at number one, is obviously one of the exceptions. It’s basically a greatest hits package and certainly listenable, but the truth is, even a few years from now, it wouldn’t even get so much as a mention. Still there are some surprises such as Study in Brown (see biggest surprise), and even Julie London who, at least for this year, was the ultimate torch queen.

It gets a little tougher once I get past Billie Holiday (another great torch queen). Nine through fifteen are not great albums by any length of the imagination. They’re on here mainly because they were better than anything else I heard this year. I also notice early on that it’s hard to discern one jazz track from another without a very close listen. I find it’s best to let the jazz albums in particular flow and I’m going to be finding some surprising classics from now until 1966 and even 1970 (yeah, I did love Bitches’ Brew, Occult). Even this year has an early gem (again see biggest surprise).

Biggest Surprise- Clifford Brown and Max Roach- Study in Brown.

This album really stands out in what is a very lean year. Jazz was still trying to get into the hard bop rhythm. This album comes closest to the cool sounds I’ll be hearing from the likes of Coltrane and Mingus in particular.

Biggest Disappointment- Thelonious Monk in general.

I was hoping to like him but basically it’s just a lot of piano to me. That will only work a couple times for me.

Stinker of the Year- Gene Autry- Trusty the Rocking Horse and Bucking Bronco.

Okay, this album must be so bad I can’t even find it on YouTube so I’ll go with his wonderful holiday songs of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and Peter Cottontail. He wasn’t back in the saddle with stinkers like those and I’m sure he wasn’t with this album either.

So I guess that’s it for 1955. I hope I got off to a good start. I’ll post my favorite twenty of 1956 (another lean year) later this week.

OccultHawk 01-08-2018 07:55 AM


Biggest Disappointment- Thelonious Monk in general.

I was hoping to like him but basically it’s just a lot of piano
He’ll grow on you.

Good list.

rubber soul 01-11-2018 05:58 AM


Another abbreviated list but at least I have twenty this time. Aren’t you excited? :D

Event of the year: Elvis wiggles his hips
Fad: Greasy kids stuff
Babe of the Year: Kate Smith
Scandal of the Year: John Wayne and friends get radiation poisoning
Movie or TV show to barf to: The Conqueror (John Wayne as Genghis Khan)
What we could have done without: The nuclear arms race
Pet of the year: The Hound Dog Elvis had to sing to

Other Tidbits: The US still likes Ike and tolerates Dick. Everyone fears Elvis’ hips, Rock and Liz get hot and heavy in Giant, I Love Lucy doesn’t get cancelled yet, The Million Dollar Quartet breaks up, The Suez Canal is locked, John Wayne turns day-glo, Godzilla destroys Tokyo. Four out of Five doctors recommend Lucky Strikes, Ralph Nader claims candy cigarettes are bad for your health.

But enough of this trivia. The top twenty albums of 1956 (and number one is a real surprise.)

1) Moondog- Moondog
2) Odetta- Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues
3) Johnny Burnette- Johnny Burnette and the Rock n Roll Trio
4) Elvis Presley- Elvis Presley
5) The Modern Jazz Quartet- Fontessa
6) Sonny Rollins- Saxophone Collosus
7) Thelonious Monk- Brilliant Corners
8) Billie Holiday- Lady Sings the Blues
9) Moondog- More Moondog
10) Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers- The Jazz Messengers
11) Elvis Presley- Elvis
12) Sonny Rollins- Plus 4
13) Charles Mingus- Pithcantropus Erectus
14) Gene Vincent and the Blue Cats- Bluejean Bop
15) Duke Ellington- Ellington at Newport
16) Julie London- Lonely Girl
17) Frank Sinatra- Songs For Swingin Lovers
18) Harry Belafonte- Calypso
19) Fats Domino- This Is Fats Domino
20) Julie London- Calendar Girl

I will mention Moondog as my biggest surprise but this is a year for surprises. There still isn’t a lot to choose from this year but the albums at the top are a considerable improvement from 1955. Take Odetta. I’ve heard of her legend but until this project I didn’t hear a lot of her songs. Her Ballads and Blues, well, I can see how she could have influenced Dylan among others. Johnny Burnette scores with my favorite Rock n Roll album of the year and I’ve always liked Elvis’ debut. His second album isn’t so bad either. The list tails off a bit after Elvis’ second entry but Gene Vincent does sneak in there at number fourteen. As for Julie London, I will say she looks sexy on the album covers.

Biggest Surprise- Moondog.

It is one of the most brilliantly unusual albums I’ve ever heard- and we’re talking 1956

Biggest Disappointment- Charles Mingus- Pithcantropus Erectus.

He’ll get better, but I guess I was expecting Black Sinner even this early.

Stinker of the Year- The Louvin Brothers- The Tragic Songs of Life.

Okay, it starts out with Kentucky. Yeah there is something tragic about Kentucky all right. I guess Alabama must be a tragic place too. A horrible rendition of In the Pines and then more cheerful songs about tragedy. Don’t miss My Brother’s Will :laughing:

Okay so make sure you come back next week for my first actually first twenty-five. See you then.

OccultHawk 01-11-2018 07:15 AM


Biggest Disappointment- Charles Mingus- Pithcantropus Erectus.
Is it because of A Foggy Day?

Those goofy cityscape sound effects on that rendition ****s on an otherwise great album. I have to skip that track.

rubber soul 01-11-2018 09:10 AM

It's the album in general. I didn't dislike it; it just isn't as good as some of his other albums.

Since you're a Mingus fan, you might be happy with my 1957 list which I plan to post on Monday.

rubber soul 01-15-2018 08:24 AM


This is my first full list, but first we have some trivial matters to discuss…

Event of the year: Death wins in a chess match
Fad: Samurai Fighting
Babe of the Year: Alfred Hitchcock
Scandal of the Year: Eddie Haskell steals Beaver’s lunch money.
Movie or TV show to barf to: Peyton Place
What we could have done without: Pat Boone
Pet of the year: Checkers (Nixon’s dog)

Other Tidbits: Humphrey Bogart dies but Gary Cooper lives, Leave it to Beaver debuts and Eddie Haskell becomes a household name, Audrey Hepburn hasn’t lost her looks yet, Harry Belafonte buys a Banana Boat, Elvis Presley goes to jail and is all shook up, Henry Fonda gets a murderer off and the Lonesome Rhodes show is the top rated show in history, Sputnik is launched and bomb shelters are built in Dick Nixon’s backyard, The Yankees lose the World Series and George Steinbrenner fires Billy Martin.

Okay, so much for the trivia. Here are my top twenty-five for 1957.

1) Sonny Rollins- Way Out West
2) Charles Mingus- The Clown
3) Carl Perkins- The Dance Album
4) Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps- Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps
5) Johnny Griffin- A Blowin Session
6) Billie Holiday- Body and Soul
7) John Coltrane- Coltrane
8) Coleman Hawkins- The Hawk Flies High
9) Nat King Cole- After Midnight
10) Thelonious Monk- Monk’s Music
11) Horace Silver Quintet- Six Pieces of Silver
12) Pete Seeger- American Ballads
13) Miles Davis- Miles Ahead
14) Little Richard- Here’s Little Richard
15) Leonard Bernstein- Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story
16) Patsy Cline- Patsy Cline
17) Chuck Berry- After School Session
18) Miles Davis- Birth of the Cool
19) Johnny Cash- Johnny Cash and his Hot and Blue Guitar
20) Elvis Presley- Loving You
21) The Everly Brothers- They’re Off and Rolling
22) The Coasters- The Coasters
23) Buddy Holly and the Crickets- The Chirpin Crickets
24) Ruth Brown- Rock n Roll
25) Miles Davis- Round About Midnight

This is the year where jazz really takes control. For the second straight year, my biggest surprise also happens to be my favorite album of the year. In this case it’s Sonny Rollins. The title track alone is enough to sway me but the album grooves throughout. Mingus’ the Clown is the first of his truly great albums imo. It was close as to which album would be number one. Billie Holiday’s Body and Soul is another album that impresses me. Her early death from a drug overdose seems such a waste.

Rock n Roll is still trying to find it’s bearings as far as albums go. I rated Carl Perkins at number three, but that could have just as easily been his greatest hits. Gene Vincent comes off with a great album though. The two most popular rock albums of that year though, Here’s Little Richard (another greatest hits album) and the Chirpin’ Crickets, while on the list, don’t impress me as much as they do with the RYM bunch. At least there are enough quality albums to make a top twenty-five though.

Biggest Surprise- Sonny Rollins- Way Out West

Crazy Jazz Album. I still can’t get the title track out of my head

Biggest Disappointment- Miles Davis-Round About Midnight.

I’m hoping his future stuff will be better but he doesn’t wow me the way Coltrane does for example.

Stinker of the Year- Various Artists- My Pussy Belongs to Daddy.

(I'd post the album cover but it's kinda X rated so I better not)

The title alone rates a mention. Yeah, it’s pretty much a porn album by various artists with titles such as Sadie’s Still Got the Rag On and He Forgot His Rubbers, you know this has to be a hoot. The album finishes with the classic Tony’s Got Hot Nuts.

Well that made me hot (or maybe I kept the roast on in the oven too long). Anyway. we’ll have 1958 later on in the week so see you then.

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