Best Albums of 2008

This is a listing of the best albums I’ve heard from December 1, 2007 to November 30, 2008. I like to get mine online a little early so that I’m not influenced by any of the countless “Best Of” lists that will be out in the coming weeks. Nothing is more soothing during troubled times than great music, and I’d recommend any of the following CD’s for anyone you might be buying a gift for this holiday season.

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ARP 1 "Owosso's Connection To Motown And The Beatles"

Driving down W. King Street, located just a quarter mile north of Owosso’s business district, it seems almost inconceivable that this unpaved road containing a new housing development was once the location of a business that pressed some historic rock and roll records involving both Motown and The Beatles.

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"Think Rational!" The Rationals Finally Get Respect

Following in the footsteps of Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels, the Rationals became the second Southeast Michigan garage band to have a charting single on the Billboard Hot 100. In November of 1966, the 'Rats' spent three weeks on the national chart with their explosive cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” after it had been picked up by Cameo Records for national distribution. The band had already had a regional hit with the song in Michigan on the small A-Square label during the late summer, almost nine months before Aretha Franklin had a # 1 smash with her version of “Respect” in 1967.

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Travelin' Man: On The Road With Bob Seger

It’s not as easy as you might think to purchase a gift for a friend or family member who is an avid music lover. Just going out and buying a CD seems quick and relatively painless, but it can actually be a tricky proposition unless you are very well acquainted with the music collection and personal tastes of the recipient.

An interesting alternative to buying an actual recording is to purchase a music-related book as a gift. Most music fans who spend a good deal of money on recordings would probably balk at dropping $20 to $30 on a book, yet not think twice at spending the same amount or more on CDs. That fact in itself makes it an ideal gift idea.

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Best Albums of 2009

The following list is made up of the best 15 CDs that I had the pleasure of hearing from November 30, 2008, until December 1, 2009.

1.) “Working On A Dream” (Deluxe Edition) – Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band. Another classic Springsteen album, the Deluxe Edition contains an extra disc featuring 'The Boss' in the studio along with a video of “A Night With The Jersey Devil” – a cool song not included on the album.

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Doug Fieger’s Rolling Stones Connection

Doug Fieger passed away in Woodland Hills, California after a long battle with brain and lung cancer on February 14, 2010. The Michigan-born rocker was best-known as the lead singer and principal songwriter for The Knack. 

Because he first achieved national acclaim in Los Angeles, many people might not know that the dawn of his music career and first important recordings took place while Fieger was still a resident of Michigan. The early recordings, which include the two albums completed with his band Sky, also involve a rather unique connection with The Rolling Stones.

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Chuck Daugherty’s Adventures On the Airwaves

When Michigan native Chuck Daugherty was growing up, radio was a big box in nearly every home around which the family gathered to listen to their favorite entertainment programs. There were comedy shows like Amos ‘n’ Andy or the thrilling saga of The Lone Ranger. You could listen to live music on Benny Goodman’s Camel Caravan, enjoy variety programs such as The Andrews Sisters Show, and corral the kids with fare like Tarzan and Little Orphan Annie.

By the dawn of the Rock and Roll era nearly all of those programs were gone because of television. In Rockin’ Down The Dial, David Carson’s history of Detroit radio, he states that “Across America, radio had survived by reinventing itself and, with few exceptions, had become the land of records, news, and the announcers who personalized their style and became the medium’s new stars: the disc jockeys.”  

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