Rock

Paul McCartney “Ram” (1971)

I was just a sprout of a boy when dad brought home the shiny Pioneer hi-fi, and this was the only album I was allowed to play (as it was already scratched). It turns out this is the perfect album for a small child; sweet, sentimental, slightly silly at times, and incredibly easy to sing along to. Surprisingly devoid of radio hits, it works better as a 40 minute pastiche of tunes, rather than a collection of three-minute confections. If pop music is simply some form of arithmetic that pleases the brain, then I learned basic math from this record. The same qualities that appealed to me as a child make Ram sound just as great today. –Cameron

The Rascals “Peaceful World” (1971)

The Rascals “Peaceful World” is a surprising first listen owing more to Sly Stone, War and Tower of Power than the blue-eyed Young Rascals who gave us the sixties hit “Groovin.’” The album is a soulful blend of rock, jazz and world music featuring jazz legends Joe Farrell, Hubert Laws, Alice Coltrane and Ron Carter. The funky “Love Me,” the cosmic “Sky Trane” and the mellow, twenty-minute title track, are just three of my favorites here. Fortunately this is LP is still pretty easy to find and usually under $15 making it a peaceful world we can all visit. –David

New Riders Of The Purple Sage (1971)

Anyone who enjoys the Grateful Dead should get the New Riders of the Purple Sage’s eponymous release. With Jerry Garcia and Mickey Hart of The Dead and Spencer Dryden of Jefferson Airplane in tow, they record their first album. The country rock sound which had been made popular by bands such as Dillard & Clark and The Flying Burrito Brothers was given a healthy dose of acid rock by a bunch of stoned hippies and it works. “New Riders of the Purple Sage” is some of the most spaced-out country-rock of the period. Highly recommended! -David

Kraftwerk “Autobahn” (1974)

A hugely important record that saw Krautrock outfit Kraftwerk switch direction and ditch the sound of the time for the sound of the future. It was to prove a great move as some of the records that followed this landmark LP were stunning. But what of Autobahn? Well it is always going to be talked about for the title track which was like nothing else of its time. Taking up the whole side of an LP but totally removed from most music coming out of the Krautrock scene and relying on a simple groove and trance-like quality to keep the attention. It’s still too long in my opinion and could have done with ten minutes shaving off but it is a classic for sure. This is of course the LP where the electronics start to take over and side 2 sees Hutter and Shneider really starting to experiment with mixed results. It is almost as they are learning about their new sounds and toys while in the studio. It doesn’t really work that well to be honest but does lay the foundation for the likes of The Man Machine & Computer World. –Jon

Sparks “Kimono My House” (1974)

I have to admit I hated this record the first time I heard it. Thankfully I’ve since come around! Weird, manic, loud and completely addictive glam rock with insanely over-the-top production: welcome to the world of Sparks! If you haven’t listened to them, start with this great LP (just give it a few listens). I guarantee it’s like nothing else you’ve heard come through your speakers! –David

Gene Clark “No Other” (1974)

Gene Clark’s “No Other” deserves its near mythical status today. A sprawling, ambitious work that brings elements of country, folk, jazz, gospel, blues, and rock together to reflects the mid-’70s better than anything from that time, yet sounds hauntingly timely even now. This album’s commercial failure in 1974 remains one of life’s great mysteries. –David

Hall & Oates “Abandoned Luncheonette”

Some of our favorite albums were discovered in the 99¢ bin and “Abandoned Luncheonette” is one of them! Philly soul meets FM rock perfectly on this early Hall & Oates album. I know some of you are skeptical, but seriously, give this one a listen! –JT

“Daryl Hall and John Oates’ second album remains, even after thirty-plus years, their masterpiece. Here they created a masterpiece of blue-eyed soul which captured a sense of innocence, wistfulness and nostalgia.” -allmusic.com