By Andrew Banks
Regardless of genre, what is the one album we should have in our music collection?
I’m always looking to expand my massive music collection with quality tunes regardless of genre. Who better to ask than a musician… right? So even if they suggest an album I already own, that gives me an excuse to put on greatest detail Sennheiser headphones, and take it for a spin again.
Both Joey Tafolla and Sarah Longfield inspired the 2020 4 x 12 Monthly Series. In a recent interview, Sarah sighted the ‘Foals – ‘Antidotes’ album as the one to have in your collection and a massive influence on her playing. Not being familiar with the band, I decided to trust the recommendation of one of my favorite guitarists. So I purchased the album, and it did NOT disappoint.
That got me to think… how great would it be to ask several musicians the same question? So starting small, I asked a handful of close musician friends, and the conversation grew to several other questions during casual discussions. Shred OG Joey Tafolla suggested compiling the questions and making something of it; thus, 4 x 12 was born! We are pleased to announce Sarah Longfield will be featured in a future edition of 4 x 12!
So I’m pulling an audible for February and not doing four artists over four weeks. Instead, we will list ALL sixteen artists together at once so that you have one source to research what albums to dive into. Also attached at the end of the segment is a printable list that has a few more BONUS selections!!!
WARNING: This segment MAY cost you some time and money! Oh darn, hate when that happens!! Time to crank up your 4×12 and jam on this…
Shrapnel Records Camp:
The New Tony Williams Lifetime – ‘Believe It.’ Came out in 1975, and it checks all the boxes for me! Everyone should have this recording in their collection along with some Cosmic Farm and Fire Merchants.
Oh wow… that’s a tough question! It’s almost impossible to answer. I can say The Beatles – ‘White Album’ and Stevie Wonder – ‘Songs in the Key of Life’ are the two that immediately come to mind. My brother and I used to listen to and play along with ‘Key of Life’ all the time. Emotionally it strikes a chord with me! It’s such a great album.
But musically and lyrically, it’s hard to beat the ‘White Album.’ It has the perfect blend and balance between hook, depth, and craftsmanship, all combined. It has all the elements of sophistication and inspiration. You feel it as you hear it. Simply does not get old; it’s timeless!
One of my favorite songs is ‘Reminiscing’ by Little River Band. I love songs with a jazz progression behind a simple hook.
So being a loud and complex player, I bet you thought I would say something heavier. Yeah, AC/DC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ and ‘Back in Black’ is great too. But I’m sticking with the White Album.
WOW! The one that God himself made! How could I ever answer this question? It is not possible! hmm… anything by John Coltrane!!
This is an easy one for me, but one you may find odd. ‘The Very Best of the Carpenters.’ It’s one of the most inspiring collections of music for me because of the nature of the vocals, incredible vocal harmonies, and classical piano work. I call it “complex simplicity”. I think that record had the most influence on the melodies I play today. Richard Carpenter was an incredible concert pianist. When I was recording my ‘Out of the Sun’ LP, I was listening to The Carpenters on the way to and from the studio. Even though you won’t hear any direct influence or lines that were borrowed from them, many of the melodies on my first solo album were inspired or derived from The Carpenters.
Several years later, when I was recording for R&B artist Tyrese, the top producers in the industry were collaborating with him. Specifically, triple Grammy winners Tim Kelley & Bob Robinson also known as the Funktwons. They’ve worked with Tina Turner, Boyz II Men, Destiny’s Child, Bobby Brown, Mary J. Blige, J-Lo, Snoop Dog, TLC and many more. It brought a smile to my face when they began to discuss what to do next within the song we were working on and brought up The Carpenters as an example. Several musicians from the ’70s are an inspiration to artists of today.
But wait! How could I leave out ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ by Elton John?!?! Oh man, that one was also a huge influence on me musically at an early age. You may also hear some of that on ‘Out Of The Sun.’
Blue Mouth Promotions Camp:
It’s got to be ‘The Complete Live Plugged Nickel 1965’ by Miles Davis. For me, it’s the most miraculous example of musical telepathy ever collected in one place, and the sense of time and place embedded in the audio is super extreme – it’s music you feel just as much as you hear.
‘Travels’ by the Pat Metheny Group. It contains everything you need to know about composition, melody, crafting a dynamic and well-developed solo, emotional content in music, and just sheer beauty. It contains my favorite live performance of all time, ‘Are You Going With Me.’
The first Van Halen album. Only the best guitar sound ever, best lead, and rhythm guitar playing ever!! Great songs, great singing, great groove! This album is simply a lot of fun. Pyrotechnics everywhere. I never get tired of that album! This is the reason why I play guitar, mostly!
From a general listener perspective, not the guitar player one, I suppose it should be something universally inspirational and timeless. Maybe Miles Davis – ‘Bitches Brew’ or Louis Armstrong – ‘What A Wonderful World.’ From a guitarist perspective, I’d say Steve Morse – ‘High Tension Wires’ is a must-have.
Higher Spirit Camp:
I really can’t answer questions of this sort, because the answer usually depends on who the ‘we’ is that we’re talking about. I like Johnny Winter, John Cipollina, Gary Duncan, Robby Krieger, Kenny Burrell, Pat Martino, and George Benson. I love a lot of other guys, too.
Certainly, an album by Jimi Hendrix, such as ‘Axis Bold As Love,’ would be important for rock guitar players. But I don’t think that would play well with, say, fans of Tony Bennett (of which I am one). So, to be safe, I’d probably pick The Beatles and, for me, that would be ‘Abbey Road.’ And, even then, I might choose ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ on a different day. So, you see, it’s really an unanswerable question.
The Beatles – ‘Abbey Road.’ All the songs are amazing, and the ending is spectacular. It has Blues, Rock, Jazz and Pop music all rolled into one. The album encompasses so many levels and emotions. ‘I Want You’ (She’s so heavy) is a song that Jimi Hendrix could have done. The band had side one, and Paul had side two. I love Ringo’s drum solo on ‘The End.’ Added so much groove and is the perfect length. Ringo shined throughout this album. The song ‘Come Together’ says it all! We are all different, but regardless let’s all come together.
Released in 1974 ‘Apocalypse’ by Mahavishnu Orchestra and John McLaughlin. I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but every time I listen, it brings me back… it is just so beautiful and incredible. Narada Michael Walden plays drums, and it’s the first one without Billy Cobham… George Martin produced it. I love the symphonic arrangements and melody throughout. That kind of feel really gets my attention. The Moody Blues -‘Days of Future Past’ is another example. As I’m floating down the river, meeting my maker, I want to hear ‘Apocalypse.’
‘Relentless’ by Danny Gatton and Joey DeFrancesco.
Over the Top Camp:
The Great Kat:
The one must-have album: Beethoven’s Symphony #9 – Von Karajan Conducting The Berlin Philharmonic – brutal, brilliant, and BEETHOVEN!
or… The Great Kat’s ‘BEETHOVEN ON SPEED’ & ‘BEETHOVEN SHREDS’ albums are TWO albums that are MUST HAVES in your music collection! Blistering shred masterpieces, TOTALLY UNINHIBITED, UNCONTROLLABLE, and UNSTOPPABLE GENIUS masterpieces.
Michael Angelo Batio:
I would choose the USA version of The Beatles – ‘Rubber Soul’ album. The songs, performances, production are amazing, and even the cover photo is iconic. The USA version, in my opinion, is more cohesive, and that’s the one I would choose.
I think ‘Electric Ladyland’ by The Jimi Hendrix Experience is the essential album for all humans. If you’re a guitarist and haven’t listened to this with amazing headphones at least once in your life: DO IT NOW! You don’t have to be soaring on magic mushrooms while you do it, but lord knows I won’t stop you. This album is my choice if only for ‘Voodoo Child (slight return)’ which reimagines the I-IV-V born-at-the-crossroads blues mythos and explodes it into the 20th Century… over-spilling lava flowing out of control with the thickest, most outrageous tone tearing itself apart, born and reborn and reborn and reborn over and over…
I’ve really fallen in love with the work of Ramin Djawadi. I’ve been listening quite a lot to his soundtrack for Westworld: Season 1. I can’t believe how good that album is. It is refreshing to hear something like that as a music fan. I enjoy being a fan but mostly find myself getting excited over high-quality TV or Movie productions. I enjoyed ‘Hannibal’ and ‘Game Of Thrones.’ When I then checked out ‘Westworld’, I was utterly floored. It is probably my number one favorite TV Show ever. I also enjoyed ‘Sherlock,’ which also has some wonderful music in it.
I went out and saw ‘Joker’ last year, mainly due to the controversy surrounding it. I was floored at the work of Todd Phillips and the Oscar-worthy performance of Joaquin Phoenix. It’s just a wonderfully made movie that you get dragged into. I would highly recommend checking it out.
I remember I was pretty excited over Lindsey Stirling. She writes pretty catchy music. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot to Coeur De Pirate and Bedouin Soundclash. I heard about both of those two artists due to a wonderful TV Show on Amazon called ‘The Romanoffs.’
All That Shreds thanks all sixteen guest guitarists for participating in ‘4 x 12’. Please support each artist’s new releases, projects, tours, and the companies who endorse them.
Remember… AN OPEN MIND IS A BLOWN MIND! Here is the LINK to the expanded list. Now go buy some music and fill in those gaps in your collection! I ended up buying the four CD’s I didn’t have. Thanks for breaking the piggy bank, Mike Keneally!!