On this, their second album for A&M, Humble Pie proved that they were not the “minor league Rolling Stones” as people often described them. Led by the soulful Steve Marriot, the Pie was a great band in every sense of the word.
Don McLean’s final album for United Artists was a musical tour de force, and the best self-contained account of the full breadth of McLean’s talent. Recorded live in England, in Manchester, Bristol, London, and Oxford, the 26 songs encompassed not only the artist’s best-known work, but also many of his personal favorites, among them works by other composers (including Bob Dylan’s “Masters of War”).
What’s so instantly striking about Crosby, Stills and Nash’s CSN, their second group album in eight years, is that it sounds so much like the debut LP even though its makers are so vastly changed. Since CS&N, and later Y, were always at the vanguard of the conspicuous counterculture (always ready to hoist their tie-dyed freak flag at a moment’s notice), their current reflection and hesitancy are especially interesting. And, because the music is so eerily familiar, the album communicates a kind of time warp (imagine if we knew in 1969 what we know now) that’s compelling and troubling.
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music
After the lacklustre Unfortunate Cup of Tea, the next album was going to be a watershed for Horslips. In the end, they returned broadly to the formula that had brought them so much acclaim for The Tain and produced a concept album based on Irish mythology and full of great songs based on Irish traditional tunes. And it works just as well as The Tain, having brought them enormous critical acclaim. If anything, they show their amazing musicianship off even more, with Charles O’Connor’s fiddle and mandolin swopping riffs with Johnny Fean’s scything lead guitar and Jim Lockhart’s flute,whistle, pipes and keyboards.
Essential: a masterpiece of Folk music
Brady’s first solo album, Welcome Here Kind Stranger is his second (and final) folk recording prior to his embarking on a successful, long-term foray into the realm of mainstream rock. Its title is a phrase taken from one of the album’s songs: “The Lakes of Pontchartrain”. The album was initially released (vinyl and cassette) on Dónal Lunny’s Mulligan label (LUN024) in 1978 and was voted “Folk Album of the Year” by Melody Maker magazine. The album was never officially released on CD due to a breakdown in the relationship between Brady and the Mulligan label and remained out of print for many years, until finally re-mastered and released in 2009 on Brady’s own label, PeeBee Music.