Greetings, musical sponges! The time has come for my attempts to slake your thirst. Yes, time once again to begin the arduous yet rewarding journey of collecting my favorite albums throughout the year to recommend for your auditory delight, listening to dozens and dozens of contenders each month, separating the wheat from the chaff until we’re left with nothing but the absolute finest, most delectable….well, wheat, I guess. Let’s round ’em up!
Back in the late 70s, if the Alan Parsons Project had been obsessed with progressive R&B instead of progressive pop, this is the album which would have resulted. (Mark Ronson would either love or hate that statement — I don’t think there’s an in between.)
“Uptown Funk,” featuring Bruno Mars on lead vocals, has lodged itself at #1 for the past month, but the rest of the songs don’t necessarily play in Peoria — and the album is all the stronger for it.
If you told me this album came out in 1974, I would absolutely believe that statement — its heart lies in a simpler time when singer-songwriters blended folk, rock, and country into a mellow melange that resonated with young and old alike. And yet, Combs makes it all sound totally fresh, like a cool, clear stream wending its way through the countryside on a warm summer’s day.
I already wish he had made 10 albums.
From Wikipedia (because I like the origin story): Milo Greene is the name of a fictitious booking agent, a persona created by the band to help them get gigs in the early days of playing shows. The band describes Milo’s identity to The Guardian: “He’s British. He wears a three-piece-suit. He wears a monocle. He’s albino. He has chops, sideburns. He’s confident, charming, well-read, well-spoken. He’s a gentleman, the kind of guy we all aspire to be.” The band decided to keep the name of their fictitious booking agent for the group.
He sounds like a cross between Pierce Brosnan, Edgar Winter, and Mr. Peanut. Delicious.
Then came the awesome!
Epic and hushed. Bold and heartfelt. They can pull you in with the slow build, or hit you with the stomping rocker.
To paraphrase Whitman, with this album The Lone Bellow sound their impassioned yawp over the rooftops of the world.