Skipping ahead a little in Rich’s original challenge, today I’m sharing my top 20 favorite albums, and a little bit about why I like each one. I’m limiting myself to one custom compilation, (more about that later,) though commercial ‘best of’s and anthologies are fair game. In alphabetical order:
And then we wrote, Flanders and Swann and Swann, with friends. I love nearly all of Flanders and Swann’s music, but this one is dear to me for more than just the great numbers from their musical revue days like “Excelsior” and “The Lord Chamberlain’s Regulations.” It’s a classic that’s never been released onto CD as far as I know, but I fondly remember listening to my Dad’s vinyl record. (Now I listen to the digitized version.)
Camelot. Another vinyl classic from my Dad’s collection. Knights singing show tunes – gotta love it.
Dreams, by the Corrs. Thanks very much to the Irish band for releasing this cut, a mix of covers and best-of, so that I don’t need to agonize over which studio album I’d take to the desert island for a Corrs fix.
Dress Rehearsal, by the amazing Canadian singer and songwriter, Carolyn Dawn Johnson. This album comes to mind as a tour de force of the songwriter’s art, from the lyric poignancy of the title track, “I’ll let you go”, and “Just another plane,” to the energy and fun of “He’s Mine.”
The Essential Billy Joel. I discovered Billy Joel’s music late, after noting down a song playing in a coffee shop that I wanted to look up, which was “The Longest Time.” ‘The Essential’ was the first step in my journey of discovery, and well worth it.
Face to the Gale, by Ron Hynes. I remember hearing “Godspeed” on the radio when I was in University, and loving it, but I didn’t get the album until much later, and I really like the music, as it comes crashing in with the power of a Newfoundland storm behind tracks like “The Final Breath” and “Saint John’s Waltz.”
The Firefly Soundtrack. What more do I have to say about this? 🙂
Godspell. Even though I don’t appreciate this musical the same way as I did when I was younger, I still love it, especially the cleverly overlapping lyrics of “All for the Best” and the show-stopping “We beseech Thee”.
Heart in Motion, by Amy Grant. Another album from my childhood that I rediscovered as an adult, a mix of spiritual and worldly energy, especially on the track, “That’s what love is for.”
In All Things, by Leahy. One of my favorite groups, a Celtic-inspired Canadian sibling act. This album of theirs features several songs that have gone into inspiring my writing, including “Chasing Rain”, “Coyote Way”, and “Runaway”, so I couldn’t leave it off the list.
“Lee Benjamin.” Now, there’s a lot of music that I never really think of in terms of commercial albums, simply because I picked them up track by track, through online music services like Puretracks or Napster Canada, (occasionally Itunes,) and made custom mix CDs of them. So, I’m including possibly my favorite mix CD of all time, one that I made while I was preparing for Script Frenzy back in 2008. Ben and Lee were the romantic leads for my movie. It’s got a lot of really good music on it, including the Little Big Town cut of “Tryin'”, some great Roger Whittaker, Gary Fjellgard, John Berry, Kelly Clarkson, Mac Davis, Seal, and the Wreckers.
Metropolitan Hotel, by Chely Wright. Possibly one of the most beautiful albums I’ve ever come across, as evidenced by “It’s the song,” “Between a mother and a child,” and “South Side of Lonesome.”
No Boundaries, by Natalie McMaster. Natalie is a fiddler, and generally, this album is just Natalie doing her fiddle thing very, very well. The exception is “Fiddle and Bow”, which is an amazing duet with singer Bruce Guthro.
Party Doll and other Favorites, by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Like the Corrs, I’d like to thank Mary for releasing such a great ‘greatest hits’ album. Actually, she has a surprising number of great songs that DIDN’T make it on here, including House of Cards and Grand Central Station – but I’ll take what I can get.
Play On, by Carrie Underwood. I just feel weak when I hear her voice. That’s pretty much what it comes down to.
Saint Johns, the Fables. More Newfoundland Celtic music. I just can’t get enough. (And I didn’t even find room for Great Big Sea on this list.)
The Simpsons Movie soundtrack. Because if I’m on a desert island, I’ll need a good laugh.
Souvenir, the Rankin Family. Representing the Cape Breton contingent.
Three, the Ennis Sisters. And we’re back to Newfoundland – see any kind of a pattern here? I couldn’t go without “Haul her along”, the sisters’ version of “Islanders”, and “Never puts his fiddle down.”
Way back home, the Wreckers. Because of the title track.
You’re a good man, Charlie Brown. More funny show tunes.