#248 Jeff Buckley – Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk

In some ways this album is just as astonishing as his debut and only studio album, Grace, It demonstrates his ongoing development as an artist, his perfectionism as well as his creative spontaneity. Its compilation was overseen by his mother and record label, and released almost a year to the day of his tragic death … Continue reading #248 Jeff Buckley – Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk

#965 Lee Scratch Perry – Reggae Greats

Mr Scratch nestles comfortably on my CD shelves between Pavement and the Pet Shop Boys. I bought this cheap compilation decades ago out of curiosity, his name having cropped up occasionally in many of the music mags I used to read, but I’d never knowingly heard his work. He’s a ‘character’ one of those music … Continue reading #965 Lee Scratch Perry – Reggae Greats

#1217 Elliott Smith – Figure 8

Elliott Smith was a troubled troubadour who nowadays may be most well known for his unconventional death in 2003. He stabbed himself in the heart, that takes some doing, however suicidal one might feel. (Or did he?) The signs of angst and depression were there long before, although this album, his last, is arguably his … Continue reading #1217 Elliott Smith – Figure 8

#824 Natalie Merchant – Ophelia

This is Merchant’s second solo album after Tigerlily, which popped up on my randometer last March. Though it appears on the surface, both in terms of the glossy cover photo shoot and the music production qualities, to be an altogether fancier and more mature work, I actually prefer her debut. It’s a bit of a … Continue reading #824 Natalie Merchant – Ophelia

#1112 Lou Reed – NYC Man

Subtitled ‘The Ultimate Collection 1967 - 2003’ this is probably the closest to ‘ultimate’ that’s ever likely to be released, given his death in 2013, his wayward career and idiosyncratic approach to his back catalogue. Here, Reed eschews chronology and adopts a mood-piece approach in this remastering of a mix of Velvet Underground tracks, his … Continue reading #1112 Lou Reed – NYC Man

#1228 Martial Solal – Martial Solal Trio at Newport ’63

This reissued CD has a facsimile of the front and back of the original 1963 vinyl release, featuring the insult dressed up as a compliment from Dizzy Gillespie: “It is remarkable to discover that an artist so far removed from the roots of Jazz as Algeria and France can adapt himself so magnificently, and can … Continue reading #1228 Martial Solal – Martial Solal Trio at Newport ’63

#1095 R.E.M. – Around The Sun

This is generally regarded to be REM’s worst album (or least best, if you’re feeling generous) and it’s easy to hear why. That said, REM’s least best is usually better than most of the ‘next big thing’ indie pop albums that may be storming the charts, so these things are always relative. Relatively speaking, this … Continue reading #1095 R.E.M. – Around The Sun