Kool & the Gang, "Funky Man"
The second Kool & the Gang record was a live album, including a couple tunes from the first record, but mostly otherwise new songs. They followed it up with another live record with more new material, which was an interesting move. Anyway, both live records rule, like all early Kool & the Gang material.
The Beatles, "Please Please Me"
It's pretty fascinating that the band went from this to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in just four years. I guess that sort of rapid evolution can happen when you release nine albums in those four years.
Toots & the Maytals, "54-46 Was My Number"
In The Dark is an absolute rocksteady classic, and one of the records I would point to if you want to understand what differentiates rocksteady from its cousins ska and reggae. It's kind of...slower ska, but not as staccato as reggae. Is that the right way to explain it? I'm an idiot! This record rules.
The Young Fresh Fellows, "There's a Love"
There was a little boomlet of interest in the Young Fresh Fellows with Electric Bird Digest, which came out in 1991. And because I was a big idiot, I kind of resented people discovering "my" band, and decided that I didn't like the album. Take that, you poseurs! That's an extremely dumb stance, mind you, and I did eventually re-evaluate things. In my mind now, it's kind of the last of their peak albums, and the most serious (I guess?) of those peak records. I mean, there's a song called "Sittin' On A Pitchfork" on it, it's only so serious. But Kurt Bloch had more and more influence with Chuch Carroll gone, and so it's a tighter record than some of the earlier stuff. The Men Who Loved Music (the first of those peak albums) will always be my favorite, but this is really an excellent record.
The Slackers, "The Power and the Glory"
No, this isn't an old first wave release. It's the Slackers doing a covers album in 2002, in this case of a reggae artist that I know nothing about, Congo Ashanti Roy. It's certainly a pleasant, rich listen, though.
And then we have a bunch of bonus stuff tacked onto the end. Enjoy! This blog is over!