Rock and Roll Feature: Recap of the Features so Far

You may not realize it if you haven't been following the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll for that long, but it's almost been two years since I started writing these rock and roll features.

That's a fair amount of time that's passed since the first ones were written, but listening back to those albums, in most cases, I still feel the same way I did when I first wrote them. All I really set out to do originally was to convey my thoughts on some of my favorite albums and hopefully encourage a few other people to check those albums out. There's been some great responses to these features and that makes me think they've been at least a little successful in accomplishing that goal, even if the writing itself isn't exactly "stellar".

I've had a lot of fun writing these features and I have every intention of continuing to write them as I have tons of favorite albums that deserve some time in the spotlight. This month though, I thought I'd take a minute to glance back through the features and revisit them from the very beginning.

Make sure to click each one and read the original feature article as well if you're interested.

Soledad Brothers: Steal Your Soul
This was the first feature I wrote way back in 2006 and at the time, I was thinking I would highlight some of the more obscure albums specifically and so I picked one from a band I didn't think too many people would know about. Unfortunately, the Soledad Brothers have disbanded to pursue other things, but this album still stands as one of the best punk-blues albums around sounding about as raw as humanly possible with tons of soul. It's interesting to note that this, one was originally published on a different site before I started the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll.

Layla and the Dominos
By this time I came to feature number two, I had decided that featuring obscure albums alone wasn't really going to work because so many of my favorite albums are "classics", plus, I really wanted to transcend ideas of "mainstream" and "underground" and get a range of great music. To get inline with that idea, I picked one of the most well known albums of all time probably (although not everyone agrees with my positive take on it). I don't know what it is, but I love this album to this day, every so often coming back to it and just reveling in it's thick, layered production and outpouring of emotion. Maybe it's not for everyone, but this is still a must have in my book.

Lateralus is the Tool
Choosing this one wasn't tough at all, as this is an album I still consider not only one of the best modern rock albums, but one of the best concept albums of all time. This one was also one of the easiest to write because this album was one I was already listening to straight through for years, trying to figure out what it meant (or what it meant to me), so it was just a matter of translating that into something somewhat coherent. It's also interesting to note that this was the first feature that ran originally on the Soul of Rock 'n' Roll and not somewhere else prior.

Dylan Bringing the Controversy All Back Home
And then for something completely different, I decided to highlight one of my favorite, if not my all time favorite, Bob Dylan album. Along with being something of a defining moment in Dylan's career (the whole shift from pure folk to more of a country flavored folk rock), this album is still a great listen and one of his best.

The Cars New Wave 80s Pop With a Unique Style
I'm not sure if I mentioned it in the actual article, but this might be the album I think is most overlooked from this list. Falling right between the classic rock era and the modern rock era, during a time when people were calling music crazy things like "new wave", this is just a great rock and roll album. From the very start I knew I'd highlight this one eventually, it was just a matter of time because I've always felt that it goes unnoticed by both the classic rock and the modern rock crowds, when both would really like it if they just took a listen.

Buddy Guy and His Sweet Tea

This was one of the first features I wrote that got some mixed reviews. I wanted to highlight a blues album because blues is such a huge part of rock and roll (and I just love blues), and I guess some people took exception to that. Rockers wanted something more... rock... and blues purists wanted a better, "more bluesy" example of Guy's work. Oh well, to each their own I guess. I stand by my opinions of this album and still think it's a great work and am glad I chose to feature it.

Live Throws the Copper Away
Another album I knew from the start I would eventually feature, this is simply my favorite alternative album of all time and a great complete work, despite not really being a concept album. This was oddly enough one I thought would be really easy to write, but ended up being just the opposite a I had a really hard time conveying exactly how I feel about this music because it holds some special meaning to me personally.

Jefferson Airplane and the Summer of Love on Their Surrealistic Pillow
One of the features (actually this one and the next two all fall under this category) that came out of nowhere. I was watching something on TV, probably PBS I suspect, and someone mentioned the anniversary of the infamous "Summer of Love". That seemed like a good angle to pursue and sure enough the next thing I heard was something about Jefferson Airplane...BINGO, there's the feature, and it just flowed from there. A great album that is very indicative of the times during which it was produced, but still exciting to listen to even now.

U2 Plants the Joshua Tree

I forget what inspired this one, but I'm sure it was something obscure because I remember not having anything planned at all, and then writing it all in a few hours straight. Oh well, whatever it was, it worked out well because being a U2 fan, I can't think of a better tribute that discussing this album. Still a favorite and still powerful.

The Traveling Wilburys Vol 1.
This was the third in the string of randomly inspired features. I don't remember the catalyst for this one either, but once I wrote it I didn't understand why I didn't talk about it sooner because it's such a great album, and definitely one that goes overlooked by the rock and roll masses. Every few months or so, I still get in a mood that requires this album to be played... sometimes on rotation. I'm glad I highlighted it as now maybe a few other people will end up in that mood as well every so often.

The Sex Pistols Seminal Album Turns 30
There were a lot of anniversaries in 2007 because apparently '67 and '77 were great years for rock and roll. This wasn't the first anniversary I covered, but it was the first one I did as a feature. Although it's definitely an album that speaks for itself, and one I guess you either love or you hate, I like to think I conveyed a little bit of what I think about it and why I love it. Hopefully that inspired a few others to take a listen on the anniversary as well.

Cream, Disraeli Gears Turns 40
The second big anniversary, this one was especially meaningful to me because Cream has had such a huge influence on me personally. An album that remains a favorite, and a great reminder of why Cream was THE band to listen to in the late 60s. I couldn't see missing this anniversary or the chance to pay tribute to some great music.

Led Zeppelin, Birth of the Legend

This one is actually pretty self explanatory if you think about when I wrote it. I'm a huge Zeppelin fan so I could easily write a feature on every one of their albums, but chose not to for a long time, probably to avoid having to chose my favorite. The Zeppelin reunion show though provided the perfect reason to do a feature though and I thought it would be best to highlight where it all began. What I really liked about writing this one was taking a paragraph and a moment or two to highlight this albums place in the "rock and roll evolution" and particularly how it relates to a slightly earlier release from Jeff Beck.... the little extra bit of context; a moment it rock and roll history I'm glad I could discuss and highlight.

Radiohead Plays the Colors of the Rainbow
This is another one that seemed obvious, maybe even too obvious, to me. The album that made headlines everywhere for it's unique business model and release style, it seemed thoroughly appropriate to finally highlight it for it's musical value. Of course I just as easily could have highlighted it's musical value at any time as this is just a great, ambitious album with all the uniqueness you'd expect from a Radiohead album.

Marc Bolan is the Electric Warrior of T-Rex

Here's another one of unknown inspiration. I had wanted to do a T-Rex album feature for a while after I finally started listening to them, and even wrote this one in advance. For whatever reason though, I just didn't think to publish it immediately. It turned out for the best though as I was able to refine and establish my thoughts a little more and hopefully give this album the tribute it deserves. Again, it received mixed reviews with more than a few people wishing I had picked different T-Rex albums, but I still think this one is just as valid to highlight as any of the others... although probably for different reasons.

Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac Plays the Blues

Definitely one of those "only a matter of time" albums I can't think of too many works from this era of rock and roll that go as under appreciated as the early Fleetwood Mac. I'm glad I featured it because this one was also the feature that gained the most feedback with just gobs of people emailing me about how it was about time someone talked about Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac... which is pretty amusing actually, because if it's so under appreciated, why are there so many people patting me on the back for talking about it? Oh well, I'm glad still I could bring it into the spotlight a little more and hopefully turn a few other people onto a great album as well.

Freak Out with the Mothers of Invention
This was another one that I thought needed some love because it was going so unappreciated, although when it comes to the work of Frank Zappa, I can kinda see why it's more on the underground (although he's a genius in my opinion, Frank's work is definitely NOT for everyone). What amazed me most about writing this one was actually how much I started to see this album's influence in so many other bands ranging from the classic rock era, to the modern era. That was a lot of fun to explore and something I might have to delve into more in depth in the future, because I'm sure there's more than enough for another post or two, to talk about when it comes to the influence of the Mothers of Invention.

By the Way by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
I'll admit that the inspiration for this one was not exactly like a lightning strike. I've really loved this album since it's release and so always expected to write about it eventually, but never really thought about when. This month I just couldn't think of anything to write at all, so I thought "oh well, I guess it's time to talk about RHCP". That may seem like I'm trivializing it just a little bit, and maybe I am, but I don't mean to trivialize the album itself. It's a great work that more than deserves the spotlight... and it filled the void when I was having writers block.

In the Court of the Crimson King
Actually, this was the album I was originally thinking about when I wrote about RHCP the previous month, but writers block prevented me from really forming my thoughts about it into something coherent. Eventually I did get it together and after many hours of listening to this one straight through... on repeat... I think I managed to at least scratch the surface of what's going on with it. An incredibly complex album I can't help but think I could write this feature entirely again and would end up saying something that was equally true, but completely different at the same time.... maybe I'll do that someday.

The Screaming Trees, Straight Out of the Sweet Oblivion
The newest feature, this one is the most fresh in my mind as it wasn't all that long ago that I wrote it. It was also another one of those inspirational moments as I originally wrote something else entirely that never really came together. On a whim I started listening to the Screaming Trees though and it was like: "Oh my, I have to write about this... like right now!"... and so I did. Interesting enough, this was originally supposed to run in July, but technical difficulties prevented that and so it was run the next month instead... oh well.

And that brings us up to the present in terms of Rock and Roll Features. I hope you enjoyed this little recap. I thought it would be interesting because I thought there might be more than a few people out there who never got to see some of the earlier ones... so why not highlight all of them for a month?

As I said, I don't plan on stopping writing features anytime soon so watch early every month for new features. I've already picked the album for October (a somewhat obscure classic that I've recently come to appreciate more in depth) and November (another anniversary that is going to prove to be massive), so make sure to keep an eye out for both of those as they're going to be big ones.


- The Soul of Rock 'n' Roll is a division of Fifth Column Media - -