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Great Albums: Cosmic Rough Riders - "Too Close To See Far", 2003 Measured Records LP

While doing a quick bit of research on this album I came across a 2003 review in THE GUARDIAN which gives this a paltry 2 out of 5 potential stars. According to the reviewer the songs are too samey and the lead singer has an indistinct voice. This is complete nonsense. This classic album - while pretty obscure - deserves far wider recognition. The songs (all 14 of them!) are of equal high standard and the aforementioned vocals are warm, soulful and beautiful.
The gorgeous JUSTIFY THE RAIN, an understandable Scottish lament to the weather, kicks off side one and sets the template for the rest of the album. This is a gorgeous concoction of well crafted, melodic tunes filled with lush harmonies as well as the obligatory 12-string guitars that gets better with every listen. Side two shows off another bona-fide Pop gem in the melancholy power of STUPID YOU which reminds you of TEENAGE FANCLUB, another great Scottish band that share the same tastes for song structure and melody as COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS. I would give this at least 4 stars out of 5 if I was in a fairly critical state of mind but 10 out of 10 for pure listening pleasure!

Great Albums: The Jags - Evening Standards, ISLAND 1980 LP

A nice Uk Power Pop album when the country was still overrun which such bands. Strong songwriting, nice harmonies and touches of 12-String Rickenbacker make for pretty good listening. Chart-wise it did nothing, maybe its Costello / Rumour soundalike tunes were a little behind the curve in 1980. That does not matter now of course as the benefit of hindsight avoids such trendsetting or otherwise. This is a tight and rockin' little LP that'll sit nicely next to you JAM and RECORDS records (!). Not a common album to find but not expensive when it does appear.

Great Albums: Beatles - A Hard Day's Night, ODEON Germany stereo LP

This is my personal choice of the greatest ever album. I won't bother going into details of the actual LP as this has been covered billions of times and you already have - and love - it. Right?
For me this is the album that started EVERYTHING. My Grannie gave this to me on my 6th Birthday in 1974. May she rest in peace. I, at that point, assumed The Beatles were the ONLY  Pop band that had ever existed and had no idea they broke up in 1970. In fact I had never even heard of 1970!! So I woke up at 5am on my birthday, totally over-excited. I ripped open the presents (of course) and there it was, the self same album you can see in the photo. I put it on -  no idea of what to expect. I was totally blown away. Previously my little compact record player had played Fairy stories and stuff like Peter & The Wolf, but this blew all that away for ever. That first chord on side one and then the rush of all those great songs, wow......too much!I played that album daily for years and totally wore that copy out, in fact before the age of ten I refused to play any other music bar the Beatles. Except Wings, because that was close (ish). But that was it. On vinyl, only The Beatles were allowed. I finally succumbed to other musical pleasures, which has led me to what I am doing these days, but that album sure is the greatest ever.

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