The Record Collection: 1988 (51-60)

The album collection in chronological order from when it was bought. Revisited one at the time. Part 5.

Sonic Youth | Daydream Nation | Blast First 1988 |

Bought in late October 1988, when this was brand new I guess. I knew Sonic Youth a little bit from before, had been scared off by ‘Confusion is Sex’ and fell in love with ‘Sister’ earlier in the same year. But this is still my gateway album into a band I’ve never tired from. Sonic Youth will forever be one of my definitive favorite bands. ‘Daydream Nation’ was a mind blowing experience back then, and it’s just as good today, 30 years later, ranking as one of the true masterpieces of not only 1980s guitar rock, but as a beacon in American underground culture.

R.E.M. | Green | Warner 1988 |

Is ‘Green’, their major label debut, the last great album of R.E.M.? I don’t know, I’m well aware of the enormous success they were about to enjoy later on, but for me, this was actually the final album I bought and enjoyed from start to finish from a band that was tremendously important to me. “World Leader Pretend” will forever remain an eternal favorite, but the whole album is just gorgeous. A soundtrack to the indian summer of 1988.

Divine Horsemen | Devil’s River | New Rose 1986 |

A Lee & Nancy kinda dark cowpunk romance set in the LA gutter, based on equal love for punk rock and honky tonk; Divine Horsemen are one of the true pioneers – but arrived a bit too early to cash in on the thing. ‘Devil’s River’ is their finest moment, and it has aged well too. Chris D and Julie Christensen was a mighty fine unit back in those days. And hey, it’s engineered by Mr Brett over at Westbeach.

Black Flag | My War | SST 1984 |

How much damage did this album cause for a young innocent kid, unaware of the sludgy nightmare on the b-side? I was already a fan of early Black Flag, “Six Pack”, TV Party” and such stuff, but this was a whole other ballgame. Little did I know that ‘My War’ became the gateway album to my grunge phase, right around the corner. The Pettibon cover is brilliant, too.

Green On Red | Green On Red | Down There/Enigma 1982 |

The musical roots to this EP can be traced back to the 1960s and bands like the Seeds and Electric Prunes, infused with the nervous tension of the early 1980s. ‘Green On Red’ is a dense masterpiece from a band in its very infancy, a night road trip from the Arizona desert to the backstreets of Los Angeles, where our protagonists evolves from youthful naivists to dark-eyed realists. “I made a pact with the devil that night” snarls Dan Stuart, while Chris Cacavas clings on to a steady organ drone. This might be a prediction of greater albums to come, but Green On Red never captured this almost dreamlike state of past and present ever again. I love it.

Thin White Rope | Red Sun EP | Demon 1988 |

“Red Sun” is the one majestic centerpiece in a catalog full of them, and it’s still the perfect song for those sweltering 100 degrees summer evenings on the porch. The grinding cover version of “Some Velvet Morning” is also worth mentioning, those guitars stems from a whole other solar system. Such a great EP, such a great band.

The Long Ryders | 10-5-60 | Zippo 1987 |

Six wonderful tracks of paisley power, where ‘60s folk rock meets ‘80s garage revival. “Born To Believe In You” was my favorite back then, and it still is.

True West | Drifters | Zippo 1984 |

The combination of chiming guitars, rootsy sound and retro-friendly jangle pop sure is irresistible. True West did it better than most of their peers, and ‘Drifters’ is their masterpiece. Especially side 2, including some of their most memorable songs, “And Then the Rain”, “Morning Light” and others, is standout. ‘Drifters’ is a mighty fine album.

Lee Clayton | Naked Child | Capitol 1979/1983 |

Where the heck is Lee Clayton today??

Motörhead | Ace Of Spades | Bronze 1980 |

Everything is cool about this album. I believe I bought it – in the fall of 1988 – mostly because of the cover art – I mean, what’s not to dig about those three mighty grim lookin’ cowboys posing in the desert. But the songs are killer too, of course. Timeless on all levels.

81. Lee Clayton: Naked Child (Fame, 1979)

Lee Clayton: “10 000 Years/Sexual Moon” Countrysangeren Lee Clayton fra Alabama er blant disse artistene som har gått stille i dørene. En håndfull utgivelser over et langt tidsløp, moderat suksess i sin samtid, stort sett glemt i etterkant. Men Lee Clayton burde vært der oppe sammen med Townes Van Zandt, Warren Zevon eller highwaymen fra sørstatene som han skrev låter for.

Drevet av eventyrlyst og skapertrang forlot han flyvåpenet og satset på en karriere i Nashville på slutten av 60-tallet, og gjorde det ganske bra som låtskriver (for bl.a Waylon Jennings og Willie Nelson). Lee Claytons selvtitulerte debut fra 1973 presenterte verden for en malmfull singer/songwriter med klasselåter som “Ladies Love Outlaws” og “Bottles Of Booze” i gitarkassa – selv om de færreste brydde seg. Et par-tre skiver på slutten av 70-tallet og et livealbum fra Oslo 1990 (han ble godt mottatt i miljøet rundt roots-fortet Cruise Café, og bodde vel også en periode i hovedstaden), er stort sett beholdningen. De siste 20 årene har han levd et tilbaketrukket liv et – eller annet sted nær en ukjent landevei.

Jeg velger å presentere Naked Child, men kunne like gjerne trukket fram debuten eller Border Affair (1978). Med prominente gjester som JJ Cale og Carlene Carter gyver Clayton løs med en mer rocka holdning enn tidligere, innledet av den rullende gospelrockeren “Saturday Night Special”. Det moderne outlaw-eposet “I Ride Alone” er en udiskutabel klassiker, pisket frem av rivende gitarer og kontrollert av Claytons dirrende, stoiske røst – han er ingen stor vokalist, men det er et levd liv i stemmebåndene – hemmet noe av tidstypisk produksjon (særlig trommene). Den nydelige down-and-out balladen “A Little Cocaine” og “I Love You” – igjen med gospelpreget koring, bidrar til å gjøre Naked Child mettet av stor musikk. Størst – i hvert fall lengst – er “10 000 Years/Sexual Moon”, som illustrerer hele skiva ganske presist.

Håper Lee Clayton dukker opp igjen en eller annen dag.