The Reviews

The reviews will all be in a basic format – telling you, the reader about the record and answering the question “Is it any good?” I’ll try to listen to everything with an open mind, and determine if it’s good based on my ears.

I’ll assign a letter grade (A through F with + and -) that basically follow this pattern:

A- This belongs in anyone’s collection. “It’s just plain ol’ good!”

B – Fans of the band or genre should definitely consider this for their collection. “It’s good for what it is!” Some songs here could be exiled if they don’t fit, and the flow of the album isn’t disturbed by the missing songs.

C – It’s inconsistent with more mediocre cuts than good and nothing really redeeming the album. If you’re not hung up on having complete albums, I’d definitely trim most songs out of here. “It could be better, really.” A lot of these will be exiled in whole.

D – Die-hards and / or completists only. “It’s not good, not good at all.”

F – Absolutely wretched. “This should not have been released, ever.”

Because I’m building a library, if an album doesn’t pass muster, I’ll write EXILED at the bottom. For those records, I’ll probably keep a few tracks or look for a compilation. I may keep a “D” album and exile a “B” just because of my personal tastes, but that should be rare.

As for what I’m reviewing, anything pop, rock, country, jazz or blues that strikes my fancy. I don’t feel equipped to review show tunes, classical or opera, so none of that. And I said strikes my fancy – so no Nickelback or Creed. Denied.

The order, for the most part, unless I just go for a compilation for an artist like, oh, Helen Reddy (do you blame me?):

  • Albums in order of release (studio and live) released during the artists’ active period. “Reunion” albums or albums recorded after a hiatus may or may not be reviewed based on quality and distinction.
  • Compilations of rarities or hits with new material appended released during the artists’  active period.
  • Retrospective or anthological live albums.
  • Rarities, B-sides, box sets, etc.
  • BBC sessions (Peel sessions, live BBC concerts, other BBC radio apperances, etc.)
  • Other session tapes
  • Various artist compilations.

I’ve been reviewing more compilations than I had originally intended, because I am finding that even artists with long track records (like the Temptations) didn’t have artistic control of their albums for the most part, and really were just puppets for their producers. So Motown albums and other 60’s artists I’ll take on a case-by-case basis for older acts.