Continuing with the book The Top 100 Canadian Albums by Bob Mersereau. Not only did I own a fair number of these albums, but many of them also played a significant part in my life, often in a relationship with my significant other (S.O.) at the time.
41.Not Fragile, Bachman-Turner Overdrive (1974)
42.The Best of the Guess Who, The Guess Who (1971) – One of the very few singles – i.e, 45s – I ever bought was Laughing b/w Undun. And then I really got into the group when it started with his heavier sound. And they endeared me forever when the group was invited to sing at the Nixon White House, but requested, apparently by Pat Nixon, not to sing American Woman. But the most intriguing song on the album was one I did not know previously, Hang On to Your Life whose lyrics end with stark spoken text from Psalm 22:
They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint:
my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my
jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
Didn’t quite know what to make of it, but, in my period of questioning my whole belief system at the time, it was quite significant to me.
43.Let it Die, Feist (2004)
44.The Last Waltz, The Band (1978) – Always made me a little sad, this soundtrack of the end of the band. Though they would re-form in part, it was never the same.
45.Night Train, Oscar Peterson Trio (1963) – my father was really into Oscar Peterson, a black jazz pianist. I never knew he was Canadian until I read the book.
46.Down at the Khyber, Joel Plaskett Emergency (2001)
47.Harvest Moon, Neil Young (1992) – The title track was “our song” for the S.O. and me. Remember dancing around the living room to the video. Still makes me cry. And there are other great songs here, such From Hank to Hendrix and One of These Days. Actually, I enjoy this album more than Harvest.
48.Cuts Like a Knife, Bryan Adams (1983)
49.L’Heptade, Harmonium (1976)
50.Teenage Head, Teenage Head (1979)
51.High Class in Borrowed Shoes, Max Webster (1977)
52.Hejira, Joni Mitchell (1976) – Joni getting all jazzy. I was still with her, too, but it didn’t sound like her old stuff, and her fan base was peeved.
53.Bach: The Goldberg Variations, Glenn Gould (1955 and 1982) – I got this only about a decade ago, after I was told, “You MUST own this record.” So I do. But I’m not all that familiar with the 1982 iteration, except what I know from a recent PBS-TV special about Gould’s life.
54.Fogarty’s Cove, Stan Rogers (1977)
55.Wheatfield Soul, The Guess Who (1968) – #2 on the coolest title list.
56.Si on avait besoin d’une cinquième saison, Harmonium (1974)- the author notes that a lot of the French-language albums appeared on the list between #101 and #125.
57.Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws, Bruce Cockburn (1979) – I had a roommate named Mark in the early 1980s who was in desperate need of money. So I bought about 50 albums off him at $2 a pop; at least five of them were Bruce Cockburn LPs. As the author of the book noted, 13 different Cockburn albums got votes, but this is the only one that reached the top 100. It probably made it because it has the hit, Wondering Where the Lions Are. #9 on the coolest title list.
58.Frantic City, Teenage Head (1980)
59.Hymns of the 49th Parallel, k.d. lang (2004) – A wonderful concept: lang performing the songs of her fellow Canadians, including Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, and Bruce Cockburn. Here’s Cohen’s Hallelujah.
60.Hot Shots, Trooper (1979)
61.Robbie Robertson, Robbie Robertson (1987) – My good friend in the record business told me this story. She was trying to promote this album to a radio station manager. She says, “It’s Robbie Robertson from The Band, you know The Last Waltz.” No recognition. “Used to back Dylan.” He’d heard of Dylan, but it was still a tough sell. The problem was that he was only about 24 and only knew the music that came out the previous 8-10 years. Very sad commentary on the state of commercial radio at the time. Great album, especially American Roulette.
62.The Trinity Session, Cowboy Junkies (1988) – A well-crafted mix of new and cover songs, such as Lou Reed’s Sweet Jane. I do have to be in the mood to listen to it; otherwise, it’ll put me to sleep.
63.Ron Sexsmith, Ron Sexsmith (1995)
64.Nothingface, Voivod (1989)
65.Come on Over, Shania Twain (1997)
66.Everything I Long For, Hayden (1995)
67.Outskirts, Blue Rodeo (1987)
68.Joyful Rebellion, k-os (2004)
69.Sit Down Young Stranger/If You Could Read My Mind, Gordon Lightfoot (1970)
70.Love Junk, Pursuit of Happiness (1988)
71.Jaune, Jean-Pierre Ferland (1970)
72.Somewhere Outside, The Ugly Ducklings (1966)
73.Electric Jewels, April Wine (1973)
74.Sundown, Gordon Lightfoot (1973) – when some of my friends got rid of their vinyl, they offered them up to me. This is one of them.
75.Left and Leaving, The Weakerthans (2000)
76.Clumsy, Our Lady Peace (1997)
77.Harmonium, Harmonium (1974)
78.Share the Land, The Guess Who (1970)
79.Greatest Hits, Ian & Sylvia (1970)
80.Steppenwolf, Steppenwolf (1968) – First and best Steppenwolf album. Not only does it have Born to Be Wild and The Pusher, but it also contains my favorite political rant, The Ostrich. I discussed this album more fully here.
81.Ladies of the Canyon, Joni Mitchell (1970) – When I was preparing to be in a production of Boys in the Band in Binghamton in 1975, I went to a party with most of the cast. Someone played Side 1 of the LP, and when it was over, another cast member declared it to be “boring,” an assessment I did not share; I mean it has the beautiful For Free on it. Still, I think playing side 2 first might have been more strategic, since it included, in order, Big Yellow Taxi, Woodstock, and The Circle Game.
82.Bud the Spud and Other Favourites, Stompin’ Tom Connors (1969)
83.Shine a Light, The Constantines (2003)
84.Shakespeare My Butt, The Lowest of the Low (1991) – #2 on funniest album title list.
85.Clayton Park, Thrush Hermit (1999)
86.Smeared, Sloan (1992)
87.Living Under June, Jann Arden (1994)
88.The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Joni Mitchell (1975) – This was the transitional album between the commercial Court and Spark and the jazzy Hejira. I was visiting my friend Jon and his S.O. Debby. She was a big fan of Joni but was very disappointed in this album. I said, “Well, then give it to me. I like it.” I think my enthusiasm for her made her keep it to give it another chance. The first song, In France They Kiss on Main Street, might have fit on the previous album. But the next song, The Jungle Line, heavy with African drums – here’s just a snippet – would definitely not. #4 on the coolest album title list.
89.Bad Manors, Crowbar (1971)
90.Official Music, King Biscuit Boy with Crowbar (1970)
91.Lightfoot!, Gordon Lightfoot (1966)
92.Mad Mad World, Tom Cochrane (1991)
93.Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Wainwright (1998)
94.Face to the Gale, Ron Hynes (1997)
95.Hobo’s Taunt, Willie P. Bennett (1977)
96.Cowboyography, Ian Tyson (1986) – #1 on coolest album title list.
97.Favourite Colours, The Sadies (2004)
98.The Way I Feel, Gordon Lightfoot (1967)
99.A Farewell to Kings, Rush (1977)
100.We Were Born in a Flame, Sam Roberts (2004)