I hope that such nonmainstream artists as Delbert McClinton, David Lindley, and Joe Ely will be allowed to continue--it's a shame when good music is recorded but not heard.
Maybe radio will respond with fresher formats in the Nineties. Maybe record companies won't just be concerned with what sells. Maybe beer companies will stop sponsoring tours for dinosaur rock bands. But don't hold your breath.
SCOTTY SPENNER SINGER, GUITARIST
1. JOHN HIATT Bring the Family (A&M, 1987).
2. JAMES HARMAN BAND Extra Napkins (Rivera, 1988).
3. RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS They Call Me Mr. Earl (Black Top, 1985).
4. ANSON FUNDERBURGH AND THE ROCKETS FEATURING SAM MYERS Sins (Black Top, 1987).
5. JOHN HAMMOND Live (Rounder, 1983).
6. RON LEVY'S WILD KINGDOM Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom Featuring Ronnie Earl, Kim Wilson, Wayne Bennett, Jimmie Vaughn (Black Top, 1986).
7. THE BLASTERS Hard Line (Slash/Warner Bros., 1985).
8. ROBERT CRAY BAND False Accusations (Hightone, 1985).
9. THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS Butt Rockin' (Chrysalis, 1981).
10. PROFESSOR LONGHAIR Crawfish Fiesta (Alligator, 1980).
Although I thought that some of the Eighties' best records include ones by Miles Davis, King Sunny Ade and His African Beats, Metallica, and Prince, I thought it best to stick to my field--blues.
While many older recordings were being remastered in attempts to bring them up to modern audio standards, many blues artists of the Eighties took a low-tech approach to equipment and recording to try to capture the live, raw sound of old recordings.
Eighties dislikes: corporate-rock guitar gymnastics as an art form (e.g., guitar-wanking, two-handed tapping); men in mascara, spandex, et cetera; mediocre harmonicas from hell; drum machines instead of drums; triggered anything; new-age; Seventies monsters who would not die; disco; country rock.
BILL TARSHA HARPIST
Midnite Blues Band, Rocket 88s
1. SMOKEY WILSON 88 St. Blues (Murray Bros., 1983).
2. WALTER HORTON Mouth Harp Maestro (Ace, 1989).
3. RON LEVY Ron Levy (Black Top, 1985).
4. SAM MYERS AND ANSON FUNDERBURGH My Love Is Here to Stay (Black Top, 1985).
5. THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS What's the Word (Chrysalis, 1980).
6. HOLLYWOOD FATS BAND Hollywood Fats Band (PBR International, 1981).
7. STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN AND DOUBLE TROUBLE Texas Flood (Epic, 1983).
8. JOHN NICHOLAS Too Many Bad Habits (Blind Pig, 1980).
9. RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS They Call Me Mr. Earl (Black Top, 1985).
10. HOWLIN WOLF Cadillac Daddy (Rounder, 1989).
The Eighties started with many promising new groups, recording techniques, and the new age of video and MTV. But they rapidly deteriorated with boring commercialism and metal-band, rap-group, Madonna, and Janet Jackson clones. There seems to be no more room for individuality or taking risks with a different sound.
TONY VICTOR PRESIDENT
1. JOHN LENNON AND YOKO ONO Double Fantasy (Geffen, 1980).
2. PAUL SIMON Graceland (Warner Bros., 1986).
3. BOB DYLAN Infidels (Columbia, 1983).
4. DEAD KENNEDYS Plastic Surgery Disasters (Alternative Tentacles, 1982).
5. TOM WAITS Rain Dogs (Island, 1985).
6. WORLD PARTY Private Revolution (Chrysalis, 1986).
7. KING SUNNY ADE AND HIS AFRICAN BEATS Ajoo (Makossa, 1985).
8. INDIGO GIRLS Indigo Girls (Epic, 1989).
9. THE JUDDS Rockin' With the Rhythm (RCA, 1985).
10. JELLO BIAFRA No More Cocoons (Alternative Tentacles, 1987).
How will the Eighties be remembered? As the age of MTV? Or as the period of heavy-metal's mental-midget movement? Certainly as the time Michael Jackson proved that a black male could be turned into a white female. Yes, the decade of "We Are the World," the Parents' Music Resource Center, the transformation of "Born to Run" into "Born in the U.S.A.," fighting for your right to party, material girls, the Rolling Stones and fucking Budweiser teaming up to "rock" America, and the assassination of John Lennon.
Sure, there were some bright spots in Eighties music, but not bright enough to shine through the thick layer of total shit that the industry has spewed out. Will the Nineties be any better? Don't count on it; after all, we've got a record-buying audience that's made Madonna and Axl Rose their heroes.
GRANT WOLF CONDUCTOR
Valley Big Band
1. WORLD SAXOPHONE QUARTET Revue (Blacksaint, 1983).
2. DAVID MURRAY OCTET Ming (Blacksaint, 1980).
3. THE ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO The Third Decade (ECM, 1985).
4. CLARE FISCHER AND GARY FOSTER Star Bright (Discovery, 1982).
5. PHIL WOODS LITTLE BIG BAND Evolution (Concord Jazz, 1988).
6. RICHARD BEIRACH Elegy for Bill Evans (Palo Alto, 1982).
7. PAT METHENY GROUP First Circle (ECM, 1984).
8. DON SEBESKY Full Cycle (GNPS, 1984).