I’m still in a most list-ful mood, but this roundup certainly wasn’t a very easy one to compile, I’ll have everyone know. The pickins were extremely, uh, thin, to say the very least.
Nevertheless, here are my Top 19 from the 1990s:
1. Mark Johnson — 12 in a Room (1992)
Powerful pop most firmly rooted within the Brill Building anteroom.
2. Cowsills — Global (1998)
America’s once-and-forever First Family of Song leaves no Partridge unspurned.
3. Brian Wilson — Sweet Insanity (1991)
Just to make sure the ’90s weren’t all Pet Sounds reissues.
4. Dave Rave Group — Valentino’s Pirates (1992)
Wherein the former Soviet Union signs its first Western act, then promptly dissolves.
5. Johnny Cash — American Recordings (1994)
Rick Rubin produces a Cash we thought only Sam Phillips could.
6. Tiny Tim — Rock (1993)
This includes possibly definitive readings of “Eve of Destruction” and “Rebel Yell” (I kid you not).
7. Puffy — Jet CD (1998)
Oh-so-effortlessly crosses ABBA, Black Sabbath and Who’s Next … and all by way of Jellyfish.
8. Monkees — Justus (1996)
Those Prefabs go out on a very high note (which, I’ll have you know, they played all by themselves).
9. Shane Faubert — San Blass (1993)
The former head of The Cheepskates most definitely goes for baroque.
10. NRBQ — You Gotta Be Loose (1998)
Proof very positive: The greatest live rock ‘n’ roll band in the world.
11. Evaporators — I Gotta Rash (1998)
Before Ali G and most definitely Tenacious D.
12. Neil Young — Arc (1991)
Truly too cool — not to mention loud — for (many) words.
13. Go-Nuts — The World’s Greatest Super Hero Snak Rock and Gorilla Entertainment Revue (1997)
For once, the title says it all.
14. High Llamas — Gideon Gaye (1994)
More than filling that cavernous sonic gap between SMiLE and the XTC reunion.
15. Blue Shadows — Lucky to Me (1995)
Hank Williams visits The Cavern by way of Big Pink.
16. Mojo Nixon — Gadzooks!!! (1997)
Includes “Bring Me the Head of David Geffen” … and then some.
17. James Richard Oliver — The Mud, The Blood and The Beer (1998)
Alt-country with a capital “Oh!”
18. Chesterfield Kings — Surfin’ Rampage (1997)
Upstate New York’s finest give their Rolling Stones cloning a rest whilst hanging all 10.
19. Jandek — Twelfth Apostle (1993)
So many Jandek albums, so little space.
Musician/writer Gary Pig Gold is the co-founder of the To M’Lou Music label.