My Favorite Records

As those of you who listen to Rancho Radio know, I like all sorts of music. I have spent more money on music than I ever did on whiskey and women combined. At the moment I have 26,138 songs on my music server. I bought 8 track tapes, I bought LPs, I bought cassettes and I buy CDs. I listen to everything from country, to rock, to blues and everything in between. I’ve played in bands and I’ve listened to bands. I’ve written country, rock and blues songs. Basically, music has been the one constant passion in my life. Others come and go, but music has been there as long as I can remember.

So I decided it would be fun to identify, list and discuss my all-time favorite records, and here’s how I am going to do it. I’ll work through my music library from A to Z, listing and discussing my favorite records. I don’t know how many records will be on the list when I finish, but I am shooting for between 50 and 75.

So without further adieu, the first record on the list.

5 Chinese Brothers are/were a five piece alternative country band based in New York. Their music is on the folk rock side of the alternative country spectrum. All of their records are very good, but their first one, Singer, Songwriter, Beggarman, Thief is my favorite. By the time this record was released in 1992, the band (who are neither Chinese nor brothers) had been playing together for 10 years. The quality of the songwriting and the playing shows it.

If I Ain’t Falling, the lead off track, is an unapologetic rocker about the need to find your own path, even if there are wrong turns along the way:

“You’re getting bored when you’re living fast
You can only be sure when your time is past
A well laid plan is all right if
You’re a dying man or a working stiff.”

Baltimore is an accordion driven, almost Cajun influenced number about the loss and rediscovery of a hometown. She’s a Waitress is the first fine example of the band’s Loudon Wainwright-like ability to make songs that are equally funny and affecting. Who hasn’t fallen for a waitress at some point? I certainly have my own waitress story.

Don’t Regret is a stripped down ode to the moment:

“Please don’t promise to be true
With words that you’ll forget
You don’t need to believe in me
When all you know is that I haven’t hurt you yet
Don’t know about tomorrow so just let tomorrow be
Don’t regret, don’t regret.”

I could go into great detail about the virtues of every other song on the record, such as the hilarious ode to Paul Cezanne. In sum, this is one of those rare albums that have no average songs on it. Every song on this record is at least very, very good and most are excellent.

This record is a fine start to my list.

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