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Music to my Ears

The Desert Island "Top 20:

07/01/2007 - There are those among us who waste a lot of time making lists. Not to-do lists. Desert island lists. You know the drill. The question goes something like this: If you were stranded on a desert island, and you could only have… Here's where you would insert a favorite. Depending on the conversation, you might be making a list of favorite foods, favorite movies, favorite people, or in my case, favorite albums.

Of course, there are inherent problems with the question. If I was stranded on a desert island with only twenty compact discs, which ones would they be? A stack of cds wouldn't amount to a hill of beans if I didn't have a stereo to play them on. And what about electricity?

So let's suppose I'm stuck on Gilligan's Island for the rest of my life. Of course, the professor has figured out how to power up the stereo that washed ashore, so we can listen to music. I have my twenty discs. That's all there is to listen to.

Now, I know this is a frivolous, meaningless exercise. However, it is a fairly accurate representation of a person's personality. Ask your friends this question. Some will not be able to come up with a list, because they don't care about music all that much, which says a lot about them. If they do have a list, you can learn a lot about them by assessing their response.

My list? Oh, I'm glad you asked. Here it is, in no particular order:

1.James Taylor – "Sweet Baby James." The best album from one of the best singer-songwriters ever.

2.The Beat Farmers – "Pursuit of Happiness." Instant party.

3.Lucinda Williams – "Live at the Fillmore." The undeniable power of twang.

4.Blackfoot – "Strikes." Maximum southern rock and roll.

5.Larry McMurtry – "Too Long in the Wasteland." Alternative Country/Folk masterpiece. Unbelievable lyrics.

6.Norah Jones – "Come Away With Me." Her voice is as smooth as silk.

7.Emmylou Harris – "Roses in the Snow." Brilliant bluegrass collection featuring a young Ricky Skaggs. Excellent.

8.The O'Kanes – "The O'Kanes." Stunning country/bluegrass album from two visionary musicians. It's out of print, which is sad.

9.Steve Earle – "Exit 0." Best "alternative country" album ever recorded. His first, "Guitar Town," is a close second.

10.Jackson Browne – "Late for the Sky." Soothing, calm, and right on the money.

11.Dire Straits – "Dire Straits." A rock masterpiece. Sheer brilliance.

12.The Allman Brothers – "Hittin' the Note." Recent Allman's release. Their best, in my opinion. Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks are the guitar players. Wow.

13.Metallica – "Ride the Lightning." The greatest metal album of all time. Maybe…

14.Hot Rize – "Traditional Ties." My favorite bluegrass album ever. Period.

15.Van Morrison – "Moondance." Ridiculously good, and I mean that in a good way. A life-soundtrack kind of album. Essential for every collection.

16.John Gorka – "Land of the Bottom Line." He says the things I think and feel better than I ever could, accompanied by beautiful acoustic guitars and delivered with an engaging baritone voice.

17.Waddie Mitchell and Don Edwards – "The Bard and the Balladeer." Unleash your inner cowboy.

18.Alison Krauss – "Lonely Runs Both Ways." Achingly beautiful acoustic music that transcends bluegrass. Music gets no finer.

19.Lynyrd Skynyrd – "Second Helping." This one fits me good. It feels so right.

20.Marshall Crenshaw – "Field Day." If I could only have one album on the desert island, this one might be it. This one is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Trust me. This is arguably my favorite recording ever.

I will stand by these selections. Check them out, even if you're not planning on getting stuck on an island.

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