Our May/June 2015 contest winner Jeff Caldwell discusses his winning choices for our last issue’s Deathbed contest. Be sure to enter the July/August 2015 Contest by submitting your top 10 albums for a chance to win Martin Ed Sheeran X Signature Edition Guitars and SP Lifespan Acoustic Guitar Strings.
Videos by American Songwriter
Mock Tudor, Richard Thompson
Hybrid-picked brilliance on acoustic and electric guitars. The songs run the gamut from laughers to weepers, and some are both.
Armed Forces, Elvis Costello
Very hard to select among his catalog full of songs of great melodies coupled with elaborately clever wordplay, while the band just crushes.
Labour of Lust, Nick Lowe
Hilarious, smart, tuneful…and Rockpile is the band.
Bluesbreakers, John Mayall
Clapton left the Yardbirds so he could play more traditional blues, and here was the perfect vehicle for his virtuosity – Les Paul through a Marshall combo, loud.
Get Happy, Elvis Costello
Short bursts of manic Soul and R&B sounds, coupled with lyrics brimming with emotional dysfunction.
Squeezing Out Sparks, Graham Parker
Brilliant songs snarled with conviction, while the Rumour will make your hair stand on end.
Glenn Tilbrook wrote the hooky melodies, played great guitar and sang beautifully. Difford supplied the expertly-detailed, emotionally-rich stories. Little pop masterpieces.
Rubber Soul, The Beatles
The lads mature and deepen lyrically. They broaden their sound with George Martin’s help—so many great tunes played and sung perfectly.
Exile on Main Street, The Rolling Stones
I think their high-water mark—great sludgy riffs from Keith and leads from Mick Taylor, sung as plausibly as Jagger could—recorded in the south of France but sounds as close to steamy Mississippi as they ever got.
Heroes, David Bowie
Sure, you’ve been kidnapped in Berlin, and you’re chained to a radiator in an old factory, but the demented leader of the gang is playing you very catchy tunes. He seems to be sincere about whatever it is he’s singing about. Fripp augments the doominess.