It’s been awhile since we have gone the conversational route. It was something that I did quite frequently, and now I’m left wondering why I just stopped. Sometimes, it’s probably too hard to ask, “what’s the best live album?” one too many times. I do try to get in something that we haven’t discussed before, something that usually intrigues me. And I found one because of the Behind The Sun (Clapton) SACD thread.
While I tense up for the slapping, I have to say that I’ve never been a huge Clapton fan. Yes, I do listen to a lot of his albums, and yes, I highly respect fans’ love for him. For me, he just seems to be underwhelming. However, talk about his No Reason To Cry album, and I’m all there. That album, to me, was a pure essential party of stars, all gathered at The Band’s legendary Shangri-La Studio, and all contributing to create an immensely underrated album.
But this is not the thrust of my writing today. It is a basis for it.
Out of ALL the albums ever created in Rock and Roll history, hell, let’s throw it out there, in the history of albums period, I would have been in awe to be at the sessions for No Reason To Cry. There are albums I love more than that one, to be sure. But it’s the one I wish I could have been a part of more than all the rest.
When you realize who was at the sessions for that 1976 gem, it makes you shiver. The entire clan from The Band were on hand. Bob Dylan contributed a song (“Sign Language”), sang it, and never re-recorded it again, making that track alone a complete reason to buy the album. And what a track it was. Ron Wood played on the album. Yvonne Elliman contributed vocals to the album as did Marcy Levy. Marcy Levy helped pen “Innocent Times”, and sang it as well. Billy Preston helped; Georgie Fame was there. There were a lot of drop-ins as well. Awesome album. It is, as I said, the one album I would have loved to be at the sessions for.
17 thoughts on “Poll: Which Album Do You Wish You Were At The Sessions For?”
Hendrix, Electric Ladyland sessions.
Definitely The Band’s second (brown) album. Sequestered away in Sammy Davis’ house in California with John Simon, they produced a work of art.
Revolver… This is when The Beatles became a studio band and one of the times that they seemed to work together.
The Beatles – White Album
No contest…’Exile…’ as evidenced by the great documentary showcasing how hedonism and excess can actually lead to art…in the south of France, no less. Ah, what the hell…ANY Rolling Stones session from ’69 through ’79.
The Mothers of Invention – Absolutely Free
The easy answer is Exile but even if I lived through it, I probably wouldn’t remember much. I can think of a few others but the one that keeps popping up is Warren Zevon’s The Wind. Based on the VH1 documentary, it was one of those rare, once-in-a-lifetime chances to celebrate, create, and be with your friends, even while you knew you were probably saying goodbye.
Genesis trick of the tail !
GTR. There is a making of the album documentary on YouTube. The album not only featured two guitar gods in Howe and Hackett, but producer Geoff Downes used some really innovative methods for triggering synthesizers with guitars.
Rumours, Joshua Tree,Quadrophenia amp; Who’s Next.
David Crosby’s “If I Can Only Remember My Name” as there were so many guest artists “dropping in” to hang out and record and….well etc etc etc
This is a great question and it has been fun to think about. The reality is that I would not have wanted to be at the sessions for most of my favorite albums. Can any of you imagine how miserable it must have been to witness first-hand Fleetwood Mac falling apart at the seams while recording Rumours? For that one I’ll stick with the classic albums DVD! Some notable sessions have been riddled with extreme drug abuse and non stop partying. No thanks! My interest is in the creative process, musicianship and seeing the greats perform the greatest. The other extreme are album sessions that turned out to be classics, but may have been methodical and tedious to watch. Probably my favorite album of all time is Yes’ Close to the Edge, but I imagine the sessions were rather tepid. I settled on three albums that have a reputation for innovation, featured great musicians and may have been exciting to watch day-to-day:
1- Michael Jackson -Thriller: Not in my personal top 25 and not even my favorite Michael Jackson album, but these sessions must have been smoking! Amazing session musicians including the heart of Toto, watching Quincy Jones scribbling arrangements in the control room and the unpredictability of the sessions (“let’s call Eddie Van Halen for this solo”, “oh hello Paul McCartney, mind singing a track?” Or “why is there a llama in the studio?”)
2- Beatles – Sgt Pepper: Not my favorite Beatles album, but a creative peak for the band and for music in general. It must have been interesting to wonder what they would think of next and to figure out how to make it work with the technology available at the time. Even though it was not on the album it would have been incredible to see “Penny Lane” recorded. Where did all of those “samples” come from?
3- Steely Dan – Aja: This selection is the music nerd in me for sure. The recording of this album is flawless and I would love to have seen how it all came together. Just to see “Deacon Blues” come to life would be worth the price of admission alone. Plus the session musicians on this album… wow!
It’s intensity is incredible as well as the music performances!
Especially now, with that entire band near lost. RIP, Scott Asheton.
I agree with Martin but would include any Steely Dan record, but my favourite 2 “if I were only there” records are Sonny Landreth’s From the Reach (Clapton, Knopfler, Dr John, Robben Ford and the best guitarist on the planet, Eric Johnson guesting) and Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s 10 Day Out with BB King, Pinetop Perkins and every legendary bluesman still alive at the time. Totally Awesome.
Sadly, a lot of the super guest records these days are done without getting together in a studio, so it’s a bit of a yesterday thing. I would have loved to be at a Transatlantic session, but they mainly record seperately and then get together to tour.
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