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Gotham Eve Rock List: Colin’s Ghost Blogger Kevin Martin’s Top Ten Albums of All Time

March 6, 2009

A young Kevin Martin in 1977, no doubt rocking out to Jimi Hendrix

“They say figures don’t lie, but let me tell you – a good horse has, many times, a good laugh at figures.” Said by Jimmy the Hat in 2009? Nope, said by Patrick “Pack” McKenna in 1919.

“It’s a filly in the Belmont!” Rags To Riches in 2007? No, Tanya in 1905.

Nothing has changed in the world of horse racing. Everything has changed in the world of horse racing. Colin’s Ghost, a racing history blog by TBA member Kevin Martin, is fresh and fascinating in its exploration of racing’s past and its incorporation of racing’s history into modern issues in the sport. Steve Crist called Colin’s Ghost “…the best of the current blogs…” and “…among the most interesting racing journalism being practiced anywhere.”

From breakdowns in the Derby to opening day at Saratoga 100 years ago to the story of the mighty Colin himself, Martin’s research is timely and required reading for any racing fan.

What does a well-rounded racing fan rock out to? Here are Kevin’s Top Ten Albums of All Time:

10. Sleater Kinney“Hot Rock” – When I first heard their album “Dig Me Out”, I thought it was OK and listened it a few times before relegating to my forgotten pile of CDs. I revisited this band years later after hearing them on a college station while driving on 95 near Baltimore. The riff-driven guitar and vibratto vocal style is an acquired taste but one that has grown on me in a big way.

9. New Pornographers“Mass Romantic” – Their is something about this band that is infectious. Combination of great melodies, strange but intriguing lyrics, and interesting arrangements makes them incredibly unique. All of their albums have their highlights but “Mass Romantic” is their best from top to bottom. This is my soundtrack for driving to Belmont Park — it makes driving on the Jersey Turnpike a little less depressing.

8. Clutch“Clutch” – This band has been consistently good for as long as I have been a fan. Their first full length is one of those heavy, teeth shattering records that sounds best at full volume. I have always felt a southern vibe with Clutch’s music but not in a creepy Lynyrd Skynyrd way – its more of a sweaty, backwoods revival kind of way (I guess that’s kind of creepy too…anyway, they rock!).

7. The Sundays“Reading, Writing & Arithmetic” – This is an album that I have had in one form or another since high school and still spin it frequently. Sweet and mellow…I am a sucker for a solid female voice. Great music to fall asleep to.

6. Jim Hendrix“Radio One” – Released in the 80s but now out of print, most of this material was later re-packaged and released as the BBC sessions. All of Jimi’s stuff is great but their is something about this live performance that captures the creativity, spontaneity, and joviality of an artist who I truly believe was from another planet. The performance of “Hear My Train Comin'” is especially memorable as Jimi sings, shreds, and maintains a seemingly constant banter with the small studio audience — priceless!

5. Spoon “Series of Sneaks” – This band’s recent releases have been “critically acclaimed” but I prefer the grittiness of the early records. This album, “Telephono”, and the “Mountain to Sound” EP are equally good. Their later releases have been progressively worse as the production values have gotten better. “Staring at the Board” is the coolest 55 second song ever.

4. P.J. Harvey“Rid of Me” – Love all of her work but her second full-length album just screams. I prefer the punkier Harvey to the bluesy, laid back version. I still remember where I was when I first listened to the brilliant low-volume opening of this album. “Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea” — the best of PJ’s later records (so far) — nearly knocked this one off the list. Kamikaze from “Stories” might be one of my favorite songs of all time.

3. Quicksand“Manic Compression” – A sentimental choice from a killer New York band that only released two full length albums before breaking up. Me and my buddy Proto used to drink cheap beer (“Gibbons”, a local PA brew) and freak out on this album (I actually had the tape). Our other friends never quite bought into it but Proto and I still listen and talk about this one. Post-hardcore at its best. A band from the “Helmet-era” that could kick Helmet’s ass!

2. Superchunk“Here’s Where the Strings Come In” – Tough call picking an album from one of my favorite bands. “On the Mouth” and “No Pocky for Kitty” were killer records but this one captured them at the peak of their development toward a more subdued, thoughtful band. I thought everything that followed this one was good but they never matched “Strings” and what came before it. This band’s live performances at the Trocadero in Philly in the 1990s are among my most cherished music memories.

1. U2“Joshua Tree” – In 1987, when everyone else was listening to Bon Jovi I was a U2 guy. When they released this one, my seventh grade class finally left the hair-band era behind and I suddenly became cool. Because of that, the “Joshua Tree” is still number one in my book. The last album that U2 took themselves seriously still stands as their best. If only my Mom would have let me go see them at JFK Stadium in Philly…still bitter about that!

Honorable Mentions:
Pavement – “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain”
Kate Bush – “Sensual World”
Arctic Monkeys – “Whatever People Say I Am”
Joseph Arthur – “Nuclear Daydream”
Galaxie 500 – “Today”
Ida – “Tales of the Brave”
James Brown – “The Payback”
The Hold Steady – “Stay Positive”
Archers of Loaf – “Icky Mettle”

5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2009 2:55 pm

    I love Quicksand, can’t believe anyone else have ever heard of them! Great post, thanks.

  2. March 9, 2009 8:27 am

    Awesomely eclectic list! His blog looks interesting too. You’ve definitely gotten me way more interested in racing, Sarah.

    • March 17, 2009 11:33 am

      SO glad to hear it! Yeah, I really like Kevin’s list. You can get lost in the blog- great stuff.

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