Thursday, January 29, 2009

Organize Your Rock Collection

On the last post I told you how today's music rocks. On this post we'll talk about how to organize your rock collection.

I've finally decided to re-organize my Rock n Roll collection chronologically. I decided on Chronology only because I like having access to certain musical eras, and for me it just makes sense, although organizing your Rock Collection Alphabetically makes sense too.

Before taking on the task of organizing, my CD collection was just a mess, with no specific method to my madness, individual bands mixed up all over the place. Elvis was schmoozing with STP and Led Zeppelin with Neil Young, it was a mess.

Organizing a Rock Collection isn't as simple as it first seems. First, I realized that my rock collection was never going to be in exact chronological order, because I wanted CD's of the same bands together. This meant that I needed to organize the hundreds of disks into their distinct bands first, organized those chronologically, until each and every band was organized, and then I needed to figure out how to put them all together. This really is a task in patience that only a Zen Master could appreciate.

If you are thinking about organizing your rock collection, here are a few tips that I learned through my own mistakes and frustration. First, do yourself a favor and make a list of all of the disks that you've got, and organize them on your computer first. Originally I surfed the web for a while looking for software that would help in organizing my CD collection and then gave up after finding no free software, I'm too cheap to spend money on software that I'll only use a few times.
After half/hour searching for software, I decided to do it manually. If you've got any suggestions on some sort of CD cataloging software, please let me know, I would love to hear about it.

Anyway, I finally got out my trusted Excel spreadsheet and started plugging away, typing each and every album that I had, and after the first hour I was pretty much ready to pull my hair out from the roots, what was I thinking? The worse part was knowing that I still needed to pull up all of each release date for every CD and this is no fun, man, absolutely no fun. My Rock Collection was becoming a mind numbing monster. But I persevered and I'm glad that I did.

After documenting every CD I owned, and organizing in on the spreadsheet, the rest was easy. It was just a matter of following the spreadsheet and putting things in order. Now I look at my Rock Collection and smile, I'm very proud of this, and best of all, everything is within easy grasp. I no longer have to fiddle around my vast CD Collection to find what I'm looking for. One thing I need to get is dividers like the ones you see in the image above, other than that it's perfect. I highly recommend that everyone organize their Rock Collection, you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rock Collection: Today's Music Rocks

On the last post I told you about Pink Floyd's album Atom Hear Mother. Today, I'll talk about how Today's Music Rocks.

When I look at my Rock Collection, I can't help but smile. There is just so much life stored on those CDs on the wall of my Rock Collection and it spans years and years of my life. I can trace different stages of my life, good times and bad, girlfriends and old friends on these disks. That's really what music means to me, the appreciation of life and how music fits in. It's this reason that I don't rank one album, or Music Artist or Genre above another. I think it's foolish to think that I've got the all the answers, and that the music that I enjoy is better than someone else's, it's not. My rock collection is my own and it represents who I am as a person.

Now that said, I had a friendly debate with a friend the other day. Like me, this friend loves Rock and Roll, probably more than I. As often happens with a couple of brews, we got on to reminiscing about the good ole days, listening to Zeppelin or the Stones and as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, Danny (My friend) said, "They don't make music like that anymore."

I agreed, they don't make music like that anymore, but of course that's not what he meant. He was obviously stating that the music of 20 -50 years ago has more value than today's music, and that is where I disagreed. My response was something like "I agree that the music was great, but there's a lot of good music today."

O.K. it's fair to say that neither of us won that argument, but my point is that we often get hooked into a stage in our lives where music meant the most to us, and then proceed to defend that music until our dying day. I personally think this is a wrong approach, because there is just as much great music today as there was 20 + years ago.

As I look at my rock collection and think about great bands like Queen, or Guns & Roses or The Beatles, I think that although these bands existed years apart, they still hooked me in. So I began to think about what it was about the CDs in my Rock Collection that made me a fan. Invariably it always came down to the melody. What I mean by this is that although a great guitar hook or Piano intro or solid drumming or bass runs are awesome, it still all comes down to the melody. And it's not always important what the artist is saying, they often said nothing and I still enjoyed the music. And it is in this way that music can remain appreciated and progressive.

The problem with a tune is that eventually, it becomes repeated and re-used, sampled, covered, copied to the point that music of old has now turned into new music that has somehow been repackaged and re-engineered. That said, I still believe that mass-marketed bubble-gum music aside, there are some great bands today that really are worth listening, whether it be songs by Incubus, Green Day, The Killers, Metric or the Chili Peppers and so on, or less known artists like Calexico, Muse or Annie etc. These bands have all got great music to offer and worth listening to.

The next time you take your Floyd, Zeppelin, Stones or AC/DC from your Rock Collection and put it in your CD Player, perhaps you should put that CD back and explore lesser known artists, you'll be surprised at how much good music there is out there.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My Rock Collection: Old Floyd

On the last post I told you about the great albums in my rock collection. Today, we'll talk about Pink floyd's Atom Heart Mother.

The other day I dug deep into my Rock Collection and found a CD that I had not played in years, it's an old Pink Floyd album called Atom Heart Mother. Featuring the back side of a cow on the cover, with head turned, looking back at you, the CD promises to be different. Apparently, the image of the cow was photographed by Storm Thorgerson, same guy who designed the Dark Side Of The Moon Cover. Storm was inspired by Andy Warhol's famous "cow-wallpaper".

Atom Heart Mother was Pink Floyd's continued exploration of progressive rock and included many interesting tunes, to say the least. Included are some old favorites like "Breast Milky" and "Funky Dung". Like Dark Side Of The Moon, Atom Heart Mother was engineered by Legendary Rock musician/producer Alan Parsons, but unlike Dark Side Of The Moon, Atom Heart was less of a concept album than what appears to be a progressive rock exploration.

There have always been mixed reviews of this album, and except for the flip-side which features more digestible Floyd like Fat Old Sun and Summer 68, side A is a Brass and Choir orgy with what appears to be occasional Digital Cow flatulence (That's the best explanation that I can think of) and other rhythmic digressions.

Atom Heart Mother seems to be more closely related to the album Ummagumma, which was also very much a psychedelic musical exploration. Unlike Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother seemed to be barely keeping its head above the water. It definitely did not have that dark, morose feel that Ummagumma did. That said, it was an interesting musical direction for Pink Floyd to have taken, and I'm glad for albums like this, that although not great are as far from the carefully contrived and mass marketed/ predictable pop music that seems to have taken over the world. It sits proudly in my rock collection.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My Rock Collection

In the last post on You Rock Collection, I told you a little about the history of Rock & Roll. Although I'm not a music history teacher, I felt that it was important to give you a little background on the History of Rock.

Today's post on You Rock Collection promises to be a little less educational, but just as serious. I wanted to tell you my all time favorite Rock and Roll albums. This is not an easy task because there are just so many great albums and rock bands past and present, where do you start? I'll start at the beginning.

Before I begin, I feel that it's important to lay down a few rules on my rock collection. Basically, to keep the list short, I will only choose one album per band. In this way, It will make the list easier to read and much smaller than it would be otherwise. The list is not in order and therefore no one album takes precedence over another, although we've all got our favorites and this is a personal thing. The list is not an end all and say all, and I'm sure I've missed many great bands, so feel free to remind me and I'll put it on the list. Lastly, some of the albums here stray a little from what we can classify as Rock, but I just couldn't resist. So here goes my Rock Collection.

White Album, The Beatles
Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys
Highway 61 Revisited, Bob Dylan
London Calling, The Clash
The Sun Sessions, Elvis Presley
Are You Experienced?, The Jimi Hendrix Experience
In Utero, Nirvana
Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen
The Great Twenty-Eight, Chuck Berry
Live at the Apollo (1963), James Brown
Rumours, Fleetwood Mac
The Joshua Tree, U2
Who's Next, The Who
Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin
Ramones, Ramones
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, David Bowie
Hotel California, The Eagles
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, The Sex Pistols
The Doors, The Doors
The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd
The Band, The Band
Appetite for Destruction, Guns n' Roses
Moondance, Van Morrison
After the Gold Rush, Neil Young
Back in Black, AC/DC
Imagine, John Lennon
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, Elton John
20 Golden Greats, Buddy Holly
Green River, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Disraeli Gears, Cream
Paranoid, Black Sabbath
The Bends, Radiohead
Pretenders, The Pretenders
Closer, Joy Division
My Aim Is True, Elvis Costello
Ten, Pearl Jam
Buffalo Springfield Again, Buffalo Springfield
New York Dolls, New York Dolls
The Queen Is Dead, The Smiths
A Night at the Opera, Queen
Automatic for the People, R.E.M.
Some Girls,The Rolling Stones
Crosby Stills and Nash, Crosby Stills and Nash
The Cars, The Cars
Call Me, Al Green
Weezer (Blue Album), Weezer
Odelay, Beck
Avalon, Roxy Music
Nothing's Shocking, Jane's Addiction
BloodSugarSexMagik, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Rock Steady, No Doubt
Ghost in the Machine, The Police
Boys Don't Cry, The Cure
Superunknown, Soundgarden
Aqualung, Jethro Tull
Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads
Brothers in Arms, Dire Straits
Siamese Dream, The Smashing Pumpkins
Pyromania, Def Leppard
Elephant, The White Stripes
Eliminator, ZZ Top
Van Halen , Van Halen
Band on the Run, Wings
Fly Like an Eagle, Steve Miller Band
Destroyer, Kiss

I hope you enjoyed my Rock Collection. Feel free to tell me your favoriate album and i'll add it to the list.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Rock And Roll History

My Rock collection contains a number of artists spanning different eras in Rock Music. While looking at my Rock Collection one day, I asked myself, 'How does this music all fit together?' and then I created this blog to try to understand it.

Although this blog isn't intended to be a historical lesson of Rock & Roll, I think it's important to summarize Rock and Roll in a historical context. After all, music is all about history, how it affects history and how history affects it.

Oddly enough, there is still debate on the origins of Rock & Roll and depending on who you speak with you may get a different response. It's generally accepted that Rock And Roll's roots come from an infusion of so-called black and white music. Specifically, Blues, Jazz, Boogie Woogie with Rockabilly, Western Swing, Bluegrass & Honky Tonk. Adding to the flavor of all these music genres we can also add Folk, Gospel and Big Band into the mix. The problem with the above idea is that it doesn't really tell us what the Eureka moment was that created Rock & Roll, or perhaps it's to vague and expectation. Also, since the above music genres are offspring of other music genres the true heart of Rock & Roll becomes a little less obvious. Since this isn't an attempt at locating the exact origins of Rock & Roll, and I'm not a music historian, I will add my own viewpoint on the history of Rock & Roll. For me, Rock as it was known back in the 195o's comes from the Blues and Country.

Digressing, it is important that the term Rock & Roll not be confused with the sound of Rock & Roll. The earliest recorded use of the term Rock & Roll can be heard on a spiritual recording "The Camp Meeting Jubilee", by an unnamed vocal "quartet, "We've been rocking and rolling in your arms / Rocking and rolling in your arms / In the arms of Moses". Clearly not Rock & Roll music as we understand it. Also, the term Rock and Roll has nautical origins and was apparently used by 'sailors to denote the side-to-side and forward-and-backward motion of ships on the ocean'.

That said, it is widely accepted that the first Rock & Roll album can be traced to Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris 1948 Rock & Blues cover of blues musician Roy James Brown's 1947 "Good Rocking Tonight".

Although Roy James Brown was a blues musician, he also influenced by music that was popular in his day, including music by Bing Crosby of all people.

The song "Good Rocking Tonight" had a profound impact on the King Elvis Presley who covered it in his 1954 Album, and Elvis added his own unique blend to the song, taking it fully into the spectrum of 'White Society'.

The point is that Rock & Roll is probably the first popular multi-racial music genre in the United States to become widely embraced and staking a lasting foothold in the musical landscape. This is very important because it shows that Rock & Roll was the music of the people, for the people. Like the socialist movement in Europe earlier in the century, Rock & Roll affected people in a revolutionary new way due to its non-exclusivity.

So, as I gaze at the led Zeppelins and Pink Floyd's and Beatles CDs on the shelf, I have grown to appreciate my Rock Collection outside of the music itself. To me this is so because the concept of Rock & Roll is a living journal of human growth and experience. It also shows us that music is a moving entity, not a motionless bog, but a raging river that gathers content from surprising sources. Rock & Roll stands out prominently because it embodies this essence and is less concerned with conformity than feeling. In this way, the name Rock & Roll, with it's nautical roots is a very appropriate name for this genre of music.

Lastly, this blog isn't law, meaning that if you object to the content or feel that the information needs to be updated let me know. After all, Rock & Roll is all about movement and not a stagnating energy. I hope you enjoyed the start to You Rock Collection.

Monday, January 5, 2009

You Rock Collection

This blog is dedicated to my love for rock music, it's a Rock Collection. It is by no means a professional opinion but a personal one, I love Rock & Roll. I am not a music critic, but a music lover and I provide my sincere opinions on music that feels good to me. This isn't a blog based on music appreciation either, in fact I am not going to give you any new insight that you have probably already figured out for yourself, but that doesn't mean that there aren't things that I can tell you that are meaningful, all exposed in You Rock Collection. This blog isn't about the history or music, hidden meanings of music, music throughout the world although I may add commentary on everyone of these topics mentioned.

In essence, this blog is a personal view of music. I intend to give you a little insight into which music I think is cool and which isn't, but this is just opinion and I'm sure there will always be people who disagree with me and that's cool too. After all, music affects each one of us in a special, unique way that is meaningful to each one of us. We cannot and should not expect that everyone feels the same about rock music as you or I do.

what I will be discussing is music that primarily ranges from the 60's music scene through progressive and glam rock of the 70's, punk and new wave music of the late 70's and 80's, hair-bands, glam-bands, metal, grunge, and everything Rock and Roll. Will I accomplish this massive undertaking, I don't really expect to, and that really isn't the point. You will find that my posts may jump a few years or a few decades and that's cool. You see, this isn't about giving you a concise insight into Rock, but a personal journey through my love for Rock and Roll.

So sit back and get comfortable, The Rock Collection Blog is now on the Air.

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