A couple of months ago i sent out a challenge to a number of rock sites to write down their list of top "Guilty Pleasures", ie" songs they are embarrassed to say they love; here's another one.
List yout top ten albums which are not rock. Call it a test of how purist you are in terms of your tastes, an opportunity for your readers to see your "other side", coming out of the closet.
Aretha Franklin: Amazing Grace
This is one of say ten albums that can bring me to tears; "Wholly Holy", "Mary Don't You Weep", it's enough to give you religion, the passion, the sheer magnitude of her voice makes Ronnie James Dio sound like George Formby
Keith Jarrett The Koln Concert
An album of solo piano improvisation; when I say improvisation I mean no prior ideas, completely made up on the spot. It's hard to believe that he comes up with music of such beauty, jazz, soul, funk all blended into pieces that send you into a trance
Matisyahu: Live at Stubb's
An orthodox jew doing reggae; think about it. Rastafarianism and the Old Testament are not that far removed, this is an incredible live album
4. Bossa Nova
Stan Getz/Joao Gilbeto: Getz/Gilberto
This album set off the bossa nova craze in the early 60's ("Girl From Ipanema"); Lounge music can be good if you let it be !
5. UK Garage
Kano: Home Sweet Home
British hip-hop without all the stupid US gangsta poses; it's about everyday life, the rapping is clever, one song is even set to Black Sabbath for God's sake !
Eric Dolphy at the 5-Spot
This jazz from the mid-60's, hard bop that teeters on free-jazz; to me it's pretty similar to Hendrix on Band of Gypsies, as if John Coltrane's Afro-Blue
Souad Massi: Deb
She is an Algerian recording in the musical melting pot that is Paris; this is the Joni Mitchell of Arabic music......... but richer
This album came out recently, it's all clicks and beats, the music behind Radiohead and Bjork, goes directly to your neurons
Anything by St Germaine
Wow, St Germaine are the epitomy of cool, the kind of music you would play in your own cafe if you had one; laid back but funky, adolescent music for adults
Arvo Part: Arbos
Minimalist modern composer who plays music like it's from medeival times. Goes straight to the heart, even if you don't understand it.
Image: Courtesy New Jazz