Every fall, I pull out the old perfessor hat and fire up a class in rock music nostalgia on behalf of continuing education. It’s time for me to wave that flag and plug this year’s class and see if anybody gives a flying fig at a rolling donut!
This autumn’s class will be six weeks, focusing on six of the more notable and influential records in rock history (meaning mainly stuff that baby boomers still love!). Each week, we’ll review and discuss an album that time now assures us is a masterpiece (according to, once again, baby boomers). Here’s the list as it reads in the recent Truckee Meadows Continuing Education catalog:
The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper
The Stones: Beggar’s Banquet
The Doors: L.A. Woman
The Who: Sell Out
The Dead: American Beauty
Joni Mitchell: For The Roses
Nice list. But I can tell you already, I’m gonna mess with it. For one, I’m a bit Peppered out. Fabulous record, totally all-time super heavy, no doubt, but we’ve done it to death in my previous classes. You know what will be a good one instead? The greatest of all Beatle solo albums, John’s first, The Plastic Ono Band. I mean, a record that has the songs “God,” “Mother”, and “I Found Out” has got to still have some heft to it, right?
In the case of the Dead, 1970 was a really important year for two reasons. Not just because of American Beauty, the album that gave us “Ripple” and “Truckin’,” but also because of Workingman’s Dead, the other classic that significant year, which includes “Casey Jones” and “Uncle John’s Band.” With these two discs, The Dead made a huge and successful transition from psychedelic juggernaut to quality songwriting combo. So we better check out both, not just Beauty.
I might have to jettison either the Who or Joni to make way for a record that I’ve recently been reminded of, one that deserves a bit of acclaim. That’s the utterly amazing, stupefying, and thoroughly excessive debut album of King Crimson, called In The Court of the Crimson King. With this remarkable record from October of ’69 (an album Pete Townshend himself called “an uncanny masterpiece”), we have a record that almost single-handedly launches the significant side branch on the Tree of Rock that became known as progressive rock. It also, notably enough, contains the very audible seeds of both punk and jazz rock. Seriously.
So it’s $59, it will be up at TMCC in a nice theater-style room, and first night is Oct. 10. Call 829-9010 for more.