on 24 May 2010
What is the best album ever made?
There is no such thing.
Seriously - how can there be a best ever album? It doesn't make sense. How can you quantify music (apart from in sales - in 'units' [urgh!])? How can the artful be rendered so artless? Yes, yes, yes these lists are fun, and yes they make for debate - but debate about what? Usually - because pop 'n' rock has a substantial body of work now - it's a debate about how one fairly average best selling album by a serious bunch of rock artists is better than another similar album.
Albums that are ALWAYS mentioned in such lists: 'Pet sounds' (fair enough - but I know it now, thanks) - 'Sgt Pepper' (not even the best Beatles record) - 'vu - banana album' (see 'pet sounds' comment, but ammend with - aye, but there was only mr peel who cared at the time).
Albums that HAVE been mentioned - 'Aja' (honestly, I'm not making this up), 'ok computer' (good voice, maybe two good songs, boring everything else), 'Astral weeks' (paint dryingly dull)
Albums that are NEVER mentioned: 'The Payback' (JB), 'Get up with it' (Miles), 'Diana' (ross) and now, ladies and gentlemen, another to correct the all-time list, 'Mixed with love'.
Apart from the 6 tracks from an album called 'Disco madness', these tracks are from 12" singles and the odd album track. They make for a surpisingly cohesive collection. They show, in fact, that Walter Gibbons was a genius.
I said 'genius'.
For the beats he innovates, for the dub inflexions, for the re-edits and deconstructions, for the fun, for the inventiveness. That he was working with some of the best singers and artists (Loleatta Holloway) was his good fortune - that they were working with Mr Gibbons was their blessing.
Even when given a half-arsed track, the man spins gold. The euro-novelty nonsense of Cellophane sudenly becomes future house trance classics - TWICE - and this is from 1979!! The silly camp country covers of 'Stand by your man' & 'Your cheatin' heart' become epic, touching, spell-binding.
Every trick in dance over the last 25-30 years can be traced back to these tracks. How on earth he's slipped through the net I don't know. Perhaps because of prejudice - after all, disco sucks.
Disco sucks because it was gay.
Sorry, I forgot.
Wasn't rock supposed to do away with all that? Wasn't CSNY, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi et al, supposed to bring us all together?
Disco, sir, did all the things that rock was supposed to do but DIDN'T. Disco brought blacks, whites, Puerto Ricans, gays and straights together to dance, have good times and listen to some fine mind-blowing music.
None of which has ever been bettered than here. More consistent than Moroder/Summer, less uniform than Philladelphia, more inventive than Salsoul's other supposedly weird compilation 'Disco trance and cosmic flavas', this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the greatest records ever made. If such things exist, which, of course, they don't.
But just in case they DO, try this:
The best record ever made.