Rolling Stone Top 500: #s 465-461

465) King Sunny Ade, The Best of the Classic Years

There are more compilations showing up on this list than I expected. This is a greatest hits collection from Nigerian juju master King Sunny Ade and it is a fantastic collection. This is a great summer chilling on the backporch album. The music is smooth and fun and gives off a great vibe. It is impossible not to smile all the way through this one.

If you listen to one song: Oro Towo Baseti

Bonus (if you are feeling adventurous): Listen to the brilliant, 18-minute, “Synchro System”

464) The Isley Brothers, 3×3

This is the album where the Isley Brothers trio expanded to 6 members. The additional musicians helped propel them into an era of classic funk, soul, and R&B. This is a great album, full of the smooth vocals and funktastic instrumentation that is a signature of the legendary band.

If you listen to one song: That Lady, pts 1 and 2

463) Laura Nyo, Eli and The Thirteenth Confession

This is a strange album. Part pop, part soul, part singer-songwriter. Laura Nyo’s voice is intriguing. She has nice pitch, but she is given to diva-esque flourishes that she just can’t quite pull off. There were tracks that I enjoyed here, but there were also several times that I wanted to reach for the skip button.

If you listen to one song: Stoned Soul Picnic

462) The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Gilded Palace of Sin

This is the debut album from this outfit and it is really damn good. This is a bonafide country rock classic. Gram Parsons is a stellar songwriter and he had a hand in writing almost every track on the album. Everyone in the band plays brilliantly, particularly the steel guitar that runs through the background of every song. This album’s influence can still be seen in the Alt-Country movement and especially in the work of Steve Earle and Dwight Yoakum.

If you listen to one song: Dark End of the Street

461) Bon Iver, For Emma Forever Ago

This has been one of my favorite albums since I first heard it 15 years ago. It is a beautiful piece of indie-folk put together while singer Justin Vernon isolated himself in his father’s hunting cabin. The instrumentation is spare but powerful and Vernon’s falsetto drifts across the soundscape beautifully. Very few albums capture loneliness and isolation as well as this one does.

If you listen to one song: Skinny Love

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