The good news was I got listen to my Ringo Starr Christmas album. I was worried it was too badly scratched but it just needed a massive cleaning. Yay!
I received a lot of CDs this year. From my parents, I received Kelly Clarkson's new album, My December. She's at the same place with her third album that Sheryl Crow was with her first. What I mean is Kelly wrote all the songs with the help of one to three other people. (Read the liner notes of Tuesday Night Music Club.) If this holds true, Kelly's sixth album should be pre-ordered now... Clive Davis didn't want this album to see the light of day. Why? While I don't like it as much as "Breakaway," it's very good indeed. I've only listened to it a couple times which is not enough time really like anything (Of course, there are exceptions in either direction.) so this may change.
From my aunt and uncle I received Raising Sand from Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. When I had heard of this album, I was very skeptical but kind of curious. This is very good. While it's very country, you can here strong blues and folk influences. If anything, it's kind of Dylan-esque in this way without actually covering any of his songs. (Two Gene Clark, of the Byrds, songs are included, however.)
My cousin/roommate gave me Playback, the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers box set put out in the early 90's. It's a good mix. There are hits, some of which aren't on the actual "Greatest Hits" album, and alot of B-sides. The best stuff, however was things just not released such as the Heartbreaker version of "Stop Dragging My Heart Around" or the demo of "The Apartment Song" with Stevie Nicks. The best track found on this six-disc set is "Waiting for Tonight" with all four Bangles singing back-up. I would call that the ultimate '80's anthem up there with "Do They Know It's Christmas" but wasn't released at the time. WTF?
My uncle gave me a box set of CDs he'd want with him "on a desert island." He introduced me to The Pretty Things over Thanksgiving. SF Sorrow is actually the first rock opera before Tommy. They're an interesting combination of he Beatles and Pink Floyd. I was also given their album Parachute which is, in my opinion the better of the two. It totally rocks, actually.
Also included in the set was the double album Kink Kronikles which I think is a good starting point to start my Kink "kollection" as it's not a greatest hit collection but just a general compilation for no apparent purpose. It does have "Lola" and "Sunny Afternoon" but the best song is "God's Children."
Before Rod Stewart and Ron Wood joined the Faces, they were known as the Small Faces and put out an album entitled Ogden's Nut Gone Flake. This will need another listen but my initial impression is that it's what it would song like if Monty Python made a rock opera. It's quite fascinating.
I also received another Tyrannosaurus Rex album: Unicorn. First listen was good but this also needs another listen or two before I can give you a legitimate opinion.
Over my "vacation" I also watched two music countdowns. I didn't watch much of either but I will tell you that I agreed with The 100 Greatest Duets on CMT more than The 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's on VH-1 particularly with the number one song. "Islands in the Stream" versus U2's "One." Hello? Yes, "One" was big but it wasn't as big as Dolly and Kenny, m'kay? It's debatable if that was even the biggest song of the decade... Two more thoughts on the Duets, it seemed Willy Nelson, Alison Krauss and Emmy Lou Harris appeared a lot on this list but never together. I think this should be remedied for next time. Also, is "Crying" by Roy Orbison and k.d. lang a country song? I'm not sure that was a criteria but even "Picture" was...