THE CORNERSTONE COLLECTION (2011): The 101 building blocks of any serious CD collection

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THE CORNERSTONE COLLECTION (2011): The 101 building blocks of any serious CD collection

In early 2011 I was invited by JB HiFi to collate -- for a giveaway booklet through their New Zealand stores -- the 101 albums I thought which should be in any serious music collection. That was the start and end of their input, they left me alone to deliver what I considered cornerstone albums ofr a broad-based collection.

They also posted the selection on-line for comment and asked readers what albums should have ben included. The discussion was interesting. After a few weeks I recall posting that if you picked five death metal or reggae albums you hadn't quite got the idea.

I should add that some of what follows are not to my taste exactly, but I do have them at home and do think they are important for the reasons I outline. I tried to be genre inclusive, but frankly reggae and rap demand complete collections of their own. I am currently working ona more alternative and Elsewhere selection.

As you may see from thr introductory page, I set myself a specific brief, and I included separate pages on what I called Game Changing albums. There are New Zealand artists included, but I also added in a couple of separate pages about key New Zealand music. Since publication many other equally useful compilations have emerged.

This booklet also formed the basis of an Australian edition (105 albums), and Split Enz' True Colours made it into their pages. (I had that, but Mental Notes also.)

It is loosely chronological, and after each album -- which I decided should also be readily available -- I include a Next, which are pointers as to where you might go if that one sparked your interest.

There are a couple of spelling mistakes, and for them I blame no one but myself.

Times change quickly in popular culture and if I were to do this today then obviously Taylor Swift's Red, for example, would have been included. (But what would have been bumped to fit it, and other recent albums, in?) 

Enough. On with the show. (And of course that competition mentioned on the pages is long finished!)

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Your Comments

Relic - Jul 6, 2014

A brave effort entering the list stakes. Digital music has encouraged people to keep up, but has also led to “forget about the last one…” track jumping; so complete albums are not listened to much anymore . CDs started this with artists falling into the 14 or 16 song trap when say 9 might have done. Graham’s list shows sometimes ‘warhorses’ are actually good as well as familiar. GRAHAM REPLIES: Yes, maybe even the idea of a CD collection is so old fashioned now as to be irrelevant. Consider these albums then as starters on Spotify?

Graham - Jul 7, 2014

Lose Tusk and Achtung Baby. Far too many possibilities for inclusion - however, why not have one by Fela Kuti and Can's 'Tago Mago'? GRAHAM REPLIES: Interesting choices for inclusion. I have a Fela album (cheating, it's the Best Best compilation) and Can -- both longtime Essential Elsewhere albums -- in my forthcoming left-field version. 

Steven J. Athanas - Jul 8, 2014

Graham, hope this e-pistle finds you well. There are few on your list that I pro'ly would have a hard time lis'nin' all the way through, but I would definitely do away with any Neil Diamond, and insert the good Captain's Trout Mask Replica. Seems a no-brainer to me. And (from the list) thanks for turnin' me on to Dave Dobbyn! GRAHAM REPLIES: Fair call. And people wouldn't have a hard time with the Captain Beefheart? Ho ho ho. (He appears in my forthcoming more left-field list and that's been an Essential Elsewhere album for a long time.)

Relic - Jul 8, 2014

One for one eh. Ok sticking to the JB Hifi brief; Jeff Buckley–Grace (it’s no Greetings From LA and why should it be?) swapped for Steely Dan – Aja. LA rock sound extruded into a billet strength jazz machine by the obsessive ’Dan. Listen loud for production detail. GRAHAM REPLIES: Interesting swap. I have a Dan album in my forthcoming list, not Aja though. We can argue about that later!

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