From 2005-2013 and 2014-2021, I punctuated each year with an ever increasingly complex Best of List. In 2020 I returned to weekly missives with FTCH. I’m humbled by my faithful readers who have stuck with me week after week. The previous two weeks I have made lists of my favorite movie and television shows. The final summary of my 2022 experience is much like me – all over the proverbial board. These are all the things I measured that just don’t fit in the previous categories. Grab a snack, get comfortable because this is a long one.
BEST OF THE REST 2022
2022 BY THE NUMBERS
- 4,838,050 steps taken this year (2343 miles) (78 miles less than 2021)
- 361 days walking over 5 miles per day in 2022 (COVID kicked my butt for four days)
BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2022
After almost a decade of not reaching my yearly goal of 25 books per year – I’m on a run of seven straight years of beating the goal. This year’s 37 books read were led by my continued Stephen King project that is finished now except for one book of short stories. I’ll be able to spend 2023 pecking away at some of the less intensive author and series projects that I’ve started.
1. Stephen King – The Outsider (2018): I had watched the television series first. I was taken by surprise at how much more I enjoyed the book and the exploration of what happens when the facts don’t match what your eyes have seen. How does evil enter your community looking comfortably familiar but behind the surface is something you don’t know. This book needs an HBO do-over.
2. Elmore Leonard – The Moonshine War (1969): Set during Prohibition, this Leonard novel combines the best parts of his western and his crime novels. I really enjoyed this novel, knowing very little about it before I started it. Son Martin is one of his iconic characters.
3. Stephen King / Owen King – Sleeping Beauties (2017): Writing with his son, Owen, Stephen King has fun exploring themes that he has used across previous titles and allowing his son to have a crack at them. It has the most in common with Under the Dome but throws in 40 years of influences too. I was surprised with how much this entertained me.
4. Carl Hiassen – Double Whammy (1987): This book introduced me to the character of Skink. But there are so many twists and turns that define what I’ve come to embrace as Hisassen’s style. A pleasurable story that doesn’t need to be over analyzed, just enjoyed.
5. Stephen King – Billy Summers (2021): King goes almost straight crime novel. Billy is an ex-Marine sniper who returns home to use his skills as a hit man. The book is divided into two pretty distinct stories with the thread of his past in Iraq to draw it all together. The man’s writing is better in this genre recently than in Horror.
6. Mark Twain – The Prince and the Pauper (1882): I finally read this book in full this year. It was another fun experience. I was less impressed with his writing style here than in the Huck Finn books but some of his observations were spot on and hilarious.
7. Stephen King – The Institute (2019): The idea of children fighting against Evil with a capital “E” is nothing new to King. It’s like the children of previous novels are all teamed up now to fight against the Institute. I enjoyed the ride here but I would have like some more original ideas from the mind of King.
8. Lars Kepler – The Hypnotist (2011): The introduction to Detective Joona Linna was really fun. He’s got the cool demeanor of an Agatha Christie detective. The story was taut and direct despite some red herrings along the way. I enjoyed trying to solve it as I read along. I’m hoping to get the energy to read another book in this series.
9. Neal Stephenson – Snow Crash (1992): Months on since I read this earlier this year, I think I’ve grown to appreciate it more. Definitely had moments of coming to a complete halt to talk about religion, philosophy, and technology. At the heart is a science fiction look at the near future that 30 years on still has the ability to make me stop after a chapter and just think about what I just read.
10. Chuck Klosterman – The Nineties: A Book (2022): It’s funny that I was intrigued but not impressed with the book. And yet it served as a jumping off point to many of the films, documentaries, and music that I listened to this year. I don’t feel that Klosterman broke any new ground, as someone myself who lived through the decade. What he did was bring back to mind some of the connections that I had forgotten and it is a good base for someone to go explore some of the source materials that he mentions.
WORST PROJECT PROGRESS OF 2022
Over the years, projects come and go. For every project that you see play out on Instagram or Facebook, there are at least a couple that either die on the vine or just don’t get off the ground. Some are abandoned for good and others are waiting in the wings to really get their due. Here are a few of the ones that I’m not willing to bury just yet.
- CLINT EASTWOOD PROJECT (2022): I was looking to take a year away from the director projects this year and attack an actor project. Clint Eastwood was where I landed after taking a look around for an actor that straddled the Old Hollywood and New Hollywood. He has worked in almost every genre and slipped back and forth between acting, producing, and directing. After all of that, I only made it through his first seven pictures. I’ll pick up the pace this year.
2. FOOD TRUCK PROJECT (2022): I was so excited for this project. Things were opening back up again and there were more activities in my area that would bring out the food trucks. Things just seemed to conspire against me along the way. The worst being that I caught COVID the weekend of the huge Food Truck Festival here in Texas and missed my chance at some of the best in the nation. My plan of 50 trucks stalled out at 20 but I plan to finish these before I put it to bed.
3. JOHN FORD PROJECT (2021): I’m still dedicated to getting some momentum into this project. I remain confident that this is a worthy project to accompany the Hitchcock and Spielberg Projects. After two years, I’m still on twelve films. I hope to double that this year.
4. ANGEL/BUFFY PROJECT (XXX): I know I started this at some point about 2007 and I wasn’t calling things like this “projects” back then. I like the shows and yet you might question my dedication since I’m still on Season One of Angel and Season Five of Buffy.
5. PUNK PROJECT (2021): I went from June 1977 to July 1978 this year. It has been a slow go but mostly because I am really enjoying it and take my time over each entry. I thought this would finish in 2023 but I foresee another couple years at this point.
BEST FOOD TRUCKS OF 2022
This project was affected by COVID, as described above, in a way that just sapped the life out of the project. I always discover some unique things about the object of my projects. My definition of a “food truck” had to be flexible. I went into it thinking that they had to be a self-contained truck that was able to travel from location to location. I was going to avoid ones that were tied to physical locations. I learned to accept trucks, trailers, and carts, and ones affiliated and unaffiliated. I’m not done with this project by any means.
1. COUSIN’S MAINE LOBSTER (Lobster Tacos) (April): The least surprising result of this year was that tacos are the best food truck item. I was skeptical of a Maine-named truck in the heart of Texas. These were fresh, tasty, and about the best lobster taco that I can imagine this side of Maine.
2. GRILLAS GRUB (Brilla Tacos / Voo-Doo Fries) (May): I wasn’t clear as to what a brilla taco was before this visit other than people are high on them. I can see why. It was like a taco served in a shell that had the cheese grilled on the outside of the shell. The tacos and the fries were both great and I need to find this truck around town again soon.
3. DEGENHARDT’S BRAT HAUS (Beer Brat / Seasoned Fries) (January): The first truck of the year was one of the best. Mostly it was great because we just don’t get good brats around here. These were authentic and the toppings were just right on a beautiful January day.
4. CACTUS CAFE (Spicy Shrimp Tacos) (January): These were more spicy than I expected. But in a good way. For some reason, seafood tacos from food trucks have proven to be more fresh than ones I get in restaurants.
5. ON THE HOOK (Fish and Chips) (July): I don’t usually trust fish and chips in Texas. But much like the Maine Lobster, this had authentic flavor and was a pleasant surprise.
6. CARIBBEAN CAJUN (Jerk Shrimp Tacos / Jerk Chicken Nachos) (October): I did not expect to find a Caribbean and Cajun combination truck. There was a decent amount of heat to both of these dishes but mostly it was a mouthful of spices and juicy meat. I would love to try all the items on their menu.
7. HOLY FRIJOLES (Fish Tacos / El Pastor Tacos) (December): Both options were lovely. It was a cold day and I ate them at home. I think they would have been even more highly ranked had I eaten them at the event.
8. BOARDWALK SHRIMP (Shrimp Scampi Roll) (October): It was a good roll but just lacking some more flavor to really put it over the top.
9. SMOKEY RAY’S BAR-B-QUE (Chopped Brisket / Sausage) (August): Both were excellent but the serving size was smaller than I expected. They serve daily in the back of a gas station in Dallas. It’s probably worth checking out.
10. KRAB KINGZ SEAFOOD (Shrimp Basket) (June): A huge serving of shrimp and veggies in the basket. They run a restaurant in town, so I almost didn’t want to count this one at the time. But the food was prepared in the truck so I gave them credit on that technicality.
BEST SNACKS OF 2022
I have always loved snacks. They have served as influence on my different projects. I love beverages, candy, cookies, and other salty goodies. These have become a fixture in my weekly FTCH blog. The more you snack, the more you go down the rabbit hole of snack culture. A few of the memorable ones this year. The 2021 Snack of the Year: Skittles Gummies.
- OREO BROOKIE-O: Original creme, brownie, and cookie dough filling. I was impressed with these to start but as the year progressed, these stood out as the one snack that I really wanted to put into my mouth again.
2. SNYDER’S SNYDERFEST BEER CHEESE PIECES: This was my favorite salty snack of the year. Too many salty snacks over cheese the flavor and it ends up masking the real flavors of the snack. These have a perfect mix of cheddar cheese and beer flavors that don’t cause the need for multiple hand washings at the end of the bag.
3. SKITTLES SOUR GUMMIES: These didn’t live up to the quality of the regular Skittles Gummies. The sour sugary coating left a little to be desired as a texture deal. But Skittles has the market cornered on great fruity flavors. I’m excited for future Skittles Gummy releases.
4. MTN DEW OVERDRIVE: Mountain Dew didn’t dial up as many new flavors as in 2021 but they are still far outpacing their rivals for for new additions to their portfolio. I found this on my road trips this year in the Casey’s Convenience Stores. It’s an awesome fruit punch flavor mixed with the normal Mountain Dew flavor. It’s now associated in my mind with some wonderful trips to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Chicago this past year.
5. GOLDFISH OLD BAY SEASONED CRACKERS: I didn’t think that Goldfish had much left in their bag after cheddar, pretzel and baked. They tend to concentrate on the shapes of their crackers more than the seasoning. The chance they took with Old Bay was a definite winner and made me wish I had some homemade clam chowder to add to them.
MOST MISSED OF 2022
1. PETER BOGDANOVICH (1939-2022): My appreciation for this storyteller has grown in the past few years. I have watched his films like The Last Picture Show over and over and thanks to TCM, I’ve been listening to him tell stories of Hollywood in the 1960s and 1970s. I will miss this link between Old and New Hollywood. And few people could wear an ascot like Peter.
2. BILL RUSSELL (1934-2022): He was slightly before my time of watching NBA basketball but I knew his legend. Who is ever going to equal 11 championships in 13 years? Seemed like a great dude too.
3. STEPHEN “tWitch” BOSS (1982-2022): Just a sad story in every way and a cautionary note about depression. He was my favorite male dancer to come out of So You Think You Can Dance and a really appealing personality.
4. JERRY LEE LEWIS (1935-2022): With the awesome nickname of “The Killer”, Lewis was an unabashed “wild man”. Hard to deny the importance of “Great Balls of Fire” and “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On” to Rock and Roll.
5. LORETTA LYNN (1932-2022): The “Coal Miner’s Daughter” had such an iconic voice. My favorites include “You Ain’t Woman Enough” and “One’s on the Way”.
6. VIN SCULLY (1927-2022): The voice of the Dodgers. I knew him from football as well as baseball growing up in the Midwest. When I moved to California, there was something very comforting to listen to him call games on weekday nights.
7. SIDNEY POITIER (1927-2022): Few actors define the word “bad ass” like Sidney. He was just top notch at everything he tried is hands at. My favorites are In The Heat of the Night (1967) and To Sir, With Love (1967).
8. QUEEN ELIZABETH II (1926-2022) and MIKHAIL GORBACHEV (1931-2022): Two complicated world leaders that saw their respective countries through some difficult times, albeit 34 years apart. I’ll never be able to think of the Queen and not my Nana. Gorbachev as the final leader of the Soviet Union should have been a part of the birth of a grand Democracy that for reasons just never was going to happen in 1991.
9. JEAN-LUC GODARD (1930-2022): It took me years to appreciate the French New Wave films. Godard was groundbreaking with Breathless (1960) and Contempt (1963).
10. GEORGE PEREZ (1954-2022): George might have been the first comic book artist that I was able to identify as my favorite and be able to notice his work in the wild. His work is iconic for the huge group shots.
HONORABLE MENTION: Not in the human realm, but 2022 will be known as the year that we lost the venerable Choco Taco, Chili’s Chicken Tenders, and the underrated Honest Tea (I was partial to the Green Dragon Tea flavor).
I’ve been disappointed with the Oscars’ version of “most missed” over the past few years. TCM has far surpassed them with selection and presentation. This will serve to cover so many that I didn’t get a chance to list. The Lord Huron song choice just adds to the tenderness of the tribute.
THINGS FROM 2022 THAT DIDN’T MAKE ANY OTHER LISTS
1. WEDDING / MOVING. My two oldest children crossed some milestones this past year and I was lucky enough to be present for both of them. Christian married Brianna, and I couldn’t feel luckier or happier to have her as a daughter-in-law. Dee moved away from Texas to Chicago and as bittersweet as it is not to have random Sunday lunch visits, I’m so proud of the independent streak in that woman. I’m not going to reminisce much over carrying boxes up all those flights of stairs in July, but I’m excited to watch her adventures.
2. RIGBY. She doesn’t get the three-peat as my #1 of the year but she knows where she is in my heart. Even at 5:00 a.m. in the morning when she gets so excited to start her day with a walk with Dad. I didn’t add another pet in 2022 but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one on the horizon in 2023.
3. MICHIGAN FOOTBALL. I realize that I’m spoiled. Beating Ohio State two years in a row was really all that I had the right to ask for. But watching the team progress from early September to late December has been such a pleasure. An undefeated regular season for only the second time in my active memory is something that will cement this team as one of my favorites. The season ended with more heartache but thanks to those who were there with me and my team throughout the season.
4. FROM THE COUCH HOLE. There were 49 regular episodes of FTCH this past year. Finding my muse to just be able to sit and write about the things I watch and eat has been a real comfort. Thanks to all the faithful readers who have stuck with me. I hope that I live up to your expectations this coming year.
5. BOARD GAMES / CARD GAMES. In a world where video games seem to dominate the landscape, I’m proud that my children love to play board games and card games. Our family get-togethers always have some classics like Bananagrams, Five Crowns, etc. and new ones that we’ve picked up like Mosaic and Chameleon.
6. CANDLES/SCENTS. Another year of discovering some wonderful scents thanks to the good folks at Yankee Candle and WoodWick. I am a big fan of the Target brand, Threshold brand, especially the Sandalwood and Smoke. I like having a seasonally appropriate scent in my living space while I write to you from the couch hole.
7. MONARCH BUTTERFLIES. After record low numbers in 2020, the butterflies made a huge comeback in 2022 with some of the highest counts in over five years. They are awe inspiring to see in huge groups and I’m always happy to see animal numbers going in the right direction.
8. THEATERS. They may be on the way to being dinosaurs in most communities. I don’t know what else they could do to make the experience any more enjoyable. You get your tickets ahead of time; know exactly what seat you will have; the seats are heated and recline; you can get a beer, wine, or mixed drink; and most of them are offering some incredible food options that rival local restaurants. They might be mostly empty but it’s not for lack of effort.
9. UNIVERSE BUILDING. With dozens of streaming services trying to offer original content, the easiest and quickest way to find an audience is name recognition. That can be an actor, director, or most often, a popular property. They aren’t all for everyone but if you are a big fan of a franchise, it feels like you have a way to constantly scratch that itch these days. This year has seen non-theatrical expansion of their stories for Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Marvel Universe, DC Universe, and even The Karate Kid.
10. INTERNATIONAL SPORTING EVENTS. Most importantly was the Bronze Medal performance by my niece, Madison Hubbell, in the Ice Dance event and her contribution to the Gold Medal performance in the Team Event at the Winter Olympics. I enjoy watching these worldwide events that happen every couple years. The Olympics always capture my attention and this year’s World Cup was lots of fun.
BEST PUNK ROCK HEARD IN 2022
I chose Punk Rock for a project topic in 2021 based upon my interest but lack of detailed knowledge of the subject. I’ve really been enjoying the research and listening angle of the project. So much so that I’m getting bogged down at times listening to the albums over and over. I’m in no hurry to finish up but this past year only covered June 1977 to July 1978. These are my favorites from that time period.
1. Modern Lovers – Rock ‘n’ Roll With The Modern Lovers (1977): Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers are essential to understanding the breadth of the punk genre. Punk is an attitude more than a sound and this is perfect illustration. This album is full of teen angst that marks a big part of the genre. There’s guitar talent here along with fun lyrics that make this indispensable. Start with “Ice Cream Man”.
2. The Sex Pistols – Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols (1977): Often ranked as the best punk album of all-time. It’s very important and certainly captures the sound and attitude of the time. There is no doubt that this album should be required for every 14-year-old adolescent. Start with “Anarchy In The U.K.”
3. The Ramones – Rocket To Russia (1977): A year after a tremendous debut album, the Ramones are releasing their third album already as they rocket to punk stardom. They are still pumping out some Rock n Roll Hall of Fame level material. They are leading the charge for the movement in America. Start with “Sheena Is A Punk Rocker”.
4. The Talking Heads – More Songs About Buildings And Food (1978): The second album from the Talking Heads is doing quite a bit of work here. They are laying the groundwork for what will become the New Wave sound and creating songs with a political bent that satirizes and criticizes current capitalism. The songs are deceptive with their simple lyrics and catchy tunes. They are the type of songs that age well with multiple listens. Start with “The Big Country”.
5. Kraftwerk – The Man-Machine (1978): I love the variety that I am encountering in this project. Kraftwerk is a great example. This is their seventh album and it plays a bit like a good science fiction novel. The lyrics speak to a idyllic future city world. The music is robotic but danceable. Their arty electronic sound is turning more to what we now think of as synth pop. No less punk than anything else on the list, this style will continue parallel to the more guitar rock sound for another decade.
BEST PODCASTS I HEARD IN 2022
I’m a wannabe in the podcast world. I want to be listening to more podcasts. There are some really interesting topics out there being covered in podcasts. I try to give them some time but with my year music projects and my Punk Project, I find my listening times dominated by music. Here’s a short list of the ones that have made repeat appearances on my streaming services recently.
- The Video Archives Podcast: Good or bad, it’s like hanging out in the video store with Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary in the ’80s. They do talk at 100 mph and there are plenty of side trips along the way. There’s an appreciation for films that don’t get attention anymore. I recently loved the breakdown of The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
2. Armchair Expert w/Dax Shepard: I’m a fan of his acting efforts and he has a very comfortable conversational style. I’d recommend starting with his talk with Jordan Peele about Nope.
3. The Letterboxd Show: With five hosts, they might be pushing the maximum amount of people I want to hear on the regular. The show is fun, light, and the hosts can be charming. The show fits somewhere in the chasm between Entertainment Weekly and Cahiers Du Cinema. I find it a good work listen because if you miss 3-5 minutes in the middle, you aren’t completely lost.
4. The Plot Thickens: The TCM podcast with Ben Mankiewicz has been stellar. It’s no surprise that the story of Peter Bogdanovich would be great. But now we’re on to Pam Grier and there’s so much detail to the story of her career that I didn’t know. Definitely for the film lover in you.
5. Legacy of Speed: I’m only a short way into this Malcolm Gladwell series on Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics. The series is hyper-focused which is how Gladwell works best in his writing also. I’ve watched a couple documentaries on the subject matter but Malcolm starts back in California before the Olympics. He shows a nice balance between the Black Power movement, politics of the era, and the sports angle.
MOST PLAYED SONGS FROM SPOTIFY IN 2022
I have music on pretty much all day at work and while driving and even while dog walking. It’s always interesting to look back at the top songs from the year. Thankfully, Spotify keeps track of my listens so I don’t have to. Last year #1 was Prince – “I Would Die 4 U” (1984).
- Prince – “1999” (1982): Prince is the leader by far again this year. This tune leads off the album by the same name. Before the song is over, I knew this was going to be an artist that would change the world. Like “Let’s Go Crazy”, this song announces a funky, alternative future that doesn’t shy away from some amazing guitar work. Also on my most played is “U Got The Look”, “Sign ‘O’ The Times”, “Little Red Corvette”, and “Purple Rain”. This isn’t his first anti-war song, but it’s important to remember his anti-establishment stance towards the Reagan Era. “Mommy? / Why does everybody have a bomb?”
2. John Lennon – “Hold On” (1970): When Prince isn’t on my playlists, it’s the Beatles and the solo projects of the group. Also making appearances this year was “Working Class Hero.” This Lennon song is a favorite to sing-a-long. It’s one of my favorite John vocals of his solo career. “It’s going to be alright / You’re going to see the light.”
3. Miles Davis – “Helen Butte / Mr. Freedom X” (1972): Off his funky On the Corner album, this was a great at-work listen throughout the year.
4. Japan – “Adolescent Sex” (1978): From the debut album by Japan, this English punk group came out strong. This catchy tune was the best of that initial album.
5. Dead Boys – “Sonic Reducer” (1977): Another example of how my Punk Project is dominating what I play in a year. This song is a perfect dive bar jukebox play too if you are in the right environment.
6. Guy Clark – “Dublin Blues” (1995): This song is the first on the list that doesn’t come from one of my projects. This is just my favorite Friday afternoon song to sing when I’m driving home from work to spend time with Rigby. “I love you from the get go / And I’ll love you ’till I die.”
7. Magazine – “Shot By Both Sides” (1978): Written by Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley, this is a great album and this is the best song on the album. By 1978, there’s already hints at what the post punk sound will be like in the mid-80s.
8. The Time – “Get It Up” (1981): As I finished up my Prince Project, I advanced onto some of his offshoots like his work with Morris Day and The Time. Off their first album, this song would definitely play even better live than on the album. It was a pick me up on mornings at work this year.
9. Kraftwerk – “Metropolis” (1978): This is a great song from Man-Machine and not the one that I thought would show up on my most listened list for the year. I spent lots of time with this album and figured this might only be the third most listened to title. Hearing it again today, this song is so far ahead of its time that it’s crazy to even imagine hearing it in 1978.
10. Uriah Heep – “The Spell” (1972): Wonderfully odd tune from their Demons and Wizards album. A story of love and loss like only prog rock bands in the biggest of scenarios between gods and demons. A great blues tinge to this song made me a fan of the band that had typically been a joke band name to me in the past.
BEST ALBUMS OF 1972
The year of 1972 turned out to be a little different than my initial expectations were going into this year. Prog rock was much more widespread than I imagined. Glam rock was expanding at a faster rate than the Black Sabbath inspired heavy metal category. There were more artists from the ’50s and ’60s still making the charts than I would have predicted. Soul and funk were evolving to be more political and socially relevant. The Best Albums category is not necessarily how they were viewed in 1972 but how they sound to me today.
1. David Bowie – The Rise of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars (June): It’s a concept album. It’s a glam album. It’s a rock album. It’s seeing a future that isn’t just A Clockwork Orange but predicts the youthful dissatisfaction of the punk movement. Start with “Moonage Daydream”.
2. Al Green – Let’s Stay Together (January): It’s here on Al’s fourth album that it all comes together for the soul singer. There’s a better execution of the funk aspect with some serious work with the horns. Start with “Let’s Stay Together”.
3. Neil Young – Harvest (February): “To give a love, you gotta live a love / To live a love, you gotta be part of / When will I see you again?” Some albums just hit harder than others. It was perfect for my musical education when I first bought it in 1987 and it was still dynamic in 2022 when I listened. There’s so much going on in these songs. The songs with the symphony background hit emotionally. Start with “A Man Needs A Maid”.
4. Funkadelic – America Eats Its Young (May): The band finally finds the sound that will define them for the rest of the decade. Not that their previous albums weren’t masterpieces in their own sense. This blend of funk, rock, and jazz sets the stage for some of the most important funk albums ever to come in the next few years. Bootsy is off the hook here. Start with “Loose Booty”.
5. The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street (May): I never seem to rate the Rolling Stones albums of this era as high as “professional writers” and mainstream publications. Is this a good album? Yes. It borders on great for most of the album. I just don’t identify with them as much as I do other groups for some reason. And it’s not for lack of effort on my part. I do appreciate that this has some of my favorite singles. Start with “Rocks Off”.
6. Nick Drake – Pink Moon (February): Nick’s third and final album shows such promise. I think that what complicates his story even more. His sound is real and emotional. His writing shows a darkness that has to be dealt with and it’s to be appreciated for his honesty today. “Now I’m weaker than the palest blue / Oh, so weak in this need for you.” Start with “Place To Be”.
7. Stevie Wonder – Talking Book (October): What a year for Stevie Wonder. Earlier in the year he released one of his best albums, Music of My Mind. A few months later, he outdoes himself and releases an even better album somehow. I may be partial to hits like “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” or “Superstition,” but all ten songs are classics. Start with “You and I (Can Conquer the World)”.
8. The Allman Brothers Band – Eat a Peach (February): An interesting mix of live and studio recordings that was able to include the recently deceased Duane Allman. The album side version of “Mountain Jam” is heavy and probably the moment that I could define Southern rock. Start with “Blue Sky”.
9. Bill Withers – Still Bill (May): Damn, Bill. Equal parts funk, soul, and R&B with a dash of blues. This album peaks at “Use Me” and “Lean on Me” but that sound is an equal to what Al Green and Stevie Wonder were doing in 1972. Start with “Let Me in Your Life”.
10. Grateful Dead – Europe ’72 (November): I am still in my infancy of becoming a Grateful Dead fan. This live album is the one that someone should have sat me down with 20 years ago. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it back then. Now it’s an amazing collection that shows their evolution towards more of a country jam rock sound from those albums three or four years previous. Start with “Jack Straw” and “Tennessee Jed”.
This list might omit some of your (and my) favorites. I was amazed at the breadth of talent releasing albums in 1972. I acknowledge that this list leaves off Elton John, Paul Simon, Todd Rundgren, Big Star, and Yes.
Thank you for your indulgence if you made it this far. My obsessions all stem from a desire to keep discovering and keep learning. The thirst for knowledge hopefully makes me a better man. The time I spend on these things is only rewarded by sharing opinions and observations with friends like you. So feel free to always chime up when I post things and make recommendations because my mind is always open.
“I had all and then most of you
Some and now none of you
Take me back to the night we met
I don’t know what I’m supposed to do” – Lord Huron