There are albums that come out of the blocks with two killer tracks that are like a pissed off Mike Tyson swinging wildly at some trash talking, old timer patsy in the mid 80's. Albums that decide that the best way to follow a kicking first track, is to put on another.
The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)
The second album from the Crowes throws 'Sting Me' to the left and "Remedy' to the right. 1992 might have been Grunge Year Zero but, together with Teenage Fanclub, the Crowes held rock's banner aloft. These are kick-ass rock tunes. Basically, The Faces reimagined if their Marshalls were turned to 11 and Rod really went for it. Love these two songs. Highlight - the 'fuck you' start of the guitar solo in Sting Me. A moment in rock I've ever and a day tried to replicate. Two seconds of true power!
Eden - Everything but the Girl (1984)
The impulse purchase one doesn't regret! Stood in WHSmith Rochdale's record department in 1984, I hear the wondrous album play over the store speakers. One track, two tracks, I was sold. Marched up to desk and asked, "Pray tell me good madam, who is making this bewitching sound?". Everything but the Girl apparently. Crazy name, crazy sound. So, I bought the album - that cardboard, non veneered album with the abstract painting on the front. The songs, I now know as Each and Everyone and Bittersweet. They detail the commonplace jealousies and realities of relationships. All bedsits, screaming babies and jealousy. No holding hands and a rush towards lust with these songs. It was the clever lyrics as much as the bossa nova rhythms that had me captivated. The rest of the album's pretty good (apart from the execrable Soft Touch).
Beatles for Sale (1964)
Not a One / Two, but a 1-2-3. The Fab Four of course do what other groups do - only better. Whilst other groups would put their singles on their albums, The Beatles didn't. So Beatles for Sale kicks off with No Reply, I'm a Loser, Baby's in Black. With these stunning ditties The Fab Four literally piss on their competition. The bar is set so high, their album tracks sound like a career best single for any other group. Bizarrely, although released at the height of Beatlemania, Beatles for Sale is pretty obscure these days and these three - being non singles - are not as well known as they should be. But I love this album. Almost as much as I love...
...Rubber Soul (1965)
Pound for pound, this non single containing album, packs pretty much the hardest punch of any album. It roars out of the blocks with McCartney's funky - come on Motown have a go if you think you're hard enough! - Drive My Car. Most groups' best single ever. Just an album track. We then shift gear to the acoustic and sitar masterpiece that is Norwegian Wood. As a guitarist, this latter song - with it's major to minor shift - is a dream to play. Like You've Got To Hide Your Love Away this shows why Lennon is so revered. This is effortlessly brilliant. We all fuck around on D but don't achieve anything like this. Let alone chucking in a middle 8 in G minor. Class. In a glass.
Led Zep 4 (1971)
Anything The Beatles can do, Zep does one better and louder! The whole of Side 1 of Led Zep 4. Just review these four tracks:- Black Dog, Rock n Roll, The Battle of Evermore, Stairway to Heaven. And this is just an normal album, not a greatest hits compilation. Not a filler in sight! From the sonic destruction of the first two, to my teenage fav with Sandy Denny (obligatory hobbit references!) to the ubiquitous - but deservedly so - Stairway, this is how to start a 37 million selling album. Are these guys knights of the realm yet FFS?