Adam Weiner (Low Cut Connie): 5 Albums That Changed My Life
Philly band Low Cut Connie released their fourth studio album Dirty Pictures (Part 1) this past summer. To celebrate all the praise they’ve garnered, front man Adam Weiner put together this stellar list of albums that changed his life.
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Jerry Lee Lewis, Live at the Star Club
This record is pure unadulterated rock & roll, shot straight from the hip in a grimy Hamburg club, when the Killer was at a real low point in his life and career. The first time I heard this, the hair stood up on the back of my neck. No rock & roll performer is as pure, as compelling and as frightening as Jerry Lee when he’s at his best. He’s my piano-destroying Northern Star and a daily reminder to burn brightly and hold nothing back onstage. Move people and make them feel completely in the moment. This is rock & roll at its no-fucks-to-give best.
Leadbelly, Let It Shine on Me
I bought this when I was 12 years old and it changed my life. My parents were very confused why a cross-eyed, pubescent Jewish kid from New Jersey would want to listen to a scratchy old record with songs about the Jim Crow South, Jesus and a square-dance called the Sookie Jump. I’d never heard anything like it. Leadbelly is a world unto himself and he exists outside of all categories. His music moves across racial and cultural lines—blues, country, gospel, rock & roll, folk…it was all of those things and none of them.
He spent years breaking rocks in Angola Prison. He sang about Adolph Hitler, Jean Harlow, Howard Hughes and Roosevelt. He advocated for civil rights, peace in our time, and he sang to school children. He played guitar, piano, accordion, and sometimes just clapped and sang about missing his mother or dealing with racist police officers. They should just call his music ‘America.’
Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street
The gold standard of boogie rock & roll. I love the Slim Harpo and Robert Johnson covers—the rare case of a British band covering an older blues number and not losing the feel. Top to bottom, the writing, the playing, the vibes on this record are just so heavy and all-encompassing.
Playing in a band is a strange and mercurial activity, and somehow the Stones were able to capture lightning in a bottle and create a deep world of feeling. Five people go in a room, play three chords over and over, scream and yell, and somehow in the process provide many stellar visions. All of us who toil in the rock & roll field are still riding their lightning.
Sly & the Family Stone, Greatest Hits
Sly is a genius, and I don’t throw that [word] around lightly. And he had one of the greatest and most diverse bands ever assembled. Call it funk, rock & roll, soul or whatever the fuck ya like, his singles push out beyond all expectation. ‘Everyday People’ is a one-chord boogie that skewers class, race, fashion. All the divisions fall away for Sly. He is for all people and yet he is like no one else on the planet. ‘We got to live together’—words to live by.
Big Maybelle, The Complete Okeh Sessions
I try to spread the gospel about Big Maybelle to anyone who will listen. It’s a crime how little attention she is given. Her voice could blow a house down. This woman just did not need a microphone, she was that powerful. Her songs are dirty, sexy, dark and outrageous. She sang the original ‘Whole Lotta Shakin Goin’ On’ and it’s even more salacious and phallic than Jerry Lee’s version. And she could take a treacly little ballad like ‘Candy’ and turn it into pure romance. When I grow up, I wanna sound like Big Maybelle.
(Photo credit: David Norbut)
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