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Original reviews of now "classic" albums
i thought this might be an eye opener (and feel free to add posts) to what reviewers said in their reviews of albums we now regard as "classics"...
they will give an insight into the how people thought back in the day compared to now.
if its possible to copy/paste an old review feel free, if not just provide the link but mention what album it is for so we don't double up:

once again, the old saying "isn't hindsight a wonderful thing" proves right again

anyway I/we can see where this thread takes us...

8th October 1969: ABBEY ROAD

from "the guardian"  hardly the review of a future earthshattering, music changing album

the link:

the review below for those who cant be bothered clicking on the link!

The Beatles have spent the past year at home in Britain since their last album "The Beatles." They've pursued their personal activities and every now and then they got together and parked at their recording studios in Abbey Road, St John's Wood. And now they've done it again; they have produced another album, "Abbey Road." 

That's the trouble: they've done it again. Here are all their old tricks and gifts. "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" is John Lennon's magic funny schoolboy cruelty again, style of the Bash Street Kids. "Oh Darling" is their suave celebration track - this time, they round off the Rolling Stones' "If you need me," with bits of "You can make it if you try" and a tailing of Buddy Holly.

Alan Price made a great arrangement of "The House of the Rising Sun." The Beatles use it again in "I want you." "Golden Slumbers" sounds like the mandatory McCartney swelling sad-happy number: "Because" the mandatory Lennon happy-sad number. There is the enigma in "You never give me your money" " No-where to go" (know where to go, no-where to go...). And, OK, Ringo let's orchestrate your new variation on a theme of "Yellow Submarine": "Octopus's Garden." And let's have two surprises. Side 1 stops dead. And side 2 has that little bit added that you miss until you leave the record playing: for Princess Anne to play to her mother.

The Beatles' music has a special dense texture, which no other band rivals. Even their slightest track, now, has an ambiguity and complexity, which, especially Lennon adds his strange word-images, turns the music into an object rather than a tune. The old heroes of rock and roll, like Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis, contented themselves with a driving line, which left nothing more than an awakening sense of energy and vitality. Electric music has netted plenty of bigger fish since those days.
But the old rock and roll had energy and purpose. And this is what "Abbey Road" has not. Of course the album is clever and deft: of course it touches far more ideas than all but the most talented music.

But if you've heard "The Beatles," "Get Back," and "Give peace a chance," you've heard "Abbey Road." Musically, in the narrow sense of the word, the Beatles are as good as ever. But, in the wide, living sense of the word, no one can be as "good as ever," musically. The potency of rock music does not lie in the quality which can be isolated as musical. Anyone who thinks that must be puzzled at the fuss that I as well as others make over it. Rock music is potent through its relationship with the times in which it is played.
"Abbey Road" contains talent comparable with any other Beatles album, but nevertheless is a slight matter. Perhaps to their own relief, the Beatles have lost the desire to touch us. You will enjoy "Abbey Road." But it won't move you.
They were big in the 70s....for five minutes,on a Saturday,after lunch..."  -  Me 2014.

the debut album by Led Zepplin

Rolling Stone review 15th March 1969

even more scathing than the Abbey Road album posted above:

the link to the Rolling Stone page:

The popular formula in England in this, the aftermath era of such successful British bluesmen as Cream and John Mayall, seems to be: add, to an excellent guitarist who, since leaving the Yardbirds and/or Mayall, has become a minor musical deity, a competent rhythm section and pretty soul-belter who can do a good spade imitation. The latest of the British blues groups so conceived offers little that its twin, the Jeff Beck Group, didn’t say as well or better three months ago, and the excesses of the Beck group’s [i]Truth[/i] album (most notably its self-indulgence and restrictedness), are fully in evidence on Led Zeppelin’s debut album.

Jimmy Page, around whom the Zeppelin revolves, is, admittedly, an extraordinarily proficient blues guitarist and explorer of his instrument’s electronic capabilities. Unfortunately, he is also a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs, and the Zeppelin album suffers from his having both produced it and written most of it (alone or in combination with his accomplices in the group).

The album opens with lots of guitarrhythm section exchanges (in the fashion of Beck’s “Shapes of Things” on “Good Times Bad Times,” which might have been ideal for a Yardbirds’ B-side. Here, as almost everywhere else on the album, it is Page’s guitar that provides most of the excitement. “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” alternates between prissy Robert Plant’s howled vocals fronting an acoustic guitar and driving choruses of the band running down a four-chord progression while John Bonham smashes his cymbals on every beat. The song is very dull in places (especially on the vocal passages), very redundant, and certainly not worth the six-and-a-half minutes the Zeppelin gives it.

Two much-overdone Willie Dixon blues standards fail to be revivified by being turned into showcases for Page and Plant. “You Shook Me” is the more interesting of the two — at the end of each line Plant’s echo-chambered voice drops into a small explosion of fuzz-tone guitar, with which it matches shrieks at the end.
The album’s most representative cut is “How Many More Times.” Here a jazzy introduction gives way to a driving (albeit monotonous) guitar-dominated background for Plant’s strained and unconvincing shouting (he may be as foppish as Rod Stewart, but he’s nowhere near so exciting, especially in the higher registers). A fine Page solo then leads the band into what sounds like a backwards version of the Page-composed “Beck’s Bolero,” hence to a little snatch of Albert King’s “The Hunter,” and finally to an avalanche of drums and shouting.
In their willingness to waste their considerable talent on unworthy material the Zeppelin has produced an album which is sadly reminiscent of [i]Truth.[/i] Like the Beck group they are also perfectly willing to make themselves a two- (or, more accurately, one-a-half) man show. It would seem that, if they’re to help fill the void created by the demise of Cream, they will have to find a producer (and editor) and some material worthy of their collective attention.
They were big in the 70s....for five minutes,on a Saturday,after lunch..."  -  Me 2014.

Dark Side Of The Moon

original Rolling Stone review May 24th 1973:

Link to review:

One of Britain’s most successful and long lived avant-garde rock bands, Pink Floyd emerged relatively unsullied from the mire of mid-Sixties British psychedelic music as early experimenters with outer space concepts. Although that phase of the band’s development was of short duration, Pink Floyd have from that time been the pop scene’s preeminent techno-rockers: four musicians with a command of electronic instruments who wield an arsenal of sound effects with authority and finesse. While Pink Floyd’s albums were hardly hot tickets in the shops, they began to attract an enormous following through their US tours. They have more recently developed a musical style capable of sustaining their dazzling and potentially overwhelming sonic wizardry.

[i]The Dark Side of the Moon[/i] is Pink Floyd’s ninth album and is a single extended piece rather than, a collection of songs. It seems to deal primarily with the fleetingness and depravity of human life, hardly the commonplace subject matter of rock. “Time” (“The time is gone the song is over”), “Money” (“Share it fairly but don’t take a slice of my pie”). And “Us And Them” (“Forward he cried from the rear”) might be viewed as the keys to understanding the meaning (if indeed there is any definite meaning) of [i]The Dark Side of the Moon[/i].

Even though this is a concept album, a number of the cuts can stand on their own. “Time” is a fine country-tinged rocker with a powerful guitar solo by David Gilmour and “Money” is broadly and satirically played with appropriately raunchy sax playing by Dick Parry, who also contributes a wonderfully-stated, breathy solo to “Us And Them.” The non-vocal “On The Run” is a standout with footsteps racing from side to side successfully eluding any number of odd malevolent rumbles and explosions only to be killed off by the clock’s ticking that leads into “Time.” Throughout the album the band lays down a solid framework which they embellish with synthesizers, sound effects and spoken voice tapes. The sound is lush and multi-layered while remaining clear and well-structured.

There are a few weak spots. David Gilmour’s vocals are sometimes weak and lackluster and “The Great Gig in the Sky” (which closes the first side) probably could have been shortened or dispensed with, but these are really minor quibbles. [i]The Dark Side of the Moon[/i] is a fine album with a textural and conceptual richness that not only invites, but demands involvement. There is a certain grandeur here that exceeds mere musical melodramatics and is rarely attempted in rock. [i]The Dark Side of the Moon[/i] has flash-the true flash that comes from the excellence of a superb performance.
They were big in the 70s....for five minutes,on a Saturday,after lunch..."  -  Me 2014.

I guess they thought greater music would follow ! ha ha Interesting post !
 The ultimate connection is between a performer and its' audience!
Neil Young  -  "harvest"  

march 30th 1972:

Rolling Stone magazine

reviewer:  John MEndelsohn

the review:

At the end of this, five’ll getcha ten, most of you are going to be exclaiming lividly, “O what vile geeks are rock critics! How quick are they to heap disapproval on one whose praises they once sang stridently at the first sign of us Common Folk taking him to heart en masse! How they revel in detesting that which we adore!” However often I might second with a hearty “right on!” such a perception of the critic/audience chasm, though, I will swear under oath before the highest court in the land that such an exclamation is far from apt in the case of a displeased review of Neil Young’s Harvest.

Different folks, it must be seen, respond to overwhelming mass acceptance with different strokes. While some respond to commercial prosperity as a means to realizing all those brainstorms that a lack of loot formerly made impossible, to expanding and growing as an artist through the exploitation to heretofore unattainable resources, others either wilt artistically in the face of a mass audience’s expectations — resorting to conscious imitations of what was once instinctive and spontaneous — or greatly relax the standards by which they once judged themselves, having concluded (usually quite correctly) that once one attains superstar status the audience will eagerly gobble up whatever half-assed baloney he pleases to record.

On the basis of the vast inferiority relative to his altogether spectacular Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere of the two albums he’s made since teaming up with Crosby, Etc. (and thus insuring that he’d never again want for an audience), it can only be concluded that Neil Young is not one of those folks whom superstardom becomes artistically.

Harvest, a painfully long year-plus in the making (or, seemingly more aptly, assembling), finds Neil Young invoking most of the L.A. variety of superstardom’s weariest cliches in an attempt to obscure his inability to do a good imitation of his earlier self.

Witness, for example, the discomfortingly unmistakable resemblance of nearly every song on this album to an earlier Young composition — it’s as if he just added a steel guitar and new words to After The Gold Rush. Witness his use of said steel guitar to create a Western ambience worlds less distinctive than that conjured in earlier days by his own vibratodrenched lead guitar.

Witness, in fact, that he’s all but abdicated his position as an authoritative rock-and-roller for the stereotypical laid-back country-comforted troubadour role, seldom playing electric guitar at all any more, and then with none of the spellbinding economy and spine-tingling emotiveness that characterized his playing with Crazy Horse. Indeed, his only extended solo on the album, in “Words,” is fumbling and clumsy, even embarrassing.

Neil’s Nashville backing band, the Stray Gators, pale miserably in comparison to the memory of Crazy Horse, of whose style they do a flaccid imitation on such tracks as “Out On The Weekend,” “Harvest,” and “Heart of Gold.” Where the Crazies kept their accompaniment hypnotically simple with a specific effect in mind (to render most dramatic rhythmic accents during choruses and instrumental breaks), the Gators come across as only timid, restrained for restraint’s sake, and ultimately monotonous.

With that going on behind him, Neil’s lyrics dominate the listener’s attention far more than befit them. Neil’s verbal resources have always been limited, but before now he’s nearly always managed to come up with enough strong, evocative lines both to keep the listener’s attention away from the banality of those by which they’re surrounded and to supply the listener with a vivid enough impression of what a song is about to prevent his becoming frustrated by its seemingly deliberate obscurity and skeletal incompleteness. In his best work, as in Everybody Knows, wherein Crazy Horse’s heavy, sinister accompaniment made unmistakable the message (of desperation begetting brutal vindictiveness) which the almost impenetrably subjective words hinted at only broadly, the basic sound of a song further vivified what lyric fragments suggested.

Here, with the music making little impression, the words stand or fall on their own, ultimately falling as a result of their extremely low incidence of inspiration and high incidence of rhyme-scheme-forced silliness. A couple are even slightly offensive — “The Needle And The Damage Done,” is glib, even cute, and displays little real commitment to its subject, while “There’s A World” is simply flatulent and portentuous nonsense. Only “A Man Needs A Maid,” in which Neil treats his favorite theme — his inability to find and keep a lover — in a novel and arrestingly brazen (in terms of our society’s accelerating consciousness of women’s rights) manner, is particularly interesting — nearly everything else being limitlessly ponderable, but in a scant, oblique way that offers few rewards to the ponderer.

It might be noted (with remorse) that neither of the symphony-orchestrated tunes of Harvest even approaches “Expecting To Fly,” from 1967, in terms of production or over-all emotional power. Would that the two unreleased movements of that earlier masterpiece, originally conceived as a trilogy, been given the grooves used for “Maid” and “There’s A World.” (Apologies if “The Emperor of Wyoming” or “String Quartet From Whiskey Boot Hill,” from Neil Young, or “Broken Arrow” are in fact the missing two-thirds).

“Alabama” aspires to the identical effect of “Southern Man” but contains nothing nearly so powerful as that Gold Rush song’s “I heard screamin’ and bullwhips crackin’,” followed by a vicious slash of Danny Whitten’s rhythm guitar and a stinging lead line from Neil. “Old Man’s” first line promises a lot more than the song ever delivers in terms of compassionate perception. “Heart of Gold’s” basic conceit would be laughed off the airwaves coming from another solo troubadour. “Are You Ready For The Country,” like “Cripple Creek Ferry,” seems an in-joke throwaway intended for the amusement of certain of Neil’s superstar pals. The title tune is lyrically cluttered and oblique, and “Out on The Weekend” is puerile, precious, and self-indulgent, not to mention musically insipid.

Truth be told, I listened to the entirety of Harvest no less than a dozen times before touching typewriter to paper, ultimately managing to come with only one happy thing to say about it: Neil Young still sings awful pretty, and often even touchingly. For the most part, though, he’s seemingly lost sight of what once made his music uniquely compelling and evocative and become just another pretty-singing solo superstar.

Which can’t help but bring me down.
They were big in the 70s....for five minutes,on a Saturday,after lunch..."  -  Me 2014.

Re: Harvest - about as wrong a review as you could get.
'The purpose of life is a life of purpose' - Athena Orchard.
Heart of Gold was voted as Canada's number one song until recently ! BTO's Takin' Care of Business is now number one. Whaaaaat !
 The ultimate connection is between a performer and its' audience!

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