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Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The August Album Challenge: 11. The Concept Album

A Concept Album is a studio album where all musical or lyrical ideas contribute to a single overall theme or unified story.

The Who have made a couple of Concept Albums - Tommy and Quadrophenia. Pink Floyd's most famous one is The Wall. David Bowie did it with The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Alice Cooper has released a few including Brutal Planet, The Last Temptation and Welcome to My Nightmare. The Beatles Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is another very successful Concept Album. One of the biggest selling Concept Albums of late has been Green Day's American Idiot.

You can add to that list Woody Guthrie, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, The Beach Boys, Frank Zappa, The Kinks (who were masters of the Concept Album), Genesis, Dolly Parton, Queen, Small Faces, Sham 69, Arcade Fire, My Chemical Romance and Plan B to name but a few have added Concept Albums to the great library of music.

 Wikipedia has a list of Concept Albums that personally I'm not convinced all on the list are. Infact, the choice I've made is not even on their list!

Southern Rock Opera - Drive-By Truckers
Soul Dump
Produced by Drive-By Truckers, Dick Cooper and David Barbe
Released 12th September 2001

    Mike Cooley – lyrics, guitar, ambience, vocals
    Earl Hicks – bass
    Patterson Hood – lyrics, guitar, ambience, vocals, storytelling
    Rob Malone – lyrics, guitar, ambience, vocals
    Brad Morgan – drums

Guest performers
    Kelly Hogan – backing vocals on "Cassie's Brother" and "Angels And Fuselage" (as Cassie Gaines)
    Anne Richmond Boston – 1st group vocal
    Jyl Freed – 2nd group vocal
    Amy Pike – 3rd group vocal

Patterson Hood talked with his producer Earl Hicks about writing a semi-autobiographical screenplay loosely based on the plane crash that killed Lynyrd Skynyrd. That project became Drive-By Truckers third studio album, with Betamax Guillotine serving as the fictional band. The first act deals with a young boy trying to reconcile his love of the South while acknowledging the region’s demons. As the boy becomes a rock star, poor choices lead to a tragic ending. But the real villain of the story is Alabama governor George Wallace, as the songs tackle poverty, class, race and Southerness.
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