Newt’s Top 10 albums of 1990


By Steve Newton

A good portion of my album picks for the year turned out to be from ageing rock veterans. Maybe 1990 wasn’t a great year for new artists—or maybe I just missed ’em—but the tunes that really got me going were by artists I’ve followed for years. I guess that when you’ve got it, you’ve got it. A random selection of the best:

Gary Moore Still Got the Blues The most overlooked guitarist in the history of hard rock went back to his blues roots and came up with a startling album that’s just beginning to get this former Thin Lizzy member the attention he deserves.

Neil Young & Crazy Horse Ragged Glory When it comes to cranked, feedback-laden frenzy, nobody does it better than Mr. Young and his mates in Crazy Horse.

The Allman Brothers Seven Turns Greg Allman reunited with guitarist Dickey Betts, drummers Butch Trucks and Jai Jaimoe, and producer Tom Dowd to recreate the charming southern-rock sound the band pioneered in the ’70s.

Iggy Pop Brick by Brick The Igster picked up the guitar again and—with a little help from John Hiatt, David Lindley, and Slash and Duff from Guns N’ Roses—went to town on a Don Was-produced orgy of no-frills, honest rock.

The Vaughan Brothers Family Style The saddest rock story of 1990 was the untimely death of Stevie Ray Vaughan, who was back on his feet and playing better than ever after a life-threatening cocaine addiction. But Stevie left his fans a sweet goodbye with the lovingly crafted album he made with his bro, ex-Fab Thunderbirds guitarist Jimmie Vaughan.

Midnight Oil Blue Sky Mining Australia’s prime purveyors of politically minded rock ’n’ roll followed up the breakthrough Diesel and Dust album with another fine batch of uplifting tunes. The first five times I heard it, the anti-war/pro-remembrance “Forgotten Years” sent shivers up my spine.

Art Bergmann Sexual Roulette The hero of Vancouver’s alternative music scene really hit his stride on his second full-length album, telling insightful and thoroughly rockin’ tales of desolation and disease that only a street-level view can afford.

Little Caesar Little Caesar Local hot-shot producer Bob Rock (Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi) corralled five tattooed toughs from New York, Philly, Detroit, and L.A., sequestered them in Little Mountain Sound, and emerged with a winning mix of hard-rock, gritty R&B, and southern boogie.

Stevie Salas Colorcode Stevie Salas Colorcode Former Rod Stewart guitarist Stevie Salas teamed up with co-producer Bill Laswell to deliver 10 tunes’ worth of riff-riddled hard-rock funk. Hendrix meets Funkadelic in the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ practice space.

The Black Crowes Shake Your Moneymaker The Rolling Stones didn’t release an album this year, but these young dudes from the musical hotbed of Athens, Georgia kept the faith with a debut album chock full of raggedy, good-time, R&B-based boogie.

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