Day 18: The Coronavirus Countdown - 100 Days of Great Music


One thing Chuck and I did not give you in our Coronavirus Countdown was a classical music selection so we're going to fix that omission tonight with our bonus pick.


The classical pianist Van Cliburn was raised in the little town of Kilgore, Texas, which was the next town over from where we both went to high school. We met, in fact, at Kilgore College in the fall of 1990, and we've been musical soul brothers ever since.


Cliburn won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1954 at the age of 20, and made his debut at Carnegie Hall soon thereafter. His victory four years later at the International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow at the height of the Cold War in 1958 made him an international star. Cliburn returned to the States where he was honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City and featured on the cover of Time Magazine. He eventually performed for every U.S. president from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama before passing away in 2013 at the age of 78.


Our bonus selection today is Cliburn's 1972 set "The World's Favorite Piano Music" - an accessible collection of classical standards that even casual music fans will recognize.


- Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK'S ALBUM OF THE DAY

REO Speedwagon

Hi Infidelity (1980)

Why I Love It

This is one of the first albums I ever owned. From the time I popped in the 8-track as an 11-year-old living in Austin, Texas, I was hooked on its hooks. This record helped set the tone for the incredible decade of music to come by spawning four hit singles. You could hardly go a full day without hearing "Keep On Loving You" back then. The album cuts are also solid, solidifying REO Speedwagon's ninth album a power-pop masterpiece.

Album Highlights


"Don't Let Him Go," "Keep On Loving You" and "Take it on the Run"


Kendall on Chuck's Album of the Day


If I'm a country music encyclopedia, then Chuck Cox is a pop culture catalog who isn't afraid to listen to anything and remembers just about all of it. I enlisted him to do this so he'd uncover forgotten gems like this album which was everywhere - until it wasn't. Criminally overlooked these days.

KENDALL'S ALBUM OF THE DAY

David Allan Coe

Penitentiary Blues (1969)

Why I Love It

David Allan Coe made some truly disgusting records in his lifetime, and I don't make any apologies for those here. He deserves whatever tarnish those records did to his reputation as an artist, and there aren't many places where he's welcome on tour these days.


Ironically, one of those places is Willie Nelson's picnic, and I saw Coe there about three years ago. It was interesting to see him and try to resolve the man before me on stage who could write a beautiful song like "Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stone)" only to spew the nasty, racist bile that he sold via mail-order in biker magazines in the '70s.


That being said, his first album is more evidence that somewhere beneath his rough exterior, there was a musical genius at work. This is more blues than country, but what makes this album special is just how raw, honest and spontaneous it all feels. As if Coe got out of prison, called a few musical buddies, organized a recording session, and wrote the songs the night before they cut them to tape. It's a wild, weird record that's worth a spin.


Album Highlights


"Penitentiary Blues," "Monkey David Wine" and "Death Row"


Chuck on Kendall's Album of the Day


Talk about a curveball. I have known David Allan Coe's country music most of my life, but I had never gone way back and listened to his early stuff. This is an incredible blues record about being in prison written by a guy who lived what he was signing about. That honesty makes this album a must listen.


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