I totally get the disdain for the Doors, but for me I have been a long time fan. L.A. Woman in particular hits a lot of right notes for me as this dark blues output, in line with the band's refocused approach to their style, which went from dark psychedelia to a scruffy blues band. Plus Morrison vocally is way more interesting as an alcoholic crooner than he was as the Lizard King. I also just remember hearing many of these tracks growing up on a local radio station so it has stuck with me. It's very dark, very gritty, but also showcases how great the band musically was outside of Morrison, but you can't have them work without him. Favorite tracks: Riders on the Storm, The Changeling, L.A. Woman, WASP Texas Radio
As much as I have touted "The Kinks Are the Village Green..." as my favorite album of theirs, the Kinks gave something more polished and musically focused with Arthur. The stretch of albums the Kinks released between 1967 and 1971 is a superb output, and Arthur feels like something that worked well within their sixties appeal but still more ambitious in the narrative aspects than many of their contemporaries would pursue. Ray Davies has always delved into British culture in such a meaningful yet punctual way. The band sounds like they are having way more fun than they did on "Village Green." Favorite tracks: Shangri-la, Victoria, Arthur, Mr. Churchill Says
Dusty has always been a favorite of mine. Soulful white women, go figure? For a debut this ticks a lot of the boxes of what people often associate with her but with no hits compared to the way the album was reconfigured in the US. I prefer later Dusty, specifically Dusty in Memphis and her contribution to the Pet Shop Boys, but there is no denying the catchiness of her early singles that thrusted her into the limelight when she was lumped into the "british invasion" of the mid 60s. Johnny Franz' production work is basically the British Phil Spector but without all the threatening and murdering. He would later produce Scott Walkers' first 4 solo records to masterful results. He delivers as much as would be expected of a pretty straightfoward commercial album to promote Dusty but this is very much a filler standards record that isn't cushioned by any of the classics Dusty would be known for.
"Bittersweet Symphony" is a great song, but beyond that I've never truly listened to the Verve. I am very aware that their frontman Richard Ashcroft is as offputting but secretly brilliant as his fellow Brit Pop contemporary, Liam Gallagher, but I have never listened to one of their albums in full, including "Urban Hymn." A Northern Soul feels like a clear line in the sand of what kind of band The Verve were and frankly it's a bit listless. There are many parts of this album that hit a certain appeal to me: fuzzy psychedelic riffs, funk groove bass lines, and Ashcroft's singing and lyrics offer the kind of philosophical crisis I associate with some of my favorite artists. After the first 3 tracks though it becomes painfully obvious that this album is a one note record that might as well be one long form song. That's not a compliment even if I will admit it created the ability for my mind to wander into some ambient like state for a bit. As much as I love my British rock bands this is another case of the Brits making a hyperbolic case for what ultimately doesn't translate to American audiences.
What else is there to say? It's Otis fucking Redding, one of the greatest Soul singers of all time. This album clips along with nothing but passion behind it. No song is wasted on Otis and the band backing him.
Whether you like this album or not is really born out of your feelings about the music it helped spawn. The lone album from Liverpudlians The La's is often accredited for influencing key Brit Pop acts like Oasis, with the same credibility and obsessive UK music press praise as the Stone Roses' self-titled album. Much like Oasis' early records, La's principle songwriter Lee Mavers was clearly very influenced by the british invasion and it shows in these very punchy numbers that land somewhere between straight forward and off-kiltered. I am slightly biased because I grew up loving British Invasion music as well as the Brit Pop movement of the 90s, but those influences aside It's such a northern record of its time and yet somehow completely out of step with the decade in which it was released. Easily accessible, jangly, and bit neurotic lyrically, it's one that holds a lot of its credibility well. Favorite tracks: There She Goes (almost a perfect song), IOU, Son of A Gun