: Blood, Sweat and Tears (Columbia)
Some of Cash
's '60s concept albums were burdened with much too talking between tracks; here the tribute to the American working man gets to mostly stand alone on its musical merits, and shines. Notably, it incluces the top version of the traditional "John Henry
"” about the most legendarily heroic working man ever, and the version of "Casey Jones
" here is classic as well. Politically and psychologically, Cash
was the perfect man for this job.
Byrds: Notorious Byrd Brothers (Columbia)
Sometimes transitional albums, confusing listeners expecting a group's earlier style, are underrated. Not so with this classic. It's true that it didn't sell as well as earlier Byrds LPs, nor did the single from the album chart very high, but for decades Notorious Byrd Brothers has been widely revered, and not just by fans; some critics have even anointed it as the band's best album.