Day 5: The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music

The staff of the College Football America Yearbook is on the road every weekend of the college football season, shooting games and gathering information for the following year’s book. That means a lot of driving and listening to a lot of music.

Earlier this year our College Football America Yearbook publisher Kendall Webb and our director of editorial content Chuck Cox put together ‘The Coronavirus Countdown – 100 Days of Great Music.’ Each of them sat down and compiled a list of 100 great albums. Their goal was not to select the ‘100 greatest albums of all time.’ It was simply to select 100 great albums to write about as they passed the time during quarantine and shelter-at-home orders.

This 2020 college football season will be unprecedented in so many ways. It’s very likely none of us will be on the road for games because, like most people, we’re trying to stay healthy. And we hope you are too.

So, for the next 100 days, we’re going to publish their countdown here at CollegeFootballAmericaPR.com (the list was originally published on Webb’s personal site, kendallwebb.net). Consider it the ultimate playlist for the ultimate college road trip — music for every taste, from every genre and from every decade of the modern era of music. When the staff of the College Football America Yearbook is back on the road, you can bet these will be some of the tunes we’re listening to.

Here’s Day 5. On this day of the countdown another music legend was fighting the coronavirus (a fight that, we know now, he would not win)

We start off today with the latest update we have on the great John Prine.

His wife, Fiona Whelan Prine, posted yesterday that she had recovered from the coronavirus, and that Mr. Prine was in stable condition. She later clarified on Twitter that she didn’t mean to imply that he was improving. The long and short of it is, John Prine is 73, and has had his fair share of health scares in recent years, including a couple of bouts with cancer. He still needs to be in our thoughts and prayers.

Your bonus pick today is to go back where it all started for Prine on his self-titled debut album featuring classics like “Illegal Smile,” “Spanish Pipedream,” “Sam Stone,” “Paradise” and “Angel From Montgomery.” It was a revelation when it was released in 1971, and it remains a powerful document of Prine’s songwriting and ability as an interpreter on vocals and guitar.

Finally, we also heard the news a short time ago that Asleep At The Wheel’s Ray Benson has tested positive for the coronavirus. We’ll be following along and keeping an eye on that and wishing Ray, his family and the members of his band the best during this difficult time.

– Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Warrant

Dog Eat Dog (1992)

Why I Love It

After establishing itself as Hair Band 101 with mega hits like “Down Boys” and “Cherry Pie,” Warrant reinvented itself in a big way on this gem of a hard rock album. The band also proved it could still make a great power ballad with the best of them. This might have been the most surprised I have ever been by an album. I wish lead singer Jani Lane was still with us.

Album Highlights

“Andy Warhol Was Right,” “Machine Gun” and “Let It Rain.”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

If you know Chuck Cox as well as I do, then it will come as no surprise that hair bands like Warrant made his Top 100 albums list. But, I’ll also say this — even hair bands had their finest moments, and you’ll find plenty of them on “Dog Eat Dog.” This was a nice trip down memory “Lane.”

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Matraca Berg

Sunday Morning To Saturday Night (1997)

Why I Love It

This may be the single best country album of the ’90s that you never heard. Matraca Berg had a couple of minor hits on RCA in 1990 with her debut album “Lying To The Moon” — a masterpiece that mostly was ignored by the public. Then she resurfaced on Rising Tide with an even better album here, only to see the label fold not long after its release.

In between, she wrote hits like “Wrong Side of Memphis’ for Trisha Yearwood, “Strawberry Wine” for Deana Carter and “Wild Angels” for Martina McBride. As good as those songs were, it’s hard to beat hearing Berg wrap her own distinctive vocals around the lyrics she wrote, and this album is a vocal and songwriting tour de force. “Back When We Were Beautiful” is one of the best country songs of the past 25 years.

Album Highlights

“That Train Don’t Run,” “Back In The Saddle” and “Back When We Were Beautiful”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

Kendall has always been a huge Matraca Berg fan. I don’t blame him. You are likely more familiar with the artists who have recorded her songs and made them mega hits, but she is a fantastic singer in her own right.

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