Day 12: 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.

And, if you missed the previous installments of our series, just click here to head to the Coronavirus Countdown — 100 Days of Great Music home page.

Here’s Day 12. At the time Kendall originally wrote this (April 8), we paid tribute to the late, great John Prine.

Wow. Where do we start?

We’re back today — one day after finding out that John Prine had finally lost his battle with the coronavirus.

Mr. Prine issued his debut album in 1971, and every song from the album has gone on to become a folk classic. We shared that a couple of weeks ago, but you can link to it here. Also, His most recent release, the “Tree of Forgiveness,” was issued just two years ago and is worth your time. In between, he built a legendary career on his keen observations of everyday life delivered with his trademark wink-and-nod humor that always hit the mark.

Your bonus pick today is yet another Prine album, however — his 2005 release “Fair and Square” — is one of his better recent efforts featuring gems like “Glory Of True Love,” “Crazy As A Loon” and “Long Monday.”

He put up one hell of a fight, spending almost two weeks in ICU, but in the end, it was just too much for a 73-year-old man who had survived at least two bouts with cancer.

Thanks for the music, Mr. Prine. We’ll cherish it until the end of our days.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

James Taylor

Greatest Hits (1976)

Why I Love It

When it comes to must-own greatest hits albums, this one is a heavyweight champion. Although it was released when I was seven years old, it’s an essential piece of my music fandom. In my opinion, James Taylor has one of the coolest voices ever. Nobody makes a song his own like him — even if it’s a cover. These songs are timeless — and always will be.

Album Highlights

“Carolina in My Mind,” “Fire and Rain” and “Sweet Baby James”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

What a pick today from Chuck. What a record. It may be a little spotty as a Greatest Hits collection — several of these weren’t actually hits, and other actual hits are missing — but that’s more a squabble about what to call the album (maybe “The Best of James Taylor” or “The Essential Collection” would be more accurate). Because what’s here probably is the best moments from his early years, and that’s what makes this essential listening.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Rosanne Cash

King’s Record Shop (1987)

Why I Love It

Rosanne Cash was my favorite female country singer of the ’80s, and remains high on my list to this day. She made a lot of great records, but none have ever topped this memorable set which stands as one of the best country albums by anybody in the entire decade.

Her cover of John Hiatt’s “The Way We Make A Broken Heart” is so good it’s almost startling to hear it in the second track wondering if the album’s sequence will stand up to the challenge. Trust me, it does. “If You Change Your Mind,” “Runaway Train,” and her cover of her father Johnny’s “Tennessee Flat Top Box” all hold their own while scoring at country radio. Several of those hits seem, in retrospect, to foreshadow the coming end of her marriage to husband and producer Rodney Crowell.

Album Highlights

“The Way We Make A Broken Heart,” “Runaway Train” and “I Don’t Have To Crawl”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

You can’t go wrong with any Rosanne Cash album. This is a special one. Her cover of her dad’s hit, “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” is awesome, and there’s not a single misfire on this hit record.

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