Day 18: 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 18. It was a post filled with classics — country, pop and classical.

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 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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