Day 22: 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 22.

With a collection of Elvis’s hits on the agenda today, we thought it was a good night to introduce you to one of The King of Rock and Roll’s early influences.

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup was a bluesman, and one of the biggest influences on the young Elvis who went into Sun Records and made rock-and-roll history starting in 1954. Presley covered three of Crudup’s sides — “That’s Alright,” “So Glad You’re Mine” and “My Baby Left Me.”

Crudup should be better known than he is and not just because he influenced Elvis. His performances of those same songs are still definitive readings that rival the versions made by The King, and Acrobat Music’s Definitive Collection is a fine four-disc collection that preserves all of his best work.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Elvis Presley

Elv1s: 30 No. 1 Hits

Why I Love It

It seems a little sacrilegious to go with a greatest hits album by an artist I love so much. However, this collection perfectly encompasses how Elvis became the King of Rock and Roll. I vividly remember his music in my childhood home in Whittier, California, on a daily basis. This collection helped carry on his legacy and introduce him to a new generation of fans and is proof positive his legacy will never die.

Album Highlights

“Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender” and “Way Down”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

As an anthology of Elvis Presley’s career, this set has its limitations. None of his early Sun singles are here, and there are even key No. 1 hits missing (“Moody Blue,” anyone?). But musically speaking, as a single disc that examines a wide swath of The King’s career, it does about as well as one can expect for an artist with as many hits and memorable sides as Elvis recorded.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

The Decemberists

Castaways & Cutouts (2002)

Why I Love It

There’s not really much of a template for what The Decemberists were doing early in their career, starting with their debut album “Castaways & Cutouts.”

To be sure, this is a strange but endearing album. First of all, I assumed I was listening to a British artist as lead singer Colin Meloy sings in what has been described as a Victorian English accent. He is, in fact, from Montana and came to prominence on the music scene in Portland, Oregon.

But Meloy’s songs — he’s also the band’s primary songwriter — also sound like the ancient tales of an old English seafarer. Intentionally so, of course, and Meloy, a theater major in college, no doubt, was playing a part to some degree as an artist. The band even dressed in ancient-looking garb early in their career. They’ve matured and grown since then, but they’ve never been better than they were here on this stunning debut.

Album Highlights

“Leslie Anne Levine,” “Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” and “Odalisque”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

The Decemberists had been around for several years before I was aware of them, so the first album I heard, The King is Dead, remains my favorite. But I thoroughly enjoyed going back and listening to their debut, which also a strong album by a great band that consistently releases good music.

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