Day 35: 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 35

Kendall’s Album of the Day features a female country artist who enjoyed immense success early in her career especially with the album featured below.

But after making her final performance on May 10, 1981, Bobbie Gentry walked away from the business. Her last public appearance was nearly a year later at the Academy of Country Music Awards on April 30, 1982. Gentry hasn’t appeared in public since and reports about her current whereabouts are conflicting with some believing she lives in Memphis while other reports place her in Los Angeles.

She’s not the first country artist to simply walk away from a successful career in the business never to return. In the 1970s, Linda Martell made history as the first African-American female artist to sing at the Grand Ole Opry, and she even scored a couple of Top 40 country hits from her only album. That record — “Color Me Country” — is a forgotten gem, and it’s your bonus pick of the day.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

George Michael

Faith (1987)

Why I Love It

It’s hard to believe nowadays that a single like “I Want Your Sex,” which championed monogamy, could have been so controversial in the late 1980s. But it hardly mattered. That song, along with a slew of other catchy hits, cemented George Michael’s status as a household name after his days as one half of Wham! There were seven singles released from this fantastic No. 1 debut album. Of course, Michael had the look to go with the solid foundation of music, too. But even in 2020, this record delivers the goods as a great album with catchy pop earworms and a couple of classic ballads.

Album Highlights

“Faith,” “I Want Your Sex (Parts 1 and 2)” and “One More Try”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

There are a handful of songs you just remember dominating the airwaves for months, and George Michael’s “One More Try” was one of those songs early in my high school years that was everywhere. It was a monster hit, and actually peaked at No. 1 on three Billboard charts — the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs. The album itself is basically a greatest hits album on its own with a total of seven charting singles, including six that reached the Top 5 of the Hot 100 and four that went all the way to the top. This is one of the greatest albums of all time, and a great pick from Chuck.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Bobbie Gentry

Ode To Billie Joe (1967)

Why I Love It

My dad collected several hundred country LP’s starting in the 1950s and running through the late ’80s. You knew you had made the cut with my dad if he at least bought a copy of your greatest hits album.

It took a special artist, though, to get my dad to buy your debut album, but right there in the midst of that collection I inherited is Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode To Billie Joe,” the sultry Mississippian’s 1967 debut.

The album opens with the swamp-rock of “Mississippi Delta” that puts Gentry’s vocal talents on full display right out of the gate. In between that and the album’s stunning finale — the classic title track — it was clear Gentry had a sound that was all her own. The song itself would reach No. 1 on the Billboard 100 while peaking at a relatively low No. 17 on the country charts, and the only real “flaw” was that the song was almost too good. Gentry would never reach those heights again, and her only Top 10 in country music was a duet with Glen Campbell on “All I Have To Do Is Dream.” But that’s beside the point here — this is about albums, and there is a lot of magic on this recording that has pulled me back again and again through the years.

Album Highlights

“Mississippi Delta,” “Chickasaw County Child” and “Ode To Billie Joe”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

Man, I remember how huge the title track to this album was on the radio. It seemed like you couldn’t go more than 30 minutes without hearing it. As a fan of storytelling music, this album is right up my alley. Bobbie paints a vivid picture of what it was like to grow up on the Mississippi Delta. And, clearly, she was a fan of the peppermint candy.

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