Day 40: 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 40

When it comes to the theme of our countdown, there isn’t a more aptly titled album than The International Submarine Band’s “Safe At Home” — Kendall’s Album of the Day.

But that’s not the reason it was selected. It’s here because it’s another example of Gram Parsons’ creative genius as the foremost architect of country-rock. And it fits together better than you may realize with Chuck’s selection of “Sports,” an album Huey Lewis & The News.

Lewis and his band had their roots in another early ’70s California country-rock band called Clover. Their 1970 debut album is often compared to the work of Gram Parsons, although Lewis didn’t join until 1971. Eventually, the band became best known for forming the core of Elvis Costello’s studio band on his 1977 album “My Aim Is True.” Costello is another well-known student of Parsons’ catalog so you’ve got two potential bonus picks today — either Clover’s 1970 eponymous debut or that 1977 album Costello by clicking here.

— Chuck Cox and Kendall Webb

CHUCK’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

Huey Lewis & the News

Fore! (1986)

Why I Love It

There are a handful of records that take me back to my senior year of high school. This one is near the top of the list. In fact, I wrote my first album review on Fore! for my school newspaper, The Panther’s Paw. Like its predecessor, Sports, this album was a hit machine. Huey Lewis and the News had a tremendous knack for making massively enjoyable songs that were a big part of the 1980s culture. At the time, you could hardly go 30 minutes without seeing one of the band’s videos on MTV. I still enjoy popping this record in and strolling down memory lane.

Album Highlights

“Jacob’s Ladder,” “Stuck With You” and “Hip to Be Square”

Kendall on Chuck’s Album of the Day

I was glad to see this one on the list, and it’s amazing that it lined up with my pick today. A musical connection between Huey Lewis and Gram Parsons wouldn’t be apparent to most fans, but knowing Lewis’s involvement with Clover, it made everything tie together in a neat if not immediately obvious way. Besides that, it’s a darn good album filled with instantly recognizable hits.

KENDALL’S ALBUM OF THE DAY

The International Submarine Band

The International Submarine Band (1967)

Why I Love It

The music and influence of Gram Parsons has already revealed itself on my list a couple of times in the form of The Byrd’s “Sweetheart Of The Rodeo” album and The Flying Burrito Brothers’ “The Gilded Palace Of Sin.”

But you have to reach back even further to find the true roots of his country-rock ambitions, and you’ll find it here on his only album with The International Submarine Band. Maybe the most surprising thing here is the band’s name; it sounds like something more akin to the early alternative rock of something like The Velvet Underground or Sergeant Pepper’s-era Beatles (released the same year). Instead, it’s a fairly traditional country album filled with covers of songs written by the likes of country luminaries like Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and “Cowboy” Jack Clement. It’s as authentic as anything Parsons ever recorded, and has aged even better than some of his work with The Byrds and The Burritos.

Album Highlights

“A Satisfied Mind,” “Luxury Liner” and “Knee Deep In The Blues”

Chuck on Kendall’s Album of the Day

After listening to this album, it’s no surprise that Gram Parsons continued to make music with the country rock sound that would eventually define his career. I wasn’t too familiar with this album, but it is, in a word, spectacular. I have no doubt it will be one I come back to regularly. It’s one of my favorite records on Kendall’s list, so far. Good stuff.

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