Here’s my mad dash to try and complete my list of Eduardo’s Most Influential Albums… I’ll try to keep it brief, but you know me.

The Greyboy Allstars
West Coast Boogaloo

I’d heard of DJ Greyboy from fellow amigo Pepe, who had made me a great compilation of funky acid jazz during the long, cold winter of 1994. A year or so later, I was in the old Tower outlet store on K Street in Sacramento and stumbled across West Coast Boogaloo by a group called the Greyboy Allstars. Seeing as how it was only $4.00, I decided to see if these “Allstars” were as cool as the DJ Greyboy stuff I’d heard.

I was pleased to find that they were far better than DJ Greyboy. Not only were they a totally different group, but they played real instruments instead of being just one guy with two turntables and a microphone. These guys dished out solid, nasty, instrumental 70’s-style funk like nobody I’d ever heard before… It was raw. I was blown away by the sheer dopeness of this record, and was hooked instantly. I’d been listening to a lot of James Brown at the time, but had been yearning for some heavier, groovier stuff. West Coast Boogaloo was exactly what I needed, and the Greyboy Allstars had satisfied a growing hunger.
I spent a lot of time listening to that album while going to and from class at Sac State, and Jaimenacho and I played it fairly often at our pad near school.
I took the CD with me to Redding a short time later, and had Paco give it a listen. He agreed that it was quite dope, and we were on our way to becoming big fans.

Over the years, Paco and I went to see them live several times – and at least one of those shows would have to rank pretty highly on my “all time greatest concerts” list. The Allstars were twice as good live; even better than they sounded on CD. I saw them quite a few times over the years, and they never disappointed. The first time we saw them, though, it cracked me up to see four white guys and one black guy some out on stage. I’d always assumed that they were all black, because the funk was so good and genuine. Aside from the Average White Band, funk bands consisting mostly of pasty white guys were totally unheard of in the mid 90’s.

Very much like the Percussion All Stars, at first Paco and I knew nothing about the Greyboy Allstars due to the lack of much information on the album sleeve. They were on a tiny, unheard of label, so their stuff was impossible to find in most music stores. However, after we’d seen them a couple of times, we had a chance to talk with the guys themselves a bit – and found out more about their history and musical involvement with DJ Greyboy. A few years later, I even got to design a lot of stuff for the keyboardist, Robert Walter, after the Allstars broke up and pursued their solo projects.
Over the years, a lot of fun times, friendships, musical discoveries, and cool experiences came about – all because I picked up West Coast Boogaloo for $4.00 at the Tower Outlet. It’s provided hours upon hours of listening entertainment for many of us Amigos Locos, so I thought it deserved a mention here.

The Beach Boys

This is one of the coolest, unique, and most beautiful albums ever made. Too bad it was never released.
The story behind SMiLE is what fascinated me the most, initially. I’d heard years ago from my uncle that the Beach Boys had made an album that was supposed to be a “sequel” of sorts to Pet Sounds, but it never came out. There were plenty of rumors as to why (it was never finished, it was too weird, label disputes, etc), but nobody seemed to know the real story. It had been chalked up as a “lost album”, and the Beach Boys just continued on – becoming progressively lamer with each following album.
What exactly SMiLE was, and what became of it, has been the subject of endless debate and discussion among pop music fans for decades. There have been books written about it, and eventually bootleg copies of the master tapes started floating around on Napster around ’99. It was around this time that I stumbled across some of these tracks, and downloaded them.
A lot of the stuff I had found was instrumental, with no vocals. It was very surreal and beautiful, with weird arrangements and a big-sounding ‘symphonic’ feel to it. It sounded like nothing else I’d ever put in my ears before, as if it were pop music from 100 years from now. I quickly became interested in how the Beach Boys had reached such a creative milestone – and more importantly, why the heck this stuff had never been released. I wanted to know the whole story of SMiLE.

I won’t go into the rest of the story here, but I’ve spent the past several years enjoying these tracks and learning the strange and fascinating story surrounding the SMiLE project.
I must say that my love for this weirdly unfinished album has definitely made me appreciate the huge influence on popular music that Brian Wilson has been. There are countless indie bands who have tried and failed to recreate the ‘sound’ of both SMiLE and Pet Sounds, and Brian Wilson himself is even planning on releasing a rehashed version of SMiLE in a few months. However, I don’t think it will ever again be possible to recapture the magic that (almost) produced one of the most amazing albums ever.

For a great article on the story of SMiLE, check out Stylus Magazine’s article, Smile: The Definitive Lost Album.

The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground

My first introduction to the Velvet Underground was “Pale Blue Eyes”, which I’d heard in my friend’s girlfriend’s car shortly after beginning college. I’d heard of them before, but there was something so special about that song that I wanted to hear more. I found that I really dug this album, which led to me gradually getting into their other stuff – particularly The Velvet Underground and Nico and Loaded, as well as post-breakup compilations VU and Another View.
When I first met Juanita, I was stoked to find that she was into VU as well. She and I spent that summer – and many thereafter – listening to Lou and the gang. Now that we’re married, we possess a sizable collection of assorted VU stuff. I still dig listening to them, and just about any of their albums is always a welcome spin on the stereo (with the possible exception of White Light, White Heat).

The Orb
The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld

One afternoon in late ’91, Jaimenacho and I went over to the laughably lame Camelot Music in the Mt. Shasta Mall to see if there was anything new out that was worth picking up. I spotted this album by a group called The Orb in the ‘new releases’ section, and picked it up to look at. I knew nothing about what it sounded like, but it certainly looked pretty interesting. Judging by the cover, I figured it had to be at least reasonably cool – so I bought it.
On our way back to my house in the silver brother, we put it in Jaime’s stereo. The album kicked off with Little Fluffy Clouds, and we both agreed: “This is really weird, but pretty cool!”

I spent a lot of time listening to this album over the next couple of years, and Paco and some of the other Amigos ended up getting into it as well. Paco and I used to put it on sometimes while driving on long trips, which was cool. The whole album is like an epic journey through the solar system… it’d be perfect for a planetarium show.
It really grew on me, even though I liked it quite a bit from the beginning. Two years later, I was an enthusiastic Orb fan, collecting whatever releases of theirs I could find during our semi-monthly record hunting treks to San Francisco and Berkeley. We had few opportunities to go see them live, one particular time was when we opted to go camping instead.

Honorable Mentions
Here are a few that should be mentioned as well. These are just off the top of my head, so I’m certain that there are tons of great albums that I’m overlooking.

Bob Dylan Blonde on Blonde
Simon & Garfunkel Sounds of Silence
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Galaxie 500 Today
On Fire
Slowdive Pygmalion
Luna Lunapark
Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin II
Depeche Mode Music for the Masses
The Smiths Louder Than Bombs
The Queen is Dead
Heavenly Le Jardin de Heavenly
Lalo Schifrin Music from Mission: Impossible
Dirty Harry (Original Score)
Enoch Light Persuasive Percussion, volumes
Chemical Brothers Exit Planet Dust
Meat Beat Manifesto Satyricon
Beatles White Album
Charlatans UK Some Friendly
Between 10th and 11th
Up To Our Hips
Primal Scream Screamadelica
Dave Brubeck Time Out
Bentley Rhythm Ace Bentley Rhythm Ace