Heard all of these in a four-hour musicking-out session a week ago and have yet to report on them here:
* Henry Cow with Slapp Happy: "In Praise of Learning" (1975) -- Loud, screechy, sometimes annoying, but not completely terrible. One track, "Beautiful as the Moon - Terrible as an Army With Banners" actually gets its political message across in a compelling portrait of The End Times. Most annoying thing about this band is Dagmar Krause's sing-song vocals, like some kind of German music-hall. Occasional nice piano, screechy guitar, wayward horns, but overall not too far from National Health or Hatfield and the North. I might even keep it.
* Badfinger: "Straight Up" (1972) -- "Perfection" is the hidden gem on this album, but even so it doesn't measure up to the awesome "Baby Blue" and the gorgeous "Day After Day," or even "Name of the Game" -- a stronger version of which is included on Apple's Badfinger best-of. The best of this is pleasant enough, but it comes nowhere near hitting as hard as the two hit singles.
* David Bowie: "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" (1972) -- Heard this once or twice before over the years and always thought it sounded cramped, pinched, uncomfortable. Listened to the whole thing from start to finish this time around, relaxed and enjoyed all of it, was no longer distracted by whatever Bowie was up to. Nor did I feel a need to connect the dots to make it all "make sense." Maybe I've finally gotten used to him?
* Bruce Springsteen: "Born to Run" (1975) -- I've loved the title hit since back in '75. I was the only person I knew who bought the single back in the day. But I'd never heard the whole album, so.... The title song's a classic of course, and I loved "She's the One." "Thunder Road"'s a good, solid opener and "Meeting Across the River" is a nice moody change of pace. But I admit I was starting to drift a bit by the time I got to "Backstreets" ... or whatever it was.
I also finished listening to Mott the Hoople's first album and "Brain Capers," both feature good, solid stuff on their Side 2's, but I admit the surprise and enjoyment I experienced when first hearing their early work awhile back has since worn off a little.