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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Music by the megabyte

Rock music critics -- a group to which I once belonged -- often write about the 10 albums they’d like to have with them if stranded on a desert island.

Well, I’m on my way Cape Cod, not a desert island. And I won’t actually be taking any albums; I’ll be carrying an MP3 player instead. But here, in alphabetical order by artist, are the 10 albums I’ve just loaded into said player:

* “Running on Empty,” Jackson Browne
Possibly the best “road” album ever made. And for those of you who love fun facts: The third track on the album, “Rosie,” was recorded in a backstage rehearsal room at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

* “Black Eyed Man,” Cowboy Junkies
Laid back, luscious and just a little bit spooky. And, anyway, I have to like these guys -- I ate dinner at the table next to them at The Little Bear in Woodstock in 1992.

* “American Beauty,” Grateful Dead
Required listening for every music fan, Deadhead or not.

* “Appetite For Destruction,” Guns N’ Roses
Is this album really 20 years old? Ouch! No matter; it still rocks.

* “Point of Know Return,” Kansas
I spent many days during my sophomore and junior years in high school listening to this album at my best friend Craig’s house -- which is to say I enjoy the album more for the memories than for the music.

* “Bargainville,” Moxy Fruvous
A smart and clever album from Canada’s coolest and funniest band.

* “I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got,” Sinead O’Connor
One of only three albums to receive a five-star rating from me when I was writing music reviews for the Freeman from 1988-92. The other two were Joe Jackson’s “Blaze of Glory” and Elvis Costello’s “Spike.”

* “Planet Earth,” Prince
It’s no “Purple Rain,” but the artist formerly known as a question mark still sizzles on this new release.

* “Breakfast in America,” Supertramp
This album got me across the country and back during the summer of ’79, and it’s been a constant companion ever since.

* “Beauty and Crime,” Suzanne Vega
One of the most gifted singer/songwriters of her generation -- or any other. This newly released album, her seventh, is every bit as good as the first six.

A pretty eclectic mix -- perhaps reminiscent of my music critic days, when I had to listen to, and comment on, albums by a wide variety of artists. I guess old habits, indeed, die hard.



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