Jim Camacho Reveals His Top Five Albums

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Music vet and New Times scribe Lee Zimmerman shares stories of memorable rock 'n' roll encounters that took place in our local environs. This week: The former Goods guy shares the music that changed his life... 

One of South Florida's most renowned and critically acclaimed singer-songwriters and multi-talented musicians, Jim can claim a prodigious career that spans two decades, one that spans recordings, concerts, theater and film. With critical nods that include New Times' kudos for "Best Songwriter" and "Best Acoustic Performer," Camacho remains one of the leading lights on the South Florida music scene.
Camacho made his initial mark with the Goods, one of the most formidable outfits to emerge from our realms. Camacho and his brother Jim were at the helm for the five albums the released over the course of the '90s, leading to a major label signing with a division of Polygram records and a documentary that aired on VH1. 

With the Goods' demise, Camacho kept busy with an ongoing series of solo albums that have unabated. He's also contributed to several film soundtracks, among them, the Grammy-nominated, Tom Dowd & the Language of Music, Paris Hilton's Pledge This, and Fatboy, which was nominated for "Best Use of Music in a Documentary" accolades at the Sundance Film Festival. 

In recent years, he's turned his attention to the musical stage, with his original productions. "Fool's Paradise," "Guru," and his recent children's musical, "The Cavie Islanders and the Troll." 

Clearly, Camacho is rarely idle -- his current projects include a new album he's producing for singer/songwriter Paola Beschia, a South Florida transplant who originally hails from Verona Italy, and his own new effort, scheduled for release on Fernando Perdomo's Forward Motion Records label. We felt fortunate then to momentarily divert his attention in order to share the Top Five albums that have left him with the most indelible impressions. 

"This the way I feel this week," Camacho claims. "If you ask me next week, this list would probably change." Fair enough, Jim. To paraphrase one of his favorite phrases, "Rock on, brother!" 

5. The Beatles -- The White Album: "My brother and I used to 'borrow' my sisters Beatles albums and listen again and again until the record was destroyed. The so-called White Album was my favorite. I love that album because of its bipolar nature and because it's loaded with so many great, great songs - 'Blackbird,' 'Julia,' 'I Will,' 'Revolution,' 'Mother Nature's Son,' 'Dear Prudence,' 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'... the list goes on and on. Side note: our Beatles jam band, the Beethose, performed the album in its entirety at Bardo last year... complete with 'Revolution #9'!" 

4. Kate Bush -- The Sensual World: "I became a big Kate Bush Fan and I waited for her new album for many months. I bought this record without hearing a note and I took it home, sat in a dark room and listened to it from start to finish, and by the time the record got to 'This Woman's Work' I was mesmerized. Kate Bush is a consistently honest writer, but this is such an honest record, with so many great songs and great performances." 

3. U2 -- Achtung Baby: "Like the Beatles before them, U2 were a band that had gotten overwhelmed and overly tired of themselves, so they decided to reinvent the band in order to feel free to create in a new skin, far away from anyone's expectations. I remember when this record came out ... I saw a video for 'The Fly' and wondered, 'Who was that great new band?' It's an amazing album with great songs. Side note: I remember going to Paris later that year, and for that entire summer I was busking and singing that new song 'One' in the subway." 

2. Leonard Cohen -- Songs of Leonard Cohen: "I grew up listening to Leonard Cohen, not by choice but because my mom would constantly play this album and his album Songs From a Room over and over again. As a result, I absorbed these records. They are some of the first songs I ever heard, and still some of the best songs I've ever heard. Side note: last year we got to go see Leonard Cohen at the Bank Atlantic Center and we took my mom... It now ranks as my favorite concert of all time. The old man was better than ever." 

1. Tom Waits - Heart of Saturday Night: "I remember discovering Tom Waits -- I was thumbing through used vinyl at Open Books & Records. I don't know why I bought it. I just had a feeling. From the moment I put the needle to the record, I found a friend in Tom Waits. It must've been 1989 and I remember falling in love with this record. I'd get ready for bed and put the album on and I would keep the sound so low I could barely hear it at first, but somewhere around 'San Diego Serenade,' it would come into focus, and by the time 'The Heart of Saturday Night' would arrive, everything was crystal clear and I was right there... in the room with Tom Waits and company. I just would tip off the edge of the world into peaceful music dreams."


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