Duncan Clark Poop 07



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JOHN BUTLER TRIO – Grand National
Something for everybody – superb playing, politics and ass kicking grooves. The CD that I played most often last year.

 


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LUCINDA WILLIAMS – West
Not much going right with her life these days but it’s her best since “Car Wheels”.

 


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KATE RUSBY Awkward Annie
Her cover of the Kinks’ “Village Green Preservation Society” says it all: it’s a seamless mix of traditional and new songs.

 


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BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN Magic
The first half are songs he used to write in his sleep and then give away to others. It’s the second half where the politics come in where things get most interesting.

 


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ONCESoundtrack
It was a great year for movie soundtracks. In addition to the Vedder disc mentioned below, there was also Walk Hard: The Dewy Cox Story, Honeydripper and I’m Not There. Once perfectly captured Dublin and the sweet simple Irish romance that was not meant to be.

 


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THE WHITE STRIPESIcky Thump
They are back in the garage and this time they even brought bagpipes in with them.

 


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MAVIS STAPLESWe’ll Never Turn Back
The election of this country’s first black president a very real possibility, this collection of old civil rights songs revisited by Staples is all the more moving. With a yeoman’s effort from Ry Cooder.


 


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AMY WINEHOUSEBack To Black
While the media throws her into the Britney-Paris-Lindsey group, she’s a lot more talented than that. This smart collection is firmly grounded in the soul and girl group sound of the 60’s.

 


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RYAN ADAMSEasy Tiger
Hands down, his concert at UPAC last year was one of the more bizarre concert experiences I’ve ever had. Granted it was right after a skateboarding accident, but the concert was straight out of a David Lynch movie. Thankfully, the album was quite redeeming as he’s kept the workingman’s dead approach to the songs.

 


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DROPKICK MURPHYS The Meanest of Times
Strong follow up to their breakthrough from The Departed soundtrack. Also I can safely report that my hearing has finally come back after their concert at The Chance four months ago.

 


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OYSTER BANDMeet You There
Recycling old English folk rock bands from 30 years ago has seemingly become a cottage industry in that country but the Oysters are one of the few not showing any signs of age and still consistently making great music.

 


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YOUNG DUBLINERSWith All Due Respect – The Irish Sessions
For most artists doing albums of cover songs is a means of treading water until the inspiration returns. There were several such discs last year which were actually pretty good including discs by Patti Smith, Richard Shindell and especially Springsteen’s Live in Dublin. The Young Dubliner’s disc is surprisingly enjoyable and they even get away with a couple of Pogues covers.

 


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EDDIE VEDDERInto The Wild
Much more accessible than his work with his day job, Vedder was the perfect choice to capture the alienation and introspection of the movie.

 


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RILO KILEYUnder The Blacklight
Slicker sounding than their last disc but the song writing is first rate.

 


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RICHARD THOMPSONSweet Warrior
The disc marks a welcome return to a band sound and is a significant improvement over Front Parlour Ballads.

 


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NEW PORNOGRAPHERSChallengers
Not as many hooks per song but definitely Neko Case is featured more prominently than on the last disc. It’s a wash.

 


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DETROIT COBRASTied & True
They sort of remind me of Big Brother & The Holding Co- a competent rock band fronted by a tough as nails woman who bring out the best in each other. Good rock sensibilities.

 


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LINDA THOMPSONVersatile Heart
It appears that she has found another able collaborator named Thompson-her son Teddy.

 


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ROBERT PLANT & ALISON KRAUSSRaising Sand
This works only because it sounds nothing like anyone would have thought looking at it on paper. I’m sure that’s due to producer T Bone Burnett. The lo-fi approach is perfect to put on around 3 am. No surprise that the best songs were the ones Plant brought into the studio.

 


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MARK OLSONThe Salvation Blues
Loss and a broken heart often inspire great music. I was not a fan of Victoria Williams and for me, this is his best work since leaving the Jayhawks.

 


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GRAHAM PARKERDon’t Tell Columbus
Still squeezing out sparks.

 


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LEVON HELMDirt Farmer
One of the more depressing observations that I recall some years ago was the fact that all the voices of The Band had been silenced- two by death and one by cancer. This disc is remarkable as much for its very existence as anything else. He’s in great form.

 


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MARY WEISSDangerous Game
Taking the Shangri-la off of the streets and putting her in the garage. The voice is huskier than it was 40 years ago but it’s more suited to the garage band setting. A little more Shadow Morton wouldn’t have hurt.


 


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JOHN FOGERTYRevival
He finally sounds totally at peace with his past but the man’s got a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Thankfully, he can still rock out.

 


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PAUL McCARTNEYMemory Almost Full
He can still write a catchy tune but it’s when he starts weighing on things like dementia and death that he really starts getting your attention.

 

EISSUES AND OLD STUFF

NEIL YOUNGLive At Massey Hall: One of my favorite bootlegs of all time was from this tour.
RICHARD & LINDA THOMPSONLive In Concert 1975: Back when they were the Ike and Tina of the English folk rock set.
NILS LOFGRENBack It Up: Reissue of promotional record when he was in his prime.
JAMES BROWNThe Singles Vol. 2, 3 &4: The mid-60’s when he found his groove and everyone was in awe.
PENTANGLEThe Time Has Come: They are tagged with the English folk moniker but they were much more eclectic than that, A nice overview.
JEFFERSON AIRPLANESweeping Up The Spotlight- Live at the Fillmore East 1969: There were several old concerts released last year. This is the best on a night when it the drug de jour was amphetamines. When they clicked, they were hard to beat.
STEPHEN STILLSJust Roll The Tape- April 26th, 1968: Proof positive that just about every good song that he ever wrote was written before April 27, 1968.
MOBY GRAPEMoby Grape and Wow: Sundazed does a great job reissuing arguably the greatest debut ever and it’s underrated follow up with bonus cuts only to have to yank them off the shelf because of the legal fight with the band’s former manager that dates back decades. Tragic.
SONICSBusy Body!!! Live In Tacoma 1964: Actually not as out of control as I had expected probably because these were radio broadcasts.


SLY & THE FAMILY STONE – The reissues of their entire catalog.

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