Mark Rosen Poop 2013


My Third POOP DISC-CLAIMER (disc-lamer?): All through the year, I was convinced there were some really strong records and easy POOP choices for 2013. Only when I actually compiled my list did I realize that 11 out of my Top 20 picks were in some way direct throwbacks to music originally produced many years ago. More and more I find the output of the young whippersnapper artists increasingly eclipsed by artists or music, uh, of a certain age. I’m growing ever closer to throwing down a “Hey, you kids, get off my lawn.”

Buy VARIOUS ARTISTS - Los Nuggetz: 60s Garage & Psych From Latin America  New or Used via Amazon   Buy Newor Used via Amazon
1 – VARIOUS ARTISTS – Los Nuggetz: 60s Garage & Psych From Latin America [and Spain]
The most colorful, eye-opening and comprehensively researched box set in my music collection. 101 unknown Spanish language rock 45s and album cuts, half of them covers (versiones de la cubierta) of familiar songs and half originales. This kicks and snarls en Espanol for four straight hours. The 68 page hard-cover liner notes book is a musical history textbook with 101 chapters. Utterly unique, I mean completamente unico.

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2 – THE MAVERICKS – In Time
This record is a wonder from beginning to end. It slides effortlessly from spicy Latin pop to Roy Orbison balladeering to infectious ska beats to trebly twang in a seamless genre-bending masterwork.

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3 – ROBBIE FULKS – Gone Away Backward
Fulks’ stripped-down acoustic lament about the disappearance of small-town America is served up with passion, wry observations and crack musicianship. “That’s Where I’m From” never fails to call up a tear or two. Sadly only about 45 people witnessed him bringing it all with him to a small room in Stone Ridge this fall.

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4 – THE EX & BRASS UNBOUND – Enormous Door
The Ex with the help of a propulsive horn section roll like a discordant truck hauling hooks aplenty and delivering some deep, slightly out of kilter grooves.

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5 – VARIOUS ARTISTS – Woody Guthrie At 100! Live At the Kennedy Center
Of all the Guthrie-themed LPs in the last decade that demonstrate his continued relevance, none does it better than this one. The politics are as poignant today as they were when Woody lived them. For proof YouTube Tom Morello’s stirring “Ease My Revolutionary Mind.” I’m fairly certain Governor Scott Walker will not be purchasing this set. Comes with a great DVD, as well, Scott.

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6 – ESCONDITO – The Ghost Of Escondito
The ghost of Lee Hazlewood (and the specter of Nancy Sinatra) hovers over these dark, haunting spaghetti western melodies. You can feel the sand.

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7 – EMMYLOU HARRIS & RODNEY CROWELL – Old Yellow Moon
Emmy’s voice is pretty much shot so duetting with her career soulmate not only makes sense but it’s just what her voice doctor ordered. It couldn’t be more obvious that both singers enjoy each other’s musical company. The record drips with comfortable.

Buy VARIOUS ARTISTS - Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or used via Amazon     Buy VARIOUS ARTISTS - Way To Blue: The Songs Of Nick Drake New or Used via Amazon   Buy New or Used via Amazon
8 – VARIOUS ARTISTS – Sing Me the Songs: Celebrating the Works of Kate McGarrigle
9 – VARIOUS ARTISTS – Way To Blue: The Songs Of Nick Drake
Both of these Joe Boyd-produced concert tributes pay tribute to two of his charges’ legacies. The first one seems more celebratory, probably because the songs were. The Drake tribute is more mournful, definitely because the songs were.

Buy DAN BERN with Common Rotation - Doubleheader New or Used via Amazon   Buy from Dan Bern
10 – DAN BERN with Common Rotation – Doubleheader
I like Dan Bern. I like baseball. And I really like when Dan Bern sings about baseball. Eighteen songs (it is a doubleheader, afterall) that variably references Vin Scully, Andy Pettitte, Bonehead Merkle (google him if you don’t know his name), pitcher-perfect Armando Galarraga and Umpire Jim Joyce, and many others.




11 – SHEAR SHAZAR – Shear Shazar
The only singer with a whinier voice than Jules Shear is his wife Pal Shazar. Their very first album together brims with beautiful melodies and arrangements. Fine whine.

12 – BILLIE JOE + NORAH – Foreverly
An unlikely pairing pays a respectful tribute to the Everly Brothers’ Songs Our Daddy Taught Us, the first Americana album of the rock era. BJ and Norah lose themselves in the songs and create a singular voice, something the brothers did so routinely. R.I.P. Phil.

13 – BOB DYLAN – Another Self Portrait (1968-1971)
Greil Marcus’s review of Self Portrait famously began with the words “What is this shit?” It has taken Dylan 43 years to answer the question or at least put ‘this shit’ in a proper context. Turns out Dylan was going through a Great American Folksongbook phase at the time, as these stripped down versions now reveal. I’ve actually always kinda liked Self Portrait, even as I scratched my head while listening to it, but this one hangs together without as much as a single head scratch.

14 – JACCO GARDNER – Cabinet Of Curiosities
Submitted for your consyderation: suffice to say there would be no Cabinet Of Curiosities if there had not first been a Piper At the Gates Of Dawn. Mellotrons, harpsichords, lush arrangements and very UK-ish melodies further contribute to the lush 60’s sound.

15 – NEKO CASE – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
. . . and the more I listen to this, the more I like it.

16 – VARIOUS ARTISTS – We’re “With the Beatles” [MOJO magazine giveaway]
This record celebrates the 50th anniversary of With the Beatles and allows the surprisingly still-brilliant songcraft to peek through the catchy, nostalgic beat music simplicity. Get ready for six more years of 50th anniversaries of Beatles’ albums. Not a bad thing.

17 – VINCE GILL & PAUL FRANKLIN – Bakersfield
Another retro-flashback, this time to the golden era of 70’s country and western, Bakersfield style. Gill’s voice, as always, is angelic, and the two artists respectfully pick their way through Buck and Merle, making the masters sound eminently at home in 2013.

18 – DAN PENN – The Fame Years
I begin with the assertion that Dan Penn was the best white writer of soul songs in the 60’s. Flexing his own muscle (as in shoals) on this collection, he proves he was a pretty damn soulful singer as well. A do right man, indeed.

19 – NEIL YOUNG – Live At the Cellar Door
With the recorders running , Young Neil is caught knocking at the cellar door, literally. Here, early in his career, he is at the top of his game even before he had game.

20 – THE DIRTBOMBS – Ooey Gooey Chewy Ka-blooey!
A yummy yummy yummy, sugary sugary paean to bubblegum music. Original songs delivered with the wink of an eye and as lightweight and fluffy as you can probably imagine.

Live Shows:
Robbie Fulks at Marbletown Multi-Arts
Nick Lowe at Club Helsinki in Hudson
Chandler Travis Three-O at The Dogwood in Beacon
Corb Lund at the Town Crier in Beacon

Some Kinda Love: Gone Gone Gone
Lou Reed
Phil Everly


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