Solomon Burke, Don’t Give Up on Me
Blind Boys of Alabama, Higher Ground
VA None But the Righteous: Masters of Sacred Steel.
Dave Holland Big Band, What Goes Around
Peter Wolf, Sleepless
Dixie Chicks, Home
Spoon, Kill the Moonlight
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, The Tyranny of Distance
Norah Jones, Come Fly mth Me.
She is an average singer who sings pop tunes – not jazz. She makes my list for what she doesn’t do. There are no triple octave leaps, with pretension of hip hop gospel and hands held high. She simply sings the melody without embellishment. What a concept.
Kasey Chambers, Barricades and Brickwalls
Moby 18 So what if it´s like Play.
I think it’s just as good. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Mooney Suzuki, Electric Sweat.
Everybody’s been rooting for the return of garage rock. Me too. I just wish it was better. These guys are okay. They certainly beat the White Stripes. I also kind of like the Hives, but its probably because of their attitude, their outfits and the Swedish thing more than the music. Seventies punk was garage rock in disguise. In Britain it was spawned by a class struggle; while in the U.S. it was a response to something less lofty – soft rock. Can a style make a comeback simply because we miss it, or does it need cultural springboard?
Bruce Springsteen, The Rising.
This one just makes my list. The music is just average. You can get a lot of mileage out of political correctness, symbolizing blue collar America, and an E Street reunion. Even if you have a good lyric (a la “empty sky”), that doesn’t give you the right to sing it ad nauseam. At least Steve Earle has balls and makes you think rather than simply milks your emotions.
Houston Person, Sentimental Journey, Blue Velvet.
Just an older saxophone player who puts a lifetime of depth and feeling into some old ballads. Ben Webster would be proud (and jealous). How popular is he? Not even one person bothered to rate his latest on Amazon.
World Music – Well, really only African music. I’ll try not to make this a habit.
Afro-Rock Vol. One.
A few cuts actually have an African garage rock feel, a recurring theme this year.
Nu Afrobeat Experience, Ultimate Afro-Funk Dance Grooves.
I need the African thing to cover up the techno, rap, and hip hop – otherwise I would pretend to hate this great dance record.
The Music in My Head, Vol. Two.
Stronger out of the blocks than Vol. One, but doesn’t quite have the staying power.
Salif Kiefta, Moffou
Damon Albarn has morphed into Augustus Pablo and Paul Simon. Think Pablo’s. East of the River Nile – dub music with a recorder and some famous (well, relatively) African legends.
Orchestra Baobab. I actually choose the comeback. Specialists in All Styles over the legendary 80’s album, Pirate’s Choice.
Youssou N’Dour. The much hyped Nothing’s in Vain is nothing special.
I would stick to the terrific compilation. Rough Guide to Youssou N’Dour & Etoile De Dakar which shows where the world’s best singer learned his stuff with one of the
world’s best bands.
Rough Guide to Nigeria and Ghana
Steppin’ Out with the Grateful Dead – England 72.
The vaults are open and 40 trillion more live discs are slated for release next year, but this is Kent’s Pick, Vol. 1. These are from the British dates on the Europe 71 tour, but unlike that classic album, these versions are not studio sanitized and edited down. That means some songs drone on while others have some incredible ~ especially for the Dead – energy. Jerry gets better every year.
Johnny Thunders- Born too Loose. Now this is garage rock.
The Soft Boys, Underwater Moonlight
Trojan Reggae Classics 1968-74
Shuggie Otis, In Session Great Rhythm & Blues.
Shuggie was a youngster in the seventies playing with his Dad’s band when some real R&B pioneers from the late forties and early fifties dropped by the studio. Most of the oldsters rally to the occasion, although a few like Amo Milburn sound a little rickety. But all the recordings of these old chestnuts have added fidelity and some funky guitar
courtesy of Shuggie.
Cellarful of Motown.
Despite Barry Gordy’s claims, some of these lost treasures have been previously unearthed. They’re still great.
Wilco, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Peter Gabriel, Up
Elvis Costello, When I was Cruel.
He had few good albums in the late seventies, and then petered out. He gets away with boring albums with Bacharach and string quartets, and never gets fried in the press. Well, he may be charming, but, more importantly, he is a music historian. Forget his latest. Instead, pick up the November issue of Vanity Fair where he discusses his favorite music. Elvis’ top picks in blues, classical music and all styles are revelations. Forget the Poop Sheet. Let Elvis be your guide, even into opera.
Wait Until Next Year
Prince, One Nile Alone Live. Four discs are a lot to digest, but the buzz is great.
George Bush While We All Were Sleeping.