Mark Rosen Poop ’10

cover of THE BLUE SHADOWS - On the Floor Of Heaven  Buy New or Used via amazon
1 – THE BLUE SHADOWS On the Floor Of Heaven
Unreleased in the US until this year, this 17 year old record out of Canada (sweetened with a bonus disc of extras) is a real alt-country classic. Great melodies falling somewhere between the Beatles and the Burritos, ringing early R.E.M. guitar tones, Phil and Don-like harmonies, thoughtful arrangements. How the hell did this fly under the radar? This clicks on every level. Thanks, Irv.

cover of ROBERT PLANT - Band Of Joy  Buy New or Used via amazon
2 – ROBERT PLANT Band Of Joy
Plant has invented his own genre: dark, minor key, muddy-sounding, almost Gothic Americana. In his hands, the songs most definitely do not remain the same.

cover of VARIOUS ARTISTS - Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute To Shel Silverstein  Buy New or Used via amazon
3 – VARIOUS ARTISTS Twistable, Turnable Man: A Musical Tribute To Shel Silverstein
An all-star (well, sort of) fun ride through Silverstein’s off-center lullabies, legends and lies to the place where the sidewalk ends.

cover of RICHARD BARONE - Glow  Buy New or Used via amazon
His voice is as sweet as ever in a record that combines 80s Hoboken guitar pop with Tony Visconti-produced T.Rex glam. His 2007 autobio Frontman: Surviving the Rock Star Myth is also a worthy read. They both inspired me to dust off and play my old Bongos (the band, not the drums).

cover of NORAH JONES - . . . Featuring Norah Jones  Buy New or Used via amazon
5 – NORAH JONES – . . . Featuring Norah Jones
A collection of collabs with other artists, from jazz, from hip-hop, from country, from Outkast, from Charlie Hunter, from Gillian Welch, and from others that further convinces me (despite what other people may think) that Norah speaks fluent cool.

cover of WILLIE NELSON - Country Music  Buy New or Used via amazon
6 – WILLIE NELSON Country Music
Willie’s rap sheet may be getting longer but he continues to be in great voice as he delivers his own paean to classic country & western. As his harmonica player said after Willie’s most recent brush with the law, “He feel great. He lost 6 ounces.”

cover of BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - The Promise  Buy New or Used via amazon
His outtakes on the edge of Darkness are at least as good as the ten tracks on the original. I was never that taken with Darkness, always finding the songs a bit too arena-ready. Most of these songs are smaller in scope and better for it.

cover of MAVIS STAPLES - You Are Not Alone  Buy New or Used via amazon
8 – MAVIS STAPLES You Are Not Alone
Mavis lends that voice to a great selection of songs (supposedly Jeff Tweedy’s contribution) that sound both swampy and citified. Perhaps this is Tweedy’s response to a line from a 30 Rock episode that said that NBC’s TV programming was “about as diverse as a Wilco concert.”

cover of CHIP TAYLOR & CARRIE RODRIGUEZ - The New Bye & Bye  Buy New or Used via amazon
This would actually be a ‘Best Of’ collection were it not for the first four (and the worst four, btw) new songs that open the album. Their two voices have no right sounding so damn comfortable together since they are separated by 34 years, but that’s part of the unmistakable charm of this record.

cover of BRIAN WILSON - Reimagines Gershwin  Buy New or Used via amazon
10 – BRIAN WILSON Reimagines Gershwin
Brian’s homage to George Gershwin kind of makes sense, and his crack band The Wondermints more than cover for his vocal shortcomings, so in the end it works rather nicely. Everybody’s gone Gershwin / Gershwin U.S.A.

It just occurred to me that I’ve never owned even one Elton piano tinkle before this. And Elton and Leon have certainly each sounded better than they do on this collection, but there is a special chemistry at work here as two venerated vets pay their deep respect to one another. Two pianos and 131 years.

The Porns’ time-tested, song-structure-be-damned formula continues. Their first album is still their best and all the others are tied for second. Continued practitioners of the “if it ain’t broke” philosophy.

13 – THE BASEBALL PROJECT Broadside Ballads
Between their first CD from 2008 and their forthcoming March 2011 follow-up, the baseball and guitar-pop loving Baseball Project released one song a month this year for nine months as downloads (get it, nine innings?). There are odes to Stephen Strasburg, the disabled list, the Chicago Cubs and six more worthy subjects, all unique to this collection. Like before, for fans, by fans.

14 – LEN PRICE 3 Pictures
Somebody’s been listening to their early Who and Jam records again. For an even better example of what they do so well, find their second album Rentacrowd.

15 – PETER WOLF Midnight Souvenirs
Peter Wolf continues in a comfortable musical niche of tasteful and gentle white soul music with the occasional Keef flourish. Tasty duets with Shelby Lynne and Neko Case don’t hurt either.

Richard Thompson doesn’t re-invent the wheel or even re-invent himself here but good songcraft and blistering guitar work remain his ticket. I forget it’s even live until the applause at the end of each track.

17 – THE SADIES Darker Circles
The Sadies continue what they do better than anybody else: play atmospheric spaghetti-country music.

18 – GOGOL BORDELLO Trans-Continental Hustle
Another amalgam of Eastern European Gypsy by-way-of-Brooklyn punk. Not too shabby live, either.

19 – BLACK 47 Bankers And Gangsters
A return to form for these NYC Guinness-sucking oldsters. Maybe if I type the words uileann pipes and bodhran I’ll get one step closer to learning how to spell them. Plus I ate bangers and mash before seeing them live for added authenticity.

20 – ELVIS COSTELLONational Ransom
It’s been quite a while since his inclusion on one my POOPlists but Elvis and a great band deliver. This is the third title on my Top 20 produced by T-Bone Burnett, for what it’s worth. Hands down the nicest cover-art and packaging of the year too.


SANDY DENNY & THE STRAWBS All Our Own Work- A beautiful collection but criminally missing any liner notes. Supwidat?
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – All four of their newly uncovered live albums.
MOBY GRAPE Live – Anything newly uncovered by Moby Grape is gonna be welcomed but this is quite good too.
OTIS REDDING Live On the Sunset Strip- See Moby Grape.
VARIOUS ARTISTS A Cellarful Of Motown: Volume 4 – More first-quality unreleased stuff. Does this cellar ever end? I sure hope not!


“Fuck You” – CEE-LO GREEN – Great video too. And forget, I mean fuck that censored version.
“Smells Like Rockin’ Robin” – GO HOME PRODUCTIONS – Yours for the Google. Definitely not for those who take their Kurt Cobain too seriously.


Crazy Heart soundtrack from 2009