A break from war. The change of the year is always an occasion for lists. Since poverty has meant that I see movies when they find their way to a public library this means a good year lag time I’ll stick to tunes (my book lists are too idiosyncratic to share without some embarrassment). It is also hard for me because “new” often means uncovering some gem or another buried in the library stacks. A good friend of mine has recently been obsessed by the Everly Brothers and he’s shared his passion. Hey, it’s new to us. I also tend toward the bootleg. Many of the artists I like the most are best live, some of them rarely record studio efforts. I can’t say it was a stellar year for music (or much else).
I’ll just stick to this year’s official releases then for my best of list with a special nod to a live audience recording of Bonnie “Prince” Billy with the Picket Line at an outdoor Kentucky festival called Funtown. You can hear the summer crickets singing in the background!
I did see some good shows. The most fun at a show I had this year was at the Jazz and Improv Festival at the (R.I.P.) Bohemian National Home. It was 48 straight hours of bliss. Literally. I’ll never forget hanging out by the side of the building in the parking lot with Faruq Z. Bey booming from the huge, opened upstairs windows and watching the clouds roll in at a summer dusk with friends old and new.
There is, of course, far more music released than I have heard so if I am missing something you think I ought not to let me know.
Here they are and in no particular order and with the added proviso that this list is this evening’s “best of” list– tomorrow morning it may very well be entirely different:
Levon Helm- Dirt Farmer
Bob Dylan- Tell Tale Signs-The Bootleg Series Volume 8
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds- Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Mavis Staples and Ry Cooder- We’ll Never Turn Back
Bonnie “Prince” Billy- Lie Down in the Light
Steve Earle- Washington Square Serenade
The Pretenders- Break Up the Concrete
Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Harem Scarem (w/Alex Neilson) – Is It the Sea? (this one is would be on every list)