Over the last year I listened to and reviewed 225 albums - virtually all of it older material. The most recent release was a 2008 CD by Andy Zwerling (Hold
Up the Sky") which might as well have been a 1970s release. The oldest releases wee a pair of 1968 albums: The Esquires - "Get on Up and Get Away" and the Italian psych/progressive band Equipe 84 "Stereoequipe". So out of that jumble of releases, what stood out from the rank and file ? On my simplistic 1 to 5 star rating scale (1 being unlistenable; 5 a must own product), 32 of these albums got four or five stars (12.8%). That's a pretty high proportion and I'm sure it would change if I went back and checked them all out again.
Anyhow, looking back at the list, here Well, here are the top ten albums I listened to over the last twelve months. I put them in favorite order and included links to the original reviews
Johnny Jenkins "Ton-Ton Macoute!" (1970)
Geez, Jenkins "discovered" Otis Redding; plays some mean blues guitar, and get's a helping hand from a big chunk of the Allman Brothers Band. How can you go wrong ?
Badfinger "Wish You Were Here" (1974)
Their second release for Warner Brothers should have made them mega stars, except for the fact the record company pulled all support for the album over an issue involving the band's management and missing promotional funds. You can only wonder what would have happened under other circumstances.
Kensington Market " Aardvark" (1969)
One of the best pop-psych albums to ever come out of Canada ...
Junco Partners "Junco Partners" (1970)
English blues, but not the stodgy kind that found folks like Mick Fleetwood trying to fake their way through the genre. These guys had the real thing going for them
Otis Clay -"Soul Man: Live in Japan" (1983)
Speaking of the real thing - one of the last true soul masters tearing it up in front of a Japanses crowd. Why is it American never recognizes its true talents until it is too late ?
Doc Holliday "Doc Holliday" (1973)
All but unknown outfit who turned in a consistently engaging album that disppeared without a trace.
Equipe 84 "Stereoequipe" (1968)
Italian pop/psych/progressive outfit. The language gap is not an issue on this one.
Atlanta Rhythm Section "Eufaula" (1999)
With late Ronnie Hammond on vocals, a wonderful, if completely overlooked "comeback" set that should have returned them to the charts.
Philippé Wynne "Wynne Jammin'" (1980)
Still best known for his work with The Spinners - this set finds Wynee working
with George Clinton and the P-Funk crowd. I'm still not sure how the late
Wynne managed to find a sweet spot between classic soul and P-Funk, but he did.
Andy Zwerling "Hold Up the Sky" (2008)
National Public Radio's favor ost pop cause. The funny thing is that NRP got it
right with Zwerling. Classic pop and goofy enough to be fascinating.
And two bonus selections:
Terry Reid "Seed of Memory" (1976)
I've owned this album for years and always though it was pedestrian. I was wrong. Maybe his best solo release.
Bobby Womack "Lookin' for a Love Again" (1973)
Three words are all you need to know - CLASSIC SOUL ALBUM.