I probably listened to 200 albums over the last year. Admittedly most of it was '60s and '70s material (we tend to gravitate to material we grew up with), but there was one 2015 release - Charlie's ""Elysium" (which nobody in the world seems to have noticed). Moreover looking at the list I was surprised by how musically diversified the listing was. Classic rock, English folk-rock, soul, new wave, pop ... it is all represented here. Anyhow, here are the ten LPs that caught my eyes and ears; got played multiple times, and got at least four out of five stars on my rating list.
They're in alphabetical order, rather than and other sequence.
Madeline Bell "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" (1968)
An amazingly talented American singer who simply couldn't break out of the crowd of other talented mid-'60s African American singers. She headed for England where she made a name for herself, though in the States she remains best known as a back-up singer. Shame since Bell had everything needed to be a breakout star. Awesome LP that more people should be aware of. Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/BELLmadeline.htm
Buffalo Springfield "Again" (1966)
Frankly I can't remember why I pulled this one out - I think it might have been related to the band reforming for a performance at the 2011 Bonnaroo festival. All I can say is I'd forgotten what a fantastic band the Springfield were before going down in a trail of personality conflicts and hate and discontent. There literally is not a bad song on this album. My review of the LP is found at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/BUFFALOspringfield.htm
Charlie "Elysium" (2015)
Terry Thomas with help from a couple of friends and former Charlie members ... Reportedly the final Charlie release and if it is it captured Thomas a his angriest. Nobody and nothing gets out of this set unscathed and virtually every one of these 14 tunes was wrapped in a to-die-for rock melody. And virtually nobody knew the album was even released. Just a crime that Thomas and company did not become household names..
Sandy Denny "Sandy" (1972)
I sold the three copies I owned and regretted it the minute the last one was gone. Simply her best solo effort and rivals her work with Fairport, Strawbs, etc. Worth the price of admission just for the stunning David Bailey album cover ... Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/DENNYsandy.htm
Fat Mattress "Fat Mattress" (1969)
Another album that took a long time to make an impact on me ... It was originally hyped for the fact Jimi Hendrix sideman/bassist Noel Redding was the founder and front man (well that was the theory behind the band). Anyone looking for a slice of Hendrix-styled psych will be disappointed. In fact this is one of those albums that's hard to accurate describe, but given a chance the collection's charms reveal themselves to a patient listener. Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/FATmattress.htm
Agnetha Faltskog "A" (2013)
It only took me two years to discover I'd missed the release of this album - and I always considered myself to be a closet ABBA fan. Overlooking that criminal behavior I'll simply say "A" was the best post-ABBA release any of the four members have issued. If you are going to buy one post-ABBA collection, this is the one to go out and find. My review is at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/FALTSKOG.htm
Van Morrison "Avalon Sunset" (1989)
Probably the biggest surprise (for me) on the list. When this originally came out I was totally bored by it. It seemed ponderous, plodding, and self-indulgent. Listening to it for the first time in decades I was dumbfounded by how far off the mark I was. One of Morrison's undiscovered gems. Review is at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/MORRISONvan.htm
Otis Redding "Love Man" (1969)
You simply can't go wrong with an Otis Redding album and this was one of the posthumous collections that's been largely overlooked. Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/REDDINGotis.htm
Allen Toussaint "Southern Nights"
I'd owned this album for at least five years and simply never gotten around to listening to it. Anyhow, I pulled it out and was shocked at how good it was - soulful, but way more than that. Sadly, within a couple of weeks of having "discovered" this album, Toussaint passed on. My review can be found at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/TOUSSAINT
Was (Not Was) "Laughing At Tornados" (1983)
I remember playing this one while in college ... Sweet Pea Atkinson and Sir Harry Bowens had two of soul's finest voices and the were in full display on this LP. Anyhow, listening to the album for the first time since 1985 I was surprised at how pleasant and innovative the collection was. Not everything on it is a homerun, but there are some dandy hits across the two sides. Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/WASnotWAS.htm
The Windows "Running Alone" (1987)
One of the best purchases I made this year - 50 cents at a yard sale. I had no idea who these guys were, but led by brothers Alan (drums) and Larry (vocals and guitar) Brewer, "Running Alone" offered up a wonderful collection that managed to mash-up AOR and new wave energy. It's one of those rare albums that gets better each time I hear it. Review at: http://badcatrecords.com/BadCat/WINDOWS.htm