Monday, 4 May 2009

FIFTY ALBUMS You Don't Own And Should

- ONE A YEAR from 1959 to 2009 -

1. “Rockin’ The Blues” - JOE TURNER
(June 1959 UK MONO LP on London HA-E 2173)
(December 1958 USA MONO LP on Atlantic 8023]
Side 1: We're Gonna Jump For Joy/Teen Age Letter/Love Roller Coaster/Lipstick Powder And Paint/Morning Noon And Night/I Need A Girl/Red Sails In The Sunset
Side 2: Blues In The Night/After Awhile/World Of Trouble/Trouble In Mind/TV Mama/You Know I Love You/Still In Love

OK! So I've cheated a tad here. The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that "Rockin' The Blues" actually came out in the States in 1958 first and the British issue on London then followed later in 1959. But I had to find a way of getting the joy of Big Joe Turner into this list somehow...

Listed at £120 in the Rare Record Price Guide of 2010, good luck trying to actually find a UK vinyl original - it's desirable among collectors and as rare as a conscience in a Labour Party Expenses Committee Meeting. Made up of rockers on Side 1 with bluesy ballads on Side 2, it's almost perfect as an example of truly great Fifties Rhythm 'n' Blues. Of the 14 tracks on the original LP - many compilations will include up to as many as 10 - that's how good they are.

You can pick up Warners Brothers "The Platinum Collection" on CD for less than £4 or $8 to get the bulk of the tracks, but better still is the 1999 Collectables Label CD out of the USA (Collectables COL-CD-6419) which couples 2 classic LPs of his on 1CD. You get the full 28 tracks of his 1957 "Rock And Roll" album on Atlantic 8005 (aka "Joe Turner") and this LP "Rockin' The Blues" from 1958. That way you get the full run of both LPs as intended - foot-tapping R'n'B bliss of a Grade-A kind.

Big Joe Turner is held in huge affection by collectors all over the world and the tracks on this criminally forgotten LP will tell you why. I only have to see his smiling face and I go to mush. A great place to start your 50-year journey...

2. “Elvis Is Back” - ELVIS PRESLEY
(June 1960 UK STEREO LP on RCA SF 5060)
(May 1960 USA STEREO LP on RCA Victor LSP-2231)
Side 1: Make Me Know It/Fever/The Girl Of My Best Friend/I Will Be Home Again/Dirty, Dirty Feeling/Thrill Of Your Love
Side 2: Soldier Boy/Such A Night/It Feels So Right/The Girl Next Door (Went A Walking)/Like A Baby/Reconsider Baby

[The 1999 Remastered CD has 18 tracks, 6 more than the original album - 3 singles and their B-sides and they're uniformly superb. The CD is stereo and the sound quality on the killer double blues finishers "Like A Baby" and "Reconsider Baby" is stunning - truly beautiful and allows you to 'hear' the great musicianship and Presley's fresh and now matured voice. But if you can afford it - go to the 2006 2CD "Follow That Dream" version with all the studio outtakes, chatter, 7" single full colour packaging - it's truly a thing of beauty - one of the great reissues of the last few years.]

3. “Lonely And Blue” – ROY ORBISON [Sings]
(June 1961 UK MONO LP on London HA-U 2342)
(December 1960 USA MONO LP on Monument M-4002)
Side 1: Only The Lonely (Know How I Feel)/Bye Bye Love/Cry/Blue Avenue/I Can’t Stop Loving You/Come Back To Me (My Love)
Side 2: Blue Angel/Raindrops/(I’d Be) A Legend In My Time/I’m Hurtin’/Twenty-Two Days/I’ll Say It’s My Fault

4. “Modern Sounds In Country And Western Music” - RAY CHARLES
(July 1962 UK STEREO LP on HMV CSD 1451)
(April 1962 USA STEREO LP on ABC-Paramount S-410)
Side 1: Bye Bye Love/You Don't Know Me/Half As Much/I Love You So Much It Hurts/Just A Little Lovin' (Will Go a Long Way)/Born To Lose
Side 2: Worried Mind/It Makes No Difference Now/You Win Again/Careless Love/I Can't Stop Loving You/Hey, Good Lookin'

5. “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan” – BOB DYLAN
(November 1963 UK STEREO LP on CBS Records S BPG 62193)
(September 1963 USA STEREO LP on Columbia CS-8786)
Side 1: Blowin’ In The Wind/Girl From The North Country/Masters Of War/Down The Highway/Bob Dylan’s Blues/A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall
Side 2: Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right/Bob Dylan’s Dream/Oxford Town/Talkin’ World War III Blues/Corrina, Corrina/Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance/I Shall Be Free

6. “Ain’t That Good News” – SAM COOKE
(1964 UK STEREO LP on RCA SF 7635)
(March 1964 USA on RCA Victor LSP-2899)
Side 1: Ain't That Good News/Meet Me At Mary's Place/Good Times/Rome Wasn't Built In A Day/Another Saturday Night/Tennessee Waltz
Side 2: A Change Is Gonna Come/Falling In Love/Home/Sittin' In The Sun/No Second Time/The Riddle Song

7. “Bleecker & MacDougal – FRED NEIL
(August 1965 USA STEREO LP on Elektra EKS 7293)
[Pictured above is the Sundazed 180 Grams Vinyl Reissue]
Side 1: Bleecker & MacDougal/Blues On The Ceiling/Sweet Mama/Little Bit Of Rain/Country Boy/Other Side To This Life/Mississippi Train
Side 2: Travelin' Shoes/The Water Is Wide/Yonder Comes The Blues/Candy Man/Handful Of Gimme/Gone Again

8. “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme” – SIMON and GARFUNKEL
(October 1966 USA STEREO LP on Columbia CS-9363)
Side 1: Scarborough Fair/Canticle [Run as 1 Track]/Patterns/Cloudy/Homeward Bound/The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine/The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
Side 2: The Dangling Conversation/Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall/A Simple Desultory Remark (Or How I Was Robert McNamara’d Into Submission)/For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her/A Poem On The Underground Wall/7 O’Clock News/Silent Night [2 tracks as 1]

9. “I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You” – ARETHA FRANKLIN
(1967 UK STEREO LP on Atlantic 588 066)
(April 1967 USA STEREO LP on Atlantic SD-8139)
Side 1: Respect/Drown in My Own Tears/I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)/Soul Serenade/Don't Let Me Lose This Dream/Baby, Baby, Baby
Side 2: Dr. Feelgood/Good Times/Do Right Woman - Do Right Man/Save Me/A Change Is Gonna Come

10. “The Circle Game” – TOM RUSH
(April 1968 USA STEREO LP on Elektra EKS 74018)
(1968 UK Mono (EKL 4018)/Stereo (EKS 74018) Lp on Elektra)
Side 1: Tin Angel/Something In The Way She Moves/Urge For Going/Sunshine Sunshine
Side 2: Shadow Dream Song/The Circle Game/So Long/Rockport Sunday/No Regrets/(Coda) [Ends side but not credited on the sleeve]

11. “Tighten Up Volume 2” – VARIOUS ARTISTS
(November 1969 UK MONO LP on Trojan Records TTL 7)
Side 1:
1. Long Shot Kick De Bucket - The Pioneers
2. John Jones - Rudy Mills
3. Fire Corner - King Stitt
4. Wreck A Buddy - The Soul Sisters
5. Reggae In Your Jeggae – Dandy [Dandy Livingstone]
6. Fattie Fattie - Clancy Eccles
Side 2:
1. Return Of Django - The Upsetters
2. Sufferer - The Kingstonians
3. Moonlight Lover - Joya Landis
4. Come Into My Parlour - The Bleechers
5. Them A Laugh And A Kiki – Soulmates
6. Live Injection - The Upsetters

[The 2009 2CD DELUXE EDITION of the Reggae classic "Tighten Up Vol.2" offers the full 12-track album above, plus it's 12 B-sides as extras on CD 1 (all 12 songs were issued as 7" singles in the UK); while a second CD offers 26 singles from the 1969 period as bonuses. See blogger and Amazon for a separate review for this superb 2CD set.]

12. “Eric Burdon Declares “War”” - ERIC BURDON and WAR
(May 1970 USA LP on MGM Records SE-4663)
(September 1970 UK LP on Polydor 2310 041)
Side 1:
The Vision Of Rassan: A) Dedication B) Roll On Kirk
[2 Tracks as 1 – 7:43 minutes]
Tobacco Road: A) Tobacco Road B) I Have A Dream C) Tobacco Road
[3 Tracks as 1 – 13:21 minutes]
Side 2: Spill The Wine
Blues For Memphis Slim: A) Birth B) Mother Earth C) Mr. Charlie D) Danish Pastry E) Mother Earth [5 Tracks as 1 – 13:20 minutes]
You’re No Stranger

13. “A Nod's As Good As A Wink…To A Blind Horse” – FACES
(November 1971 UK LP on Warner Brothers K 56006)
(November 1971 USA LP on Warner Brothers BS-2574)
[Note: USA title is “A Nod Is As…”/see UK and USA art above]
Side 1: Miss Judy’s Farm/You’re So Rude/Love Lives Here/Last Orders Please/Stay With Me
Side 2: Debris/Memphis/Too Bad/That’s All I Need

[the CD reissue by Rhino uses the US artwork and spelling - the original album on both sides of the pond also came with an enormous fold out poster [a collage of hundreds of polaroid snaps of the band] which unfortunately isn't reproduced in the booklet]

14. “Manassas” – STEPHEN STILLS and MANASSAS
(May 1972 UK 2LP set on Atlantic K 60021)
(April 1972 USA 2LP set on Atlanic SD2-903)
Side 1 (called "The Raven"): Song Of Love/Rock & Roll Crazies - Cuban Bluegrass (2 songs as 1)/Jet Set (Sigh)/Anyway/Both Of Us (Bound To Lose)
Side 2 (called "The Wilderness"): Fallen Eagle/Jesus Gave Love Away For Free/Colorado/So Begins The Task/Hide It So Deep/Don't Look At My Shadow
Side 3 (called "Consider"): It Doesn't Matter/Johnny's Garden/Bound To Fall/How Far/Move Around/The Love Gangster
Side 4 (called "Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay"): What To Do/Right Now/The Treasure (Take One)/Blues Man [Dedicated To Jimi Hendrix, Al Wilson and Duane Allman]

(The actual albums run the Sides differently - Record 1 has Side 1 and 4, Record 2 has Sides 2 and 3)

15. “Extension Of A Man” – DONNY HATHAWAY
(July 1973 UK LP on Atlantic K 40487)
Side 1: I Love The Lord ; He Heard Me Cry (Parts I & II)/Someday We'll All Be Free/Flying Easy/Valdez In The Country/I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
Side 2: Come Little Children/Love, Love, Love/The Slums/Magdalena/I Know It's You

{"Someday We'll All Be Free" is an Edward Howard song]
["I Love You More..." is a Blood, Sweat & Tears cover version written by Al Kooper]
["Magdalena" is a Danny O'Keefe cover version]
["Love, Love, Love" is a J.R. Bailey song]
["I Know It's You" is a Leon Ware song]

16. “So What” – JOE WALSH
(December 1974 UK LP on ABC Records ABCL 5055)
Side 1: Welcome To The Club/Falling Down/Pavanne/Time Out/All Night Laundry Mat Blues
Side 2: Turn To Stone/Help Me Thru The Night/County Fair/Song For Emma

["Falling Down" is a Don Henley song not on any Eagles or solo album]
["Pavanne" is a synth version of a classical piece by Ravel]
["Turn To Stone" originally appeared on his debut solo LP "Barnstorm" in 1972, but in a rougher and longer form; this shorter more polished version is different and is usually the one chosen for 'Best Of' compilations]

17. “The Bothy Band” – THE BOTHY BAND [aka The Bothy Band 1975]
(1975 UK LP on Polydor Super 2383 379)
Side 1:
1. The Kesh Jig/Give Us A Drink Of Water/The Flower Of The Flock/Famous Ballymote
2. The Green Groves Of Erin/The Flowers Of Red Hill
3. Do You Love An Apple
4. Julia Delaney
5. Patsy Geary's Coleman's Cross
6. Is Trua Nach Bhfuil Me In Eirinn
7. The Navvy On The Line/The Rainy Day
Side 2:
1. The Tar Road To Sligo/Paddy Clancy's
2. Martin Wynn's/The Longford Tinker
3. Pretty Peg/Craig's Pipes
4. Hector The Hero/The Laird Of Drumblaire (Strathspey And Reel)
5. The Traveller/The Humours Of Lissadel
6. The Butterfly
7. The Salamanca/The Banshee/The Sailor's Bonnet

[many of the tracks [1 on Side 1, 7 on Side 2] are jigs and reels segued into 1 song]

One of the most satisfying and brilliant of Irish folk LPs. Great reels, lovely ballads, devoid of any militant shit - it's an absolute peach from start to finish. Put a lot of pride back into 'real' Irish music. The CD came out on Mulligan in the 1980s (LUN CD 002) and is hard to get (as is the original LP), but so worth seeking out. Whenever we have people around for drinkies or a party - out comes this disc and they all love it. THE BOTHY BAND. The balls.

18. “Hejira” – JONI MITCHELL
(November 1976 UK LP on Asylum K 53053)
Side 1: Coyote/Amelia/Furry Sings The Blues/A Strange Boy/Hejira
Side 2: Song For Sharon/Black Crow/Blue Motel Room/Refuge Of The Roads

19. “Marquee Moon” – TELEVISION
(March 1977 UK LP on Elektra K 52046)
Side 1: See No Evil/Venu/Friction/Marquee Moon
Side 2: Elevation/Guiding Light/Prove It/Torn Curtain

20. “Rainbow Seeker” - JOE SAMPLE
(February 1978 UK LP on ABC Records ABCL 5245)
(February 1978 USA LP on ABC Records AA-1050)
Side 1: Rainbow Seeker/In All My Wildest Dreams/There Are Many Stops Along The Way/Melodies Of Love
Side 2: Fly With Wings Of Love/As Long As It Lasts/Islands In The Rain/Together We'll Find A Way

21. “5” – J.J. CALE
(August 1979 UK LP on Shelter/Island ISA 5018)
Side 1: Thirteen Days/Boilin' Pot/I'll Make Love To You Anytime/Don't Cry Sister/Too Much For Me/Sensitive Kind
Side 2: Friday/Lou-Easy-Ann/Let's Go To Tahiti/Katy Kool Lady/Fate Of A Fool/Mona

[CD error has a track called "Out Of Style" mistakenly replacing "Katy Kool Lady";
"Katy Kool Lady" is still unavailable on CD anywhere despite reissue]

22. “Catholic Boy” – THE JIM CARROLL BAND
(October 1980 UK LP on CBS Records CBS 84901)
(October 1980 USA LP on Atco SD 38-132)
Side 1: Wicked Gravity/Three Sisters/Day And Night/Nothing Is True/People Who Died
Side 2: City Drops Into The Night/Crow/It's Too Late/I Want The Angel/Catholic Boy

23. “Pirates” – RICKIE LEE JONES
(July 1981 UK LP on Warner Brothers K 56816)
(July 1981 USA LP on Warner Brothers BS-3432)
Side 1: We Belong Together/Living It Up/Skeletons/Woody And Dutch On The Slow Train To Peking
Side 2: Pirates (So Long Lonely Avenue)/A Lucky Guy/Traces Of The Western Slopes/The Returns

24. “All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes” – PETE TOWNSHEND
(June 1982 on Atco K 50889)
(July 1982 on Atco SD 38-149)
Side 1: Stop Hurting People/The Sea Refuses No River/Prelude/Face Dances Part Two/Exquisitely Bored/Communication
Side 2: Stardom In Acton/Uniforms (Corp D'Espirit)/North Country Girl/Somebody Saved Me/Slit Skirts

[Reissued on a CD remaster in 2006 on SPV with 3 bonus tracks in a digipak]

25. “Hearts & Bones” – PAUL SIMON
(November 1983 UK LP on Warner Brothers 923 942-1)
(November 1983 USA LP Warner Brothers 23942)
Side 1: Allergies/Hearts And Bones/When Numbers Get Serious/Think Too Much (b)/Song About The Moon
Side 2: Think Too Much (a)/Train In The Distance/Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War/Cars Are Cars/The Late Great Johnny Ace

26. "Learning To Crawl" - THE PRETENDERS
(January 1984 UK LP on Real/Warner Brothers WX 2)
(January 1984 USA LP on Sire 23980)

Side 1: Middle Of The Road/Back On The Chain Gang/Time The Avenger/Watching The Clothese/Show Me
Side 2: My City Was Gone/Thumbelina/Thin Line Between Love And Hate/I Hurt You/2000 Miles

27. “Steve McQueen” – PREFAB SPROUT
(June 1985 UK LP on Kitchenware KWLP 3)
Side 1: Faron Young/Bonny/Appetite/When Love Breaks Down/Goodbye Lucille #1/Hallelujah
Side 2: Moving The River/Horsin' Around/Desire As/Blueberry Pies/When The Angels

28. “The Colour Of Spring” – TALK TALK
(February 1986 UK LP on EMI EMC 3506)
Side 1: Happiness Is Easy/I Don't Believe In You/Life's What You Make It/April 5th
Side 2: Living In Another World/Give It Up/Chameleon Day/Time It's Time

29. “Dumb Poet” – IMMACULATE FOOLS [lead vocals/songwriter Kevin Weatherill]
(1987 UK LP on A&M AMA 5151)
Side 1: Never Give Less Than Anything/Tragic Comedy/One Minute/Dumb Poet/So Much Here
Side 2: Wish You Were Here/Don't Drive The Hope From My Heart/Pretty Prize Now/Stay Away
("She Fools Everyone" is a CD-only bonus track on A&M CDA 5151 [Track 8])

30. “Strange Kind Of Love” – LOVE and MONEY
(October 1988 UK LP on Fontana SFLP 7)
[Full Digital Recording, Produced by GARY KATZ of STEELY DAN Fame]
Side 1: Halleluiah Man/Shape Of Things To Come/Strange Kind Of Love/Axis Of Love/Jocelyn Square
Side 2: Walk The Last Mile/Razorsedge/Inflammable/Up Escalator/Avalanche
("Scapegoat" is a CD-only bonus track on Fontana 836 498-2 [Track 11])

(October 1989 UK LP on Linn Records LKH 2)
Side 1: Over The Hillside/The Downtown Lights/Let's Go Out Tonight
Side 2: Headlights On The Parade/From A Late Night Train/Seven A.M./Saturday Night

32. “Aion” – DEAD CAN DANCE
(July 1990 UK LP on 4AD Records CAD 0007)
Side 1: The Arrival And The Reunion/Saltarello/Mephisto/The Song Of The Sybil/Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book/As The Bell Rings The Maypole Spins
Side 2: The End Of Words/Black Sun/Wilderness/The Promised Womb/The Garden Of Zephirus/Radharc

33. “Cooltide” – JOHN MARTYN
(November 1991 UK LP/CD on Permanent PERMLP 4/PERMCD 4)
9 Track CD: Hole In The Rain/Annie Says/Jack The Lad/Number Nine/The Cure/Same Difference/Father Time/Call Me/Cooltide

[Reissued in 2008 as a CD remaster with 4 bonus tracks on One World Records]

34. “The Missing Years” – JOHN PRINE
(September 1991 USA CD on Oh Boy Records OBR-009CD)
(July 1992 UK CD on This Way Up Records 512 774-2)
14 Track CD:
Picture Show/All The Best/The Sins Of Memphisto/Everybody Wants To Feel Like You/It's A Big Old Goofy World/I Want To Be With You Always/Daddy's Little Pumpkin/Take A Look At My Heart/Great Rain/Way Back Then/Unlonely/You Got Gold/Everything Is Cool/Jesus The Missing Years

35. “Bang!” – WORLD PARTY
(April 1993 UK LP/CD on Ensign Records CHENLP/CDCHEN 33)
(April 1993 USA CD on Ensign 21991)
11 Track CD: Kingdom Come/Is It Like Today?/What Is Love All About?/And God Said.../ Give It All Away/Sooner Or Later/Hollywood/Radio Days/Rescue Me/Sunshine/All I Gave

["And God Said..." is only 27 seconds - a link between tracks]

[Reissued as a CD remaster by Seaview Records in 2006]

36. “Do Right Man” – DAN PENN
(June 1994 CD on Sire/Warner Brothers/Blue Horizon 9362-45519-2)
10 Track CD: The Dark End Of The Street/Cry Like A Man/It Tears Me Up/You Left The Water Running/Do Right Woman Do Right Man/Memphis Women And Chicken/Zero Willpower/He'll Take Care Of You/I'm Your Puppet/Where There's A Will (There's A Way)

37. “Stripped” (Live) – THE ROLLING STONES
(November 1995 UK CD on Virgin CDV 2801 [2LP set V 2801])
14 Track CD: Street Fighting Man/Like A Rolling Stone/Not Fade Away/Shine A Light/The Spider And The Fly/I'm Free/Wild Horses/Let It Bleed/Dead Flowers/Slipping Away/Angie/Love In Vain/Sweet Virginia/Little Baby

[the 2LP vinyl version of this 'live' in the studio album is quite rare]

38. “Peace Beyond Passion” – ME’SHELL NDEGEOCELLO
(July 1996 CD on Maverick 9362 46033-2 [No LP Version])
12 Track CD: The Womb/The Way/Deuteronomy: Niggerman/Ecclesiastes: Free My Heart/Leviticus: Faggot/Mary Magdalene/God Shiva/Who Is He And What Is He To You/Stay/Bittersweet/A Tear And A Smile/Make Me Wanna Holler

["Who Is He..." is a Bill Withers cover; "Make Me..." is a Marvin Gaye cover]

39. “Strangers Almanac” – WHISKEYTOWN
[feat [David] Ryan Adams and Caitlin Cary]
(July 1997 CD on Mood Food/Outpost OPRD-30005)
13 Track CD: Inn Town/Excuse Me While I Break My Own Heart Tonight/Yesterday's News/16 Days/Everything I Do/Houses On The Hill/Turn Around/Dancing With The Women At The Bar/Waiting To Derail/Avenues/Losering/Somebody Remembers The Rose/Not Home Anymore

[Reissued and remastered as a superb 2CD DELUXE EDITION in 2008 - see seperate Blogger and Amazon review]

40. “Timepeace” – TERRY CALLIER
(1998 USA CD on Talkin' Loud 539 249-2)
12 Track CD: Ride Suite Ride (Intro)/Lazarus Man/Keep Your Heart Right/Java Sparrow/People Get Ready - Brotherly Love/Love Theme From Spartacus/No More Blues/Timepeace/Following Your Footprints/C'est La Vie/Coyote Moon/AKA New York Al/Traitor To The Race

["People Get Ready" clip at the beginning of "Brotherly Love" is a cover version of The Impressions hit written by Curtis Mayfield]
["Following Your Footprints" features sax by Pharoah Sanders]

41. “Mule Variations” – TOM WAITS
(April 1999 UK CD on Anti/Epitaph 6547-2)
16 Track CD:
Big In Japan/Lowside Of The Road/Hold On/Get Behind The Mule/House Where Nobody Lives/Cold Water/Pony/What's He Building?/Black Market Baby/Eyeball Kid/Picture In A Frame/Chocolate Jesus/Georgia Lee/Filipino Box Spring Hog/Take It With Me/Come On Up To The House

42. “Inside Job” – DON HENLEY
(May 2000 CD on Warner Brothers 9362-47083-2)
13 Track CD:
Nobody Else In The World/Taking You Home/For My Wedding/Everything Is Different Now/Workin' It/Goodbye To A River/Inside Job/They're Not Here, They're Not Coming/Damn, It Rose/Miss Ghost/The Genie/Annabel/My Thanksgiving

43. “Gold” – RYAN ADAMS
(September 2001 CD on Lost Highway 088 170 256-2)
16 Track CD:
New York, New York/Firecracker/Answering Bell/La Cienega Just Smiled/The Rescue Blues/Somehow, Someday/When The Stars Go Blue/Nobody Girl/Sylvia Plath/Enemy Fire/Gonna Make You Love Me/Wild Flowers/Harder Now That It's Over/Touch, Feel & Lose/Tina Toledo's Street Walkin' Blues/Goodnight, Hollywood Blvd.

[Is was issued in Europe on Lost Highway 170 252-2 as a ltd edition 2CD set; the bonus CD had 5 extra tracks - Rosalie Come And Go/The Fools We Are As Men/Sweet Black Magic/The Bar Is A Beautiful Place/Cannonball Days]

44. “Wishing Well” – RICHIE HAVENS
(June 2002 USA CD on Stormy Forest SFS-2021)
10 Track CD: The Well/Handouts In The Rain/Love Is Alive/You'll Never Know/Slow Down/On The Road To Calvary/Stardust And Passion/Paradise/Alone Together/On The Turning Away

45. “The Randy Newman Songbook Vol.1” – RANDY NEWMAN
(2003 CD on Nonesuch 7559-79689-2)
18 Track CD:
It's Lonely At The Top/God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)/Louisiana 1927/Let Me Go/Rednecks/Avalon/Living Without You/I Think It's Going To Rain Today/You Can Leave Your Hat On/It's Money That I Love/Marie/When She Loved Me/Sail Away/The World Isn't Fair/Political Science/The Great Nations of Europe/In Germany Before The War/Ragtime

Like Elvis Costello, Randy Newman has often been viewed as one of the great smartarses of rock - and in some respects - this has put people off him and his music. He may be sharp, acidic, witty - his songs chronicling the weak ways of man and beast - but does his music touch you - have human frailty in it? Well here it does.

What we have on "Songbook" is accessible Newman - tracks from his entire career (rock and soundtracks) stripped down to just him and a piano. The effect is startling - peeling away the flashy guitar and sax solos, the perfectly pitched harmony vocals, the clever but overbearing orchestration - and you're left with only the bare melody and words - or in some cases - just the melody (Toy Story 2's "When She Loved Me"). The results are stunning. At 63 - his voice is even more powerfully evocative - and of course - the depth of the songs comes shining through like never before.

It's hard to take it all in - in one sitting - it is - but it's also hard not to be hugely impressed. Here is a great American songwriter - as relevant and as fearless as ever - just in a 'unplugged' kind of way.

46. “Beautiful Dreamer – The Songs Of Robert Foster (1826-1864)”
(August 2004 USA CD Compilation on Emergent)
1. Beautiful Dreamer - Raul Malo [Lead Vocalist The Mavericks]
2. Slumber My Darling - Yo-Yo Ma/Mark O'Connor/Edgar Meyer/James Taylor/Alison Krauss
3. Don't Bet Money On The Shanghai - BR5-49
4. Nelly Was A Lady - Alvin Youngblood Hart
5. No One To Love - Judith Edelman
6. Camptown Races - Duhks
7. My Old Kentucky Home Goodnight - John Prine
8. Autumn Waltz - Henry Kaiser
9. In The Eye Abides The Heart - Beth Nielsen Chapman
10. Old Folks At Home - David Ball
11. Oh Susanna - Michelle Shocked & Pete Anderson
12. Willie We Have Missed You - Grey De Lisle
13. Hard Time Come Again No More - Mavis Staples
14. Gentle Annie - Ollabelle
15. Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair - Roger McGuinn [of The Byrds]
16. Ah May The Red Rose Live Always - Suzy Bogguss
17. Holiday Schottisch - Will Barrow
18. Comrades Fill No Glass For Me - Ron Sexsmith

47. “Takk…” – SIGUR ROS
(August 2005 UK CD on EMI 337 252 2 5 [Book Packaging])
11 Track CD:
Takk.../Glósóli/Hoppípolla/Með Blóðnasir/Sé Lest/Saeglópur/Mílanó/Gong/Andvari/Svo Hljótt/Heysátan

[Track 4 "Hoppipolla" is the theme music to the BBC's "Planet Earth" TV Series]

48. “Black Water” - KRIS DREVER
(October 2006 CD)
12 Track CD:
Steel and Stone (Black Water)/Braw Sailin' On The Sea/Patrick Spence/Beads And Feathers/Green Grows The Laurel/Honk Toot (Honk Toot/The Happy Aunt/Betty Beardmore-Medley)/Harvest Gypsies/Fause Fause/Poor Mans Son/Rodney's Glory (Air/Rodney's Glory/Jim Donoghue's - Medley)/Navigator/Farewell To Fuineray

Kris Drever used to be with a folk group called FINE FRIDAY; "Black Water" is his debut solo album on the private label Reveal. It's a deeply Scottish folk affair, beautifully produced and featuring stunning complimentary vocal work from EDDI READER, KATE RUSBY and RODDY WOOMBLE of IDLEWILD. It also features JOHN McCUSKER on Fiddle [Album's Producer], DONALD SHAW on Harmonium and IAN CARR on Guitar. It transcends folk and his deep resonant vocals are a joy to listen to - steeped in Irish, English and Scottish traditional music. Drever's vocals are similar in depth to ANDREW MURRAY of DE DANNAN (check out his wonderful "Hell Or High Water" CD from 2005). "Black Water" is a beautiful album that gets better and warmer with every listen - and it went criminally unnoticed outside of folk circles. Check it out.

49. “Aman Iman: Water Is Life” - TINARIWEN
(February 2007 CD on Independiente)
12 Track CD:
Cler Achel/Mano Dayak/Matadjem Yinmixan/Ahimana/63/Toumast/Imidiwan Winakalin/Awad Idjen/Ikyadar Dim/Tamatant Tilay/Assouf/Izarar Ténéré

Sensational chugging mixture of Sahara Desert tribal rhythms with guitar rock and wailing women in the background - sort of Santana meets the Middle East. Every time I play a track off this CD in the shop it brings eager customers to the counter. An exciting new hybrid for World Music and utterly infectious.

50. “Hurricane” – GRACE JONES
(November 2008 CD on Wall Of Sound)
9 Track CD:
This Is/Williams Blood/Corporate Cannibal/I'm Crying (Mother's Tears)/Well Well Well/Hurricane/Love You To Life/Sunset Sunrise/Devil In My Life

An extraordinarily good return to form for Grace - stunning single in "William's Blood" - sounds like "Slave To The Rhythm", "Nightclubbing" and "Inside Story" were only made yesterday. Again - every time we play this - the punters love it. The whole album is good.

51. “Hill Of Thieves” – CARA DILLON
(January 2009 CD on Charcoal)
11 Track CD:
The Hill Of Thieves/Johnny, Lovely Johnny/The Parting Glass/Spencer The Rover/False, False/Jimmy Mó Mhíle Stór/She Moved Through The Fair/P Stands For Paddy (Lament For Johnny)/The Verdant Braes Of Skreen/The Lass Of Glenshee/Fil, Fil A Run Ó

Beautiful voice (she's from Dungiven in County Derry, Northern Ireland) married with gorgeous production, expert song choice and top musicianship gives you a contender for Folk Album of the Year already. Such a pretty and lovely listen - check out her version of "Spencer The Rover" with duet vocals from Seth Lakeman - sweet as a nut...