Thursday, December 29, 2005
Day four, then, of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Top Ten mostly favorite albums of the year. One more day to go. I'm not going to do a worst of the year, as previously advertised. There's no point, really. I don't want to give the band any more press than they've already gotten. Instead, I'd encourage folks to check out albums by The Bassholes, a two person group who've been playing smutty garage blues for longer than some of us have been alive. Once you have a taste, you'll never go vanilla again. Yeah, that was a veiled hint.
Here's some other fun stuff before I hit numbers 4 and 3 on the Top Ten list.
Most Disappointing Album of the Year: Mark Eitzel's "Candyass"-just...really...major letdown. I don't want to talk about it.
Most Favorite Television Show: My Name is Earl, if for nothing other than the soundtrack. Show's pretty fuckin' hilarious too. All hail White Trash.
Best Book I Should Have Read Years Ago: "The Ginger Man", by J.P. Donleavy. Genius.
Best Nonfiction: Harry Partch: A Biography by Bob Gilmore. Fascinating look into the making of an outsider wunderkind.
Fun, huh? Here's your numbers 3 and 4 of the Top Ten Albums of the Year. Oddly enough, they're both various artists discs:
4. Sunday Nights: The Songs of Junior Kimbrough (Fat Possum)
You really didn't think I'd make it through a list without ole Fat Possum making an appearance, did you? It's been a tough year for the label, so far as their old guard go. Farewell R.L and Paul Jones. A few years ago Junior Kimbrough left Mississippi for good. A member of the Big Rock Candy Mountain Fringe Hall of Fame, Kimbrough was arguably one of the greatest bluesmen of his generation. His influence is widespread. On this cd, a host of indie, blues, and scunge rockers step up to show the love. A short list of performers includes Mountain favorites Iggy Pop, Spiritualized, The Black Keys, Mark Lanegan, Thee Shams, Jim White, and Jack Oblivion. Tribute albums shouldn't, and generally don't, work. This one does because the artist don't attempt to better Junior, they only showcase how Kimbrough's hypnotic groove has influenced their own body of work. Here's last years' top tenner Entrance and next year's top tenner (yeah, I've heard the new one already...sue me) Cat Power, on one of my favorite Kimbrough songs.
Entrance and Cat Power: Do the Romp (mp3)
3. Night Train to Nashville: Music City Rhythm and Blues Vol. 2 (Lost Highway)
I'm actually going to include Vol. 1 in this list too, although it came out last year. This is a 4-disc (spread over 2 volumes) collection of the supposed hidden or forgotten R&B roots of a city known more for it's assembly line country music industry. I've bitched about the crap coming out of Nashville more than once on this here blog thingy. It's time to celebrate the good things in Music City. Shit, this collection rocks. Not a fist pumping rock, but a get your boogie on kinda rock. The origin of rock. Jukejoint soul at it's finest. From the obscure to the semi-well known, this set jumps, jives, and harmonizes it's way from start to finish. Notice how soul and r&b albums nowadays have that overproduced, deadening sheen to accompany a singer who trills their way up and down the scale without actually hitting a single note? Not a problem on this set. These cats can sing. And the "on-the-run" production styles leaves the music and the singers in the rawest of elements, melted down to a primal core. Yet another pick on my list that's all about sex, dancin', and havin' a real good time. I'm feeling generous today, so here's a song from each disc. One of these is not nearly as obscene as the title might suggest.
Cecil Grant: Nashville Jumps (mp3)
Shy Guy Douglas: Monkey Doin' Woman (mp3)
Charline Dowell and Orchestra: Wail Daddy (mp3)
Christine Kittrell: I'm a Woman (mp3)
The big two are tomorrow. Can you handle the excitement? What do I think was the best album of the year? Did I tip my hand a few months ago? Did something sneak in at the last minute? Are you quivering with anticipation? Oh boy, it's just like Christmas, innit?
For christ's sakes, support local business.