Triple Played: Mixed bag of favorites from 2013
My favorite music from 2013 includes new originals as well as reissued music that has not been available before on CD or at least in its present configuration.
This list is in no particular order, but I have to start with “Skydog: Duane Allman Retrospective.” “Skydog” is a seven-CD box set that really showcases Allman’s musical genius. It is the only collection of the majority of Allman’s work outside of the Allman Brothers Band. In fact, there are only 20 of the 129 songs that feature the Allman Brothers Band. The rest of the songs feature Duane’s work with Wilson Pickett, Laura Nyro, Herbie Mann, Boz Scaggs, John Hammond, Lulu, Ronnie Hawkins and many others.
■ Boz Scaggs, “Memphis.” One of the great singers in rock ‘n’ roll history at 69 years of age has never sounded any better! Armed with a great batch of covers and a pair of originals, this album delivers on every level. From the deft covers of “Rainy Night In Georgia,” “Cadillac Walk” and “Corrina, Corrina” to the originals “Gone Baby Gone” and “Sunny Gone,” there is no filler here.
■ Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones, “Foreverly.” Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong and the sultry voiced Norah Jones team up here to record a collection of songs inspired by the 1958 Everly Brothers LP “Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.” “Foreverly” features songs such as “Silver Haired Daddy of Mine,” “Barbara Allen,” “Roving Gambler” and “Long Time Gone.” This fresh approach by Armstrong and Jones really stands out.
■ The Band, “Live at the Academy of Music 1971.” Twenty-Nine live tracks from one of rock’s greatest bands were recorded during four performances in New York City. The set is highlighted by four songs with Bob Dylan who made an appearance the fourth night, which happened to be New Year’s Eve, 1971.
■ Rachel Brooke, “A Killer’s Dream.” We found out about Brooke from a customer’s tip, and what a tip it was. This young lady writes, sings and approaches country blues such as Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers with a heartbroken voice that reminds me of early Emmylou Harris. I can’t decide if it is her writing or her voice that is the strength of her songs. Probably both!
■ Jerry Jeff Walker, “It’s a Good Night for Singing & Contrary to Ordinary.” These two great LPs from the mid-1970s finally made it onto CD thanks to Australia’s Raven Records. In my opinion, these are the last two really good Walker albums. Featuring songs from the likes of Tom Waits, Keith Sykes, Lee Clayton, Butch Hancock Billy Joe Shaver and Rodney Crowell, these two LPs are just about as good as Walker’s “Viva Terlingua” and “Ridin’ High.”
■ Tony Joe White, “Hoodoo.” In one of those strange music business quirks, the man who wrote “Polk Salad Annie” and “Rainy Night in Georgia” doesn’t get enough recognition. Thanks to a friend, I became more aware of White’s music, and I love it. Deep murky swampy blues rock is the best way to describe it. It sounds like Creedence Clearwater Revival meets Mark Knopfler, and it is very infectious.
■ Kacey Musgraves, “Same Trailer, Different Park.” Don’t let the carefree delivery fool you on this record. If you take the time to really listen the lyrics, you will discover the turmoil and angst that is just below the surface. It is easy for me to see how Musgraves could have a bright future in the uncertain world of the modern music business.