OA: Rock Cesario Column December 19, 2008

Rock’s favorite ’08 CD releases

Since there are no more new releases for this year, here are my favorite CD releases from 2008.

I am positive that I have missed some of your favorites. Even though it is my job to keep up on all new music, I can’t listen to all of it.

Here are my favorites in somewhat of a chronological order:

•  Jack Bruce and Robin Trower, “Seven Moons” — This collaboration between two giants of rock is just what the doctor ordered, especially if you are jonesing for a Cream reunion.

•  Gary Louris, “Vagabonds” — This CD is the first release from this former member of the Jayhawks. It is a great batch of songs in the style of the great singer/songwriters of the early 1970s.

•  Shawn Mullins, “Honeydew” — Armed with a batch of great songs and a world class voice, this CD is proof that Mullins is in the top tier when it comes to singer/songwriters.

• James McMurtry, “Just Us Kids” — This CD is every bit as good as its predecessor, “Childish Things.” McMurtry’s incredible stories are full of hard-edged characters, who are mostly down on their luck.

• Mudcrutch, “Mudcrutch” — This is Tom Petty’s original band reunited to for the first time in years. There are 14 great tracks featuring 10 originals and four terrific covers. It’s relaxed and unforced.

•  Van Morrison, “Keep it Simple” — Van the man was and still is one of the greatest singer/songwriters of any time. This “stripped down” CD is another in a long list of great discs from the Celtic cowboy.

•  John Hiatt, “Same Old Man” — I am not sure if it is the subtle delivery or the classic Hiatt-style Memphis rhythm and blues. Whatever it is, it all works on this excellent set of songs.

•  Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, “Turbo Ocho” — Most of the tracks for this CD were recorded in Mexico and the results are terrific. Clyne is a clever man and a brilliant songwriter and it all seems to come together here.

•  Jakob Dylan, “Seeing Things” — Bob’s son has got more than a little bit of his father’s talent. That comes through more clearly on this mostly acoustic laid-back effort.

•  Joe Cocker, “Hymn For My Soul” — One of rock’s great voices, Cocker is unique in song interpretation and has released one of his best CDs in many years.

•  Emmylou Harris, “All I Intended To Be” — This incredible lady has been entertained listeners with top quality work for almost 40 years. Her new CD is definitely one of the best of her illustrious career.

•  Rodney Crowell, “Sex and Gasoline” — Crowell doesn’t miss a trick and this CD is proof. Here is a man troubled by the times we are in, yet very content with where he is at in life.

•  Bob Dylan, “The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs, Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006” — If you need any further proof that Dylan is the world’s greatest songwriter, pick this set up. Dylan’s outtakes are better than most other artists’ keepers.

• Lindsey Buckingham, “Gift of Screws” — An introspective rock ’n’ roll record from the former and, I guess, future member of Fleetwood Mac. Buckingham has never sounded better on the guitar.

•  Neil Young, “Sugar Mountain — Live at the Canterbury House 1968” — An amazing and insightful look inside the mind of one of rock ’n’ roll’s great singer/songwriters at a very early stage in his career. It may be 40 years old, but it is as powerful as any of his work.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday on Drive 105.3 FM. E-mail him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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