Briefs: OA Top Ten Albums December 05, 2008

The latest list of music favorites:

1. Grateful Dead, “Rocking the Cradle: Egypt 1978.” The best music from the four great shows in Egypt in 1978 is now commercially available in a two–CD set with a bonus DVD of concert footage and rare home videos.

2. Bob Dylan, “The Bootleg Series, Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs, Rare and Unreleased.” With 27 tracks on two CDs and all but three previously unreleased, this set is a must, especially for Dylan’s fans. It also shows how remarkable and significant he remains as a songwriter.

3. Todd Snider, “Peace Queer.” Snider is a cross between Jimmy Buffett and John Prine. But he is ornerier than both of them. This eight–song EP is full of clever, socially significant songs.

4. Lucinda Williams, “Little Honey.” In love again and happy most of the time, Williams has one of her most positive and uplifting CD to date. But don’t worry, there are still some classic Williams’ style folk/blues tracks full of heartache.

5. Jackson Browne, “Time The Conqueror.” This is Browne’s first record of all new material since 2002’s “Naked Ride Home.” Like it’s predecessor, this excellent CD is a mix of classic Browne tunes as well as a few with topical, political themes.

6. Rodney Crowell, “Sex and Gasoline.” Crowell has been writing great music for more than 30 years, and I have always been a big fan. This new disc is as good as any of his previous releases. Crowell has been riding a hot streak since 2001’s “Houston Kid” with no end in sight.

7. Lindsey Buckingham, “Gift of Screws.” The polar opposite of his last release, “Under the Skin,” this CD is mostly a high energy electric offering with a few acoustic gems mixed in. This is a fairly intense and introspective set of songs representing his most potent song writing to date.

8. Little Feat and Friends, “Join the Band.” Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Bob Seger, Craig Fuller and Jimmy Buffett are just a few “friends” who join Little Feat in this fun celebration of some of its best songs as well as a few other great and recognizable tunes.

9. Buddy Guy, “Skin Deep.” This is Guy’s first album of original material in his incredible career, and he had help from friends such as Eric Clapton, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks and Robert Randolph. However, the star of this disc is Guy’s fantastic guitar playing.

10. Calexico, “Carried To Dust.” Known for its stark southwestern soundscapes, this mysterious band from the West Coast has the most accessible of its eight releases to date. Its music is mesmerizing in the way that the first Cowboy Junkies was, but Calexico’s sound is all its own.


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