We’re about to bring the gavel down on 2010 which means you’ll soon see year-end “Best Of” lists if you haven’t already. Our pals at Roots Music Report – one of my sources for the weekly Blues Power Rankings – have already published their list of albums that got the most radio airplay in 2010. I stubbornly refuse to compile my own “Best Of” list until the year has come to a close but skimming what we have from RMR makes it clear how tough that job is going to be for me this year. Many of these albums are sure to make my list with many others competing for spots, and that doesn’t take into account great non-blues records!
I’m happiest to see the Top 5 placement for Peter Karp & Sue Foley’s He Said She Said. I love the record and it was great seeing them perform a suite of songs from the album at Nashville’s Music City Roots. It was an honor and a thrill to sit with them after the show, talk about the record, and eat some really good fried chicken. It’s good to see radio programmers, DJs, and listeners embrace a blues record that isn’t a blues record. It’s great to see smart songwriting and incredible chemistry get a chance to catch on with audiences.
Have Blues, Will Travel is the first Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King record I bought and I fell in love with it (I’ve since bought another of their albums). They were one of my happy discoveries in 2010 as were The Holmes Brothers. Charlie Musselwhite’s The Well was the long-awaited return of one of the great harp masters and it was worth the wait. Guitar Shorty also made fans wait and when he did he came back with some great songs on Bare Knuckle.
Moreland & Arbuckle’s Flood caught my ears earlier this year and it did well at radio and on Billboard’s charts. Joe Louis Walker’s Between A Rock And The Blues won Album of The Year at the 2010 Blues Music Awards. It was released in 2009 but its popularity carried it through into the new year.
These are just a smattering of the albums that made 2010 such a great year for the blues and music. Kudos to the artists mentioned below. I’m pleased I found time to review so many of these and disappointed that I listened to as many as I did and didn’t find time to write them up. I guess I’ll have one more chance when I unveil my own prestigious “Best of 2010” list. Stay tuned.
- Pinetop Perkins / Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith – Joined At The Hip
- Eric Bibb – Booker’s Guitar
- Janiva Magness – The Devil Is An Angel, Too
- Peter Karp / Sue Foley – He Said She Said
- The Holmes Brothers – Feed My Soul
- James Cotton – Giant
- Elvin Bishop – Red Dog Speaks
- Charlie Musselwhite – The Well
- Guitar Shorty – Bare Knuckle
- Magic Slim & The Teardrops – Raising The Bar
- Robin Rogers – Back In The Fire
- Little Joe McLerran – Believe I’ll Make A Change
- John Nemeth – Name The Day!
- Buddy Guy – Living Proof
- Albert Castiglia – Keepin On
- Harrison Kennedy – One Dog Barkin’
- Various Artist – Things About Comin’ My Way – A Tribute To The Music Of The Mississippi Sheiks
- Maria Muldaur & Her Garden Of Joy – Good Time Music For Hard Times
- The Rolling Stones. Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out! 40Th Anniversary Box Set.
- Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King – Have Blues, Will Travel
- Joe Louis Walker – Between A Rock And The Blues
- Moreland & Arbuckle – Flood
- Debbie Davies – Holdin’ Court
- Tinsley Ellis – Speak No Evil
- Arsen Shomakhov – On The Move