What I remember listening to in 2007


First, a confession: my motivation and enthusiasm are on the wane. The music seems to mean less than it used to (old fartism). Politics seems a lot more interesting. Listened less and was generally unimpressed but…..


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Magic – Bruce Springsteen
Except for “Radio Nowhere”, which was trite from the first listen, a nice return for the E Streeters. From the frothy “Girls in their summer Clothes” to the overtly political, really loved it


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Play It as it Lays – Mrs. Springsteen
Love that slutty sounding vibrato, so retro



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The Dap King duo:
Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
100 Days 100 Nights – Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Hopefully, Amy is still with us as this is published. Perfectly captures the anguish that seems to be her life. Sharon King is the consummate retro-soul pro. The Dap Kings are front and center on both albums.


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Dirt Farmer – Levon Helm
Medical marvel survives throat cancer and comes back (moderately) strong. The voice is strained, but kind of heroic. Smart enough to do covers that are complemented by the southern yawl-drawl.



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Religious interlude:
Salvation in Lights – Mike Farris
It’s Not How Far You Fall, It’s the Way You Land - Soulsavers
Neo-gospel rock. Farris is more traditional – evoking very strongly the spirit of the Seeger Sessions Band. Soulsavers (featuring Screaming Trees Mark Lanegan) is more hit and miss and certainly darker and harder to listen to.


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At My Age – Nick Lowe
Nick and I are about the same age, but he seems to be aging a lot more gracefully. I cannot remember not liking anything he has ever done.


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Street Symphony – The Subdudes
Sweet harmonies, yet with lyrics that bite at the disaster that is Katrina reconstruction.


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Revival – John Fogerty
The politics may be somewhat simplistic, but you cannot deny the passion. He’s right: you can’t go wrong if you play a little bit of that Creedence song.


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Various Artists- I’m Not There soundtrack
Pretty darned consistent as a Dylan cover album


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Son of Skip James – Dion
Sequel to “Bronx In Blue” stretches out the instrumentation a bit, with good result. There really is not a whole lot of difference between southern blues and South Bronx doo wop.


2 Local Picks:
Mesopotamia Blues – John Train
Smokey Mountain – Slo-Mo (featuring Mic Wrecka)
First, a disclaimer: I am a friend and former co-worker of John Train leader and songwriter Jon Houlon. That said, this is one of the sincerest anti-war albums of the year. A dignified retelling of the fiasco in Iraq, harkening back the earlier British experience invading Iraq (then Mesopotamia) in 1914. Told without anger or vitriol, it is a total damnation of US policy. Originals and covers.Slo-mo is another story. A second attempt at a kind of folk-rap hybrid, this one actually works – if you give it a chance and several listenings.


A few others:
The Scene of the Crime – Bettye LaVette
Water is Life – Tinariwen
Super Taranta – Gogol Bordello
Live in Dublin – Bruce and Sessions band
We’ll Never Turn Back – Mavis Staples
Rufus at Carnegie Hall – Rufus Wainwright


See ya.