Teat yourself with this year's best music
by Richard Antone
Dec 10, 2010 | 2710 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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By year's end you probably be awash in argyle socks, salami rolls you didn't eat, or fruit cakes harder than hockey pucks. They meant well. Really. But don't wait to get what you really want – go out and buy yourself some or all of this great music that came out in 2010.

West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology

Jimi Hendrix

(Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

This box set of the guitar legend boasts over 40 previously unreleased recordings and alternate tracks, starting with music Hendrix recorded as a sideman between 1964 and 1966. His solos on the Isley Brothers' smoking "Testify" do just that. He had it then, and the Isleys showcased him well. There are standout acoustic versions of "Angel" and Dylan's "Tears of Rage," a funky "Roomful of Mirrors" and a searing live "Star-Spangled Banner" heard before Woodstock. With an engrossing DVD documentary directed by Bob Smeaton, this is an exciting glimpse into Hendrix' evolution as an artist.

Mythology

Bee Gees

(Reprise)

This box set covers the group's odyssey from harmonic pop stars to superstar writer-producers. Not long after their launch, Nina Simone and Janis Joplin were covering their songs. From gentle ballads like "Words" and "First of May" to the streetsmart funk of "Jive Talkin'" and "Stayin' Alive" to recent tracks, they have survived trends, critical indifference and backlashes, always staying in tune.

Warriors

The Cookers

(Jazz Legacy Productions)

The Cookers, in addition to recording their own albums, have played with everyone from Miles Davis to Sonny Rollins to Herbie Hancock. Trumpeters Eddie Henderson, Jackson Heights native David Weiss and saxpohonists Craig Handy join Springfield Gardens-based pianist George Cables, bassist Cecil Mcbee and drummer Billy Hart for this boisterous, expansive CD. It starts off with Freddie Hubbard's "The Core" and doesn't let up.

Live At Bullmoose Music 4.17.09

Ani DiFranco

(Righteous Babe)

Singer-songwritier-indie label icon Ani DiFranco picked Record Store Day to perform this energized live radio set at an independent music store in Maine. This CD includes "Alla This," "Everest" and a previously unreleased song "Unworry." It's not long, but it is resonant and gratifying.

The Witmark Demos:1962-1964

Bob Dylan

(Columbia/Legacy)

This collection was recorded over several prolific years, from just after Bob Dylan signed with Columbia to just before he went electric. Here are these raw publishers' demos, mostly unreleased. Dylan's merit as a songwriter is self-evident. He rolls out love songs, topical humor, the social comment of "Long Ago, Far Away," "The Ballad of Emmett Till" and "Masters of War" to the stunning poetic imagery of "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" and "Mr. Tambourine Man."

Afri-Spaans

Marta Gomez

(Odyssey)

No stranger to NYC's annual Columbian music showcase Encuentro or local clubs, Cali-born singer-songwriter Marta Gomez has recorded several excellent Nueva Colombiana albums in Spanish. Now on this CD of gentle Spanish-language covers of African songs, Gomez digs deep into songs like the anthemic "Nkosi" and "Para Ti" while making it sound easy.

Singing In The Dark

Susan McKeown

(Hibernian Music)

Irish singer Susan McKeown sets the words of poets to sensitive music by herself and others. There are Ullean pipes for James Clarence Mangan's "The Nameless One" and a jazz pulse for Gwendolyn Brooks' "The Crazy Woman." A few choice covers are added for good measure, like Violeta Parra's "Gracias A La Vida" and Leonard Cohen's "Anthem." Quite an inventive collaboration.

The Sea

Corinne Bailey Rae

(Capitol)

British vocalist Corinne Bailey Rae has turned in a lovely sophomore disc of percolating R&B, pop and rock. In an age when the marginally talented make news for being marginally talented, this is refreshing to hear. Rae's shimmering vocals, sparkling songwriting and production make this CD a collection of soothing sounds for a troubled world.

The Promise

Bruce Springsteen

(Columbia)

Bruce Pringsteen once described his E Street Band as a band built for hard times. During a troubled time of his own, he wrote and recorded songs. Dozens of songs. This is unreleased material from sessions for the 1978 album Darkness On The Edge of Town. Hear "Come On(Let's Go Out Tonight)" before it became "Bye Bye Johnny," "Candy's Boy" before it became "Candy's Room" and intense, passionate songs like "Outside Looking In" and "Rendevous."

Ghost Train:The Studio B Sessions

Marty Stuart

(Sugar Hill)

Things have come full circle for sturdy-voiced Marty Stuart since he played with country music icon Johnny Cash. Here, Stuart's recorded a song he wrote with Cash, "Hangman," and it's one of many moving, evocative tracks on this album. Highlights include a lovely duet with Connie Smith on "I Run To You" and the empathetic "Working Man."

Silver Pony

Cassandra Wilson

(Blue Note)

Duke Ellington's highest praise for a musician was to say they were "beyond category," so is Jackson, Mississippi's Cassandra Wilson. Is she a jazz or blues singer? Mistress of inventive covers? Wilson is all that and more. Recorded in New Orleans, the CD's covers include Charley Patton's "Saddle Up My Pony" and Stevie Wonder's "If It's Magic." Saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and singer-pianist John Legend add spice to this gumbo.

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