10 albums I’ve listened to a lot this year

• Sweet Bells – Kate Rusby: Kate is a Yorkshire lass and sings lots of old mining songs from that area. “Sweet Bells” is a Christmas album, hence my playing it a lot these days.
• Elton John (the black album) – Elton John: I finally got it for my collection. I’ve loved it since it came out. I’ve been picking up all those early Elton albums lately. Gems, all of them.
• Songbook – David Gates: What a great songwriter he was… and what a sweet voice. This collection is a nice mix of his Bread hits, solo hits and a couple of new songs thrown in for good measure.
• Watertown – Frank Sinatra: I’ve become a big fan of Frank’s over the last while… especially his Capitol recordings. This album however was released on his own Reprise label and it didn’t do well at all when it was released. It gained some traction in the years that followed and slowly but surely people warmed to it. Now it’s considered a masterpiece. Sorry about that, Frank!
• Best of… Smokie: I’ve always loved Chris Norman’s voice. Still do. In fact, I’m going to see him live in Budapest, Hungary next April. He’s doing a special show with an orchestra. Sounds interesting. I wonder which songs he’ll do. He’s had lots of hits in Europe as a solo artist as well.
• Already Free – The Derek Trucks Band: What a wonderful greasy, funky sound they make. Soul-blues based. Derek is an amazing slide player but the whole band is excellent. Check ‘em out, you won’t be disappointed.
• Can I Have My Money Back – Gerry Rafferty: Released in 1971 it may not be as well known as some of his latter releases, which is a real shame because it’s a really, really strong album. There are shades of The Beatles/Paul McCartney in the sound but it’s also all Gerry. What a wonderful voice he had.
• Xmas! The Beatmas – Rubber Band: What a Beatles Christmas album might have sounded like. It’s really clever how they put this together. They’re from Denmark. They’ve taken classic Christmas songs and put them in a Beatles jacket. Hard to describe. Check it out if you can. Delightful stuff.
• “A” – Agnetha Fältskog: This album was recorded in 2013, so long after her ABBA days. It’s not what I’d usually listen to. I came across it on YouTube and found it instantly likeable/listenable. Several repeat plays prompted me to buy it. I’m happy I did as it’s give me many hours of listening pleasure since. She’s still in fine voice… and what a beautiful voice she has.
• Late For The Sky – Jackson Browne: If there is one album I play over and over and never tire of, it’s this one. It’s so good, so strong. I have it on vinyl and also on CD. The CD is usually in the car and the CD player is set on repeat. Sometimes it starts to play again and before I can get to it to eject it, I hear those first few notes and I’m sold all over again and just let it play. The cover is a tip of the hat to René Magritte, a Belgian surrealist painter. It’s based on René’s L’Empire des Lumières series of paintings.

So there you have it, some sounds that have been keeping me company throughout 2016. I’m hoping Christmas will bring some additions to my collection. You can never have enough good music, right?

Of course I also hope that Christmas will bring you all lots of what you wish for and that you get some peace time with your friends and family.

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