Allison Moorer – Blood: let’s kick off with a recent release – Blood from Allison Moorer. It was released in October this year and it’s a really strong album, IMHO. It’s her tenth album but the first on her own record label. Here’s the title track, Blood.
James Taylor – Live: a live, double album. James’ first live album in fact. What I really like about this album is the heavy emphasis on vocals. He’s joined by the excellent David Lasley, Kate Markowitz & Arnold McCuller in the vocal department. Here’s an example of what I mean, a track called New Hymn.
Neil Diamond – Tap Root Manuscript: on vinyl, no less. My older brother had this when we were growing up, which is how I became acquainted with it. Some could say he was ahead of Paul Simon’s Graceland with this album (in that he mixes African music/influences into it). Side 1 is regular Neil with side 2 dishing up tracks like this, Missa.
Bonnie Raitt – Dig In Deep: released in 2016, her 20th album, and released on her own label. It contains all the classic Bonnie elements – good production, killer slide, heartfelt vocals and strong songs (from her own pen as well as others). Check it out on this track, Gypsy In Me.
Bloomfield, Kooper & Stills – Super Session: from more recent blues to a much older record. 1968 to be exact. Mike Bloomfield really was a monster guitarist and this album is mostly him jamming with Al Kooper and Stephen Stills. To give you an idea of what it sounds like, check out this track, Really
Alison Krauss – So Long So Wrong: from blues to bluegrass, via Alison and the boys that make up Union Station (Dan Tyminski, Jerry Douglas, Ron Block & Barry Bales). Alison knocks you out by seductively pulling you into her world with her soft voice so that you never want to leave. This track is a good example, called It Doesn’t Matter.
Celtus – Moonchild: a multi-layered sound that requires many, many plays to fully appreciate what is going on. Celtus was John & Pat McManus and this Moonchild album was their tribute to younger brother Tommy’s rather sad passing from this world. It’s also them returning to their more traditional roots with plenty of low whistle, uilleann pipes and both acoustic and electric guitar. This track is my particular favourite, called Love Turns To Dust.
Moore, Lunny & Faulker – Live In Dublin: a golden-oldie and as the title points out it was recorded live in Dublin. I had this on cassette back in the day and played the heck out of it. Great to have it on CD now. I love (the late) Jimmy Faulkner’s playing on it. He added a very nice layer to the overall sound. I had the pleasure of seeing Jimmy live many times when I lived in Dublin. He was always busy, be it playing music like this or with a blues band or whatever. A lovely player. Here’s one Christy has been singing for a good while, Black Is The Colour.
Frank Sinatra & Tommy Dorsey – The Song Is You (5-CD box set): this is just about every track ever recorded by Tommy Dorsey while Frank was his lead singer. If you consider that these tracks were all recorded around 1940/42, the sound is immaculate. They really did a marvelous (one of Frank’s favourite words) job of restoring the old masters. The music is as sweet as mother’s milk and a joy to listen to at any time. Here’s just one example, a song called Trade Winds.
Rosana – Lunas Rotas: something slightly different. Someone I know has an album by this lady and introduced me to her sound. I must say, I like it. Makes me feel happy when I listen to it. I came across this album recently in a bargain bin. It was released in 1996, so going back a bit. I think it was her first or second release. She’s from Spain. She was born on the Canary Island of Lanzarote but moved to Madrid in the early eighties where she began composing music. This track is called A Fuego Lento.