- VAN MORRISON: TELL ME SOMETHING: THE SONGS OF MOSE ALLISON: 1996: 3 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Van paying tribute to one of his heroes. All songs were written by Mose Allison and Allison appears on the album. I like the shining a light on an artist who could use the exposure like this. The album is fine but it is what it is- a tribute album. Not among my most listened Van- I usually listen to it when I am going though the Van catalog like this.
- JIM FORD: HARLAN COUNTY: 1969: 4 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Although he is listed as country- right away its clear that this isn’t your typical ‘file under country’ album. A mix of country, soul and folk. Again, another 1969 album that I ran across- I had never heard of Jim Ford- and probably with good reason this was his only release. Sly Stone called him ‘the baddest white man on the planet.” Nick Lowe cited Ford as his biggest musical influence. This album is all over the place as far as styles go. Well written songs- I don’t get why is is considered country.
- THE SMITHS: THE QUEEN IS DEAD: 1986: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: NME lists this album as the #1 album ever- that is a big reach but it is The Smiths best album and one of the best 80’s albums. The Smiths at their peak. Favorite songs- There’s A Light That Never Goes Out, Frankly, Mr. Shankly, Bigmouth Strikes Again, Cemetry Gates, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others.
- VAN MORRISON: ASTRAL WEEKS: 1968: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: I hadn’t listened to the greatest album of all times- in a month or so- it was time to give it another listen.
- TAYLOR SWIFT: 1989: 4 1/2 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: It will be interesting to see how Swift’s career goes now- this album was released when she was 24- she has released one album since- two years ago- and it is the only album of her six that I am not a big fan of. She will be in her 30’s when her next album comes out. This album was a big departure from her earlier county sound. Will she continue to mature as an artist? She’s getting older and so is her fan base.
- STEVE EARLE: GUITAR TOWN: 1986: 5 STARS OUT OF 5 STARS: Steve’s debut album is still one of his best. His debut was a country album. Guitar Town [along with Copperhead Road and Galway Girl} are his signature songs. The strength of the album is his great songwriting- My Old Friend The Blues, Goodbye Is All We’ve Got Left, Someday and Fearless Heart- favorites. Wisely he didn’t remain a country artist- too limiting for his talents.