Hurple Hoopla

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Favorite CDs of 2006

Please notice that I did NOT call this a "Best Of" list, but rather a "Favorites." It irks me that critics always refer to their year-end favorites lists as "the best releases of the year," like they have some mandate from a higher power to determine everybody's tastes. I'm not playing that. In determining my list, I simply picked all the releases of the past year, that I bought, then remembered back to which spent the most time in my player. Following that, I simply ranked the final 10. Enjoy!

10. Neil Young "Living With War"

As he did before with "Ohio" Neil has channeled what a large percentage of the population is thinking, about a political situation, and put it to song, with great results. While it's a bit wordy and rambling in places (and what modern Neil Young album isn't?), it's still the strongest statement he's made in a decade, both lyrically and musically.

9. Cheap Trick "Rockford"

After the horrid mis-step of 2003's "Special One" the boys from Illinois come firing back with an album that is fun, furious, and actually sounds like a Cheap Trick album. Imagine that. It helps that it also sounds like a very good Cheap Trick album.

8. Brian Setzer "13"

Never before would I have placed a Brian Setzer a lbum on one of my year-end favorites list. But, this album is quite the wonderful surprise. Setzer is an amazing guitar player, but too often he gets trapped in rockabilly cliches. While there is some of that this time around, too, most of the album is a guitar-shred workout that shows just how lean and mean a slinger Setzer really is. In addition, the man's voice is improving with age, and the performances on this album are riviting. While Setzer has never been a great songwriter there are several songs on this album that rank among his strongest, ever ("Rocket Cathedral" "Really Rockabilly" "Everybody's Up To Something" and "Don't Say You Love Me"). All this adds up to, easily, the single best disc Brian Setzer has ever created.

7. Los Lobos "The Town & The

Just another amazing album from just another band from LA.

6. The Legendary Shack Shakers

A little band from Paducah Kentucky that bases their schtick on a traveling revival show, this album finds them mixing their messge and music in an overwhelmingly po werful manner. For three albums they've blown everyone who's heard them away. The schtick may become tired after awhile, but for now it's still fun and exciting.

5. Old Crow Medicine Show "Big
Iron World"

See my review here.

4. Ray Davies "Other People's

See my review here.

3. Bob Dylan "Modern Times"

Dylan continues to deliver during a late-career resurgence.

2. Johnny Cash "American V - A
Hundred Highways"

See my review here.

1. Bruce Springsteen "We Shall
Overcome - The Seeger Sessions"

See my review here.


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