Traffic From Paradise--Rickie Lee Jones
When first I reviewed this album, I gave a positive but not glowing report. It seems I rushed things, for now I find it has grown on me considerably. The high point is the teaming of two of my favorite vocalists, Rickie and Syd Straw, on a cover of David Bowie's Rebel, Rebel.Way cool.
There were a number of compilations this year, each raising money for another cause. This tribute to songwriter Victoria Williams is at the head of the class. Fine from top to bottom (save for a silly rendering of Why Look at the Moonfrom the Waterboys), Sweet Relief boasts an impressive array of artists (Soul Asylum, Pearl Jam, Lou Reed and Matthew Sweet, among others) and is worth the price for Lucinda Williams' cover of Main Roadalone.
Come on Feel--The Lemonheads
Evan Dando and company turn out another collection of catchy pop and that's just fine with me.
So Tonight That I Might See--Mazzy Star
Spacey, quiet music from a late night bar I wish I could find. I'd be a regular.
A funky, sly trip down Steely Dan Lane. I enjoyed the ride. It's the just-slightly-delayed Best Album of 1981.
I like this new trend towards combining jazz with hip-hop. But, old fart that I am, I like the former more than the latter. I'd rather hear the players than the rappers.
Cure for Pain--Morphine
Drums, bass and saxaphone and it works just fine. I like this disc.
For the Beauty of Wynona--Daniel Lanois
The producer becomes the (self-)produced. Lanois's eclectism is winning and his show at Town Hall in the spring rocked.
Altered Beast--Matthew Sweet
It's good melodic rock'n'roll and I like it. Sweet's contribution to Sweet Relief was one of that album's highights, too.
The Black Rider--Tom Waits
Waits plays the tunes he wrote for the theatre piece he collaborated on with Robert Wilson and William Burroughs. Not his most accessible work but quite interesting.
This Time--Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam could kick Travis Tritt's butt. You won't find Yoakam playing halftime at the Super Bowl and that's reason enough to buy this album.
The boys from Seattle muddled things up a bit. It's an angrier, more dissonant work than Nevermind. Interesting stuff.
The following albums just missed the cut:
Other Voices, Other Rooms-Nanci Griffith
Everybody Else is Doing it, so Why Can't We?-The Cranberries
Last Splash-The Breeders
Hey Man, Smell My Finger-George Clinton
Grave Dancer's Union-Soul Asylum
Are You Gonna Go My Way-Lenny Kravitz.
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