It is time to do the top album/gig of the year stuff. Let's all get it over and done with.
My top album without a doubt is Sarabeth Tucek's "Get Well Soon". Inspired (if that is the right word) by the death of her father, it is magnificent from start to finish.
Convention demands that I select a top ten. That is a lot more difficult, as whatever I say today I will have changed my mind about by tomorrow. But here are four more albums that are sure to be somewhere in the top ten:
"Borrow A Horse" - Old Calf
"I Love You, Go Easy" - Devon Sproule
"Long Player, Late Bloomer" - Ron Sexsmith
"Album Vakansi" - White Shoes & The Couples Company
And the rest of the top ten will probably be made up of five of these:
"The Constant Pageant" - Trembling Bells
"Poor Moon" - Hiss Golden Messenger
"Get Out Of Sin City" - Boca Chica
"Nothing Is Wrong" - Dawes
"Helplessness Blues" - Fleet Foxes
"Blessed" - Lucinda Williams
"I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive" - Steve Earle
"The Head And The Heart" - The Head And The Heart
"Last Of The Country Gentlemen" - Josh T. Pearson
"Wona Baba Maraire" - Baba Maraire
Choosing the top gig is just impossible. It has been a bit of a bumper year. In the Festival Hall alone I saw Roy Harper (his 70th birthday bash), Pentangle (Bert Jansch's last gig), Rickie Lee Jones recreating her first two albums and The Sonics, all of whom were excellent. Around the corner in the Purcell Rooms Dobet Gnahore put on a blinding show.
At the smaller end of the scale, at least in terms of venue size, the Scritti Politti birthday bash and the This Is The Kit/ Sarabeth Tucek double bill, both in Dalston, were fantastic nights. And you can never see Mike Heron too often.
Here is a selection of tracks from some of the artists mentioned in those lists.
"The Fireman" - Sarabeth Tucek
"There Are Men In The Village Of Erith" - Old Calf
"Selangkah Keseberang" - White Shoes & The Couples Company (Featuring Fariz RM)
"Now's The Time" - Devon Sproule
"Luchea" - Baba Maraire
"Cote D'Ivoire" - Dobet Gnahore
"Sometimes The Sea" - This Is The Kit
"Don't Believe In Christmas" - The Sonics
And here are a few more, kicking off with the late, great Bert Jansch and Pentangle.