I received an e-mail from the Hype Machine recently making it clear that I am expected to produce a top ten albums list in order to justify my position as Opinion Former to the Glitterati.
This presents me with a bit of a challenge. As any regular readers will know, my main interest is digging out little known but wonderful music from the past and from different parts of the world. I make no real effort to keep up to date with what is going on musically in the UK, US etc. This is partly because I am an old fart, partly because I don't have the time to listen to everything I dig out already without adding to it even further, and partly because I assume if it is really great I will eventually find out about it somehow.
So mine will be one of the least well-informed Top Tens you will read this festive season. I was reading a blog this morning that has started going through its top 50 albums of the year. I doubt I have listened to many more than about half that number of albums of new material all the way through this year.
With that caveat, here goes:
1. Queen Of Denmark - John Grant
2. The Lady Killer - Cee Lo Green
3. Silver And Ash - Clare Burson
4. Abandoned Love - Trembling Bells
5. Great Expectations - The Jolly Boys
6. Likelemba - Reddy Amisi
7. True Love Cast Out All Evil - Roky Erickson & Okkervil River
8. Ways Of Escape - Great Lakes
9. Presidents D'Afrique - Didier Awadi
10. Joe Hill's Tears - Otis Gibbs
Here are a few selections from what are probably some of the less well known names on that list. Reddy Amisi is one of the current generation of fine Congolese performers. Clare Burson's album brings together songs inspired by the life of her grandmother, an East European jew who moved to the States in the early years of the Second World War, leaving most of her family behind - I was lucky enough to get to the launch gig in New York in September. And Great Lakes from Athens, Georgia via Brooklyn are one of a number of fine listens brought to my attention by the estimable Liz Lawson at Deux Et Machina PR, to whom this post is dedicated. Happy Christmas, Liz, and keep up the good work.
"Ma Geko" - Reddy Awisi
"In The Sea" - Clare Burson
"Old Ways" - Great Lakes
To finish off, here are clips from the top two.