Voted Albums of 2004
TOP 10 ALBUMS FOR 2004
Guy Davis 'Legacy' (Red House Records)
Doug MacLeod 'Dubb' (Black & Tan)
David Jacobs-Strain 'Ocean or a Teardrop' (Northern Blues Music NBM0024)
Nine Below Zero 'Hat's Off' (Zed Records)
Carlos Guitarlos 'Straight from the Heart' (Nomad)
Ernie Payne ' 'Coercion Street' (Black & Tan)
Steve Earle 'The Revolution Starts....Here' (Artemis Records/Rykodisc)
Slaid Cleaves '' from 'Wishbones' (Philo)
Loretta Lynn 'Van Lear Rose' (Interscope Records)
North America Roots:
Eliza Gilkyson 'Land of Milk and Honey' (Red House Records)
Joe Croker 'Shame Shame Shame' (Bagatelle Arts)
Joel Kroeker 'Melodrama' (True North)
Lunasa 'The Kinnitty Sessions' (Green Linnet)
Mary McPartlan 'The Holland Handkerchief'' (MCPCD 001)
Susana Seivane 'Mares de Tempo' (Coleccion Do Fol)
Chris Stout 'First O, the Darkenin' (Greentrax)
Fairport Convention 'Over the Next Hill' (Matty Groves Records)
The Big Session Volume 1 (Westpark) featuring: Phil Beer, Eliza Carthy, Oysterband, Ben Ivitsky, Steve Knightley, Jim Moray, James O'Grady, Brett & Rennie Sparks, June Tabor.
Tiger Moth 'Mothballs plus' (The Weekend Beatnik)
Scandanavia (inc Iceland):
I confess that some of these albums came out prior to 2004 but only found themselves in the UK during 2004 due to zealous importers:
Steintryggur 'Dialog' (SM107) - a stunning album from Iceland's creative spirits !
Maria Solheim 'Frail' (Kirkelig Kulturverksted)
Holger 'Nils Holgersson' (Fairground)
Mainland Europe (inc Sardinia/Corsica/Sicily/Balearics):
Amparanoia 'Rebeldia Con Alegria'' (EMI)
Tenores di Bitti 'Caminhos de Pache' (Felmay)
The Transsylvanians 'Igen' (Westpark)
Warsaw Village Band '' from 'Uprooting' (Jaro)
Ivo I Mara 'Mojmir Novakovic I Kries' (Kopito Records)
Darko Rundek & Cargo Orkestar (Piranha)
Khaled 'Ya Rayi' (Universal)
Rachid Taha 'Tekitoi' (Wrasse)
West Africa (inc Mid-Atlantic):
Daby Toure 'Daby Toure' (Realworld)
(DT will be touring the UK in May & August 2005)
Mory Kante 'Sabou' (Riverboat)
Sam Mangwana 'Sings Dino Vancu' (Sterns)
'The Rough Guide to Ethiopia' (World Music Network)
South Africa (inc Southern Indian Ocean): The History of Township Music (Wrasse)
The Middle East:
Adel Salameh 'Hafla' (Enja)
Te Vaka 'Tutuki' (WMCD1005)
The Waifs 'Bridal Train' EP (Jarrah Records)
Marsada 'Pulo Samosir' (Dug Up Music)
Asere 'Destinos' (Astar CD01)
Ska Cubano 'Ska Cubano' (Casino Sounds)
Lila Downs 'One Blood/Una Sangre' (EMI) Well Mexico does have some Caribbean coastline...
Bebel Gilberto '' from 'Bebel Gilberto' (East-West)
Chango Spasiuk '' from 'Tarefero de mis Pagos' (Piranha)
Kings of Leon '' from 'Aha Shake Heartbreak' (Hand Me Down Records)
Brian Wilson 'Smile' (Nonesuch)
Juliet Turner 'Everything is Burning' from 'Season of the Hurricane' (Hear This)
'World 2004' by Charlie Gillett (Wrasse)
'Live at the Talbot' (RKRCD006)
'Awards for World Music 2004' (Manteca)
'More Great Moments of Vinyl History' selected by Andy Kershaw (Wrasse)
Crossing Musical Boundaries:
Mark Saul 'Mixolydian' (MSC001)
Romano Trip 'Gypsy Grooves from Hungary' (GHCD-003)
Kinky 'Kinky' (Sonic 360)
Travis Tritt - “My Honky Tonk History” (Sony)
The album's opening line “I got these calluses from all those nights I spent playing my Telecaster 'til my fingers bled Bud Lite” say it all. Tritt's unashamedly 100%-proof blue-collar attitude is still intact. One of the few who can belt along at full-crank Southern rock and perform a 180-degree controlled skid straight into a sensitive tear-jerkin' ballad. If you can't afford a Harley, just take this record for a spin – it's goin' the same place. Hell Yeah…turn it up!
Bobby Bare Jr's Young Criminal's Starvation League
- “From the End of Your Leash” (Bloodshot)
You can sense Bare Jr. grinning back at you as you listen through this bleak comic trail of situations. “Visit Me In Music City” captures the raw realities of Nashville's music scene more than a whole chapter in a traveller's Rough Guide could ever nail. The inventive melodic hooks aiding the dark-into-uplift alchemy would not be out of place alongside Ryan Adams better work. A wallow in the underbelly-world of Country.
Moot Davis - “Moot Davis” (Lucky Dog)
The ghost of Hank Senior is aglow within this ex-actor who hails-in armed with vibrant, positively-whining vocal projectiles. The sound's more hard and sharp-edged than BR5-49, more subtly hewn than Wayne the Train. Fresh original retro-billy brewed to getcha howlin' at the moon!
Tift Merrit - “Tambourine” (Lost Highway)
The Texas-born/North Carolina-raised singer-writer-guitarist blows away the expectations set with her previous sensitive-song, acoustic-biased Lost Highway debut. A great full-on fix of bar-storming country-soul. Jukebox junkies place your quarters.
Will Kimbrough – “Godsend” (Southbound)
Guitar-ace; 2004 AMA Musician of the Year; Rodney Crowell side-man; Todd Snider's chief musical collaborator - yet Will's awesome writing talent seems to have flown straight under Nashville's corporate radar. With his “Piece of Work” now featuring on Jimmy Buffett's latest release, that injustice could be overturned. Even with this outtakes album, Kimbrough triggers thoughts of what the Beatles might sound like if they were to hang around Nashville's sleazy Printer's Alley. Melody, hooks and riffs galore!
Close, but no cigars: Jesse Malin, Meister, Air, Chuck Prophet, The Finn Brothers, Tift Merrit, Chumbawamba, Hem and REM.
Gigs of the year (excluding my clients, for political reasons!!)
First equal (chosen because they are the 3 CDs I've listened to many more times than any others)
And the others...
And as there were no women in there, my favourite CDs by females are:
It's been another excellent year for albums, with a good mix of strong discs from established artists and emerging talent - the list below celebrates the best of year and contains some stunning albums. The list is presented in no particular order of preference.
Top Ten Gigs of 2004
1. Seven Swans- Sufjan Stevens.This years Welcome Convalescence, forty five minutes of pure art full of imagination and beauty. What sounds initially like very simple repetitive melodies eventually become titanic in the same way that the impressionists used simple repetitive brush strokes to create masters. Comes With A Smile said this record estalished Stevens alongside the very finest purveyors of heartfelt, understated traditional singer- songwriting; I couldnt agree more. A magnificent timeless album which like the Nels Andrews record perfectly mixes old time trad folk sounds with contemporary soft rock ( released in the UK in 04).
2. Vultures Await- Will Johnson.This guy is clearly on a roll. Welcome Convalescence ( by his band South San Gabriel) was head and shoulders above most of last years albums and this follows in the same vein. The instrumentation and production have been stripped back as Will goes for his Plastic Ono sound but again its a thing of slow burning, melancholic beauty. Dont expect to get it on first play, his voice is too ragged but a few plays will be rewarded with a musical friend for life.
3. Retriever- Ron Sexsmith.Melodic pop songwriting at its best, this is the nearest thing I heard to a new Beatles album in 2004. They all now say that Revolver was their finest hour in terms of song quality, well this is in the same league. Dandelion Wine is one of my songs of the year- the key change half way through just kills me. A minor miracle after his lacklustre predecessor, Cobblestone Runway.
4. Richmond Fontaine- Post To WireReleased in the UK in 04, the finest alt.country record to pass my way in a while. Great songs, amazing stories and in the postcard segments, something unique and very different. Enough plaudits have been written about Willy Vlautin but theyre all deserved; a man who lives and breathes his art and a genuinelly a nice guy. I just wish Paul Brainard was still with them on pedal steel.
5. Sunday Shoes- Nels AndrewsA first class debut, this is the sound of Albuquerque New Mexico. I suspect that Nels is really a double act with Jeffrey Richards who co- produced this record and plays throughout but like Dave Rawlings prefers to remain anonymous. Richards was formerly a part of Hazeldine and played a large part in the sound of their classic, Digging You Up. This album sounds very similar, dry as the New Mexico desert but with the same perfect mix of Richards traditional banjo and slow burning rock guitar.
6. Around The Sun- REM.Unfortunately the best tracks are near the end so perhaps people lost interest before they got there; I persevered and love most of it. Wanderlust should have been relegated to the bonus track but Aftermath sounds fabulous on the radio. A mature record from a band who are prepared to fly in the face of fashion and make their own Pet Sounds.
7. Drag It Up- Old 97s.One of the stars of SxSW this year, I was privileged to catch their marvellous set at Stubbs. Not as energetic as previous efforts ( I guess Rhett used many of his upbeat songs on his solo album) but this really is a fine record full of vitality and fine songwriting. If Smokers doesnt get you on your feet, theres no hope for you. As has been mentioned before, Ken's track should have been left as the bonus but otherwise 9 out of 10.
8. Land Of Milk and Honey- Eliza GilkysonA lady whose songwriting just gets stronger and stronger with every record, Wonderland is also a contender for song of the year. Catch her live if you get the chance, she really is a very entertaining performer with her heart in the right place.
9. The Lights In This Town Are Too Many Too Count- Grand DriveTop notch pop/rock with fabulous harmonies and songs , this album wasnt helped by the fuzzy production courtesy of Daniel Lanois' associate, Malcolm Burn. I guess they were looking for a different sound after three albums but I actually prefer the demos which came as a freebie with the initial release. Having said that, the songs are outstanding and carry the album with ease. For Jayhawks fans everywhere.
10. Mutual Admiration Society- SameImmaculately produced by Ethan Johns, a beautiful hybrid of Glen Phillips ( of Toad The Wet Sprocket fame ) high lonesome voice and Nickel Creeks classy traditional folk instrumentation. Nothing new or different, just very good songs extremely well played. I for one am really looking forward to Glen Phillips' debut for Lost Highway; he is long due a higher profile.
Gigs of the year
Tracks of the year
Here's to a great musical year in 2005
My favourite ten albums of 2004
Here are my choices for 2004, in no particular order. As usual I have picked my favourite albums from those that I have reviewed this year, despite the year that they were released.
Top 10 Blues Albums Reviewed in 2004
Top 10 Non-Blues Albums Reviewed in 2004.
Top 3 gigs
Albums of the Year:
And my best gigs of 2004 were:
THE TOP XI
Not in any definitive order - tho' if pushed the first couple on the list would be at the top - just a series of signposts / clues for anyone looking for great music in a landscape parched by Busted, Mc Fly, Girls Aloud ... which of course isn't you dear reader so maybe printouts of this page should be fly-posted at every HMV and MVC
1 - MIRACLE MILE - Stories We Could Tell (Miracle Mile) Songwriting that equals the brothers Finn, Paddy McAloon and others in Division One and a vocal performance of Paul Buchanan proportions. Genuinely indispensible.
- DAVID HUGHES - I Can Explain (Folk Corporation) A deceptive album that reveals more and more as you listen and listen. It's also a painfully honest record that I'm sure resonates with many of us in this business. It is also, thanks to David's musical imagination and producer Mark Tucker's prodigious talent and taste an aural delight.
2 - TOM PACHECO - The Long Walk (Halden) / Year Of The Big Wind (Frog) Anthemic rock on the former Scandanavian only release and acoustic on the latter. Either way Pacheco confirms that he's simply cut from the same cloth as Seeger, Dylan and Ochs.
3 - ELTON JOHN - Peachtree Road (Rocket) Amazingly the best in three decades standing tall alongside Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across The Water, both of which sound amazing in new multi-channel verions.
4 - MARK KNOPFLER - Shangri-La (Mercury) Yes there is fine music in the mainstream. Wearing his J J Cale influences proudly this beautifully written, laid back and organic sounding set is simply wonderful.
5 - SCISSOR SISTERS (Polydor) Sheer joy!
6 - THE FINN BROTHERS - Everyone Is Here (Parlophone) Great songs.
7 - IRIS DEMENT - Lifeline (Flariella) She may well be singing from the family hymnal but with that voice she'll convert more than Billy Graham thought possible.
8 - DAVE ALVIN - Ashgrove (Yep Roc) Beautifully observed songs - isn't Nine Volt Heart one of the best songs ever about the power of radio - and superb playing.
9 - FAIRPORT CONVENTION - Over The Next Hill (Matty Grooves) Best in years. A cohesive collection delivered with musicianship so scintillating you'd never believe the fractured circumstances it was created in.
10 - BRIAN WILSON - Smile (Nonesuch) - A staggering achievement in 2004. Trying to imagine the severity of its impact in 1968 is, well, WOW!!!
Best of 2004 for me...
Also enjoyed this year...Jeffrey Foucault, Slaid Cleaves, Gretchen Peters, Crosby & Nash, Reg Meuross, Pierce Pettis, Karine Polwart, Eddi Reader, Mindy Smith, Beth Neilsen Chapman, Michael Fracasso, Buddy Miller, Iris Dement, Michael Carpenter.
Others that have been bought and played to death this year but technically were 2003 releases include Mark Erelli 'Hillbilly Pilgrim', 'Los Lonely Boys', A.J. Roach 'Dogwood Winter', David Francey 'Skating Rink', Show of Hands 'Country Life'.
Songs of the year:
Los Lonely Boys 'Heaven', David Francey 'Fourth of July, Eliza Gilkyson 'Tender Mercies', Justin Rutledge 'Too Sober To Sleep', Wailin Jennies 'One Voice', Richard Shindell 'Last Fare of the Day', Mary Chapin Carpenter 'Goodnight America' Steve Earle 'Rich Man's War', Anne McCue 'Machine Gun'.
Best gigs of the year..
Best of the rest at the Cabbage Patch...Mark Erelli, David Francey, Andy Irvine, Clive Gregson.
Here are the albums I've played most in 2004
Here are my favourite 10 CD's of the year
I've also included my favourite song:-Alabama 1959 - Pierce pettis
10 gigs of the year (in alphabetical order):-
BEST OF THE YEAR RESULTS
Album: (The numbers represent the fact that I couldn't decide what was better. I worked out the top ones and then the rest are tied.)
Best person standing in line outside a gig eating a kebab:
Albums Of The Year (no particular order but I'd rate Stamey the best of the year)
I welcome the chance to suggest a personal top ten of both albums and gigs of only for the fact it represents one of the few opportunities to spotlight some of the artists who continue to tour and keep the live music scene alive. That said a couple of the album suggestions here are included solely because eof a wonderful mix of originality and left field whimsy.
While I notice some people don't see 2004 as a classic year, I maintain there were enough great gigs and albums worthy of everyone's attention - even if the mainstream media chooses to ignore them.
On the live circuit, in spite of ridiculously rising fees, and steep ticket prices, some of the shows in the last 12 months really were of the highest order, and in some cases, nothing short of inspirational. Therefore if my lists seem slightly out of kilter with the rest, it merely reflects the life of an independent promoter working on the periphery of what is left of the contemporary live music scene
Happy New Year
Below is my top ten albums in no particular order followed by Top 10 gigs which do reflect my favourite gigs in 1-10 order.
1). Lady & Bird "Lady & Bird" EMI France A kind of ethereal electro trip-hop fairytale, that is best understood in the closing "La Ballade Of Lady & Bird" - essentially a short libretto for two voices - Lady & Bird is a pseudonym for Karen Ann (Leidel) and Bardi Johannson, a Dutch/Icelandic duo. The latter is a big star in his native Iceland with his band Bang Gang, while the former is very well known in France, Holland and Germany as a singer/song writer. Together, Lady & Bird come close to the delicate voiced whimsy of say Beth Gibbons. The duo offer soaring cut-glass harmonies on "Do What I Do", which sets out the notion of Lady & Bird as children in adult bodies, to the following "Shepherd's Song" complete with a Zappa style slowed down basso voice. This is nothing short of a celestial musical journey full of delicate originality.
2). Loserville "Welcome To Loserville" Loserville A kind of audio take on David Lynch style small town Americana, Loserville hail from Sweden, but have honed their cutting edge Americana style on the outer fringes of alt.Nashville. Brothers Paul and Jorgen Paulstrom are a formidable combination who lead a killer 7 piece band through a mix of songs that straddle the best elements of Jason & The Scrochers, The Long Ryders, and REM.
3). Patti Smith "Trampin" Columbia Very few artists successfully combine both a great live comeback with a great album. Patti Smith achieved both with a superb London show (see below) and an album that for once justified the unlikely gushing critical praise. There's politics, passion, frisson amongst her best songs for over two decades.
4). Bobby Strange "Reach Deeper" EP/CD Rising Records The diminutive singer song writer from the Jersey Shore toured the UK twice last year with the wonderfully named Boccigalupe & The Bad Boys. And while the latter were excellent in a Springsteen kind of way, Bobby's songs offer a deeply felt commitment to raw emotional angst that reduced audiences to silence. This EP includes his very best song, the beautiful "Without It Within"
5). Albert Lee "Heartbreak Hill" Sugarhill The wonderfully gifted and hugely underrated Albert, actually won a Grammy last year, and has been nominated for another one this year. After laying down the most impeccable guitar lines for others down the years, Albert has finally cut an album in the company of the likes of Emmylou Harris, JD Souther, Earl Scruggs and Vince Gill, that reflects his true quality. He doubles on piano and guitar and delivers a rocking tinged country album of the very highest order.
6). Roadhouse "No Place To Hide" Blues Matters It may seem strange that two of the most impressive Americana style albums of the year should come from European bands, but as Roadhouse prove there's no better currency than great songs. And guitarist/vocalist and song writer Gary Boner has a truckload. Aside from some scintillating guitar from young Jules Fothergill and fine bv's from Anne Campbell and Lorna Reilly, Boner's songs are a cut above most of the bands that purport to set the standard in the Roots field.Look no further than the title track, or the brooding bluesy style of "Slip Away" or the Jefferson Airplane feel of "Couldn't Get To Sleep" to hear a superb mix of road anthems, crammed full of Deep South imagery.7). Ruf Records 10th Anniversary Sampler 2004 Ruf Records This is a throw back to some of those wonderful 70's compilations, that some of us of a certain age remember with rose coloured specs. Ruf are to be commended in their pursuit of kick starting a new generation of artists working in the blues idiom. Of course its not all new artists we are talking about here, as both Canned Heat and the late Luther Allison's presence seem to set the parameters within which exciting new artists such as Ian Parker, The Imperial Crowns and Ana Popovic make their mark. There's also a couple of big hitters in the enduring quality of fiery guitarist and fine song writer Walter Trout, and the dependable boogie man himself, Omar Dykes But it's the sheer range of the material and style here that makes both the sample and the musical future of the blues a little brighter.
8). Colin John/Michael Hill "Acoustic Ladyland" WMF Records An unlikely but interesting collaboration sees two of the American blues circuit staple's reaching out to a higher level in an acoustic setting. While both artists have built up their profile on both sides of the pond in a Rocking Blues vein, this album is a stripped down affair Full of inspired playing, and some memorable moments of which Hill's political "OIL", is as hard hitting as the brilliant playing on the Allman's "Whipping Post", Acoustic Ladyland" is probably the leading acoustic blues album of the year.
9) Stan Webb's Chicken Shack "Still Live After All These Years" Mystic Own up time as I've included two albums by my employers, but both are worthy inclusions. Three decades since his chart success with Etta James's "Id Rather Go Blind", Stan Webb has finally cut an album that shows his maturity as a blues guitarist. Championed years ago by the late Freddie King, it took last year's 35-date theatre tour with John Mayall to kick start Stan back into the spotlight, and this album shows why. Together with his current Chicken Shack line-up of some ten years standing, half the album is also boosted by a cracking German horn section, The Shadows. The result is as good as its gets, with Stan's mesmerising "The Sweetest Little Thing" being a highlight.
10). Roger Chapman "Chappo"/"Live In Hamburg" Mystic This double album re-issue pares the former family front man's first self penned solo album with one of the great live albums of our time. Back in the early 80's the fluctuating music scene was not kind to artists of the calibre of Roger Chapman. However, twenty odd years after its initial release, the album has stood the test of time with fine performances all round and a handful of cracking songs including "Who Pulled The Night Down" and "Midnite Child". The "Live In Hamburg" album is quite simply a real, live from the desk document of one of the great tour bands of the time, and quite simply the best vocalist of his generation in top form. The album was a springboard for a decade of major success for Chapman, and you can hear the excitement in both performer and adoring audience.
GIGS OF THE YEAR1). Walter Trout & The Radicals at The Mean Fiddler, London This show came three quarters of a way through a month long UK tour and both Walter and band were at their peak. Walter's biggest London crowd for over 5 years saw him play highlights from his 14 year solo career. Trout's playing exuded emotion, fire and shifted from low down blues to incendiary rock and roll. Highlights of a twohour set included 2Jericho Road" and the guitar/Hammond avalanche of "Put It Right Back On You". The two encores were fully deserved.
2) Patti Smith/Television at The Brixton Academy Armed with her best album for years, and a great support in Television who pushed her all the way, Patti delivered a mesmerising two hour show full of raw emotion, and audio visual antics. A truly charismatic performer, Patti gave it her all, and the packed crowd respnded accordingly.
3). Chuck Farley Re-union Show The Boom Boom Club at Sutton Utd. Fronted by Steve Simpson, Chuck Farley were a beacon on a dim landscape in the early 80's. Best described as an all star Americana style outfit who included elements of r&b, Country, and Rock & Roll, The Chucks 2004 comprised Pat Crumley sax, Pete Stroud on bass, Poli Palmer on vibes, Sam Kelly on drums, Papa George gtr/vox and guest vocalist Val Cowell from Bad Influence. Steve Simpson led from the front with some magnificent slide playinig.
4). Jan Akkerman Band The Boom Boom Club Sutton Utd FC, Surrey Jazz fusion never sounded so good, as the former Focus man mixed some beautifully worked lead runs in between judicious use of loop tapes, and keyboard effects. Jan added a dervish style Eastern feel to his new material and even cleverly reworked "Hocus Pocus" into a funky context.
5). Stolen Bibles The Torrington , North Finchley N12 They may not be the most well known of san Francisco's musical exports but Tony Mattioli's eclectic crew came, saw and conquered this now sadly defunct musical outpost of north London. While Mattioli stole the show with some Steve Miller style west Coast psychedelics, the band including a pithy sax player added touches of soul, swing and steely rock that brought a surprisingly big crowd to their feet.
6). Boccigalupe & The Bad Boys Catford Blues Club, London SE6 You don't get much more down home than Catford Blues Club, but this blsierting blue collar style roots rock band from New jersey made them selves at home with a storming two and a half hour set. Led by the diminutive Boccigalupe on keyboards (Sprngsteen mate Tony Amato), the 7 piece Bocci brought with them their full new Jerswey horn section and a debut album "Its My Turn Now" that I somehow managed to miss off my Top ten Albums of the Year. Best described as having a swagger like Southside Johnny but with better songs, Boccigalupe had the whole house dancing and continued long into the night after the house lights came up. They came, saw, sweated and conquered even the most cynical South London music fan.
7). Bill Kirchen Band Stormy Monday Club at The Bulls Head, Barnes, London SW13 The former Commander Cody man might have expected a low key affair on a Monday night at this intimate South West London venue. But a quick scan round the room revealed several former Rockpile members, and other high profile muso's in the room including Nick Lowe in an outrageous suit. In the event Bill took his time, combining fine playing with humorous songs and tales from the Tex Mex border, worthy of his musical credentials.
8). John O'Leary Band The Torrington North Finchley, N12 One of the venue's last finest musical moments as Savoy Brown founder member and fine harp player John O'Leary brought with him an international blues band of the highest order. With an Italian bass player, German drummer, Belgian keyboard player, and an Allman Brothers style twin guitar attack of Jules Fothergill and Tim O'Sullivan, expectations were high. Happily the material from the band's debut "Sinners" album was as good as the band that played it, with John's earthy harp neatly counter pointed by the twin guitar lines and a swinging rhythm section. File under contemporary blues at its best.
9). Ian Parker Band at The Rayners Hotel, Harrow, Middx On a dark winter's night the songs and the white boy soul of Ian Parker rang out loud and clear. Rarely has such raw emotion been port of a contemporary Roots rock band's repertoire. But in Ian Parker the UK scene has a song writer who has the courage of his convictions to eschew the obvious 12 bar/shuffle format for some of the most impressive self penned material heard for a long time. At time when the band brought things down you'd swear you were in a folk club. And while Ian's own "Awake At Night" is a powerful message of love, he also reworked Davis Crosby's "Almost Cut My Hair". Thrilling stuff.
10). Roger Chapman & The Shortlist at The Music Box/Ascot, Berks Playing his first electric show for over 18 months, Roger Chapman played this special warm up date to both celebrate his 62nd birthday and to warm up for a month long jaunt in Germany. And the gig proved to be one of his very best, with Micky Moody impressing on slide and Andy Hamilton adding some searing sax. Chappo delivered his unique bleat and the place went wild.
10). Los Pacaminos Boom Boom Club Sutton, Surrey 5 part harmonies, the best of The Texas Tornadoes, Flaco Jiminez, Los Lobos and early Ry Cooder, this was the night when Los Pacaminos finally delivered to their full potential. On previous occasions a mix of good time frivolity, ropy vocals and a drop too much of Tequila had hindered the band, but on this occasion their first Sutton show for a year, everything clicked. Jamie Moses led from the front on guitar, Drew Barfield sang magnificently - especially on "Belle" - Melvyn Duffy's pedla steel was peerless and Paul Young was in top form. In short Pacaminos at their very best
Best of 2004
Cigar Less: Diana Krall: Woman in the Other Room
Jim White: Drill A Hole
Eleanor McEvoy: Early Hours
Best of 2004: Reissues
Best of 2004: Traditional
Best of 2004: Gig