Favorites of 2010

Boudin Barndance Favorites of 2010
by Dan Ferguson

Phosphorescent – Here’s to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)
Songs aglow with snapshot quality and warm cosmic country dressing. Be it broken heart ballads or swirling honky tonk rambles, Phosphorescent radiates.

The Mynabirds – What We Lose in the Fire We Gain In the Flood (Saddle Creek)
A striking voice landing somewhere between Dusty Springfield and Chan Marshall, Laura Burhenn and her band The Mynabirds deliver a gem knee deep in white-laced, Brill-styled soul.

Mavis Staples – You Are Not Alone (Anti)
You Are Not Alone is from the unlikely combo of the mighty-voiced Staples with Wilco-ite Jeff Tweedy in producer role teaming up to deliver a stirring and ever-soulful collection of spirituals and secular numbers.

Limes – Rhinestone River (Goner)
Ramshackle roots music from Memphis mired in a garage punk ethos that’s as noisy as it is twangy and not far removed from fellow Memphians The Oblivians and The Grifters.

Charlie Musselwhite – The Well (Alligator)
Veteran bluesman’s first full-band release of original material ever is all about the groove and damn if he doesn’t cop a soulful one playing and singing like the ultra-seasoned vet he is.

Sonny & the Sunsets – Tomorrow Is Alright (Fat Possum)
Like some long lost Southern California folk-pop artifact, Sonny Smith’s set of offbeat, beachy nuggets demonstrate his gift for crafting tantalizing melodies with high listener appeal.

Deer Tick – Black Dirt Sessions (Partisan)
Local Hero #1: This slower-paced, mellow affair heavy on the balladry sinks its teeth deeper with each listen.

Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons – White Lighter (self-released)
Local Hero #2: With local all-star accompaniment, Fletcher’s roots-fueled tunes demonstrates a songwriting breadth that spans the gut-bucket hard stuff of George Jones to the wordsmithing of Dylan.

Justin Townes Earle – Harlem River Blues (Bloodshot)
No staidness whatsoever on the talented Earle’s 3rd album in three years which moves from country-up swing to ramblin’ rock & rollers to a dash or two of New Orleans.

The Sadies – Darker Circles (Yep Roc)
A psychedelic haze hangs over much of this intricate gem from arguably the most talented band playing today.

Tier 2 of Favorites: Strange Boys – Be Brave (In the Red); Ty Segall – Melted (Goner);Â Marty Stuart – Ghost Train (Sugar Hill); Peter Case – Wig! (Yep Roc); Stone River Boys – Love On the Dial (Cow Island); The Black Keys – Brothers (Nonesuch); Jamey Johnson – The Guitar Song (Mercury Nashville); Mark Cutler – Red (75orless); Old 97s – The Grand Theatre Vol. 1 (New West); Jenny & Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now (WB).

Favorite Domestic Reissues/Historical Releases:
Syl Johnson – Complete Mythology (Numero Group)
Various Artists – Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero Group)
Pastor T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir – Like a Ship (Without a Sail) (Light In the Attic)
Roland White – I Wasn’t Born to Rock ‘n Roll (Tompkins Square)
Various Artists – The Pitch-Gusman Story (Big Legal Mess)
Syl Johnson – Diamond In the Rough (Hi/Fat Possum)
Blaze Foley – Sittin’ By the Road (Lost Art)
Tony Booth – The Key’s in the Mailbox/Lonesome 7-7203 (Heart of Texas)

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)