1. Soft Wind
Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Timeless (2004)
Although Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was famous for his blues, he was also famous for hating the title of “bluesman”. The interesting mix of jazz, blues, and country on this album shows us why.
2. Eric Canal
Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (2006)
This is one of the most energetic, fun albums I’ve ever heard from Bruce. I’m not sure why this song stood out for me- perhaps my many long bike trips along the canal in Upstate New York.
3. Big Momma’s Door (Might Return)
Alvin “Youngblood” Hart, Motivational Speaker (2005)
Roots blues from 2005. Alvin “Youngblood” Hart is only in his thirties, and he’s from Oakland, but both are hard to believe.
4. Shake Your Hips
The Legendary Shack Shakers, Cockadoodledon’t (2003)
Roots rock and hillbilly sounds in this raucous energy song from this Nashville group.
Derek Trucks Band, Songlines (2006)
Songlines is Derek Trucks best studio album to date. Which makes it exactly half as good as their Live at the Georgia Theater Internet album. Do NOT miss an opportunity to see this group live- they are spectacular. This song isn’t on that album, however, and I have to admit the studio track sounds better than the bootleg version that is my only alternative.
John Butler Trio, Sunrise Over Sea (2005)
Part jam band, part blues band. They’re the best thing from Australia since Dave Hole.
7. Banks of the Deep End
Gov’t Mule, The Deepest End (Live) (2003)
My one Mule concert experience wasn’t that great, but their live CDs continue to grab my attention.
8. Af Samme Stof Som Stof
Under Byen, Samme Stof Som Stof (2006)
If the lyrics aren’t in English, it must be German, right? Wrong. This Danish group sounds beautiful and haunting. And the singer’s voice… File under: “I can’t believe it’s not Björk.”
Widespread Panic, Earth to America (2006)
This is another one of those groups that sound better live, but their studio albums aren’t bad either.
10. Heart Full of Soul
Rush, Feedback (2004)
Wait- that tune sounds familiar. The Yardbirds, right? But- but- that’s Geddy Lee! File under “Guilty Pleasure.”
11. Life Wasted
Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam (2006)
I seriously considered saving myself the time of coming up with a mix CD, and instead just copying this entire album and calling it “The Best of 2006”.
12. She Saw Me Coming
The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang (2005)
Wow. This is easily the best Stones album in 20 years. File under: “How old are these guys again?”
13. Travelin’ Band (featuring John Fogerty)
Jerry Lee Lewis, Last Man Standing (2006)
Speaking of old… 72 years old, and Jerry Lee Lewis can still pound a piano to pieces.
14. Broken Boy Soldier
The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers (2006)
I was never a big fan of the White Stripes, but Jack White’s other band really worked for me. Everyone’s heard “Steady as She Goes”, but this track is equally good in my opinion. If your life just hasn’t been the same since Led Zeppelin broke up, check out “Blue Veins”.
15. Bom Bom Bom
Living Things, Ahead of the Lions (2005)
According to my brother-in-law Brad, this song was featured in a TV commercial last year. Without a TV, it hasn’t be ruined for me. Hopefully not for you either.
16. Ooh La La
Goldfrapp, Supernature (2006)
Great dance beat. Both this song and the Living Things track above were featured as free iTunes songs in 2006. The free songs are hit-or-miss, but there are enough good tunes for me to check in once a week. It’s a great way to get exposed to different musical styles.
17. There’s More to Life Than This (Live)
Björk, Debut (1993)
OK, she’s a freak. I get that. But tune out the swan dresses and just listen to the music, and you get… well, weird stuff. I call it the “modern art” of the music world.
18. Get Up (Sex Machine)
James Brown, 20 All Time Greatest Hits! (1970)
The end of 2006 saw the end of James Brown, so it is only fitting to end the disc with one of his tracks. “Hit it and quit it.” Indeed.