KEXP’s Year in Review: Greg Vandy, The Roadhouse – A buyer’s guide for 2006: Top albums, great compilations, and other notable releases.

Bruce Springsteen-Vandy.jpg
Bruce Springsteen, photo courtesy of Manuel Huerga

I did my Best Of 2006 broadcast in The Roadhouse back on December 13th, but you can listen to it now, streaming ‘till Dec 26th from the audio archive.

I’ve been crazy hectic with all the Roadhouse specials in the past few months, not to mention some upcoming shows in production for the last few weeks of 2006. Like tonight’s Christmas Time In The Roadhouse, featuring songs of the season in blues, jazz, cool novelties, and the hipster classic from Lord Buckley “The Nazz.” Then on December 27th, I will air a special show called The Roots Of Hendrix featuring early and rare recordings from Jimi and special guest and Hendrix biographer, Charles Cross.

OK, as far as the matter at hand, I’m not a big fan of these kind of lists, as I always forget something. And who really cares anyway, right? It’s all so subjective. Also, the list below is not too reflective of The Roadhouse show as I play a lot of older music. My show is about a century of music – not just one year. So let’s think of this list as more of a Buyer’s Guide for the Holidays. That’ll ease my burden a bit. Thanks for understanding.

First off, if I was to buy something right now, I’d get the new Byrds box, which features more Gene Clark songs than the previous box set. Or I’d get the reissue of Nina Simone’s 1967 album Nina Simone Sings The Blues. This is the one with “I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl.” It’s a great record. Prime Nina!

As far as new music goes (there’s one re-issue listed below) here’s my favorites from the year – topped by the record which seems custom-made for a roots show like The Roadhouse, The Seeger Sessions by Bruce Springsteen. This is an album of traditional American songs with a live 18 piece band. It includes a DVD too. The live tour, which I saw at JazzFest in April, made people cry as The Boss related the old songs to the current, shameful situation in New Orleans. It was easily the best show I saw in 2006.

TOP 10 Albums of 2006

1 Bruce Springsteen – We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions (Columbia)
2 Tom Waits – Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards (Anti)
3 Johnny Cash – American V: One Hundred Highways (Lost Highway)
4 William Elliott Whitmore – Song Of The Blackbird (Southern)
5 Scott Biram – Graveyard Shift (Bloodshot)
6 Old Crow Medicine Show – Big Iron World (Nettwerk)
7 Crooked Jades – World’s On Fire (Jade Note)
8 Cat Power – The Greatest (Matador)
9 Karen Dalton – In My Own Time (Light In The Attic) – 1971 re-issue
10 Mark Pickerel – Snake In The Radio (Bloodshot)

I play from a lot of compilations on the show too, and this year had some good ones. I list 7 below – the Best Collections of the Year. Most prominent was the Harry Smith Project: The Anthology Of American Folk Music Revisited. It’s a tribute to the man responsible for the most influential release of all-time (The Anthology Of American Folk Music) and features a box set of live performances over a three-year period (1999-2001) from people like Nick Cave and Beth Orton. There’s also a DVD of the live performances, a documentary about Harry Smith, and some of his film works too. It’s a nice package.

The other impressive comp is from the good folks at Smithsonian Folkways, who continue to release excellent packages of carefully selected material and great notes. They now have released music from a NYC concert series from the early 1960s (the beginning of the Folk & Blues revival). It’s a 3-disc box (named after the concert series/ organization) called Friends Of Old Time Music and it records the rediscovery of older/original artists who earlier performed the same traditional songs that were being revived by the 60’s generation of folk singers. These recordings are some of the first performed by such artists who no one knew were even still alive at the time, since many hadn’t played professionally since the Depression. The Friends of Old Time Music found these guys and presented them to a new generation, live in New York from 1961-1965. A real time piece.

Best Collections of 2006

1 The Harry Smith Project: The Anthology Of American Folk Music Revisted (Shout Factory)
2 Friends Of Old Time Music: The Folk Arrival 1961-65 (Smithsonian Folkways)
3 How Low Can You Go: Anthology Of The String Bass (Dust To Digital)
4 Heatworn Highways (Hacktone)
5 I Am The Resurrection: A Tribute To John Fahey (Vanguard)
6 Desperate Man Blues (Dust To Digital)
7 Classic Labor Songs (Smithsonian Folkways)

There were other notable releases in 2006 too. Stuff played in The Roadhouse, like these…

Vetiver,The Gourds, Burt Jansch, Brightblack Morning Light, The Wood Brothers, Drive By Truckers, Deadstring Brothers, The Sadies, Cephas & Wiggins, Charlie Musselwhite, Bob Dylan, The Be Good Tanyas, Barton Carroll, Michael Vermillion, Pufferfish, Beth Orton, and Jerry Lee Lewis – The Killer!

Time to move forward with the many songs and shows of 2007. Don’t miss upcoming Roadhouse specials, like MLK and the Songs of Freedom in January, the Mardi Gras Show in February, and coming soon, my first Podcast featuring a playlist of young Indie Folkers – a working title were throwin’ around is Don’t Call Me Freak Folk. Stay tuned, and please keep up with show by signing up for my weekly playlist. You can receive the list AND listen to the audio of the weekly show anytime for up to two weeks Streaming Archive. It’s awesome! Check ya in the New Year!

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One Comment

  1. Posted October 15, 2007 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Never seen Bruce Springsteen on concert, I was not going to see it, Bruce Springsteen tickets got sky rocked thanks to stupid brokers. But even if I had seen it, I wouldn’t buy it. I’d rather wait and see it on DVD. Well suprise I changed my mind and I got 2 tix for the Bruce Springsteen show I was looking for tickets thanks god there sites like Ticketwood which work as comparators here is the site Bruce Springsteen Tickets So any body going to the Bruce Springsteen concert ??

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