Top Ten of 2007: The specialty show DJs

Every weekday evening, from 6 to 9PM on KEXP, our Specialty Shows feature a variety of music found around the world and in our own backyard. For African music, there’s The Best Ambiance with Jon Kertzer; for global music, Wo Pop with Darek Mazzone; for roots and Americana, the Roadhouse with Greg Vandy; country and twang, Swinging Doors with Don Slack; rockabilly, honky tonk and surf, Shake The Shack with Leon Berman. Check out their lists for the best albums of 2007:

On Mondays, tune in to Best Ambiance with Jon Kertzer for the best in African and Afro-Caribbean music, both old and new. Jon pulls in many recent imports from Europe and Africa and interviews touring African musicians for the show. Here are some of his highlights from 2007:

1. Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba – Segu Blue (out/here) (Germany)
2. Orchestra Baobab – Made in Dakar (World Circuit) (UK)
3. Andy Palacio – Watina (Cumbancha) (USA)
4. Tinariwen – Iman Aman (Water Is Life) (World Village) (USA)
5. Zozo and Sangare Super Beat – Pfanelo (Human Rights) (Gallo) (South Africa)
6. Massukos – Bumping (Pooh Productions ) (UK)
7. Habib Koite – Afriki (Cumbancha) (USA)
8. Angelique Kidjo (Razor and Tie ) (USA)
9. Youssou N’Dour – Rokku Mi Rokka (Nonesuch)
10. Columbiafrica Mystic Orchestra – Voodoo Love Inna Champeta Land (World Music Network) (UK)

Tuesday evenings mean Wo Pop with Darek Mazzone, an exploration of the far reaches of Modern Global Music. Darek spins everything from the six other continents of the world, including Brazilian D&B, French and Cuban Hip Hop, South African Kwaito, Bhangra and Bollywood from Bombay and London, Malabax from Senegal, and Ragga Dub from Brixton and Tokyo. Here’s a selection of Darek’s 2007 favorites:

1. Bole2 Harlem – Bole2 Harlem, Vol. 1 (Sounds of the Mushroom)
2. M.I.A. – Kala (Interscope)
3. Various Artists – Nuit Tsigane (Silverwave Records)
4. Manu Chao – La Radiolina (Nacional)
5. Balkan Beat Box – Nu Med (JDub)
6. Funky C – Joya (Sonic 360)
7. Sountrack – The Darjeeling Limited (Abkco Music)
8. Caetano Veloso – Ce (Nonesuch)
9. Ceu – Ceu (Six Degrees)
10. Ibrahim Ferrer – Mi Sueno (World Circuit)

On Wednesdays, step into The Roadhouse with Greg Vandy as he takes you on a musical journey through all styles of traditional American music. Greg mixes blues, bluegrass, folk, gospel, zydeco, and any other genre considered part of America’s musical legacy, from artists both old and new. Here are a few of Greg’s favorites from the dusty end of the dial:

1. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights (Daptone)
2. Alison Krauss & Robert Plant – Raising Sand (Rounder)
3. Shane Tutmarc & The Traveling Mercies – I Gonna Live the Live I Sing about in My Song (Inverness Recordings)
4. Eilen Jewell – Letters From Sinners & Strangers (Signature Sounds)
5. Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (Universal Republic)
6. Fion Regan – The End of History (Lost Highway)
7. Neil Young – Chrome Dreams II (Reprise)
8. Amy LaVere – Anchors & Anvils (Archer Records)
9. The Avett Brothers – Emotionalism (Ramseur)
10. Billy Joe Shaver – Everybody’s Brother (Compadre Records)

Best Compilations:

Listen now to Greg’s most recent show, “Christmas Time In The Roadhouse,” featuring a very vintage selection of holidays songs in jazz & blues from Babs Gonzales’ “BeBop Santa” to Charlie Parker’s “White Christmas.” And Lord Buckley’s 1951 hipster classic “The Nazz” — uncut!

On Thursday night, Don Slack brings the best alternative country, honky tonk, western swing, bluegrass and other kinds of hardcore twang to Swinging Doors. Forget the boot-scootin’, hip shakin’ rock that passed for country in the 80’s and 90’s — this is the real old stuff mixed in with plenty of contemporary artists, of which there was no shortage in 2007. Here’s Don’s list for this year’s best:

1. Miranda Lambert – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Sony/BMG)
2. Roger Wallace – It’s About Time (Natchez Street)
3. Eilen Jewell – Letters From Sinners & Strangers (Signature Sounds)
4. Ha Ha Tonka – Buckle in the Bible Belt (Bloodshot)
5. Joe Nichols – Real Things (Universal South)
6. Porter Wagoner – Wagonmaster (Anti-)
7. Jeff Kanzler – Black Top Road (self-released)
8. Two Cow Garage – III (Shelterhouse)
9. David Serby – Another Sleepless Night (self-released)
10. The Avett Brothers – Emotionalism (Ramseur)

For the best in rockabilly, boogie, rhythm and blues, country western, honky tonk, surf, and all kinds of other fun stuff, tune in to Shake The Shack on Fridays, hosted by Leon Berman, the Proctologist of Rock N Roll. Joined by his co-costs Steve “his rusty trusty scribe,” One Eyed Mary, and Johnny Lignite, Dr. Leon Berman Leon puts the F.U. in fun.

  • VA – Shake the Shack Rockabilly Ball, Vol 4 (KEXP)

  • Pat C. Miller & Her Five Aces – My Hearts on (Last Buzz)
  • Levi Dexter and Magic – The Kings of Cat Street (Raucous)
  • Rocky Velvet – It Came From Cropseyville! (RVM)
  • Jason Lee Wilson & His Roundup Boys – High Country (Rhythm Bomb)
  • The Honeybees – Hive Jive (El Toro)
  • Chuy & the Bopcats – Losing My Mind (Wild Records)
  • Michael Shane Borden & The Diesel Kings – The Modern Sounds of (Gulftone)
  • Blue Lake Records Presents – Lake Rattle & Roll Compilation (Blue Lake)
  • The Mezcal Brothers – Go Go Rhythm (self-released)
  • Stressor – Russia ‘N’ Roll (TCY Records)
  • The Starline Rhythm Boys – Red’s Place (Kill Rock Stars)
Check out photos from this year’s Shake the Shack Rockabilly Ball.

Don’t forget to choose your top 5 of 2007, and based on your votes, we’ll count the Top 90.3 of 2007 starting at 10AM on Friday, December 28.

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One Comment

  1. Indie_dinosaur
    Posted December 20, 2007 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad someone put Amy Winehouse’s album on a top 5 list (Greg). Despite her erratic and volatile personal life, that album was solid. Have you ever seen the London Live footage of her over at One of her better performances.

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