Every year I post a Top Ten, normally in December. This year it's a few days late. Anyway, a lot of great music was released in 2011, and I want to thank the artists and the labels and everybody who helped make it such a good year to enjoy the blues. The following ten cds are the best of what I heard last year--these are the ones I enjoyed listening to the most. They were all released in 2011. Anyway, here goes, in no particular order!
Gregg Allman -- "Low Country Blues" (Rounder)
This should be in my top ten if all it did was get us a new batch of songs sung by Gregg Allman. But it did a lot more than that. The songs and the singing are all uniformly excellent, and it is an opportunity to hear/discover that Gregg is much more than the keyboard player and singer in the Allman Brothers. The man is a great singer, and here he is singing great songs, and the production by T Bone Burnett just burnishes the disc. This was ranked # 1 on the Roots Radio Airplay Chart for 2011. Music-making of the highest order.
Tom Hambridge -- "Boom!" (Superstar Records)
See my review on September 16.
Sean Costello -- "At His Best - Live" (Landslide)
Another reminder of the promise lost when Sean passed away in April 2008. This is a follow-up to the 2009 "Sean's Blues: A Memorial Retrospective." Both are really good discs, but I'd still rather have Sean with us and playing live. I love all of Sean's discs, and in my opinion he did the best Bob Dylan covers since Jimi.
The F & G Band (featuring Edlene Hart) -- "Grease Up Yo' Strutt" (indy)
See my review July 11.
D'Mar & Gill -- "Real Good Friend" (Airtight Productions)
See my review September 19.
The Cash Box Kings -- "Holler and Stomp" (Blind Pig)
See my review December 24.
Moreland and Arbuckle -- "Just A Dream" (Telarc)
See my review December 26.
The Duke Robillard Band -- "Low Down and Tore Up" (Stony Plain)
See my review November 14.
Davina & The Vagabonds -- "Black Cloud" (Roustabout Records)
See my review June 20.
Hadden Sayers -- "Hard Dollar" (Blue Corn Music)
See my review May 31.
It is difficult to pick my top ten releases, but it is even more difficult to pick one song of the year. Bruce's Blues Grammy. I listened this year to nearly 400 songs, and there were some songs that just stuck with me, songs with the whole package--great playing, great singing, and great songwriting. Songs such as Grady Champion's "Same Train," E. G. Kight's "Somewhere Down Deep," Lisa Mills' "Tennessee Tears," Joel DaSilva's "Every Night" and Tom Hambridge's "Never Gonna Change."
But after a lot of deliberation my favorite song of 2011 is "I Can't Wait" on Diunna Greenleaf's cd "Trying To Hold On."