Part two of my top 100 albums of all time.
Previously: 100 Favorite Albums of All-Time 100-91.
90. An Droichead Beag — Mighty Session (1998)
I picked up this cassette on my travels to Dingle in 1998. This is a great collection of Irish traditional and contemporary music from one of the nation’s top music pubs. Tony Small’s “Don’t Forget To Write” knocks me out every time
89. Reverse The Curse by Johnny Most (2004)
This band doesn’t seem to exist, but I found out about them because I guy I used to work with was a member of the band. Johnny Most plays a funk & jazz style of music with clever lyrics. Highlights include “Uncle,” “Johnny’s Bender Sing-Along,” and “Baby, That’s Fine.”
88. Folk ‘N Hell (1996)
Another find of my 1998 travels, this one I picked up in Inverness. This is a collection of fusion music based on traditional Scottish music, ready to rock but also looking to the past. A sample of an elderly man saying “Gaelic is on the decline,” pretty much sums it up on the track “Passing Away” by Paul Mounsey. Other highlights include “Flick Up And Catch It” by Jim Sutherland and “Bitter Honey” by Khartoum Heroes.
This sort-of-concept album is full of lush, spacey, surreal and beautiful sounds and lyrics. A real stand out of albums from the past decade. Highlights include “Do You Realize?”, “Fight Test,” “Ego Tripping ant the Gates of Hell,” and the title tracks.
The Be Good Tanyas lovely harmonies and folk stylings put a new twist on old-time music. Highlights include “The Littlest Birds,” “Only in the Past,” and perhaps the loveliest rendition ever of the “The Lakes of Pontchartain”.
85. Dance Craze – The Best of British Ska Live (1981)
This album is a collection of live performances (and a soundtrack to a documentary I’ve never seen) of bands from the UK’s 2 Tone ska-punk genre. Highlights include “Mirror in the Bathroom” by The English Beat, “Three Minute Hero” by The Selecter, and “Skinhead Symphony” by the Special AKA.
84. Shaken By A Low Sound by Crooked Still (2006)
Another band that does new things with old time music especially with the ethereal vocals of Aoife O’Donovan and the cello performance of Rushad Eggleston (the latter no longer with the band). I had the odd good fortune of seeing them in the first ever performance and they’ve just gotten better since them. Highlights include “Wind and Rain” and a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen.”
Björk is one of my favorite performers and I restrained myself from including all of her albums on this list. I love her eclecticism, whimsy, intelligent lyrics with a dance beat. Standouts on this album include the industrial “Army of Me,” dreamy “Hyper-Ballad”, and the coquettish big band number “It’s Oh So Quiet.”
Over their long career The Rolling Stones have tried psychedelia, glam rock, disco, and hard rock in their music but they are at best a blues band, and this album captures them at their bluesy best. This is most evident in their Robert Johnson cover “Love in Vain” but also in their dark originals “Gimme Shelter,” “Midnight Rambler,” and the title track.
My introduction to Tom Waits was a compiliation I checked out from the library with a version of “Innocent When You Dream,” a surreal barroom song sung through Waits’ vocal chords. I’ve since learned of lots of other – even more melodic – Waits’ songs but this album remains a sentimental favorite. Other highlights include “Hang On St. Christopher,” “Yesterday Is Here,” and “Way Down in the Hole.”