Boudin Barndance Favorites of 2010
by Dan Ferguson
Phosphorescent - Here's to Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)
Songs aglow with snapshot quality and warm cosmic country dressing. Be it broken heart ballads or swirling honky tonk rambles, Phosphorescent radiates.
The Mynabirds - What We Lose in the Fire We Gain In the Flood (Saddle Creek)
A striking voice landing somewhere between Dusty Springfield and Chan Marshall, Laura Burhenn and her band The Mynabirds deliver a gem knee deep in white-laced, Brill-styled soul.
Mavis Staples - You Are Not Alone (Anti)
You Are Not Alone is from the unlikely combo of the mighty-voiced Staples with Wilco-ite Jeff Tweedy in producer role teaming up to deliver a stirring and ever-soulful collection of spirituals and secular numbers.
Limes - Rhinestone River (Goner)
Ramshackle roots music from Memphis mired in a garage punk ethos that's as noisy as it is twangy and not far removed from fellow Memphians The Oblivians and The Grifters.
Charlie Musselwhite - The Well (Alligator)
Veteran bluesman's first full-band release of original material ever is all about the groove and damn if he doesn't cop a soulful one playing and singing like the ultra-seasoned vet he is.
Sonny & the Sunsets - Tomorrow Is Alright (Fat Possum)
Like some long lost Southern California folk-pop artifact, Sonny Smith's set of offbeat, beachy nuggets demonstrate his gift for crafting tantalizing melodies with high listener appeal.
Deer Tick - Black Dirt Sessions (Partisan)
Local Hero #1: This slower-paced, mellow affair heavy on the balladry sinks its teeth deeper with each listen.
Joe Fletcher & the Wrong Reasons - White Lighter (self-released)
Local Hero #2: With local all-star accompaniment, Fletcher's roots-fueled tunes demonstrates a songwriting breadth that spans the gut-bucket hard stuff of George Jones to the wordsmithing of Dylan.
Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues (Bloodshot)
No staidness whatsoever on the talented Earle's 3rd album in three years which moves from country-up swing to ramblin' rock & rollers to a dash or two of New Orleans.
The Sadies - Darker Circles (Yep Roc)
A psychedelic haze hangs over much of this intricate gem from arguably the most talented band playing today.
Tier 2 of Favorites: Strange Boys - Be Brave (In the Red); Ty Segall - Melted (Goner); Marty Stuart - Ghost Train (Sugar Hill); Peter Case - Wig! (Yep Roc); Stone River Boys - Love On the Dial (Cow Island); The Black Keys - Brothers (Nonesuch); Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song (Mercury Nashville); Mark Cutler - Red (75orless); Old 97s - The Grand Theatre Vol. 1 (New West); Jenny & Johnny - I'm Having Fun Now (WB).
Favorite Domestic Reissues/Historical Releases:
Syl Johnson - Complete Mythology (Numero Group)
Various Artists - Good God! Born Again Funk (Numero Group)
Pastor T.L. Barrett & The Youth For Christ Choir - Like a Ship (Without a Sail) (Light In the Attic)
Roland White - I Wasn't Born to Rock ‘n Roll (Tompkins Square)
Various Artists - The Pitch-Gusman Story (Big Legal Mess)
Syl Johnson - Diamond In the Rough (Hi/Fat Possum)
Blaze Foley - Sittin' By the Road (Lost Art)
Tony Booth - The Key's in the Mailbox/Lonesome 7-7203 (Heart of Texas)
(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 - 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)