Los Lobos “Rio De Tenampa” from Kiko Live (Shout! Factory 2012) —As brilliant and perfect as the album Kiko was, it's a pure delight to hear them 20 years later bring passionate takes on all the songs live.Buy it!
Melody Den “Going Back” from Storylines (Perdition 2013) L —Man, what a huge sound this record has!Buy it!
Buffalo Springfield “Hot Dusty Roads” from Buffalo Springfield (Rhino 1966) —The young Stephen Stills and one of his many classics.Buy it!
The Chocolate Watchband “Come On” from No Way Out . . . Plus (Sundazed 1967) —Practically Stones-level in covering Chuck Berry.Buy it!
The Lyres “Buried Alive” from Postpunk Chronicles: Going Underground (Rhino 1999) —One of the very finest garage revivalists of the 80s.Buy it!
Bob Reuter “Just a Little Bit” from Down in America (Magoo Records 2000) L —Bob made a lot of music in his life, but the more I hear it, the more I think this album was his stone-cold masterpiece.Buy it!
Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens “Heaven Is Mine” from Cold World (Daptone 2014) N —One of the strongest singers working these days.Buy it!
Marc Ribot “The Wizard” from Live at the Village Vanguard (Pi Recordings 2014) N —The guitarist who played on that Costello album roams far and wide, here digging into an Albert Ayler song and remembering music is a healing force of the universe.Buy it!
Elvis Costello “Church Underground” from National Ransom (Hear Music 2010) —I love when Costello gets all aggressive and dark. What am I saying - I love Costello whenever he does anything.Buy it!
The Flying Burrito Brothers “Christine's Tune (A.K.A. Devil in Disguise)” from The Gilded Palace of Sin (A&M 1969) —A song I've loved unreservedly for decades.Buy it!
The Hello Strangers “Runaway” from The Hello Strangers (IMI www.vallejomusic.com/ 2014) N —Another set of young singers calling attention to themselves. This cut is beautiful.Buy it!
Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound “I'm a Diamond” from Audra Mae & The Almighty Sound (Side One Dummy Records 2014) N —I don't know much about Audra Mae, but she can sing!Buy it!
The Blasters “American Music” (Shout! Factory 1980) —The true celebration of American music.Buy it!
NRBQ “I Got a Rocket in My Pocket” from Peek-A-Boo: The Best of NRBQ 1969-1989 (Rhino 1990) —One of those songs essential to lovers of American music.Buy it!
Luther Dickinson “Some Ol' Day” from Rock n Roll Blues (New West Records www.newwestrecords.com 2014) N —This solo record by Luther Dickinson is a slow grower - starting off just good enough to check it out again, each time you do, it sounds better than before.Buy it!
Ben E. King “Stand By Me” from Rockin' and Driftin': the Drifters Box (Rhino 1996) —Well, you know this one, I hope.Buy it!
Me'Shell Ndegeocello “Friends” from Comet, Come to Me (Naive 2014) N —I went to several big rap shows back in the 80s, and it seemed as though Whodini was on every bill. I didn't like them as much then, but I gotta admit, this was a great song, and I love Me'Shell's take on it.Buy it!
Steve Cropper “Don't Be Ashamed” from Dedicated - A Salute to the Five Royales (429 2011) —Featuring a great vocal by Bettye LaVette and one Willie Jones. And, oh, that guitar.Buy it!
Gedeon Luke & the People “Lend Me Your Sunshine” from Live Free & Love (Monocentric Music, LLC 2014) N —This song conjures up Sly & the Family Stone in my head.Buy it!
Dr. John “What A Wonderful World” from Ska-Dat-De-Dat . . . The Spirit of Satch (Proper Records 2014) N —Throw in the Blind Boys of Alabama for backing vocals, and Nicholas Payton on trumpet, and an incredible arrangement, and you've got a rare great version of this song.Buy it!
Like everything else, times are approximate.
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