Chocolate Watchband “Gone and Passes By” from The Best of the Chocolate Watchband (Rhino 1983) —Bo Diddley beat mega-psychedelicized.Buy it!
Tha Animals “Don't Bring Me Down” from The Best Of Eric Burdon & The Animals (1966-1968) (Polydor 1991) —I love everything about this record - a typically great Goffin/King song, that fuzztone guitar, the bubbly bass, and Burdon's ecstatic vocal.Buy it!
David Bowie “Rebel Rebel” from The Best of David Bowie 1969-1974 (Virgin 1997) —Some bonus early-morning cowbell fueling one of Mick Ronson's most glorious guitar riffs.Buy it!
Patti Smith “Summer Cannibals” from Outside Society (Arista 2011) N —There's just no other song in her extensive catalogue that has this one's bizarre and irressitibly catchy tone.Buy it!
Prince “Dirty Mind” (Warner Brothers 1980) —The wunderkind - playing all the instruments himself and inventing a new kind of funk.Buy it!
XTC “The Loving” from Oranges and Lemons (Geffen 1989) —For some reason, it took me longer to get this majestic and lush classic than a lot of XTC songs I love. I can't remember why, but this one didn't impress me back when it was new.Buy it!
Amy LaVere “Often Happens” from Stranger Me (Archer Records 2011) N —A heartbreaking break-up song.Buy it!
Randy Newman “Only a Girl” from Harps and Angels (Nonesuch 2008) —A cheerier number to follow that one up. Sort of.Buy it!
Huey "Piano" Smith & His Clowns “Just a Lonely Clown” from This is Huey "Piano" Smith (Music Club 1998) —And then there is the lonely clown - but he sure does cheer me up.Buy it!
Rum Drum Ramblers “Jack & Tom” from Mean Scene (Lightnin' Thunders 2011) N L —This song just jumps!Buy it!
John Fahey “Dance of the Inhabitants of the Palace of King Philip XIV of Spain” from The Essential John Fahey (Vanguard vanguardrecords.com 1978) —If he'd only ever done this piece, I'd have considered him a genius.Buy it!
Lindsey Buckingham “That's the Way Love Goes” from Seeds We Sow (Eagle Rock 2011) N —Not the Janet Jackson song, but still pretty good.Buy it!
Phantom Planet “Leader” from Raise the Dead (Fueled By Ramen 2008) —These guys tried so hard to mix strong melodies with sounds the kids could go for - I like their best stuff more and more all the time.Buy it!
Glen Campbell “A Thousand Lifetimes” from Ghost on the Canvas (Surf Dog Records) N —A statement of life's purpose. Magnificent.Buy it!
Henry Threadgill & Make a Move “Burnt Til Recognition” from Everybodys Mouth's a Book (Pi Recordings 2002) —It's not easy to keep up with Threadgill, because his records don't sell at all, despite the fact that he's easily one of the best composers working in the last 30 years.Buy it!
The Frank Vignola Quintet “Black Sabbath” from ??? (???? 2009) —At some point in the last two years, I put this album into itunes, then I forgot where I put the disc - the other day, this cut popped up in random shuffle, and I wanted to share it with you, but now I've forgotten what record it came from.Buy it!
Spirit “Apple Orchard” from Clear (Epic 1969) —The cowbell doesn't dominate on this masterpiece, but when it comes in, it's perfect.Buy it!
Los Lobos “The Word” from Good Morning Aztlán CD ALBUM (Mammoth/Fontana Mammoth 2002) —This song always reminds me of a cross between Marvin Gaye & Curtis Mayfield in 1971. With cowbell.Buy it!
The Gourds “Drop What I'm Doing” from Old Mad Joy (Vanguard vanguardrecords.com 2011) N —Unlike Spirit or Los Lobos, the Gourds don't mess around with rhythmic subtlety - they just bang the cowbell every beat.Buy it!
Imelda May “Kentish Town Waltz” from Mayhem (Decca 2010) N —This woman can sing, and she writes some pretty darn good songs. Usually, she rocks hard, but this pretty little waltz is stunning.Buy it!
Nick Lowe “Shame on the Rain” from The Old Magic (Yep Roc 2011) N —I find I appreciate the perfection of each new Nick Lowe song much more when I don't hear them all together.Buy it!
Kathy Mattea “Green Rolling Hills” from Coal (R.E.D. 2008) —Mattea sings the heck out of this Hazel Dickens ballad.Buy it!
Stevie Wonder “Big Brother” from Talking Book (Motown 1972) —We're 2 weeks away from the big celebration of Stevie Wonder's music down at Off Broadway; I wonder if somebody will pick this one to play.Buy it!
The Main Ingredient “Everybody Plays the Fool” from The All Time Greatest Hits (RCA 1990) —Dig this.Buy it!
Judy Clay & William Bell “Private Number” from The Best of William Bell (stax 1988) —One of the most exceptional duets in an era of exceptional duets.Buy it!
The Dramatics “Hey You! Get Off My Mountain” from Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get (VOLT 1972) N —There are actually more bonus tracks on this new reissue than there were songs on the original classic record.Buy it!
Sarah Jarosz “The Tourist” from Follow Me Down (SUGAR HILL ww.sugarhillrecords.com 2011) N —Sarah Jarosz and the Punch Brothers cover Radiohead. Brilliant.Buy it!
Marianne Faithfull “Why Did We Have to Part” from Horses And High Heels (Naive 2010) N —As great as she is at performing other people's songs, it's important to remember that Faithfull is a great writer herself. This song is devastatingly powerful.Buy it!
Ollabelle “Lovin' In My Baby's Eyes” from Neon Blue Bird (Thirty Tigers 2011) N —A sweet song to follow the trauma of the last couple.Buy it!
Delbert McClinton “Starting a Rumor” from Acquired Taste (New West www.newwestrecords.com 2009) —A clever little soulful love song.Buy it!
Mavis Staples “For What It's Worth” from Live: Hope at the Hideout (Anti 2008) —A thrilling rendition of the Stephen Stills all-purpose protest song.Buy it!
Sonny Landreth “Blue Tarp Blues” from From the Reach (Landfall 2008) —One of Landreth's most powerful songs, aimed at the government response to Hurricane Katrina.Buy it!
Marquise Knox “Feel Like Goin' Home” from Here I Am (APO 2011) N L —19 years old and he plays like he's possessed by Muddy Waters on this cut. Sings it with his own voice, too, no imitation.Buy it!
Jimmy Wright & His Orchestra “I'm In the Mood to Be Loved” from The Complete Meteor Blues R&B & Gospel Recordings Pt. 1 (Ace 2006) —I don't remember who the female singer is on this, but dang! She belts it out.Buy it!
Little Milton with the Playmates of Rhythm “Let's Boogie Baby” from The Complete Meteor Blues R&B & Gospel Recordings Pt. 1 (Ace 2006) —A very early Little Milton side, with his guitar skills on display.Buy it!
Curtis Johnson “Lover Boy” from That'll Flat Git It Vol. 20 (Bear Family www.bear-family.de 2004) —A wild rockabilly number.Buy it!
Rufus Thomas “Soul Food” from Do The Funky Chicken (stax 1970) N —There's nothing quite like Rufus Thomas on any subject - but you can tell food is near and dear to his heart here.Buy it!
Mike Doughty “Na Na Nothing” from Yes And Also Yes (Snack Bar / Megaforce 2011) N —The dude comes up with some hooks.Buy it!
Lydia Loveless “Bad Way to Go” from Indestructible Machine (Bloodshot 2011) N —Firebrand.Buy it!
John Doe “Painting the Town Blue” from Keeper (Yep Roc 2011) N —It's not as though the X original needed to be redone, but he wrote it, so he can sing it any way he wants to, and I kinda like this new take.Buy it!
Like everything else, times are approximate.
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