Here's my list of favorite albums from 2002.
Williams - Return Of A Legend (Evidence). No question about it,
this comeback album by the former guitarist with Bo Diddley and Howlin'
Wolf topped everything else this year. It's a real shame that he stayed
away from the music business for 30 years, but it's nice having him back.
Jackie Greene -
Gone Wanderin' (Dig Music). The best debut disc in years comes from a
21-year-old Californian ... it's not all blues, but who cares?
Harry Manx -
Wise and Otherwise (NorthernBlues). Acoustic guitarist takes
traditional blues and heads in a lot of different directions, including a
nod towards India with the use of several traditional instruments from that
area of the world.
W.C. Clark -
From Austin With Soul (Alligator). The godfather of Austin blues gets
better with age. His first for Alligator reminds the listener of the classic
Stax soul / blues formula.
Otis Taylor - Respect The Dead (NorthernBlues).
Colorado artist just might be the finest and most innovative songwriter on
the scene today. This is blues that makes the listener think about life.
Snooks Eaglin -
The Way It Is
(Money Pit). This new CD from New Orleans' coolest cat is being called the
last "Black Top recording," as it was produced by the Scott brothers just
prior to the Black Top label going out of business. It's more of the same
great stuff from Eaglin.
David Jacobs-Strain -
Stuck On The Way Back
(NorthernBlues). Do you notice a trend here? This is the third CD on this
list from the excellent Canadian label NorthernBlues. Jacobs-Strain's fourth
CD, released while he was still in teens, shows an incredibly mature
acoustic guitarist and a strong singer.
Blind Boys of Alabama -
(Real World). These veterans of the gospel world, now in their eighth decade
of recording, are quite simply the best "live" act around. They break the
mold again with an energetic mix of both secular and non-secular songs.
Syl & Jimmy Johnson -
Two Johnsons Are Better Than One
(Evidence). The Brothers Johnson, both legendary performers in their own
rights, team up for the first time in their careers for this great mixture
of blues and soul.
Bryan Lee - Six String Therapy
(Justin Time). New Orleans guitarist teams up with Duke Robillard and
company to record a nice collection of classic New Orleans-style R&B
One final note --- See my review of
Khronos (Ossia) by Seattle soul band Maktub elsewhere in
this issue. It's not a blues disc, but ranks as the most compelling CD
I've heard all year.
One more final
note --- I've been a big Joe Louis Walker fan for years. I
haven't heard his In The Morning CD yet. Since it made so many other
reviewers' lists, I undoubtedly would have included the disc on my Top Ten