Top 10 for 2020 (In no particular order):
Rush – Rawer Than Raw (Deep Rush Records)
A sequel of sorts to his Raw album from a few years back, the
veteran soul-blues man outdoes himself on this set of acoustic blues
that are as timeless as the man himself.
Don Bryant – You Make Me Feel (Fat
There were several great soul-blues releases in 2020 (you’ll see
more down the list). Bryant’s comeback has been one of the best
stories on the blues and soul scenes in recent years. Great return
to the Hi and Stax sounds of yesterday.
Gerald McClendon – Can’t Nobody Stop Me
Now (Delta Roots)
We got a taste of what this great singer could do on last year’s
Battle of the Blues – Chicago vs. Oakland album. McClendon shows
what he can do with a full album and blues fans should enjoy the
Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer
(Little Village Foundation)
Green has been around for years, but it’s a mystery how this is his
first album. He combines the best of Bobby “Blue” Bland, Little
Milton, with a dash of ’70s Hi Records. Hopefully, we will hear more
soon from this great singer.
Lisa Mills – The Triangle (Melody
A tribute to the music of three southern music cities --- Memphis,
Muscle Shoals, and Jackson, Mississippi. Mills traveled to all three
cities, recording famous songs that originated from each city using
legendary musicians who helped make them famous in the first place.
Mills is a talent who deserves to be heard, and maybe this album
will pave the way.
Johnny Iguana – Johnny Iguana’s Chicago
Spectacular! (Delmark Records)
A…..well…..spectacular album of Chicago piano-based blues from one
of the Windy City’s best keyboardist with help from some of
Chicago’s finest musicians. This one is a blast from start to
John Blues Boyd – What My Eyes Have Seen……(Gulf
One of the best stories of 2020, a year that needed a few good
stories. Singing and songwriting that raises goose bumps. Hopefully,
we will hear much more from this late bloomer soon.
New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers –
Volume 1 (Stony Plain Records
Fantastic “potluck” recording session from 2007 with Luther, Cody,
and Jim Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Jimbo Mathus, and Charlie
Musselwhite. How did this one sit idle for so long??? Bring on
Sam Joyner – When U Need A Friend (Sam
This one really grabbed me. I like the mix of styles (New Orleans,
Chicago, Malaco) and the mix of blues, soul, and R&B. Joyner is a
great singer and keyboardist that you really need to hear.
Kern Pratt – Greenwood, MS….What About
You? (Endless Blues Records)
This one came out in late December of 2019, but it was one of my
favorites through 2020. One of the nicest guys in the blues, Pratt
passed away on Christmas Eve from COVID complications. He deserved
to be in the Best of 2019, but I’m putting him in my Best of 2020.
Johnny Rawls – Where Have All The Soul Men
Gone? (Third Street Cigar Records)
Andrew Alli – Hard Workin’ Man (EllerSoul Records)
Jose Ramirez – Here I Come
John Németh – Stronger Than Strong (Memphis Grease
Nora Jean Wallace – BluesWoman (Severn Records)