Too Drunk To Dream

…ain’t no drinking when the bottle’s dry…

Omissions and Regrets…. A Best-of 2008 addendum

Ok, so it’s been a few weeks since I dropped my opinions on the best albums of 2008, and I’m having some issues. There was so much music that was listened to, and loved in the past year….I feel like I’ve misrepresented some great albums.

Now, I’m perfectly content with my top 30. I just feel like some albums just didn’t have a chance in HELL of seeing the top 30, but shouldn’t they be recognized too?? I’m not talking about an honorable mention list or a ‘listened to’ list, I’m talking about collections, reissues, late-bloomers, and a couple that just didn’t have a place to begin with. Here’s a tribute to them…

Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs: Bootleg Series Vol 8

There’s no doubting the fact that Bob Dylan’s name exists near the top of the list in terms of songwriting and influence. I mean, his canon of music is exhaustive and exhalted. But Bob hasn’t struck gold with everything he’s recorded. In fact from the time after Oh, Mercy (1989) until the very late nineties, it seemed that he had strayed off the path a little, releasing a string of less-than-stellar albums that left old diehards scratching their heads.

Something happened around the time that Time Out of Mind (1997) was released. Bob had adopted an older, wiser persona, writing about the great American road, and the hardship and characters embedded in it. He followed Time with Love and Theft [2001] and Modern Times [2006].

From this time period Bob has culled an incredible selection of outtakes, demos, reworked and unreleased tracks that just amazed me. Just give a listen to both versions of ‘Mississippi’ for an example of how awe-inspiring a rejected mix can be, and his ‘Can’t Escape From You’ for an example of a song that never found it’s place. I guess I’m glad that this two-disc (or three, if you’re rich) collection has seen the light of day. It’s also nice to see that old man Bob’s trash is also his treasure.

Mississippi – Bob Dylan

Whiskeytown – Stranger’s Almanac

Remember the endless horizon of possibilities ahead for the unwritten history of alt country? There was Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, and the Jayhawks. There was the residual of punk rock asthetics melded with a southern traditional rock core. When Stranger’s Almanac was born, it became a bellweather of sorts for the potential commercial success and ultimate decline of quote-unquote alt country. This album gets the redux treatment, with some early versions, live tracks, and a nice new sound. Ryan Adams hasn’t sounded this good since.

Inn Town – Whiskeytown

Welcome Wagon – The Welcome Wagon

A great album that satiated my Sufjan Stevens fix in the final months of 2008. While it is a little too overtly religious for my tastes, the music is incredible, and the album plays like a true follow-up to 2005’s Illinoise

He Never Said A Mumblin Word – The Welcome Wagon

Sun Kil Moon – April
Mark Kozelek –
7 Songs Belfast
Mark Kozelek – The Finally EP

Wow, I’m exhausted just typing all of that. Mark, if you’d just slow down maybe I’d have become familiar enough with one of these albums. None of these made my top 30 because I haven’t been hooked…yet. I know it will happen, but it’s gonna be in 2009.

The Light – Sun Kil Moon

Vicki Cristina Barcelona soundtrack

Loved every second of the movie and the soundtrack had a lot to do with that. The soundtrack plays like a Spanish-music primer, with a mish mash of artists and influences. So refreshing. Plus, the movie had Scarlett Johanssen and Penelope Cruz in it. I’ve said to much…I’ve lost your attention.

Barcelona – Giulia y Los Tellarini

Sigur Ros – med..uh…med…ummm… Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Whatever it’s called, the album is gorgeous. I resisted listening to this for a LONG time, but I’ve caved. It’s really beautiful. It didn’t make my initial cut, primarily because I value lyrics so much, but it should definitely be recognized for what it is, a gentle and haunting album.

Gobbledigook – Sigur Rós

Kasai All-Stars – In the 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy By Magic

best name for an album….ever.

Kasai Allstars are a 25-piece musical collective based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. The musicians originally come from five bands, all from the Kasai region, but originating from five different ethnic groups: the Songye, Lulua, Tetela, Luba, and Luntu. Some of these groups have endured conflicting relationships over the centuries, they each have their own culture, their own language and their own musical traditions, which were always thought to be incompatible until these musicians decided to pool their resources and form a “superband”, at the instigation of Belgian producer Vincent Kenis.

This has to be my favorite African album that I’ve heard all year. Many of these musicians have fashioned their own instruments from items they have collected, like the use of the likembe (thumb piano). The sounds that are created are manic, intense and incredible. Sort of like a fever dream, without the fever.

Quick As White – Kasai All-Stars

Drive by Truckers – Brighter than Creation’s Dark

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS – Brighter Than Creations Dark (2008)

The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers

Love Me Tenderly – The Felice Brothers

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Lie Down in the Light

So Everyone – Bonnie Prince Billy

And the forgotten about Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy live album…..

Is It the Sea?

New Partner – Bonnie Prince Billy

So there’s a few… I hope you enjoy. It was good to get it off of my chest. I’m such a completist. Except when I actually NEED to complete something…hmm.

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January 7, 2009 Posted by | alt country, americana, bob dylan, bonnie prince billy, drive-by truckers, ghost of electricity, jameson, kasai all stars, ryan adams, sigur ros, toodrunktodream, welcome wagon, whiskeytown | Leave a comment