Favorite Albums (& DVD Box Set) of 2010

2010 was another great year for reissues, new issues of archival material and new albums by heritage artists. Far and away the most revelatory listening experience of the year was the 15-CD set of Hank Williams’ Mothers’ Best radio transcriptions. The earlier musical excerpts (released in 2008 as The Unreleased Recordings) was a revelation in its presentation of a parallel Hank Williams performance catalog, but the unedited programs brilliantly flesh Williams out as an entertainer, band leader, friend and human being.

Artists, particularly those on indie and self-made labels, continue to provide on-line streams and track downloads to catch listeners’ ears. Aggregators like Hype Machine and Elbows provide a quick way to hear what bloggers are writing about. Unfortunately, the major labels continue to shy away from this promotional avenue, and an affordable, legal licensing scheme for bloggers and podcasters continues to be elusive for commercially controlled music.

That said, here (in alphabetical order) are my favorites from among what I heard in 2010. Click through the album titles to find full-length reviews.

#1 Release of 2010
Hank Williams – The Complete Mothers’ Best Recordings… Plus!

Top New Albums of 2010
Elk – Tamarack Mansion
Derek Hoke – Goodbye Rock ‘n’ Roll
John Meeks – Old Blood
John Mellancamp – No Better Than This
Marty Stuart – Ghost Train The Studio B Sessions
Peter Wolf – Midnight Souvenirs

Top Reissues of 2010
Chris Bell – I am the Cosmos (Deluxe Edition)
Hot Tuna – Live at the New Orleans House, Berkeley, CA 09/69
The Plimsouls – Live! Beg, Borrow & Steal
Elvis Presley – On Stage (Legacy Edition)
Otis Redding – Live on the Sunset Strip
Ola Belle Reed – Rising Sun Melodies
Paul Revere & The Raiders – The Complete Columbia Singles
The Runaways – The Mercury Albums Anthology
Various Artists – British Invasion (DVD Box Set)
Various Artists – Remember Me: Cameo Parkway Vocal Groups Vol. 1

Honorable Mention New Music of 2010
Reno Bo – Happenings and Other Things
The Clientele – Minotaur
Paul Collins – King of Power Pop!
Andrew Combs – Tennessee Time
Hacienda – Big Red & Barbacoa
Eilen Jewell – Butcher Holler: A Tribute to Loretta Lynn
Andy Kim – Happen Again
Raul Malo – Sinners & Saints
Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez – The Deep End
The Mad Tea Party – Rock ‘n’ Roll Ghoul
Manning-Dickson – Drive
Stonehoney – The Cedar Creek Sessions
Twilight Broadcasters – Evening Shade
Dale Watson – Carryin’ On

Honorable Mention Reissues of 2010
The Clefs of Lavender Hill – Stop! Get a Ticket
George Jones – The Great Lost Hits
Phil Ochs – On My Way: 1963 Demo Sessions
Dolly Parton – Letter to Heaven: Songs of Faith and Inspiration
The Poppees – Pop Goes the Anthology
Sorrows – Bad Times Good Times
Roland White – I Wasn’t Born to Rock ‘n’ Roll

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