2014 was a great year for music, especially if you are an Allman Brothers fan. Well, as far as CD releases anyway. The sad part is the retirement of the band – but boy howdy did they exit in style and with class.
What follows is KUDZOO Magazine’s Top 25 releases of 2014. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment at the end of this blog. I hope you will also give a listen to this week’s edition of The KUDZOO Radio Hour as we count ’em down and play selections from many of the albums.
1 - Allman Brothers The Fillmore Recordings
At long last, we get to hear every minute of music recorded by Tom Dowd during the sessions that became At Fillmore East.
2- Blackberry Smoke Leave a Scar Live
Recorded in NC, this double CD set is an outstanding sampler for anyone new to the Smoke. If you weren’t a fan before – YOU WILL BE.
3 -Paul Thorn Too Blessed to Be Stressed
The latest from one of our favorite singer/songwriter/entertainers of all time.
4 - Tommy Talton Until After Then
The former Cowboy guitarist and vocalist presents his latest solo album. Chock full of great songs you need to hear. Repeatedly.
5 - The Charlie Daniels Band Off The Grid: Doin’ It Dylan
There was a time when brother Charlie was a studio musician, and during those days he played on two of Bob Dylan’s albums. He has stated in interviews that he was always a big fan of Bob. Now he delivers a whole album of Dylan covers, done CDB style.
6 - Johnny Winter Step Back
Johnny’s last record before his untimely death last year is one of his finest in years. Great songs, great guest artists like Eric Clapton and Leslie West. Just a great blues album. (With a shot of old time rock and roll from Johnny and Leslie.)
7 - Billy Joe Shaver Long in the Tooth
Shaver is a Texas legend and a national treasure. One of the best songwriters of our generation. Check it out.
8 - Allman Brothers Play All Night Live at the Beacon 1992
The Brothers’ very first appearance at New York’s Beacon Theatre. This started the annual Beacon runs that fans looked forward to every year until…
9 - Allman Brothers Beacon Theater 10-28-14
The final farewell concert of the Brothers before retiring from the road. Passion, energy and emotion to spare.
10 - Miranda Lambert Platinum
Hands down the best country chick singer-songwriter alive today. And her songs are each and every one great. Whether it’s of her angry revenge songs, a tender love song, a sad country song or a country rocker, Miranda delivers the goods every time.
11 - Billy Crain Silent Roar
Southern rocker and former member of The Outlaws Billy Crain returned in 2014 with yet another great self-produced album that finds him playing his own instruments, doing vocals and backing vocals, and dishing up rock, blues and country-ish goodies, many of which possess a distinct Christian theme.
12 -Harvey Dalton Arnold Outlaw
Another former Outlaws player, Harvey steps away from hid HDA Blues Band for a minute to turn out an awesome solo album.
13 - Col Bruce Hampton Pharaoh’s Kitchen
My friend Col. Bruce defines the word “artist.” He has always been the South’s version of Zappa or Beefheart, and has always been unpredictable in the very best way.
14 - Garth Brooks Man Against Machine
Welcome back Garth! After years out of the spotlight, Brooks returns and it’s as if he never left. Machine ranks right up there with any of his earlier records.
15 - Melissa Etheridge This is M.E.
One of her best yet. I could listen to it all day, and have. “Monster” is my favorite, but the whole disc rocks.
16 - Rodney Crowell Tarpaper Sky
Crowell is by far one of the best country singer songriters ever, and this album rivals Fate’s Right Hand as his best ever.
17 - Bruce Springsteen High Hopes Tom Morello
A powerful album. I’m still on the fence about Tom Morello, but don’t get me wrong, it took me a while to accept Nils Lofgren when he first joined.
18 - Idlewilde South Ghosts
This Carolina band is right at home in out countdown. An ‘80s band that went their separate ways after some moderate success, only to reunite and record this album. The title track is classic. The whole album is filled with beautiful vocals and tasty guitar reminiscent of Duane Allman, Dickey Betts or Toy Caldwell.
19 - Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives Saturday Night/Sunday Morning
I love Marty. Here we get a honkytonk Saturday night disc and a Sunday morning gospel disc. Both great.
20 - Neil Young A Letter Home
Story Line: An Album of Rare Beauty
Two for one! Neil was a busy man last year. Letter is a unique work, recorded in an antique direct to disc recording booth and produced by Jack White. Story Line (The deluxe edition) Contains the album of Neil playing new songs backed by an orchestra. Some of it works, some not so much. The bonus disc of Neil solo doing the same songs trumps the orchestra one.
21 - 3 Dayz Whizkey Steam
One of my current favorite Southern rock bands, these fellers hail from Germany, but sound like they were raised in Shanty Town.
22 - Jesse Winchester A Reasonable Amount of Trouble
Jesse left us this year, but he left behind a beautiful, fun album that is as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey.
23 - Prince Art Official Age
Prince has always been a few steps ahead of everyone else. This one reminds me of the Purple Rain era. No small wonder he had everyone calling him “THE ARTIST” back in the ‘90’s.
24 - Pink Floyd The Endless River
Using left over keyboard pieces from the Division Bell Sessions, Dave Gilmour and the guys constructed an awesome new Floyd album.
25 - Stevie Nicks 24 Karat Gold
2014 was a banner year for Stevie Nicks, being the inspiration for a main character and subsequently appearing in American Horror Story; reuniting with the entire Fleetwood Mac including Christine McVie for a tour; and appearing on countless stage and TVB shows, This album, featuring songs she originally wrote prior to her debut solo album, are almost every one a gem.
Box Set of the Year: Bob Dylan & The Band The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11
Check this out 6 CDs, 136 tracks. Every salvageable recording made during the jam sessions that came to be known as The Basement Tapes, along with a beautiful hard cover book. An historical document of great magnitude.
Reissue of the year
Bob Marley & The Wailers Legend: The Best of: 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Blu Ray)
Impeccable sound. The blur y disc also contains extended versions and alternate versions of the songs. Yeah mon!
Keep it Real. Keep it Southern.