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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
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Monday, January 15, 2007
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Friday, January 12, 2007
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Letter From New Orleans

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Jennifer Przybylski's Fave Albums of 2005

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Music For Dwindling Days: Max Schaefer's Fave Recordings Of 2005

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Thursday, January 12, 2006
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Lee Templeton's Favorite Recordings of 2005

Thursday, January 5, 2006
Michael Lach - Old Soul Songs For A New World Order

Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Found In Translation Emme Stone's Year In Music 2005

Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Dave Allen's 'Best-Of' 2005

Monday, January 2, 2006
Steve Gozdecki's Favorite Albums Of 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
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Monday, December 19, 2005
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Thursday, December 8, 2005
Tom Ridge's Favorite Recordings Of 2005

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Anthony Carew's Fave Albums Of 2005

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Prince, Spoon And The Magic Of The Dead Stop

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The Truth About America

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Tryin' To Wash Us Away

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A Psyche-Folk Heat Wave In Western Massachusetts

Monday, July 18, 2005
Soggy But Happy At Glastonbury 2005

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The SXSW Experience, Part 3: All Together Now

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The SXSW Experience, Part 1: Waiting, Waiting And More Waiting

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Monday, March 21, 2005
Day Three At SXSW

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Day Two In SXSW's Hall Of Mirrors

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David Howie's 'Moments' From The Year 2004

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Lori Miller Barrett's Fave Recordings Of 2004

Thursday, January 20, 2005
Noah Bonaparte's Fave Recordings Of 2004

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Music For Those Nights: Max Schaefer's Fave Recordings Of 2004

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Dave Renard's Fave Recordings Of 2004

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Neal Block's Top Ten Of 2004

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Jenny Tatone's Fave Albums Of 2004

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Wayne Robins' Top Ten Of 2004

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Brian Orloff's Fave Albums Of 2004

Thursday, January 6, 2005
Johnny Walker (Black)'s Top 10 Of 2004

Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Jennifer Przybylski's Fave Albums (And Book) Of 2004

Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Mark Mordue's Fave Albums Of 2004

Monday, January 3, 2005
Lee Templeton's Fave Recordings Of 2004

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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Old Soul Songs For A New World Order

Neumu Contributing Editor Michael Lach writes: College-rock wunderkind Bright Eyes sang of an "old soul song for a new world order" on this year's fine I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning. In reality, old Southern soul was back in 2005 — not the funky, frat-boy jams as much as the slow Southern backwoods soul that recalls the finest of the Stax era. Here are some of my favorites from this past year.

1. Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham, "Old Folks," Moments From This Theatre (Proper): Dan Penn is the great lost living legend of American music, still relatively unknown despite writing hits for Otis, Janis, Aretha, and Alex Chilton. This tune, a longtime concert closer, has lyrics worthy of a Hallmark card, but thanks to the utter lack of pretense he makes it believable and emotional. The live Moments From This Theatre was a treasure at inflated import-only prices; it's essential listening now that it's finally been released stateside.

2. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, "This Land Is Your Land," Naturally (Daptone): It takes nerve to cover one of the most played and loved songs in the American songbook. But besides bringing a James Brown funk to the Guthrie classic, Sharon Jones and band uncover the lesser-played verses that certainly lean towards lefty politics. Her latest record, Naturally, is a wonderful collection of tunes that sounds old and yet feels modern, and is only a shadow of her power as a live performer.

3. Betty LaVette, "How Am I Different," I've Got My Own Hell to Raise (Anti): LaVette's return to form is a collection of women-penned tracks produced by Joe Henry. Here, she turns one of Aimee Mann's best into a grooving, shuffling R&B jam that smolders.

4. Irma Thomas, "Back Water Blues," Our New Orleans 2005 (Nonesuch): Covering the Bessie Smith classic, this tune takes on an added resonance in the post-Katrina world, punctuated by a particularly gritty Doyle Bramhall guitar sound. "I woke up this morning, couldn't even get outta my door," indeed. Here's hoping her New Orleans nightclub the Lion's Den is re-opening soon.

5. Irma Thomas, "Loving Arms," I Believe to My Soul Volume 1 (Rhino/Work Song): Another one of Joe Henry's new soul recordings, this track has a delightfully slow-jam feel set to the oh-so-subtle Allen Toussaint piano. When the guitar and backup choir come in right towards the end, I still get chills up my spine.

6. The Country Soul Revue, "Chicago Afterwhile," Testifying (Casual): A new Dan Penn composition, and the strongest cut on this new collection of old soul legends doing things Nashville-style.

7. Bobby Purify, "Better to Have It," Better to Have It (Proper): Bobby Purify is a singer's singer, and his comeback record is steeped in deep Southern soul. Though he recently turned 60 and went blind, his voice is still burnished and hungry, just like in the days of "I'm Your Puppet."

8. Percy Sledge, "Shining Through the Rain," Shining Through the Rain (Varese): The whispering guitar and clap drums that punctuate the title track of Sledge's overlooked 2004 album give a wonderfully upbeat punch to this rousing tune. Sledge's voice sounds as warm and round as ever.

9. Solomon Burke, "I Need Your Love in My Life," Make Do With What You Got (Shout Factory): The Bishop of Soul's second Joe Henry-produced comeback album wasn't as deep as 2002's Don't Give Up on Me, but this funky burner shows there's still plenty of fire in him.

10. Sid Selvidge, "Since I Met You Baby," Live At Otherlands (Archer): Selvidge has been playing in and around Memphis for years, with blues legends like Furry Lewis, with the should-have-been super group Mud Boy and the Neutrons, and on his own. On this live recording of the Ivory Joe Hunter classic, he distills a tremendous song down to its simple rawness, with dazzling results.
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