2nd Annual Mallys!!!

For the second consecutive year, I perused the various “Best Of” lists in the magazines and on the web only to find none of the 2015 songs that I really liked. I’m not saying that they’re not good songs, only that they’re not the ones I downloaded as “keepers” on my music streaming site of choice.  (If you’re thinking, He must be living in an alternate universe, know that my kids would say you’re not alone.) If those are the songs you prefer, watch the Grammys.  If not, you’re in luck, because you’ve got… drum roll… The 2nd Annual Mallys!!!

Hey, I’m no music critic.  I’m just a music liker. If I like something, I download it.  Here are 15 2015 songs I liked (in no particular order).

1.  “Little Queenie” by Kentucky Headhunters w/Johnnie Johnson. Off Meet Me in Bluesland.  I love the Headhunters. I also love the way they hooked up with the underappreciated Johnnie Johnson two years before his 2005 death to cut this album.  (Q: Who was he?  Hmmm… Where to start?  Well, not only was he Chuck Berry’s legendary piano player, the song “Johnny B. Goode” is about him!  His 1992 Johnny B. Bad is one of my all-time fave albums.)  “Meanwhile, I been thinkin’…”

2. “Waitin” by The Banditos.  Off Banditos, this Nashville band’s debut album on Bloodshot records. (They just sound like a band that ought to record for a label named Bloodshot Records.)  I note that this song did, in fact, make it on to NPR Radio’s “Best of 2015” list.  It’s a good’un!  “And I say, oh daddy, I’m in trouble now that you’re gone.”

3.  “Cost of Living” by Don Henley w/Merle Haggard. Off Cass County.  The Eagle has re-landed… and he has brought his twang.  A strong return to form.  “It’s the cost of living, and everyone pays.”

4. “Acadian Driftwood” by Shawn Colvin. Off Uncovered (2015). While she gives great cover to many artists, she wins my heart because she “gets” The Band.  (e.g., Her version of “Twilight” on 1994’s Cover Girl adds to the original.)  “Been out ice-fishin’… too much repetition.”

5. “Beautiful Life” by Judith Hill. Off Back in Time.  Keep an eye on this gal.  Although she had recorded with Michael Jackson and received high marks on The Voice, this debut album is the start of big things.  “And tip your hat to the haters, who try to tear you apart.”

6. “Good Night Irene” by Keith Richards. Off Cross-eyed Heart.  I mean, isn’t it high time we all started thinking about what kind of world we’re going to leave behind for Keith Richards? Not only does time appear to be on his side, it seems to wait for him. (Sorry, diehard Stones fans.)  Anyway… “Sometimes I have a great notion…”

7. “Flesh & Bone” by Buddy Guy (w/Van Morrison). Off Born to Play Guitar.  With Buddy backing him on guitar, I’d listen to Van the Man sing the phone book. This duet dedicated to B.B. King is extra special. “We’ll meet again some sweet day, Far beyond this world in pain.”

8. “Sedona” by Houndmouth.  Off Little Neon Limelight.  Weird name, but very tight band. Infectious song.  “John Ford said, ‘won’t you hop on into the stagecoach baby’…”

9. “All Your Favorite Bands” by Dawes. Off All Your Favorite Bands.  Some say these guys were born 40 years too late.  I don’t know about that, but they would have fit right in with the likes of Jackson Brown, The Band, CSNY, Joni Mitchell.  If you’ve ever longed for your favorite dis-banded band to re-unite, this track’s for you.  “And may all your favorite bands stay together.”

10. “November Tale” by The Waterboys. Off Modern Blues.  These guys have never gotten the acclaim and respect they deserve.  Let’s hear it for all those bands that just keep on keepin’ on.  “If you’re problem is long-standing, why don’t you try kneeling?”

11. “How Can a Poor Boy…?” by Van Morrison w/Taj Mahal. Off Duets: Reworking the Catalogue. Van gets two name checks in this year’s Mally’s!  Great to hear again from Taj!  “…ever get thru to you?”

12.  “Elevator Operator” by Courtney Barnett.  Off Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit.  Such a powerful debut! I can’t shake this idea in my head: If Bob Dylan grew up a half-century later, but as a girl in Australia starting out with a Fender (instead of a folk acoustic guitar), he might have been Courtney Barnett.  Here’s why: “Breakfast on the run again, he’s well aware; He’s dropping soy linseed Vegemite crumbs everywhere.”

13.  “The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box” by Modest Mouse. Off Strangers to Ourselves.  Ben Burlock ’13 – R.I.P. – unknowingly turned me on to these guys.  I’m pretty sure he’d like this track.  Unique and compelling sound.  “It’s a watercolor weekend.”

14.  “The Usual Time” by Steve Earle & The Dukes.  Off Terraplane.  The Last of the Hardcore Troubadours plays the blues!  “Here I come, baby, it’s the usual time of the night.”

15.  “Autumn Leaves” by Bob Dylan. Off Shadows in the Night (2015). Hey, it’s Frank’s World… Bob just sings in it. “But I miss you most of all, My darling, When autumn leaves start to fall.”

BONUS – “Little Queenie” by Rolling Stones. Off Sticky Fingers, Super Deluxe Re-Release.  In Chuck we Trust.  Although this was actually recorded over 40 years ago, nobody covers Chuck like Mick and the boys.  “Meanwhile, I was stiiiiillllll thinkin’…”

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld