The Ten Best Albums of 8002

Someone pointed out that half of my best CDs of 2008 list is comprised of music from 30 years ago and that happens to be true. I did try to only include actual releases from this calendar year, be they compilations of old material or brand new recordings. And while I acknowledge that there is plenty of good music being made today, I’m now posting another Best Albums list, one that stands completely out of time: the ten best records from any era that I discovered for the first time in 2008. The records here are indeed “records”: they’re all LPs I’ve picked up over the past 12 months (links go to current CD versions, if available). Some classic roots, some 70s salsa, a Brazilian genius and some home-grown jazz and funk. If nothing else, consider it a superb gift list.

Clifford Jordan/Glass Bead Games (Strata East, 1974)

Lee Dorsey/Yes We Can (Polydor, 1970)

Oliver Nelson/Blues & The Abstract Truth (Impulse, 1961)

Willie Colon/La Gran Fuga (Fania, 1970)

The Heptones/Good Life (Greensleeves, 1979)

Jorge Ben/Forca Bruta (Philips, 1970)

Gabor Szabo/Dreams (Skye, 1968)

Bobby Timmons/This Here (Riverside, 1960)

Ray Barretto/The Message (Fania, 1972)

Freddie McGregor/Big Ship (Thompson Sound, 1982)

Let’s just say there’s no shame on happening upon a great album 30 or 40 years after the fact. Some of the LPs here are in fairly rough shape, but the music sounds as fresh as the day it was recorded.

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