Top Ranking Albums of November 2013

Eek-A-Mouse  – Eek-Ology [17 North Parade 2013]

Various ArtistsBoardwalk Empire, Volume 2 [ABKCO 2013]

Various Artists Boardwalk Empire [Elektra 2013]

Smith WesternsSoft Will [Mom & Pop Music 2013]

Various Artists #SaveReggae, Vol. 3 [21st hapilos Digital Reggae 2013]

Various ArtistsDivided & United–Songs of the Civil War [ATO Records 2013]

EminemThe Marshal Mathers LP 2 [Aftermanth/Interscope/Shady 2013]

Jah 9Steamers A Bubble [Shamala Productions 2013]

Pusha T My Name Is My Name [Def Jam 2013]

Alan JacksonThe Blugrass Album [ACR Records 2013]

Various ArtistsCrossroads Guitar Festival 2013 [Rhino 2013]

Billy Joe Armstrong & Norah Jones Foreverly [Reprise 2013]

MishkaThe Journey [Mailboat Records 2013]

Willie NelsonTo All The Girls [Legacy Recordings 2013]

Brett DennenSmoke and Mirrors [F-Stop Records 2013]

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Top Ranking Albums of November 2013

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Friday

The 10th Anniversary of the Austin City Limits Festival brought together a diversified lineup from dubstep deejay Skrillex to bluegrass angel Alison Krauss to motown king Stevie Wonder to west Texas songsmith Ryan Bingham. As always I began my first day with the western swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel. They opened with “Miles and Miles of Texas.” Ray Benson and his band of accomplished musicians played Bob Wills standards like “New San Antonio Rose” and songs about Bob like the Waylon Jennings classic “Bob Wills Is Still The King.” The Wheel played their hit “Hot Rod Lincoln” and a new song originally performed with Willie Nelson called “Hesitation Blues.” On the set list appeared “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” “Bump Bounce Boogie,” and “Boogie Back to Texas.” The Wheel brought the sounds of western swing alive.

I caught the end of the Theophilus London set. Banging beats, fresh rhymes, and creative samples impressed this particular listener. For example, London looped a sample of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” over a fat beat dropping science in the rain. London also played his hit “Love Is Real.” The juxtaposition of hip hop with the sweet sounds of the Secret Sisters, in my opinion, is the beauty of a good festival. Diversity is essential.

The Secret Sisters played their hit song “Tennessee Me,” but it was their song selections from past country legends Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, the Everly Brothers, and Patsy Cline that really hit the spot. Take for example, their cover of “Why Baby Why,” which was soft and pure sweetness. These sisters from Muscle Shoals, Alabama strike a sentimental chord in me. The Southern ladies also played the Rufus Wainwright tune “Do You Love An Apple.”

We followed Secret Sisters with the electronic soul man James Blake. The Englishman opened with “Unluck” and “Give Me My Month.” For the most part the talented composer form London stuck with songs from his debut album James Blake, including the tracksI Never Learnt To Share,” “Lindisfarne I,”and “Lindisfarne II.” I especially liked his Fiest cover Limit To Your Love.” And, he spaced out “The Wilhelm Scream,” which concluded a nice set.

Big Boi from the Outkast crew brought Dirty South bounce and swagger into Zilker Park. Unlike many of the recent hip hop shows I’ve seen lately, Big Boi’s flow was exquisite and the sound clear. The set included tracks “General Patton” and “Follow Us” from the new album Sir Lucious Left Foot…The Son Of Chico Dusty. But the afternoon also saw a fair share of classics like the “cooler than a polar bear’s toenail” track “ATLiens” and the harmonica banger “Rosa Parks.” Big Boi proved he had a deep catalog with crowd pleasers “So Fresh, So Clean” and “Ms. Jackson.” He also brought rock and roll rap fusion with the protest song “B.O.B.” And, I was very pleased that the Atlanta native unleashed my personal favorite Outkast gem “The Way You Move.”  Nas & Damian Marley followed the Atlanta native rapper making this a lively stage.

Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley entered the stage as the flag bearing the red, gold, and green and the Lion of Judah flew. “As We Enter” kicked off the set. One of my favorite things to do is to see a Marley brother in Austin. Mr. Marley brought the reggae magic while the rhyme-smith Nas dropped serious science. In reality both of these cats are amazing lyricists and when done in tag-team fashion over dope beats booties commence to shake. “As We Enter” the lead track off the excellent Distant Relatives album is a great example of the combination of danceable sounds spiced with tangling hip hop and patois rhymes. The hard-hitting “Nah Mean” kept the vibe alive displaying the perfect marriage of reggae dancehall, African culture, and American rap.

Then Nas unleashed one of my favorite old school rap gems “If I Ruled The World (imagine that).” Following on the heels of the rap standard the Africanized “Dispear” brought down the house. Rebellion drips from this tune. I love it. The fevered pitch of the pounding “Dispear” was cooled off nicely by the roots reggae jam “Land Of Promise.” This Dennis Brown infused track is modern reggae at its best. Positive messages entwined with earth crushing roots reggae sounds made for a perfect evening. Jr. Gong’s “More Justice” from 2001’s Halfway Tree kept the show on this track.

Marley played several songs from his popular album Welcome to Jamrock. “Move!” sampled Bob Marley’s “Exodus” merging classic reggae and new ragamuffin styles and phrasings. Similarly the title track “Welcome To Jamrock” mixes Ini Kamoze’s “out in the street they call it murder” sample and a riddim straight from Kamoze’s “World A Music” into the biggest reggae hit of the 2000s. Marley and Nas then displayed their skills on the “Road To Zion,” which I believe  set the original mood for the Distant Relatives collaboration. They closed with the Bob Marley smash hit “Could You Be Loved.”

Mavis Staples performed under the tent producing a revivalist feeling in the middle of Zilker Park. Civil Rights, spiritualism, and good music swirled under the tent, take for example, the songs “Freedom Highway” and “Creep Along Moses.” Staples made everyone dance and sing to the soul classic “I’ll Take You There.” To experience the best of soul music and to get a taste of what soul music was like in the 1970s go see Mavis Staples. The energy is extraordinary! We concluded the evening with the English rock group Coldplay. “The Scientist” and “Clocks” made the set list, while an Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” set up a very nice “Fix You.”

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2011 – Friday

Top Ranking Singles of 1957

Top Ranking Singles of 1957 
  1. Buddy HollyEveryday
  2. Chuck BerryJohnny B. Goode
  3. Jerry Lee Lewis & His Pumping PianoGreat Balls Of Fire
  4. The Del VikingsCome Go With Me
  5. Sam Cooke – You Send Me
  6. Fats DominoThe Big Beat
  7. Buddy Holly & the CricketsThat’ll Be The Day
  8. The BobbettesMr Lee
  9. Patsy ClineWalkin’ After Midnight
  10. Chuck BerryRock And Roll Music
  11. Elvis PresleyJailhouse Rock
  12. The DiamondsLittle Darlin
  13. The Everly BrothersBye Bye Love
  14. Sam Cooke – (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
  15. Buddy Holly & the CricketsPeggy Sue
  16. Little RichardLucille
  17. Elvis PresleyAll Shook Up
  18. Bo DiddleyWho Do You Love
  19. Buddy HollyNot Fade Away
  20. The DriftersFools Fall In Love 
  21. Johnny CashRock Island Line – Original
  22. Chuck BerrySchool Day (Ring Ring Goes The Bell)
  23. Danny & the JuniorsAt The Hop
  24. Jerry Lee LewisWhole Lotta Shakin’ Going On
  25. Larry Williams – Bony Moronie
  26. Buddy HollyWords Of Love
  27. Fats DominoValley Of Tears 
  28. The Everly BrothersWake Up Little Susie
  29. The DiamondsThe Stroll
  30. Dion & the BelmontsA Teenager In Love
  31. Johnny CashThere You Go
  32. Sam CookeSummertime
  33. Buddy Holly & the CricketsOh Boy!
  34. The CoastersThe Idol With the Golden Head
  35. Bobby HelmsFraulein
  36. Thelonious MonkBemsha Swing
  37. Sleepy LaBeef – All the Time
  38. Sam CookeI’ll Come Running Back To You
  39. Frank SinatraWitchcraft
  40. Patsy ClineThree Cigarettes In An Ashtray
  41. Chuck BerryNo Money Down
  42. Sonny RollinsI’m An Old Cowhand
  43. Elvis Presley(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear
  44. Thelonius Monk – Brilliant Corners
  45. Little RichardKeep A Knockin’
  46. Jim ReevesFour Walls
  47. The CoastersSearchin’
  48. Nat King ColeWhen I Fall In Love 
  49. Johnny CashHome Of The Blues
  50. Thelonius MonkI Surrender Dear
  51. The CoastersYoung Blood 
  52. Jerry Lee LewisYou Win Again
  53. Fats DominoWhen I See You 
  54. Miles Davis – ‘Round Midnight
  55. Chuck Berry – Sweet Little Sixteen
  56. Larry Williams – Short Fat Fannie
  57. Chuck Willis – C.C. Rider
  58. Thurston Harris – Little Bitty Pretty One
  59. Sam Cooke – Forever
  60. Miles Davis – Bye Bye Blackbird
  61. The Chantels – Maybe
  62. Marty Robbins – A White Sport Coat (And A Pink Carnation)
  63. Larry Williams – High School Dance
  64. Sam Cooke – Desire Me
Top Ranking Singles of 1957