The Top Albums of September 2009

The Top Albums of September 2009

The masterful singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie told stories with his music. He sang songs about the plight of immigrants, farmers, and workers. He told the story of America. He represented the common man. This new collection of Woody Guthrie music is superb. It contains everything from the well-known mainstream hits “This Land Is Your Land,” “Going Down The Road (I Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way),” and “Hard Ain’t It Hard” to some of  politically charged ballads like “Tear The Facists Down,” “You Gotta Go Down And Join The Union,” and “Jesus Christ.”

The legendary folk singer mastered the folk hero ballads like “Pretty Boy Floyd,” “Stackolee,” “John Henry,” and “Harriet Tubman’s Ballad Part 1.” The collection contains fun classic folk songs “More Pretty Girls Than One,””Brown’s Ferry Blues,” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” and captures the storytelling abilities of the man with tunes like “The Sinking Of The Reuben James.”

Furthermore Woody Guthrie had an extensive catalog with wonderful children songs like “My Daddy (Flies A Ship In The Sky) and magnificent New Deal era tales of bringing power and jobs to the country in celebratory tales like “Grand Coulee Dam.” This is an  amazing collection with good quality sound. In this new era of economic hardships the sounds of the Great Depression and New Deal seem to be a perfect soundtrack for the “Hard Travelin’” ahead.

  1. Woody Guthrie My Dusty Road [Rounder 2009]
  2. PhishJoy [Jemp Records 2009]
  3. Soja – Born In Babylon [DMV Records]
  4. Willie Nelson American Classic [Blue Note 2009]
  5. Polvo – In Prism [Merge Records 2009]
  6. Casual Sax Baby I’m Black [Wonder Sound 2009]
  7. Pearl JamBackspacer [2009]
  8. A.A. Bondy – When The Devil’s Loose [Fat Possum Records 2009]
  9. Jay-ZThe Blueprint 3 [Roc Nation 2009]
  10. PitbullRebelution [Jive 2009]
  11. Rodrigo y Gabriella 11:11 [ATO Records 2009]
  12. John FogertyThe Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again [Verve Forecast 2009]
  13. Busy Signal Hott Ed [Greensleeves 2009]
  14. The Black Crowes Before The Frost…Until The Freeze [Silver Arrow Records 2009]
  15. Yonder Mountain String Band The Show [Frog Pad Records 2009]

File:Woody Guthrie NYWTS.jpg


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The Top Albums of September 2009

BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2009

This year’s Bonnaroo Music Festival offered a fine mix of music from bluegrass to reggae to indie rock and jam bands to afro-pop and electronica music. The reggae musicians included Midnite, the Itals, and the Wailing Souls. I unfortunately missed Midnite on Thursday but I got to see amazing sets from the Itals and Wailing Souls. The Itals played roots reggae including songs like “In a Dis Ya Time.” And they played new cuts from the upcoming album Let Them Talk. The Wailing Souls played Saturday and dropped roots reggae classics like “Shark Attack ” alongside reggae covers of the Doors song “Love Her Madly” and the Grateful Dead classic “Casey Jones.” The Wailing Souls also played “War Down at the Pawn Shop” a track written by Sublime headman Bradley Nowell.

Phish played two shows. The first show on Friday night rocked with originals like “You Enjoy Myself” “Wolfman’s Brother,” “Wading In The Velvet Sea,” and “Chalk Dust Torture” and a cover of AC/DC‘s “Highway to Hell.” For an encore Phish covered the Beatles‘ “A Day in the Life.” The second show on Sunday night included a guest appearance by the Boss–Bruce Springsteen. The Boss and Phish played a brilliant extended version of “Mustang Sally.” Trey Anastasio and the Boss traded and then dueled guitar solos. It was an amazing show with a jammed out version of “Glory Days.”

Bruce Springsteen played his three hour show on Saturday Night with the amazing E-Street Band, which included Max Weinberg on drums. “Outlaw Pete,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Born to Run,” “Dancing in the Dark,” and “Devils & Dust” among other favorites kept the crowd on its feet. The Boss is quite a performer and storyteller.

The Beastie Boys played an amazing and energetic set with favorites like “So What’Cha Want [Explicit],” “Sabotage,” “Shake Your Rump,” “Paul Revere,” and “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” on the set list alongside punk rock favorites “Gratitude [Explicit],” “Tough Guy,” “Egg Raid On Mojo [Explicit],” and “Heart Attack Man.” Instrumental Jams like “Sabrosa” laced the Hip Hop and Punk Rock tracks. The Beastie’s DJ Mixmaster Mike is more than a DJ. The man is an exquisite turntablist and musician. MCA, Mike D, and AD Rock still have it going on after all these years. Also rapper NAS performed with the Beastie Boys on a track coming soon on the new Beastie album.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, Santagold, Girl Talk, Brett Dennen, Amadou & Mariom, Booker T with the Drive-By Truckers, Gov’t Mule, Merle Haggard, the Decemberists, and Snoop Dogg all played notable sets. I caught Booker T and the DBTs (Drive By Truckers) playing “Green Onions” and Merle Haggard covering Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Jackson.” The Hag played his own hits too, singing “Mama Tried,” “Working Man Blues,” “That’s The Way Love Goes,” and “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.”

Immediately after seeing Merle Haggard’s set I trucked to the main “What Stage” to see Snoop Dogg and Tha Dogg Pound. Snoop strolled through hits “Gin And Juice,” “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?,” “Ain’t No Fun.” The LBC rappers paid tribute to 2pac with “2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted.” Snoop can still move the crowd. He even transitioned into Jamaican patois at one point sounding pretty good as a potential dancehall artist. Snoop needs to do a reggae album.  Merle Haggard and Snoop opening for Phish Sunday night seemed a perfect way to end this diverse mix of music.



BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL 2009