2022 RPMer's Top 5s
Here it is list lovers; 2022s Top 5s selected by RPMers near and far....
Tim’s 2022 Top 5s.
“Here are my five favourite albums of new music from 2022. I’ve bought no second-hand CDs or LPs but have especially enjoyed live music greatly this year, both going to gigs and playing at sessions, so I’ve included a gigs top five as well.”
Top 5 New Releases
1. Sleep of Kings by Richard Durrant – “Richard’s first album to feature all self-composed pieces for the modern concert guitar is a sheer delight on all levels, from the virtuoso performances on each track, the live way it was recorded to achieve an intimate concert feel, to the wonderful album art.”
2. Solo by Sam Sweeney – “Of the two releases Sam launched upon the world in 2022, his Solo EP is the most captivating. It’s just as the title suggests; Sam playing fiddle with no band accompaniment, giving us his interpretations of English “folk” tunes. Total class.”
3. Tumbling Through the Floativerse by Ed Wynne – “Mr Ozric Tentacles gives us solo album number two….which still sounds exactly like an Ozrics outing. Result.”
4. Banjophonics by Damien O’Kane and Ron Block – “Banjo meisters O’Kane and Block join forces again for another album blending Irish tenor and American 5 string banjo.”
5. A Matter of Life and Love by Skinny Lister – “This new album from the punk folk popsters once again showed how adept they are at coming up with catchy hummable songs.”
Top 5 Gigs
1. Ozric Tentacles and Gong (The Brudenell, Leeds) – “The ultimate psychedelic experience. Simple as that.”
2. Gong (The Crescent, York) – “Amazingly tight musicianship, mind expanding light show…complimented by the in-house retro 70s vibe patchwork backdrop!”
3. Richard Durrant (National Centre for Earl Music, York) – “Richard played totally acoustically in this beautiful old church, repurposed as a music venue. Sublime.”
4. Saxon (and Diamond Head) (Barbican, York) – “The best NWOBHM band out of Yorkshire? Hell, yeah! Great mix of songs old and new and superb sound. Well done the soundman who actually listened.”
5. The Twisty Turns (Hutton Le Hole Village Hall) – “A lovely gig. This local old time/bluegrass trio from Malton were hugely enjoyable at one of the prettiest villages in North Yorkshire.”
Philip’s 2022 Top 5s
Top 5 new albums.
1. Kingmaker by Tami Neilson – “A powerful feminist statement and her best record to date.”
2. Rolling Golden Holy by Bonny Light Horseman – “It's worth noting that Anais Mitchell produced a very fine solo record this year too.”
3. Obsessed With The West by Brennen Leigh with Asleep At The Wheel - “If you love Western Swing you can't go wrong with this.”
4. Game Changer by Jim Lauderdale – “Why is this great songwriter not better known?”
5. Thee Sacred Souls by the group of that name – “Daptone goes to L.A. This is a beautiful record.”
“Now for some less serious top 5s - how about…”
Top 5 things to have come from America?
“Let's do a countdown.”
At Number 5, it's American English. “Contrary to those who complain about "Americanisms" in English usage, I think that American English invigorates the language. If you disagree, consider it in relation to numbers 4, 3, and 2.”
At Number 4, it's American literature. “From Hawthorne and Twain to Morrison and McCarthy, taking in all my favourite crime novelists along the way.”
At Number 3, it's American movies. “Might as well use the Americanism here- after all, they're very often not even on film any more…and TV, especially Westerns on the big screen and police and P.I. shows on the box in the corner of the room (OK they don't look like boxes any more but you know what I mean).”
At Number 2, it is of course Popular Music. “…as we know it today, which could only have originated in America, including Blues, Gospel, Jazz, Country, Broadway Showtunes and Rock and Roll.”
“So if that's Number 2, what can possibly be Number 1?
I'll tell you.”
Number 1 is of course, the humble potato! – “Boiled, mashed, roasted, chipped, served as wedges or in their jackets, or even made into crisps (no exotic flavours mind you).”
“As you will have noticed, I am a big fan of Western movies and have a collection of them on DVD and Blu-Ray, and a number of books about them.”
Top 5 books about Westerns – “All of them either written by or edited by Brits.”
1. The BFI Companion To The Western, edited by Edward Buscombe – “First published in 1988, with a new edition in 1993 that featured a few minor additions, this is the Bible for the fan of the genre, with it's longest section covering Culture and History, a selection of about 300 films (they were on film back then), a section on film-makers, and even a short section on TV Westerns.”
2. The Crowded Prairie: American National Identity in The Hollywood Western, by Michael Coyne. – “This is an entertainingly written, but scholarly book by an academic historian that examines what it says in the sub-title. It was published in the late '90s.”
3. Wild West Movies: How The West Was Found, Won, Lost, Lied About, Filmed and Forgotten, by Kim Newman – “…a film critic and historian published in 1990. That has to be a candidate for best sub-title ever.”
4. Westerns, by Philip French – “…the former chief film critic for The Observer. This was first published in 1973 as a very slim volume, added to in 1977, and then expanded to twice its' original length in 2004. Some say the later additions are the weakest part. I disagree- as far as I'm concerned it's excellent from start to finish.”
5. The Western, by David Lusted – “Published in 2003, this is another book by an academic, and is an excellent history of the genre clearly intended for use by students taking film studies courses. Ridiculously expensive to buy new, my copy is second-hand and has copious under-linings in red ink by someone who must have been taking such a course. (I've spotted two basic factual errors in it that really annoyed me. Does anyone else get annoyed by things like this? Van Heflin's character in "Shane" is referred to as "Will" Starrett. His name is Joe. The TV show "Bonanza" is mentioned as being about a ranch in Texas. Look at the burning map in the opening credits! It's Nevada! Virginia City is in Nevada! Paiutes lived in Nevada! There's a reason why it's called "Bonanza"... silver strikes in Nevada!).”
Top 5 Western Movies, in chronological order: Stagecoach (1939), Red River (1948), Shane (1953), The Searchers (1956), and Ride The High Country (1962).
The first four all made before I was born.
Top 5 Westerns made for TV.
1. Lonesome Dove. “Based on Larry McMurtry's novel, this is epic in scope, cinematic in production values, and has two marvellous central performances by Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones.”
2. Maverick. “The episodes starring James Garner as Brett Maverick were masterclasses in how to play light comedy drama. My favourite is entitled "Gunshy" and is a merciless parody of "Gunsmoke." “
3. The High Chaparral. “Best TV Western of the 1960s, especially season 1, before it became the Buck and Manuelito show. My one problem with the premise has to do with Linda Cristal's character, Victoria Montoya, who supposedly has rejected all suitors to the point where her father is concerned that she will die an old maid. She's a woman in her 30s and we are supposed to believe that what she was really waiting for was an arrogant Yankee empire builder at least 20 years her senior. (This reminds me BTW that the show's creator was the same man who devised "Bonanza"- a show about a 40-something father with three 30-something sons all born to different mothers none of whom are in evidence. Anyone smell anything fishy?).”
4. Son Of The Morning Star. “A mini-series about Custer that features the best re-creation of the Battle of The Little Big Horn ever put on screen. People who have been to the battle site claim the location used is very like the place where it happened.”
5. Star Trek. "Space... the Final Frontier. I'll say no more.”
Jean’s 2022 Top 5
1. You and Me by Joe Bonamassa – “From 2006, it shows a still developing Joe and I love it’s rawness. Django is the only tune that I knew but in concerts I haven’t heard him play it the same way twice.”
2. Driving Toward The Daylight by Joe Bonamassa – “From 2012, a mixture of moods but much more controlled and again only one track that I already knew.”
3. Live at the Sydney Opera House by Joe Bonamassa – “From 2019. A polished performance with a full band and singers. Shame they left at least 4 songs of the recording. Only 3 tracks that I knew.”
4. “Infinite Things by Paloma Faith – “From 2020, she has changed her genre slightly and comes across as much more matured. It seems that family life and the pandemic has affected her writing; it’s much more emotional and gritty.”
5. Still Rising by Gregory Porter – “From 2021, a double CD set singing every genre imaginable with ease. I particularly enjoy his blues/ gospel tracks like Revival. Wonderful voice.”
Tony’s 2022 Top 5
“I've compiled this list so that I can highlight the passing this year of some individuals who lived away from the spotlight in the music industry (with one obvious exception)! Those of us of a certain age are now having to endure the painful loss of so many of our favourite parts of the Rock and Roll jigsaw and it seems to speed up year on year. I don't want to see any of them go but I'm very glad to still be here myself to reminisce and acknowledge the debt I owe to them as a music lover when they do.”
MyTop 5 Most Notable Music Biz losses of the Year.
“Founder and Owner of Specialty Records - a label responsible for giving us the likes of Jesse Belvin, Wynona Carr, Guitar Slim, John Lee Hooker, Ernest Kador (Ernie K Doe), Jimmy Liggins, Little Richard, Art Neville, Lloyd Price, The Soul Stirrers feat. Sam Cooke, Roosevelt Sykes, Larry Williams and many more. Specialty was one of the few post-war labels to survive and go on to be a major contributor to the creation and rise of Rock'n'Roll.”
“Co-founder of Stax Records in Memphis. Jim and his sister Estelle Axton created one of the most influential labels in the development of Soul and Rhythm and Blues. Stax evolved from Jim's original label called Satellite, the name STAX coming from combining the first two letters of Jim and his sister's surnames (STewart and AXton) and would later incorporate the Volt label. Estelle played a big part in the setting up of Stax when she used her own money (raised from re-mortgaging her home) to purchase an Ampex 300 mono tape recorder. The label released alongside Motown and significant stars were Otis Redding, Booker T and The MGs, Albert King, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Sam and Dave and William Bell.”
“Joe was a guitar player and hugely influential in the house band at Motown known as The Funk Brothers who appeared on the recordings of just about all the major stars in Motown. The Funk Brothers were the subject of an excellent documentary available on DVD called 'Standing In The Shadows of Motown' which I first saw while taking a Motown-themed weekend holiday with Warners. I bought a copy so I could watch it properly which was difficult at the time I first saw it in a crowded room of people more interested in shouty conversations than watching the screen. At it's outset the film states that The Funk Brothers played on more hits than the Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Elvis and The Beatles combined - and they got almost no recognition for their considerable contribution to those hits. Just think of the intro to "I Heard It Through The Grapevine" to realise their importance. In recognition of their contribution they turned up one day for work to find a notice at the entrance to 'Hitsville USA' announcing the move of Motown output production to Los Angeles - not one of them had been forewarned that they were consequently out of work! Get a copy of the DVD and watch if you can - you won't be disappointed!”
“Co-inventor of the Moog Synthesiser with engineer Robert Moog - an instrument which became a major influence in rock and classical music in the 1960's and beyond. Deutsch and Moog met at a music conference in 1963 and while Moog took care of joining up all the bits of electric string and circuits, Deutsch provided the musical perspective and it was he who suggested they incorporate a keyboard which made the resultant piece of kit a really viable entity attractive to a whole range of musicians.”
Jerry Lee Lewis
“The wild man of Rock'n'Roll - the killer - who was a huge influence in the genre of Rock'n'Roll and, after his self-inflicted fall from grace after marrying his teenage cousin, country music. I'm a big Elvis fan but have never been in any doubt that Jerry Lee was, for me, the real King of R'n'R.”
Dave’s 2022 Top 5
“Here’s my five favourite vinyl albums bought in 2022.”
Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection self-titled album
Slanted and Enchanted by Pavement 30th anniversary release. “I bought this album 30 years ago on CD. I was blown away how good this release sounds.”
Anima by Thom Yorke
All Is Dream by Mercury Rev (expaned vinyl release)
Travel-Log by JJ Cale – “I finally replaced this album after waiting 20 years for my original copy to be returned . I love JJ’s laid back vibes.”
Kevin’s 2022 Top 5
“Around a year ago I invested in a turntable and started once again collecting vinyl. I’ve been repurchasing old favourites and lost loves as well as a few new.”
Best of the Band - “The first I bought was The Best of The Band and I could have picked virtually any track as a favourite, but The Weight would be my choice.”
Protest Songs by The Specials - “I bought this album on a visit to Richmond. I’d read several good reviews and luckily it has turned out to be a great album, again with very few fillers. I’d pick My Next Door Neighbour as a favourite track.”
Exile On Main Street by The Rolling Stones – “Just received one of my all-time favourites for Christmas; Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones. Again, so many great tracks but I’d have to pick Tumbling Dice as my favourite.”
Nina Simone at Newport – “…..favourite track, Porgy.”
NK Pop by Paul Heaton – “Favourite song is My Mother’s Womb, a tribute to his recently departed mother.”
“I realise some of these are certainly not new releases but they are new purchases this year, even if I’ve already had them on other formats. I could have picked several different top 5s depending upon what mood and on what day…. but right at the moment, these are top. Who knows, maybe I will send a second email to correct this one 😁
Have a good new year all RPMers.”
John’s 2022 Top 5s
“The albums that arrived in my world in 2022 were a mix of old and new, recent releases, previously undiscovered gems and the occasional item of 'Holy Grail' status (well, for me anyway!). Some were received as gifts, some were bought at conventional record shops (remember them?), some from eBay but the greatest proportion from record fairs, car boot sales and charity shops.
For the convenience of putting them into handy 'Top 5' lists, I've divided them into two lists; one of LPs, the other CDs. My third list is Live Acts. Gigs have been few and far between but I've chosen five performances that were exceptional.”
Top 5 LPs
Alien Coast by St Paul & The Broken Bones
Moments Of Madness by Hugh Cornwell
Headline News by Capital Letters
Afrique Victime by Mdou Moctar
Tangerine Dream (Mono) by Kaleidoscope
Top 5 CDs
Ululate by The Thinking Men
Tamotait (Promo) by Tamikrest
Lonely Waters by Stone Angel
Burning Inspiration (Promo) Royal Sounds
Along The Old Straight Track by The Leylines
Top 5 Performances
The Stranglers - UEA Norwich
Tom Robinson Band - Norwich Arts Centre
St Paul & The Broken Bones - Cambridge Folk Festival
The Gentlemen Of Few - Deepdale Festival
The Leylines - Folk In A Field
Nina's 2022 Top 5s -
But wait..what's this? 2 Top 5's too - hell to the yeah! Here goes..
Top 5 Live Bands Seen in Cornwall during 2022
1. Jembaa Groove, seen at the Cornish Bank in Falmouth
2. The Fisherman's Friends, seen at Penlee Park Open Air Theatre in Penzance
Cornwall My Home
3. AKA Trio, seen at the Acorn theatre in Penzance
4. Kate Rusby, seen at the hall for Cornwall in Truro
The Cornish Wassailing Song
5. Jolly Roger, seen at the Pirate Inn (appropriately enough!) in Penzance
21st Century Pirate
Top 5 Books read this year
1, The Help by Kathryn Stockett
2. The Re-enchanted Landscape (Earth mysteries, Paganism & Art in Cornwall 1950-2000) by Rupert White
3. The Story of You by Julie Myerson
4. Wild Swimming Walks Cornwall by Matt Newbury & Sophie Pierce
5. Your Body in Balance by Neal Barnard
Alan's 2022 Top 5s.
"For a change.......( as usual), this year's selections are records NOT in my collection, and probably never will be either!! So, if ever I was lucky enough, here's what I would spend my lottery winnings on:
Bit of a change for this year, as usual....."
'Dream Singles' (i.e achievable and/or possibly affordable)
Carole King- 'Road to nowhere'
Pink Floyd- 'Point me at the sky'
Eyes- 'When the night falls''
Small Faces- 'Patterns'
Judy Henske- 'High Flying Bird'
'Lottery Win' Singles: (i.e. out of reach/unobtainable)
Elvis Presley- Sun singles on 78rpm
Robert Johnson- Vocalion singles on 78rpm
Creation- Planet label singles with Company sleeves
Action- Parlophone singles and French Odeon EP
Love- Elektra singles
(I have good copies of the first two but...)
Rolling Stones- 'Their Satanic Majesties Request' LP either original Mono pressing or 'silk sleeved' issue
Beatles- 'The Beatles' low number mono pressing
Pretty Things/Electric Banana- 'Electric Banana 60's sessions'
(and two I used to own but, when times is hard....)
Elvis Presley- 'Elvis Presley Rock and Roll'
Grateful Dead- 'Grateful Dead' mono
"This years turntable favourites were, by and large, the same as previous years: i.e. Beatles, Stones, Small Faces, Who, psych of all sorts, VDGG etc but there's also been a lot of blues. John Lee Hooker, Groundhogs, Johnny Winter, Howling Wolf et al. Most of my 2022 purchases have turned up as selections during the year but honorable mention must go to Hendrix's 'Stars That Play with Laughing Sam's Dice', Betty Harris 'His Kiss', Lesley Gore 'Maybe I know', Doris Troy 'What'cha gonna do 'bout it' and, on the album front, The Small Faces 'Live , Twenty Twenty Club. 9 January 1966' bought back so many memories of Doncaster Top Rank a couple of months later and also Van Der Graaf Generator's 'The least we can do is wave to each other' with a bonus very rare single (despite purporting to be an exact repro.... it didn't have the originals textured sleeve!!!) which is possibly my favourite VDGG album, but, then again.....
Here's hoping 2023 will turn up one or two of the above!!!"