Well, it's been a while since we've posted here, but the end of the year is as good time as any for us to go through FBF's Top 20 releases for 2022. In a few weeks, the January issue of Blues Bytes will present their reviewers' Top 10 for the year, so, if you care, you'll be able to see which of these 20 made my Top 10. This was a pretty good year for new releases, a mix of new, exciting talented artists and a lot of veterans who showed that they still have a lot of fuel in the tank.
Check out my favorites (listed in alphabetical order) and see how many are on your lists, and please share yours in the Comments if you're so inclined.
Friday Blues Fix's Top 20 for 2022
Rick Berthod - Tribute to Peter Green: Nevada-based guitarist Berthod does a great job interpreting this tunes that the underrated British guitarist recorded with the early, blues-based edition of Fleetwood Mac. He remains faithful to the originals, but adds enough of his own sound to keep things fresh. Like any good tribute album, this will please longtime fans of Green, lead newcomers to check out the original works, and encourage them to check out more of Berthod's impressive catalog, too.
Chris Canas - Detroit (Third Street Cigar Records): The Motor City's "Prince of the Blues" made the finals of the 2020 I.B.C.'s and this release shows what the fuss was all about. A powerful vocalist and guitarist and a good songwriter, this album (his eighth) really serves as his mission statement.....he's here to play his brand of blues, - contemporary blues with flourishes of rock, soul, funk, even reggae - his way. I think listeners will be perfectly fine with that.
The Dig 3 - It always puts a hop in my step to see a new album of old-school blues played well, or in this case, extremely well. Andrew Duncanson of Kilborn Alley Blues Band teams up with harp master Ronnie Shellist and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Hundt on this superb set of original tunes that pays tribute to the great blues tunes and artists of yesteryear. Part of the reason this set works so well is the sheer love and enthusiasm these guys have for every tune.
Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters - Mercy Me (Stony Plain Records): This is Earl's 28th album and one of his best, with support from his outstanding band and several guest stars. Evenly split between originals and covers, Earl's guitar work continues to dazzle, on both electric and acoustic, while Diane Blue continues to be one of the best vocalist currently practicing. It's hard to go wrong with any Ronnie Earl release, but this one is near the top of the list.
The Love Light Orchestra - Leave The Light On (Nola Blue Records): I have a soft spot for the great sounds of Memphis blues and R&B of the 50's and 60's, and so do the members of The Love Light Orchestra, a nine-piece band of Memphis-area musicians fronted by vocalist John Nemeth, a master of the soul and blues genre whose voice is tailor-made for this sound. Their second release is made up of nearly all original tunes that seem to be pulled from a 50's/60's-era jukebox and the performances will put goose bumps on your goose bumps.
Trudy Lynn - Golden Girl (Nola Blue Records): Over 25 years ago, I met a guy from Houston on the old Blues Access bulletin board. He turned me on to a lot of great music from the Houston area that I had previously not heard, including Ms. Trudy Lynn. What an amazing singer and talent, and she's backed by an incredible set of musicians on this excellent set. Ms. Trudy just rips through this set and leaves you waiting breathlessly for her next one.
John Mayall - The Sun Is Shining Down (Forty Below Records): The King of British Blues stepped back from touring in late 2021, but he's still recording, releasing this album earlier this year. There are several guest guitarists on this set, including Melvin Taylor, Mike Campbell, and Marcus King, but he's got the phenomenal Carolyn Wonderland playing guitar throughout the session, the latest addition to his band. Mayall recently turned 89, but he sounds like he's got a few more great albums left in him.
Delbert McClinton - Outdated Emotion (Hot Shot Records/Thirty Tigers): McClinton also retired from touring last year, but he also continues to record. His 27th studio release is a collection of songs by artists who influenced him over his 65+year career, and it's a ton of fun. Most listeners will know the songs here from Lloyd Price, Jimmy Reed, Hank Williams, Little Richard, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, plus a few McClinton tracks as well, and they will be singing along having nearly as much fun as McClinton and the band probably did.
Well, that's my Top 20. I would love to see yours, so please post in the Comments if you feel so inclined.
I have to apologize for the lack of posting this year. It's been a tough year, especially the last few months, but hopefully 2023 will be a better year for everyone. Happy New Year to all!