For Goodness' Sakes: The Altercation Music Lists

››› ››› ERIC ALTERMAN

We've got a new "Think Again" column called "Reporting on Warming, Dropping the Bali," here. I've got a new Nation column, "Bad For the Jews," here.

Also, here's a nice PW article called "We're Liberals, Damn It!" that rounds up all the coming liberal books this spring and a few from last fall.

Altercation's Top 20 Albums:

1) Bruce Springsteen, Magic
2) The Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
3) Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
4) Neil Young, Chrome Dreams II
5) Steve Earle, Washington Square Serenade
6) Patty Griffin, Children Running Through
7) Various Artists, Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur
8) Radiohead, In Rainbows
9) John Fogerty, Revival
10) Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price, Lost Highway (also live on DVD)
11) Lilly Allen, Alright, Still
12) Patti Smith, Twelve
13) Aretha Franklin, Rare and Unreleased Recordings from the Golden Reign of the Queen of Soul
14) Loudon Wainwright III, Strange Weirdos
15) Sterling Harrison, South of the Snooty Fox
16) David Bromberg, Try Me One More Time
17) Nick Lowe, At My Age
18) The Eagles, Long Road out of Eden
19) Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
20) Fountains of Wayne, Traffic and Weather

Don't have yet and, hence, can't judge: The National, Miranda Lambert, Jill Scott, Feist, Levon Helm.

Altercation's Top Eight Box Sets:

1) Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-1970
2) John Coltrane, Interplay
3) Sly and the Family Stone, The Collection
4) Waylon Jennings, Nashville Rebel
5) Donald Fagen, The Nightfly Trilogy
6) U2, The Joshua Tree (Super Deluxe Edition)
7) Radiohead, Radiohead
8) The Traveling Wilburys (Complete)

Altercation's Top Eight Music DVDs:

1) The Johnny Cash Show
2) Eric Clapton, Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007
3) The Beatles, Help!
4) Bob Dylan, The Other Side of the Mirror: Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965
5) Norman Granz Presents Improvisation, featuring Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Jones and others
6) Nirvana, Unplugged in New York
7) Paul McCartney, The McCartney Years
8) The Ramones, It's Alive 1974-1996

Sal's Top Ten, in ascending order:

10. Fountains Of Wayne, Traffic and Weather
Many FOW fans found it disappointing. Not sure why. It was more of the same, with some of the strongest songs yet.

9 Galactic, From The Corner To The Block
A fantastic live band who doesn't always hit the mark in the studio...until now. Fun hip-hop, over live instrumentation and some kickin' New Orleans flavor.

8. Steve Earle, Washington Square Serenade
Strongest album yet from an American treasure. Check out the duets with Alison Moorer. Perfect.

7. Bettye LaVette, Scene Of The Crime
Southern soul from a lady who is finally getting her due, with help from the Drive-By Truckers. Packs some wallop.

6. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
Who'd a thunk it? Works on every level. The biggest surprise -- Plant can harmonize. A beauty.

5. Southern Culture On The Skids, Countrypolitan Favorites
Don't forget this killer collection of covers just because it came out earlier in the year. Songs by Marc Bolan, John Fogerty, Roger McGuinn, Ray Davies, Pete Townshend, and more, get that SCOTS countrification. Brilliant.

4. Patty Griffin, Children Running Through
Certainly Miss Griffin's strongest work to date. Pure emotion. Chilling and beautiful.

3. Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back
Mavis Staples hasn't sounded this alive since the 70s. Produced by Ry Cooder, this CD will move you. Or it should.

2. John Doe, A Year In The Wilderness
Yet another artist who has released his strongest work to date. Beautiful songs that rock! Includes my choice for 2nd best song of the year, "The Golden State," a duet with Kathleen Edwards. Listen to it.

1. Bruce Springsteen, Magic
Yeah, yeah. On the bandwagon, I know. But so what? It's a killer, AND it has THE best song of the year, "Girls In Their Summer Clothes." Not since "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" by The Walker Brothers has a song moved me so much.

Pierce's Top Five Best Musical Moments of 2007
(Championship Vinyl Memorial Edition):

5) "Dear Mr. Fantasy" -- From The Crossroads Festival DVD -- I'd completely forgotten both a) what a great song this is, and b) what a great musician Steve Winwood is. A raw, lengthy workout, and a voice that remains the sui generis of white soul.

4) "Down In The Hole" -- Blind Boys of Alabama -- Berklee Performance Center, Boston -- In fact, the whole show, but this was a treat for fans of The Wire, and a burning edition that bestirred even the boring liberal fascis...er...hippies sitting around me.

3) "Washington Square Serenade" -- Steve Earle -- A quiet musical event. Earle always wrote great love songs -- it's his most underrated talent -- and now he has someone to aim them at. This record sounds like Dylan's first album would have sounded, if Dylan had been Hank Snow.

2) Any set by The Problem Child -- WWOZ-FM, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA -- The woman's voice is nearly as sweet and compelling as the music she spins.

1) "Girls In Their Summer Clothes" -- That Guy From Jersey, His Wife, And Their Band -- Move over, Sal. I'm aboard, too. Said it before. Will say it again. This is the track Bruce would have contributed to Rubber Soul.

Best Jazz of the year and decade; don't argue with me, argue with Fred.

Pitchfork's best 200 songs of the '60s; not a bad list here.

This week on Moyers:

In the midst of the holiday spending and consumption frenzy, Bill Moyers interviews author Benjamin Barber about how capitalism isn't living up to its potential to serve society. "Capitalism is no longer manufacturing goods to meet real needs and human wants," says Barber. "It's manufacturing needs to sell us all the goods it's got to produce." Barber is the author of 17 books including international best-seller Jihad vs. McWorld and Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole. Also on the program: is it time to rewrite the Constitution? Moyers gets perspective from the University of Texas Law School's Sanford Levinson, author of Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It). And an update on changes to media regulations voted on this week by the FCC.

Correspondence Corner:

Name: Byron R. Mobley
Hometown: Memphis, TN

In regards to credit checks by employers -- depending on the employment being sought, a candidate's credit can be very important. A poor credit rating indicating a person is living beyond their means can be used to identify a person susceptible to bribery and a risky hire. This is not just in the law enforcement/intelligence community but also in the world of corporate espionage and trade secrets.

For better or worse, the private sector can pretty much decide what to base hiring decisions on -- be it drug use or credit. This is especially true in the "right to work" states of the South.

Name: Maureen Holland
Hometown: South Venice Beach FL

Eric:

Gee, not to get too personal here, but your references to "young" Matt and "young" Ezra are upsetting my world view. In my world, you are "young" Eric. And when -- as today -- you channel my own thoughts (as re Time's decision process), this Florida old lady can say to herself, "Ah, see, even the 'young' ones see thru this nonsense."

Name: Reed Richardson
Hometown: Ridgewood, NJ

Eric,

Don't if you saw this, but the Regret the Error website recently published its always entertaining annual roundup of the year's best media errors and corrections, here.

Still, for my money, the all-time best mea culpa appeared in The New York Times last year on Nov. 16, 2006. In a refreshingly forthright "For the Record" item, the paper noted:

"An obituary on Monday and in some copies on Sunday about Isadore Barmash, a retired business reporter for The New York Times, rendered incorrectly the name of a department store that he wrote about frequently. It was Gimbels, not Gimbel's. Gimbels, which closed in 1986, has been referred to correctly in The Times more than 500 times since 1980 and incorrectly more than 120 times; this is the first time the error has been corrected."

I guess we'll have to wait for Jeff Gerth and Judy Miller's subsequent obits before we get a full accounting of their role in propagating the myths of Whitewater and Iraq's WMD. Thank goodness their shoddy reporting wasn't about something as consequential as a misplaced apostrophe...

Name: Tom Fischer
Hometown: Buffalo

I noticed missing from the list of things to thank Ralph for was being deprived of eight years of Vice President Joe Lieberman.

Eric replies: Good point, bub. Dick Cheney is a brilliant alternative, here in the real world ...

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