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Josh Harkavy, owner of the record/book store Red Onion, e-mailed me this: his favorite, or some of his favorite records of the year.
Josh explains: “This is by no means a top 11 list, just 11 albums I listened to a lot in 2008. Let me know if you need more info or anything. I hope you don’t mind that I went to 11.”
We don’t mind at all.
Irma Thomas: Irma Thomas Sings (Mississippi Records) While it’s tough to choose one favorite Mississippi Records release, this is probably the one I play the most, especially in the store. It seems that whenever this album starts up, somebody ends up buying it.
Cotton Jones Basket Ride: The River Strumming (St. Ives Records) This is truly my favorite discovery of the year. 300 pressed and I am so happy that I own one. Funky, folky psych from Maryland. More people need to hear this album.
Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Primary Colours (Goner Records) I know the lead singer kinda sounds just like Mark E. Smith from the Fall, but that’s ok.
Gary Higgins: Red Hash (Drag City) Since I’ll probably never find an original, I was happy when this was properly reissued by Drag City. And it came with a bumper sticker!
Cold Sun: Dark Shadows (World In Sound) Quite possibly the most expensive new record I have ever bought, but worth every penny. Twisted Texas psych fronted by autoharp wizard Bill Miller. This band later went on to back Roky Erickson. Sooo good.
Monotonix: Body Language (Drag City) I still have not seen Monotonix live even though it seems they have played DC about 6 times this year. I have listened to the 6 songs on their first release way too many times this year. Phil Lynott lives!
Crystal Stilts: Crystal Stilts (Woodsist) I like this creepy Brooklyn band’s self-titled EP a bit more than their Alight of Night LP. It’s just the right amount of songs. Whenever I hear this EP, it makes me want to make music like this. It seems so easy.
Hear, O Israel: A Prayer Ceremony in Jazz (Trunk Records) How this recording came to be I will never know. Herbie Hancock, Grady Tate, Ron Carter and others perform a Sabbath prayer concert written by 17 year old Jonathan Klein for his synogogue in 1968. Maybe it is best not to ask why, just to enjoy the sounds.
Relatively Clean Rivers: Relatively Clean Rivers (Phoenix Records) The description of this lost early 70’s west coast trip referenced both the Grateful Dead and the Velvet Undergound. I didn’t believe it to be possible, but this might be the long lost love-child of those two groups.
Vivian Girls: Vivian Girls (In The Red) I’m a little biased on this one since I used to go to garage sales with one of the members. It’s a little uneven, but this is another one of those albums that I wish I could have made.