Search Results : (BLUES)

Feb 062018
 

A selection of more than one thousand albums/recordings I consider essential, from 1923 to the present. Click the decade link to view the whole decade in one page or click the single year.

New! View it in Google Sheets.

The lists:

Notes about the lists:

  • This is a work in progress.
  • The lists are focused on rock music, including roots and derivative genres. So they cover other genres as well, even if not extensively, in those cases where the content is considered influential for rock music.
  • The first section (Early blues, jazz, folk and rock ‘n’ roll) includes mostly compilations. The other lists include albums only, although there are few exceptions.
  • They include 10 main albums per year (at least starting from 1964) plus a variable number of notable albums listed after (I’m more “generous” in the last decade). The release date is reported between the parenthesis and the albums are sorted by that date, unless specification indicates otherwise.
  • Straight blues is covered more extensively here: Blues recordings selection.
  • The following acronyms are used to identify some minority genres or nationalities:

Album covers selected from the lists above, one for each year:

 

Sep 212017
 

Essential list of early influential recordings, mostly compilations, sorted approximately by recording date:

  • [recordings 1923-] Bessie Smith – The Essential Bessie Smith (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 1997)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1927-] Blind Willie Johnson – Dark Was the Night (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 1998)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1927-] Blind Lemon Jefferson – The Best of Blind Lemon Jefferson (Compilation, Yazoo, 2000)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1928-] Mississippi John Hurt – Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 Okeh Recordings (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 1996)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1929-] Charley Patton – Founder of the Delta Blues (Compilation, Yazoo, 1969)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1930-] Son House – Complete Recorded Works of Son House & the Great Delta Blues Singers (Compilation, Document, 1990)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1931-] Skip James – I’d Rather Be the Devil: The Legendary 1931 Session (Compilation, Rev-Ola Records, 2007)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1933-] Billie Holiday – The Ultimate Collection (Compilation, Hip-O, 2005)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1935-] Billie Holiday – Lady Day: The Master Takes and Singles (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 2007)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1934-] Lead Belly – King of the 12-String Guitar (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 1991)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1935-] The Carter Family – Can the Circle Be Unbroken?: Country Music’s First Family (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 2000)(FOLK)
  • [recordings 1936-] Robert Johnson – King of the Delta Blues: The Complete Recordings (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 1997)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1937-] Bukka White – The Complete Bukka White (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy,1994)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1938-] Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 [1938-1941] (Compilation, Document, 1996)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1938-] Louis Armstrong – The Definitive Collection (Compilation, Hip-O/Verve,2006)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1940-] Woody Guthrie – Dust Bowl Ballads (Compilation, Buddha Records, 2000)(FOLK)
  • [recordings 1944-] Woody Guthrie – This Land Is Your Land: The Asch Recordings, Vol. 1 (Compilation, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 1997)(FOLK)
  • [recordings 1944-] Charlie Parker – The Complete Savoy and Dial Studio Recordings 1944-1948 (Compilation, Atlantic, 2000)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1945-] Bill Monroe – The Essential Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys [1945-1949] (Compilation, Columbia/Legacy, 1996)(FOLK)
  • [recordings 1947-] Hank Williams – 40 Greatest Hits (Compilation, Polydor/Mercury, 1978)(FOLK)
  • [recordings 1947-] Muddy Waters – His Best, 1947 to 1955 (Compilation, MCA/Chess, 1997)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1947-] Lightnin’ Hopkins – Gold Star Sessions, Vol. 1 & 2 (Compilation, Arhoolie, 1990)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1947-] Django Reinhardt – Peche à la Mouche (Compilation, Verve Reissues, 1992)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1948-] John Lee Hooker – The Definitive Collection (Compilation, Hip-O, 2006)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1949-] B.B. King – Original Greatest Hits (Compilation, Virgin, 2005)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1951-] Elmore James – The Sky Is Crying: The History of Elmore James (Compilation, Rhino, 1993)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1951-] Howlin’ Wolf – His Best: The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection (Compilation, MCA/Chess, 1997)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1951-] Ray Charles – The Best of Ray Charles: The Atlantic Years (Compilation, Rhino, 1994)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1951-] Willie Dixon – The Chess Box (Compilation, MCA/Chess, 1989)(BLUES)
  • [recordings 1953-] Elvis Presley – Sunrise (Compilation, RCA, February 9, 1999)
  • [recordings 1954-] Elvis Presley – Elvis Presley (Album, March 23, 1956)
  • [recordings 1954-] Bill Haley – 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: The Best of Bill Haley & His Comets (Compilation, MCA, 1999)
  • [recordings 1955-] Eddie Cochran – Somethin’ Else: The Fine Lookin’ Hits of Eddie Cochran (Compilation, Razor & Tie, 1998)
  • [recordings 1955-] Carl Perkins – Original Sun Greatest Hits (Compilation, Rhino/Warner Bros, 1986)
  • [recordings 1955-] Little Richard – The Very Best of Little Richard (Compilation, Fantasy/Specialty Records/Universal, 2008)
  • [recordings 1955-] Chuck Berry – The Definitive Collection (Compilation, Geffen/Chess, 2006)
  • [recordings 1955-] Bo Diddley – The Definitive Collection (Compilation, Geffen/Chess, 2007)
  • [recordings 1955-] Johnny Cash – The Sun Years (Compilation, Rhino, 1990)(FOLK)
  • [recordings 1956-] Buddy Holly – The Definitive Collection (Compilation, Geffen/Decca, 2006)
  • [recordings 1956-] Jerry Lee Lewis – Original Sun Singles ’56-’60 (Compilation, Sundazed, 2009)
  • [recordings 1956 ] Charles Mingus – Pithecanthropus Erectus (Album, Atlantic Records, July 1956)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1957 ] The Crickets – The “Chirping” Crickets (Album, Brunswick, November 27, 1957)
  • [recordings 1957 ] John Coltrane – Blue Train (Album, Blue Note, 1958)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1958-] Link Wray – Rumble! The Best of Link Wray (Compilation, Rhino, 1993)
  • [recordings 1959 ] Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (Album, Columbia, August 17, 1959)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1959 ] Ornette Coleman – The Shape of Jazz To Come (Album, Atlantic, October 1959)(JAZZ)
  • [recordings 1960-] The Shadows – Shadows Are Go! (Compilation, Scamp, 1996)
  • [recordings 1960-] The Ventures – Walk Don’t Run : The Best of the Ventures (Compilation, EMI Music Distribution, 1990)
  • [recordings 1961-] Roscoe Holcomb – An Untamed Sense of Control (Compilation, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 2003)(FOLK)

» Best albums of 1960

Feb 292016
 

Release date order:

  1. Built To Spill – Perfect From Now On (January 28)
  2. Laika – Sounds Of The Satellites (February 24)(ELECTRONIC)
  3. Doldrums – Acupuncture (February 24)
  4. Hash Jar Tempo – Well Oiled (March 17)
  5. Radiohead – OK Computer (May 21)
  6. Subarachnoid Space – Almost Invisible (July 22)
  7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F♯A♯∞ (August 14)
  8. Mogwai – Young Team (October 27)
  9. Low – Songs for a Dead Pilot (November 20)
  10. 16 Horsepower – Low Estate (?)(FOLK)

Others:

  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – The Boatman’s Call (March 2)
  • Yo La Tengo – I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One (April 22)
  • Spiritualized – Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space (May 7)
  • Geraldine Fibbers – Butch (July 1)
  • Björk – Homogenic (September 22)(ELECTRONIC)
  • Portishead – Portishead (September 29)(ELECTRONIC)
  • Robert Wyatt – Shleep (September 29)
  • Loreena McKennitt – The Book Of Secrets (September 30)(CELTIC)
  • Junior Kimbrough – Most Things Haven’t Worked Out (?)(BLUES)

« Best albums of 1996
» Best albums of 1998

Feb 192016
 

Release date order:

  1. Phish – A Picture Of Nectar (February 18)
  2. Yo La Tengo – May I Sing With Me (February 28)
  3. Spiritualized – Lazer Guided Melodies (March 30)
  4. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Henry’s Dream (April 27)
  5. Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted (April 30)
  6. Kyuss – Blues For The Red Sun (June 30)
  7. Morphine – Good (July 27)
  8. Babes In Toyland – Fontanelle (August 11)
  9. Red House Painters – Down Colorful Hill (September 14)
  10. Kramer – The Guilt Trip (?)

Others:

  • Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works 85-92 (February 12)(ELECTRONIC)
  • Curve – Doppelganger (March 9)
  • Ride – Going Blank Again (March 9)
  • Juliana Hatfield – Hey Babe (March 17)
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain – Honey’s Dad (March 23)
  • Catherine Wheel – Ferment (June 9)
  • Porcupine Tree – On the Sunday of Life (July)
  • Roger Waters – Amused to Death (September 1)
  • Screaming Trees – Sweet Oblivion (September 8)
  • R.E.M. – Automatic For The People (October 6)
  • Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (November 3)
  • Junior Kimbrough – All Night Long (?)(BLUES)

« Best albums of 1991
» Best albums of 1993

Feb 122016
 

Release date order:

  1. Pink Floyd – The Final Cut (March 21)
  2. R.E.M. – Murmur (April 12)
  3. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (April)
  4. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies (May 2)
  5. Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble – Texas Flood (June 13)(BLUES)
  6. Cocteau Twins – Head Over Heels (October 31)
  7. Tom Waits – Swordfishtrombones (September)
  8. Einstürzende Neubauten – Zeichnungen des Patienten O. T. (November 21)
  9. Green on Red – Gravity Talks (?)
  10. Rain Parade – Emergency Third Rail Power Trip (?)

Others:

  • Wipers – Over The Edge (?)
  • Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster (?)

« Best albums of 1982
» Best albums of 1984

Feb 092016
 

Release date order:

  1. Pink Floyd – Animals (January 23)
  2. Television – Marquee Moon (February 8)
  3. Ultravox – Ultravox (February 25)
  4. Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express (March)(ELECTRONIC)
  5. Radio Birdman – Radios Appear (July)
  6. Richard Hell and the Voidoids – Blank Generation (September)
  7. David Bowie – Heroes (October 14)
  8. Ramones – Rocket To Russia (November 4)
  9. Suicide – Suicide (December)
  10. Wire – Pink Flag (December)

Others:

  • Muddy Waters – Hard Again (January 10)(BLUES)
  • David Bowie – Low (January 14)
  • Damned – Damned Damned Damned (February 18)
  • The Saints – (I’m) Stranded (February 21)
  • Bob Marley and the Wailers – Exodus (June 3)(REGGAE)
  • Talking Heads – 77 (September 16)
  • Sex Pistols – Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (October 28)
  • Edoardo Bennato – Burattino senza fili (?)(ITALIA)

« Best albums of 1976
» Best albums of 1978

Feb 062016
 

Release date order:

  1. Syd Barrett – The Madcap Laughs (January 3)
  2. Miles Davis – Bitches Brew (March 30)(JAZZ)
  3. Tim Buckley – Lorca (May)
  4. Soft Machine – Third (June 6)
  5. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Cosmo’s Factory (July 25)
  6. Neil Young – After The Goldrush (August 31)
  7. Kevin Ayers – Shooting At The Moon (October)
  8. Paul Kantner / Jefferson Starship – Blows Against The Empire (November)
  9. Nico – Desert Shore (December)
  10. High Tide – High Tide (?)

Others:

  • Van Morrison – Moondance (January 27)
  • Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (February 13)
  • Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Déjà Vu (March 11)
  • King Crimson – In the Wake of Poseidon (May 15)
  • Grateful Dead – Workingman’s Dead (June 14)
  • The Pretty Things – Parachute (June)
  • Deep Purple – In Rock (July 3)
  • The Stooges – Fun House (July 7)
  • Traffic – John Barleycorn Must Die (July)
  • Fairport Convention – Full House (July)(BRITISH)
  • Black Sabbath – Paranoid (September 18)
  • Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother (October 2)
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin III (October 5)
  • Grateful Dead – American Beauty (November 1)
  • Tim Buckley – Starsailor (November 2)
  • Syd Barrett – Barrett (November 14)
  • Pentangle – Cruel Sister (November)(BRITISH)
  • Spirit – Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus (November)
  • Robert Wyatt – The End of an Ear (December 4)
  • King Crimson – Lizard (December 11)
  • Van Der Graaf Generator – H to He, Who Am the Only One (December)
  • Peter Green – The End of the Game (December)
  • Johnny Shines – Standing at the Crossroads (?)(BLUES)
  • Popol Vuh – Affenstunde (?)
  • Amon Duul II – Yeti (?)
  • Willie Colón – Cosa Nuestra (?)(LATIN)

« Best albums of 1969
» Best albums of 1971

Feb 052016
 

Release date order:

  1. John Coltrane – Ascension (February)(JAZZ)
  2. The Rolling Stones – Aftermath (April 15)
  3. Bob Dylan – Blonde On Blonde (May 16)
  4. Frank Zappa – Freak Out! (June 27)
  5. The Byrds – Fifth Dimension (July 18)
  6. The Beatles – Revolver (August 5)
  7. Donovan – Sunshine Superman (August 26)
  8. The 13th Floor Elevators – The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators (October 17)
  9. Love – Da Capo (November)
  10. Ennio Morricone – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (?)(ITALIA)

Others:

  • The Fugs – The Fugs (March)
  • Love – Love (March)
  • The Seeds – The Seeds (April)
  • Paul Revere & the Raiders – Midnight Ride (May 6)
  • The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds (May 16)
  • Yardbirds – Roger the Engineer (July 15)
  • John Mayall – Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (July 22)(BLUES)
  • The Kinks – Face to Face (October 28)
  • Count Five – Psychotic Reaction (October)
  • Blues Magoos – Psychedelic Lollipop (November)
  • Cream – Fresh Cream (December 9)
  • The Music Machine – (Turn On) The Music Machine (December 31)
  • Doc Watson – Southbound (?)(FOLK)

« Best albums of 1965
» Best albums of 1967

Feb 052016
 

Release date order:

  1. John Coltrane – A Love Supreme (February)(JAZZ)
  2. Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home (March 22)
  3. Sonics – Here Are The Sonics (March)
  4. The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man (June 21)
  5. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (August 30)
  6. Donovan – Fairy Tale (October 22)
  7. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band – The Paul Butterfield Blues Band (October)(BLUES)
  8. The Who – My Generation (December 3)
  9. The Beatles – Rubber Soul (December 3)
  10. The Byrds – Turn! Turn! Turn! (December 6)

Others:

  • Them – The Angry Young Them (June 11)
  • The Beatles – Help! (August 6)
  • Otis Redding – Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul (September 15)
  • B.B. King – Live At The Regal (?)(BLUES)

« Best albums of 1964
» Best albums of 1966

Feb 022016
 

Release date order:

  1. Bob Dylan – Bob Dylan (March 19)(FOLK)
  2. Ray Charles – Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music (April 1)
  3. Scrapper Blackwell – Mr. Scrapper’s Blues (September)(BLUES)
  4. The Beach Boys – Surfin’ Safari (October 29)
  5. Dick Dale and his Del-Tones – Surfers’ Choice (?)
  6. Charles Mingus – Tijuana Moods (?)(JAZZ)
  7. John Lee Hooker – Burnin’ (?)(BLUES)

« Best albums of 1961
» Best albums of 1963