Search Results : (FOLK)

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

Mar 022016
 

Release date order:

  1. Notwist – Neon Golden (January 14)
  2. Sunn O))) – Flight Of The Behemoth (January 22)(DRONE)
  3. Cerberus Shoal – Mr Boy Dog (March 5)
  4. Black Tape for a Blue Girl – The Scavenger Bride (April 23)
  5. Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (April 23)
  6. Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights (August 19)
  7. Aimee Mann – Lost In Space (August 27)
  8. Low – Trust (September 24)
  9. Sigur Rós – ( ) (October 28 )
  10. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Yanqui UXO (November 4)

Others:

  • 16 Horsepower – Folklore (August 6)(FOLK)
  • Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf (August 27)
  • Porcupine Tree – In Absentia (September 24)
  • Steve Roach – Darkest Before Dawn (December 1)(AMBIENT)
  • Calexico – Scraping (?)

« Best albums of 2001
» Best albums of 2003

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 292016
 

Release date order:

  1. Burzum – Filosofem (January 1)(BM)
  2. Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die (January 30)
  3. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads (February 2)
  4. 16 Horsepower – Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes (February 6)(FOLK)
  5. Cul De Sac – China Gate (May 21)
  6. Low – The Curtain Hits The Cast (August 13)
  7. The Church – Magician Among The Spirits (August 19)
  8. Dirty Three – Horse Stories (September 10)
  9. Swans – Soundtracks For The Blind (October 22)
  10. Labradford – Labradford (?)

Others:

  • Fugees – The Score (February 13)(HIP-HOP)
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – On Avery Island (March 26)
  • Supreme Dicks – The Emotional Plague (April 30)
  • Black Tape for a Blue Girl – Remnants Of A Deeper Purity (June 6)
  • Beck – Odelay (June 18)
  • Screaming Trees – Dust (June 25)
  • Ivano Fossati – Macramè (May 9)(ITALIA)
  • Eels – Beautiful Freak (August 13)
  • Cat Power – What Would The Community Think (September 10)
  • Fabrizio De André – Anime salve (September 19)(ITALIA)
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Thank God For Mental Illness (October 25)
  • Mazzy Star – Among My Swan (October 29)
  • Ghost – Lama Rabi Rabi (December 10)
  • David Torn – What Means Solid, Traveller? (?)
  • Man or Astro-man? – Experiment Zero (?)

« Best albums of 1995
» Best albums of 1997

Feb 172016
 

Release date order:

  1. Morphine – The Night (February 1)
  2. Dirty Three – Whatever You Love You Are (March 7)
  3. Calexico – Hot Rail (May 9)
  4. Spring Heel Jack – Disappeared (August 22)
  5. The Black Heart Procession – Three (September 5)
  6. Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain (September 11)
  7. Radiohead – Kid A (September 27)(ELECTRONIC)
  8. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (October 9)
  9. Weakling – Dead as Dreams (?)(BM)
  10. 16 Horsepower – Secret South (?)(FOLK)

Others:

  • Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms… (March 13)
  • 16 Horsepower – Hoarse (April 1)(FOLK)
  • Mojave 3 – Excuses For Travellers (May 15)
  • Blonde Redhead – Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons (June 6)
  • Vinicio Capossela – Canzoni a manovella (June 9)(ITALIA)
  • Coldplay – Parachutes (July 10)
  • Roy Montgomery – The Allegory of Hearing (August 29)
  • Acid Mothers Temple – La Nòvia (October)

« Best albums of 1999
» Best albums of 2001

Feb 122016
 

Release date order:

  1. Fleshtones – Roman Gods (January 7)
  2. XTC – English Settlement (February 12)
  3. Lou Reed – The Blue Mask (February 23)
  4. The Cure – Pornography (May 4)
  5. Birthday Party – Junkyard (May 10)
  6. Cocteau Twins – Garlands (June)
  7. Wall Of Voodoo – Call Of The West (August 17)
  8. Peter Gabriel – Peter Gabriel IV [Security] (September 6)
  9. The Dream Syndicate – Days Of Wine And Roses (October 28)
  10. Dead Kennedys – Plastic Surgery Disasters (November)

Others:

  • Discharge – Hear Nothing See Nothing Say Nothing (May 21)
  • Bruce Springsteen – Nebraska (September 30)
  • The Tony Rice Unit – Backwaters (?)(FOLK)

« Best albums of 1981
» Best albums of 1983

Feb 092016
 

Release date order:

  1. Bob Dylan – Desire (January 5)
  2. Klaus Schulze – Moondawn (April 16)(ELECTRONIC)
  3. Ramones – Ramones (April 23)
  4. Flamin’ Groovies – Shake Some Action (June)
  5. Frank Zappa – Zoot Allures (October 20)
  6. Patti Smith – Radio Ethiopia (October)
  7. Joni Mitchell – Hejira (November)
  8. Jackson Browne – Pretender (November)
  9. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygene (December 5)(ELECTRONIC)
  10. Popol Vuh – Letzte Tage Letzte Naechte (?)

Others:

  • The Modern Lovers – The Modern Lovers (August)
  • Emmylou Harris – Luxury Liner (December 28)(FOLK)
  • Norman Blake – Whiskey Before Breakfast (?)(FOLK)

« Best albums of 1975
» Best albums of 1977

Feb 082016
 

Release date order:

  1. Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks (January 20)
  2. Neil Young – Tonight’s The Night (June 20)
  3. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (September 12)
  4. Brian Eno – Another Green World (September)
  5. Kraftwerk – Radio-Activity (October)(ELECTRONIC)
  6. Neil Young – Zuma (November 10)
  7. Patti Smith – Horses (December 13)
  8. Magma – Magma Live (?)(FRANCE)
  9. Neu! – Neu! 75 (?)
  10. Popol Vuh – Das Hohelied Salomos (?)

Others:

  • Francesco De Gregori – Rimmel (January)(ITALIA)
  • Old and in the Way – Old and in the Way (February)(FOLK)
  • Frank Zappa – One Size Fits All (June 25)
  • Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run (August 25)
  • Klaus Schulze – Timewind (August)

« Best albums of 1974
» Best albums of 1976

Feb 072016
 

Release date order:

  1. Peter Hammill – The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage (February 8)
  2. Big Star – Radio City (February)
  3. Henry Cow – Unrest (May)
  4. Neil Young – On The Beach (July 16)
  5. Robert Wyatt – Rock Bottom (July 26)
  6. Jackson Browne – Late For The Sky (September 13)
  7. King Crimson – Red (October 6)
  8. Gong – You (October)
  9. Kraftwerk – Autobahn (November 1)(ELECTRONIC)
  10. Popol Vuh – Einsjaeger & Siebenjaeger (?)

Others:

  • Tangerine Dream – Phaedra (February 20)(ELECTRONIC)
  • Lou Reed – Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal (February)
  • King Crimson – Starless and Bible Black (March 29)
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – Second Helping (April 15)
  • Brian Eno – Taking Tiger Mountain [By Strategy] (November)
  • Genesis – The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (November 18)
  • Norman Blake – Fields of November (?)(FOLK)

Released posthumously:

  • John Coltrane – Interstellar Space (September; recorded: February 22, 1967)(JAZZ)

« Best albums of 1973
» Best albums of 1975