Anyone who took the time to view Spools Paradise over the last couple of years will have noticed that I have not posted anything since Feb 27th. This is neither the time or place to bore everyone with the reasons for my absence. All I will say is that my life has changed beyond all recognition due to the break up of my marriage and that I have not really had the motivation to post anything since February.
However a very dear friend persuaded me the other night to do a Best Of 2012 posting. I have probably listened to less music this year than any other year in the last 30 odd years but there have been some absolute gems that have excited me in 2012.
More so than any other year recently I have found myself reverting to the safety net of familiarity so the role call this year of my faves mostly comprises artists that I have listened to over the years who have produced some of the best work of 2012...
Dexys returned with Mick Talbot on board and produced one of the most rousing and soulful albums of the year. Most people I know either love or hate Dylan. I personally fall into the former and this year he released his 35th album and somehow managed to compress a century worth of American music into an hour or so. Patti Smith returned with Banga , an album full of honesty, optimism and that eternally stunning voice that was one of the year's delights. Weller continues to experiment, Paul Buchanan released his first solo album of contemporary late night piano ballads and Springsteen released the unofficial follow up to Born In The USA in the wonderful Wrecking Ball. As far as new albums go my fave has been Boys and Girls from Alabama Shakes. Voice of the year must go to Britany Howard. There's nothing formulaic going on on Boys & Girls despite its lack of originality. It may not be the most original album released this year with hints of Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Otis Redding, The Stones, Creedence and many others throughout but it is still a stunning, raw, emotive debut. I saw them live a few weeks back at The Barras and they were even better live where the songs really came to life and Brittany could really let rip and showcase that voice to full effect.