Monday, December 26, 2022

The Movies, Books, Theater, Concerts, CDs I've Seen/Read/Heard So Far In 2022

Updated as of  December 31, 2022 


KEY: star rating is on the four star scale
          meaning of "/" or "\"
          *** is three stars out of four
          ***/ is three stars leaning towards  3 1/2
          ***\ is three stars leaning towards 2 1/2


BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS
(Increasingly, I am sampling books, reading 10%, 20% even 40 or 50% before deciding to move on. The books below are only the ones I've read completely. That also explains what looks like generous grading -- more and more, if I sense a book is not going to be among my favorites, I stop reading. Too many books; too little time!)


1. A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley #1) by Elizabeth George *** 
2. The Method: How The Twentieth Century Learned To Act by Isaac Butler *** 1/2 
3. The Tiger In The Smoke  by Margery Allingham *** 1/2 
4. I Was Better Last Night by Harvey Fierstein *** 
5. The Monkey's Raincoat by Robert Crais *** 
6. Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris *** 
7. Still Alright by Kenny Loggins ** 
8. The Covenant by James Michener *** 1/2 
9. The Johnstown Flood by David McCullough (read by Edward Herrmann) *** 1/2 /
10. The Steam Pig by James McClure *** 1/2 
11. Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees *** 1/2 
12. Them by Joyce Carol Oates *** 
13. Black Water by Joyce Carol Oates *** 
14. Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates *** 1/2 
15. Babysitter by Joyce Carol Oates *** 
16. The Extraordinary Life Of An Ordinary Man by Paul Newman ** 1/2 
17. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler **** 
18. Growing Up by Russell Baker **** 
19. All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque **** 
20. Walt & Skeezix aka Gasoline Alley: The Complete Daily Strips 1927-1928 by Frank King ** 1/2 
21. Pogo: The Complete Syndicated Comic Strips Volume 5 -- Out Of This World At Home by Walt Kelly ****  
22.  Jock of the Bushveld by J. Percy Fitzpatrick (1907) *** (casually racist) 
23. The Scramble For Africa by Thomas Pakenham *** 1/2 
24. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane *** 




CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS CDS (A strong emphasis on the ones I like, so don't think I love everything I listen to -- I just don't bother really listening to the ones I don't )


1. Cat Stevens -- Harold & Maude soundtrack ** 1/2 
2. The Cactus Blossoms -- One Day ** 1/2 
3. Judy Garland -- The Letter (1959) * 
4. Elvis Costello -- The Boy Named If ***/ 
5. Studio Electrophonique -- Happier Things ** 
6. Punch Brothers -- Hell On Church Street ** 1/2 
7. Frank Turner -- FTHC *** 
8. Fleetwood Mac -- Rumours *** 1/2 
9. Del McCoury Band -- Almost Proud ** 1/2 
10. Natalie Cole -- Unforgettable...With Love ** 1/2 
11. Aoife Donovan -- Age of Apathy ** 1/2 
12. Judy Collins -- Spellbound ***/ 
13. Keb Mo -- Good To Be... ** 
14. Spoon -- Lucifer On The Sofa ** 
15. North Mississippi Allstars -- Set Sail ** 
16. Dhruv -- Rapunzel ** 1/2 
17. Janis Ian -- The Light At The End Of The Line ** 
18. Various Artists -- Ocean Child: The Songs Of Yoko Ono *** 
19. Bastille -- Give Me The Future ** 1/2 
20. Various Artists -- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season Four soundtrack ***  
21. Irma Thomas -- Wish Someone Would Care (1964) *** 1/2 
22. John Mellencamp -- Strictly A One-Eyed Jack ** 1/2 
23. Toots and the Maytals -- Sweet and Dandy (1969) *** 
24. Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg -- Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg ** 
25. Gal Costa -- Gal aka Cinema Olympia (1969) *** 
26. Don McLean -- Christmastime! The Complete Collection * 
27. Phil Ochs -- I Ain't Marching Anymore * 1/2 
28. Dolly Parton -- Run, Rose Run ** 
29. Pentangle -- The Pentangle (1968) *** 
30. Judy Garland -- Miss Show Business (1955) ** 1/2 
31. John Luther Adams -- Become River (2020) *** 1/2 
32. Bryan Adams -- So Happy It Hurts ** 1/2 
33. Gilberto Gil -- Gilberto Gil (1971) ***/ 
34. Michael Feinstein -- Gershwin Country ** 
35. Milton Nascimento -- Courage ** 1/2 
36. John Luther Adams -- Lines Made By Walking (2020) *** 
37. Dave Van Ronk -- Folksinger (1962) ** 
38. Françoise Hardy -- Comment te dire adieu *** 
39. Cecile McLorlin Salvant -- Ghost Song ***/ 
40. The Monks -- Black Monk Time (1966) *** 
41. Koobas -- The Koobas (1969) *** 
42. Novos Baianos -- Acabou Chorare (1972) **** 
43. Micky Dolenz -- Dolenz Sings Nesmith EP (2022) *** 
44. Eddie Harris -- The In Sound (1965) *** 1/2 
45. John Moreland -- LP5 (2020) *** 
46. Joan Jett -- Changeup ** 1/2 
47. Patty Waters -- Sings (2009) ** 1/2 
48. Michael Buble -- Higher ** 
49. Kenny Loggins -- Leap of Faith (1991) ***/ 
50. Utopia/Todd Rundgren -- Oops! Wrong Planet (1977) *** 1/2 
51. Utopia/Todd Rundgren -- Adventures in Utopia (1980) ***/ 
52. Daniela Cotton -- Good Day ** 1/2 
53. Loggins & Messina -- Sittin' In aka Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In (1972) *** 
54. Colin Hay -- Now And The Evermore *** 1/2 
55. Kenny Loggins -- Return To Pooh Corner (1994) **
56. Loggins & Messsina -- Loggins & Messina (1972) *** 
57. Kenny Loggins -- December (1998) ** 1/2 
58. Kenny Loggins -- More Songs From Pooh Corner (2000) ** 1/2 
59. Loggins & Messsina -- Full Sail (1973) ** 
60. Poco -- Pickin' Up The Pieces (1969) *** 
61. Little Freddie King -- Goin' Upstairs *** 
62. Jon Cleary -- So Swell *** 
63. Barbra Streisand -- Release Me 2 * 
64. Melody Gardot -- Sunset In The Blue ** 1/2 
74. Karen Dalton -- In My Own Time ** 1/2 
75. Lady Blackbird -- Black Acid Soul *** 1/2 
76. Sonny Red -- Out Of The Blue (1960) *** 1/2 
77. Margo Timmins -- The Ty Tyrfu Sessions (2021) *** 1/2 
78. Kenny Loggins -- Keep The Fire (1979) ** 1/2 
79. Kenny Loggins -- Nightwatch (1978) ***
80. Kenny Loggins -- High Adventure (1982) ***
81. Kenny Loggins -- Vox Humana (1983) * 
82. Loggins & Messina -- On Stage (1974) ***
83. Charles Mingus -- Mingus Three (1957) ** 1/2 
84. Horace Andy -- Midnight Rocker *** 
85. Jason Aldean -- Georgia ***\ 
86. Kiki Dee -- The Long Ride Home ** 
87. Joshua Hadley -- Neon Blue ** 1/2 
88. Miles Davis -- In A Silent Way (1969) **** 
89. Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder -- Get On Board ***\ 
90. Brad Mehldau -- Jacob's Ladder ** 1/2 
91. Maren Morris -- Humble Quest ***/ 
92. Chanticleer -- Chanticleer Sings Christmas (2020) *** 
93. The Saints -- (I'm) Stranded (1977) *** 1/2 
94. Daryl Hall -- Before After *** 
95. Rumer -- B Sides & Rarities Vol. 2 *** 
96. Judy Garland -- That's Entertainment! (1960) ** 
97. George Winston -- Night ** 
98. Willie Nelson -- A Beautiful Time *** 
99. Miranda Lambert -- Palomino ***/ 
100. Grant Green -- Idle Moments (1965) **** 
101. John Luther Adams -- Arctic Dreams (2021) ** 1//2 
102. Wet Leg -- Wet Leg *** 1/2 
103. Tord Gustavsen Trio -- Opening ** 1/2 
104. Trombone Shorty -- Lifted ** 1/2 
105. Midlake -- For The Sake Of Bethel Woods *** 
106. Lyle Lovett -- 12th Of June ** 1/2 
107. Brennen Leigh w Asleep At The Wheel -- Obsessed With The West ** 
108. Kevin Morby -- This Is A Photograph ** / 
109. The Waterboys -- All Souls Hill *** 
110. Big Thief -- Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You ** 
111. The Beach Boys -- Pet Sounds **** 
112. John Scofield -- John Scofield ** 
113. Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever -- Endless Rooms ** 
114. Altameda -- Born Losers *** 1/2 
115. Ella Fitzgerald -- Easy Living (w Joe Pass) (1986) *** 1/2 
116. Eslabón Armado -- Nostalgia *** 1/2 
117. Irma Thomas -- Take A Look (1966) **** 
118. Irma Thomas -- In Between Tears (1973) *** 1/2 
119. Harry Styles -- Harry's House *** 1/2 
120. The Lickerish Quartet -- Threesome (3 eps over two years) *** 1/2 
121. Melody Gardot -- Entre eux deux (w Philippe Powell) ** 1/2 
122. Mavis Staples -- Carry Me Home (live album w Levon Helm) *** 
123. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band -- Dirt Does Dylan ** 1/2 
124. Binker & Moses -- Feeding The Machine *** 1/2 
125. Son House -- Forever On My Mind ** 1/2 
126. Freddie Hubbard -- Ready For Freddie (1961) *** 1/2 
127. Ray Wylie Hubbard -- Co-Starring Too ** 
128. Various Artists -- A New Orleans Christmas (1997) ** 1/2 
129. Oumou Sangaré -- Timbuktu ***/ 
130. Alec Benjamin -- (Un)Commentary ***/ 
131. Steve Earle -- Jerry Jeff *** 
132. Wilco -- Cruel Country ** 1/2 
133. Terry Riley -- In "C" (1968) **** 
134. Kenny Loggins -- The Essential Kenny Loggins (2002) *** 1/2 
135. Kenny Loggins -- Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow (1997) *** 1/2 
136. Erroll Garner -- Concert By The Sea (1955) *** 1/2 
137. Rosalía -- Motomami ** 1/2 
138. Arcade Fire -- We *** 
139. Frank Sinatra -- Watertown (1970) ** 
140. Chic -- Real People (1980) ** 
141. Tomberlin -- I Don't Know Who Needs To Hear This **/ 
142. Judy Garland -- Alone (1957) **** 
143. Charlie XCX -- Crash ** 1/2 
144. Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers with Thelonius Monk (1958) *** 1/2 
145. The Wild Tchoupitoulas -- The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976) *** 
146. Let's Eat Grandma -- Two Ribbons ** 
147. Randall King -- Shot Glass ** 
148. Irma Thomas -- The Story Of My Life (1997) ** 
149. Mary Gauthier -- Dark Enough To See The Stars ** 1/2 
150. The Linda Lindas -- Growing Up ** 
151. Carrie Underwood -- Denim and Rhinestones * 1/2 
152. Kate Bush -- 50 Words For Snow ***/ 
153. Elvis Presley -- His Hand In Mine (1960) **** 
154. Rufus Wainwright -- Rufus Does Judy At Capitol ** 
155. Odetta -- Odetta Sings Dylan (1965) ** 1/2 
156. Elvis Costello -- The Resurrection of Rust (w Rusty) ***/ 
157. Amber Mark -- Three Dimensions Deep ***\ 
158. The Everly Brothers -- Hey Doll Baby (WB compilation) ***/ 
159. Paul Winter Consort -- Concert in The Park ** 
160. Lucky Daye -- Candydrip ** 1/2 
161. Ibibio Sound Machine -- Electricity ** 1/2 
162. Elvis Presley -- Peace in The Valley ep (1957) *** 
163. Elvis Presley -- How Great Thou Art (1967) *** 
164. Elvis Presley -- He Touched Me (1972) ** 1/2 
165. Drake -- Honestly, Nevermind *** 
166. Puseletso Seema -- Mofata Seliba No. 3 (2000) ***/ 
167. Angel Olsen -- Big Time ** 1/2 
168. Jack White -- Fear Of The Dawn ** 
169. Irma Thomas -- Live! At New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 1976 *** (great perf; mic a mile) 
170. Michael McDermott -- St. Paul's Boulevard ** 1/2 
171. Ralfi Pagan -- With Love (Spanish Version) (1972) ** 1/2 
172. Waylon Jennings -- Honky Tonk Heroes (1973) ** 1/2 
173. Bad Bunny -- Un Verano Sin Ti *** 1/2 
174. Regina Spektor -- Home, Before And After ** 1/2 ("What Might Have Been" a keeper) 
175. Jackie McLean -- Bluesnik (1962) **** 
176. Fantastic Negrito -- White Jesus Black Problems ** 
177. Leyla McCalla -- Breaking The Thermometer ** 1/2 
178. The "5" Royales -- Monkey Hips and Rice *** 
179. Ella Fitzgerald -- Live At The Hollywood Bowl: The Irving Berlin Songbook *** 1/2 
180. Miles Davis -- Miles Ahead (1969) *** 1/2 
181. Ethel Cain -- Preacher's Daughter ** 
182. Miles Davis -- Milestones **** 
183. Charles Mingus -- The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (1963) **** 
184. Puseletso Seema -- Mofata Seliba No. 4 (2002) ***/ 
185. 49 Winchester -- Fortune Favors The Bold ** 
186. Kathryn Joseph -- For You Who Are The Wronged ** 
187. Sault -- Air ***/ 
188. M. Field -- Re M. Field ** 1/2 
189. Orville Peck -- Bronco ** 1/2 
190. Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart -- Dolenz, Jones, Boyce & Hart (1976) ** 1/2 
191. Kendrick Lamar -- Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers *** 
192. She & Him -- Melt Away: A Tribute To Brian Wilson *** 1/2 
193. Neil Young -- Toast ** 1/2 
194. Stanley Turrentine -- Jubilee Shout! (1962) **** 
195. Duke Ellington & John Coltrane -- Duke Ellington & John Coltrane (1963) ***/ 
196. R.E.M. -- Chronic Town ep **** 
197. John Moreland -- Birds In The Ceiling ** 
198. Josh Rouse -- Going Places ** 1/2 
199. Duncan Sheik -- Claptrap *** 1/2  
200. John Luther Adams -- Houses Of The Wind ** 1/2 
201. Jim Lauderdale -- Game Changer ** 
202. Clark Terry -- Color Changes (1961) *** 
203. Booker Ervin -- That's It! (1961) *** 1/2 
204. Charley Pride -- Charley Pride's 10th Album (1970) ** 1/2 
205. Connie Smith -- Connie Smith (1965) *** 1/2 
206. Omar Apollo -- Ivory *** 
207. Guy Clark -- Old No. 1 (1975) *** 
208. Reba McEntire -- Rumor Has It (1990) ** 1/2 
209. Willie Nelson -- Phases and Stages (1974) ** 1/2 
210. Flatt & Scruggs -- Foggy Mountain Jamboree (1957) **** 
211. Sebastian Yatra -- Dharma ***\ 
212. George Formby Jr. -- The Best Of George Formby  ** 1/2 ("Leaning On A Lampost") 
213. Clint Black -- Killin' Time (1989) ***/ 
214. Julian Lennon -- Jude ** 
215. Panic! At The Disco -- Viva Las Vengeance ***/ 
216. Amanda Shires -- Take It Like A Man ** 1/2 
217. Sammi Smith -- He's Everywhere aka Help Me Make It Through The Night (1970) **** 
218. Ryan Adams -- FM ***/ 
219. Tom T. Hall -- In Search Of A Song (1971) ***/ 
220. Michelle Branch -- The Trouble With Fever ** 
221. Freddy Fender -- Before The Next Teardrop Falls (1975) *** 
222. Creedence Clearwater Revival -- At The Royal Albert Hall April 14 1970 *** 
223. Jerry Lee Lewis -- Another Place, Another Time (1968) **** 
224. Marina Allen -- Centrifics ** 1/2 (song "New Song Rising" a keeper) 
225. Marcus Mumford -- Marcus Mumford ** 1/2 
226. Joe Bataan -- St. Latin's Day Massacre (1971) *** 
227. Rolling Stones -- Live At The El Mocambo (1977/2022) *** 1/2 
228. The Stovall Sisters -- The Stovall Sisters ** 1/2 
229. Sharon Van Etten -- We've Been Going About This All Wrong ** 
230. The Tallest Man On Earth -- Too Late For Edelweiss ** 1/2 
231. Hank Williams -- Moanin' The Blues (1952) **** 
232. Freedy Johnston -- Back On The Road To You ** 
233. Marty Robbins -- Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (1959) **** 
234. John Legend -- Legend ** 1/2 
235. Loudon Wainwright -- Lifetime Achievement *** 
236. Hank Williams -- Memorial Album (1953) **** 
237. Fleet Foxes -- A Very Lonely Solstice (2021) *** 1/2 
238. Jessi Colter -- I'm Jessi Colter (1975) ** 1/2 
239. Fonseca -- Viajente ** 1/2 
240. Buck Owens and His Buckaroos -- Carnegie Hall Concert (1966) ** 1/2 
241. Kenny Dorham -- Quiet Kenny (1960) ** 1/2 
242. Darden Smith -- Western Skies ** 1/2 
243. Buddy Guy -- The Blues Don't Lie ** 1/2 
244. Leon Bibb -- Foment, Ferment, Free...Free (1969) ** 
245. Elsa y Elmar -- Ya No Somos Los Mismos ** 1/2 
246. Marlon Williams -- My Boy ** 1/2 
247. Richard Marx -- Songwriter ** 
248. Joss Stone -- Merry Christmas, Love * 
249. The Psychedelic Furs -- The Psychedelic Furs (1979) ** 
250. The Psychedelic Furs -- Forever Now (1982) ** 1/2 
251. Meschiya Lake -- Lookin' The World Over ** 
252. Jack White -- Entering Heaven Alive ** 1/2 
253. Puseletso Seema -- Mofata Seliba No. 5 (2000) ***/ 
254. Johnny Adams -- Sings Doc Pomus (1991) *** 1/2 
255. Celia Cruz -- Etc. Etc. Etc. (1970) **** 
256. Garth Brooks -- No Fences * 1/2 
257. Charlie Puth -- Charlie ** 1/2 
258. Vince Gill -- When Love Finds You (1994) ** 
259. Willie Colon and Ruben Bladés -- Siembra (1978) *** 1/2 
260. Marty Robbins -- More Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs (1960) *** 1/2 
261. The Heavy Heavy -- Life and Life Only *** 
262. Caroline Shaw and Attacca Quartet -- Evergreen *** 
263. Johnny Paycheck -- Take This Job And Shove It (1977) ** 
264. Pink Floyd -- Animals (1977) ***\ 
265. Bjork -- Fossorra ** 1/2 
266. Johnny Adams -- Walking On A Tightrope: The Songs Of Percy Mayfield (1989) *** 1/2 
267. Jorge Drexler -- Tinta Y Tiempo ***/ 
268. Martha Spencer -- Wonderland ** 1/2 
269. Cowboy Junkies -- Sharon *** 
270. Various Artists -- Here It Is: A Tribute To Leonard Cohen ** 1/2 
271. Leonard Cohen -- Hallelujah & Songs From His Albums *** 
272. The Fermweh-- Torschlusspanik ** 1/2 
273. Joni Mitchell -- For The Roses (1972) *** 1/2  
274. Joni Mitchell -- Court And Spark (1974) **** 
275. Joni Mitchell -- Miles Of Aisles (1974) *** 
276. Joni Mitchell -- The Hissing Of Summer Lawns (1975) *** 1/2 
277. Chris Isaak -- Everybody Knows It's Christmas *** 
278. Puseletso Seema -- Mofata Seliba No. 6 *** 
279. Loretta Lynn -- Country Christmas (1966) ** 
280. Charlie Rich -- Behind Closed Doors (19973) ** 
281. Marty Robbins -- Christmas With Marty Robbins (1969) ** 
282. The Beths -- Experts In A Dying Field *** 
283. Marvin Gaye -- That's The Way Love Is (1970) *** 1/2 
284. Bailey Zimmerman -- Leave The Light On ** 1/2 
285. Hank Snow -- The Essential Hank Snow (1999) **** 
286. Black Midi -- Hellfire ** 
287. Simple Minds -- Direction of The Heart ** 
288. John Luther Adams -- Sila: The Breath Of The World *** 
289. The Beatles -- Revolver (2022 Mono) **** 
290. The Beatles -- Revolver (2022 Stereo Mix) **** 
291. The Beatles -- Revolver Super Deluxe Boxed Set w extras (1966/2022) **** 
292. Lizzo -- Special ***\ 
293. Brian Eno -- Foreverandevernomore ** 1/2 
294. Johnny Adams -- Christmas In New Orleans (1994?) ** 
295. Laurie Berkner -- Another Laurie Berkner Christmas ** 
296. Joey Alexander -- A Joey Alexander Christmas ** 
297. Louis Armstrong -- Louie Wishes You A Cool Yule (2022) *** 
298. Todd Rundgren -- Space Force *** 
299. Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler -- For All The Days That Tear Our Heart ** 
300. Mahler/conductor Gustavo Dudamel -- Mahler Symphony No. 5 ** 1/2 
301. Stevie Wonder -- Talking Book (1972) *** 1/2 
302. Backstreet Boys -- A Very Backstreet Christmas * 
303. George Strait -- Strait From The Heart (1982) ** 1/2 
304. Gloria Scott -- What Am I Gonna Do? (1974) ** 1/2 
305. Tim Bernardes -- Mil Coisas Invisívies ** 1/2 
306. Terry Allen -- Lubbock (on everything) (1979) *** 
307. Brian Harnetty/Thomas Merton -- Words and Silences ** 1/2 
308. Dr. John -- Things Happen That Way *** 1/2 
309. Jose Feliciano -- Love & Christmas ** 
310. The Movers -- Vol. 1: 1970-1976 (2022) *** 1/2 / 
311. Barbra Streisand -- Live At The Bon Soir (1962/2022) **** 
312. Gyedu-Blay Ambolley -- And Hi-Life Jazz ** 1/2 
313. Harry Belafonte -- Calypso (1956) *** 
314. Loretta Lynn -- The Definitive Collection (2005) *** 1/2 
315. Irma Thomas -- The Soul Queen Of New Orleans 50th Anniversary Celebration (2009) *** 1/2 
316. Daryl Hall & John Oates -- Do It For Love (2003) *** 1/2 
317. Various Artists -- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Music From And Inspired By *** 1/2 
318. Lee Fields -- Sentimental Fool *** 
319. Brandi Carlile -- In These Silent Days (In The Canyon Haze Edition) *** 1/2 
320. Lone Bellow -- Love Songs For Losers ***/ 
321. Merle Haggard -- Serving 190 Proof (1979) *** 1/2 
322. Beth Orton -- Weather Alive ** 1/2 
323. Johnny Adams -- The Verdict (1995) **** 
324. John Mellencamp -- Scarecrow *** / 
325. Reba McEntire -- The Ultimate Christmas Collection (2022) ** 
326. A-Ha -- True North ** 1/2 
327. Chris Byars -- Rhythm And Blues Of The 20s ** 
328. Jake Blount -- The New Faith ** 
329. Morris Day -- Last Call ** 
330. Ramsey Lewis -- The Beatles Songbook (poor audio) ** 
331. Sloan -- Steady ** 1/2 
332. Sasha Berliner -- Onyx ** 
333. Peter Rowan -- Calling You From My Mountain *** 
334. Steve Lacy -- Gemini Rights *** 1/2 
335. Victoria Clark -- December Songs For Voice And Orchestra ** 
336. Sean Thompson's Weird Ears -- Weird Ears ** 
337. Neil Diamond -- A Neil Diamond Christmas ** 
338. Sam Smith -- The Holly And The Ivy ** 1/2 
339. Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin -- Ali *** 
340. Vieux Farka Touré  -- Les Racines ** 1/2 
341. Puseletso Seema -- No. 10 *** 
342. Harry Belafonte -- To Wish You A Merry Christmas (1958) *** 
343. Loretta Lynn -- White Christmas Blues (2016) ** 1/2 
344. Joe Liggins -- Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers (1990 comp on Specialty) ** 1/2 
345. The Movers -- The Movers (1970) *** 1/2 
346. Nelson -- A Nelson Family Christmas ** 
347. Roy Milton -- Roy Milton and His Solid Senders (1992 comp) *** 1/2 
348. Toledo -- How It Ends ** 1/2 
349. Kirsten Lambert -- From A Window To A Screen ** 
350. Shania Twain-- Come On Over (1997) ** 1/2 
351. Gary Stewart -- Out Of Hand (1975) ** 1/2 
352. Taylor Swift -- Midnights ** 1/2 
353. Harry Belafonte -- At Carnegie Hall 1959 *** 1/2 
354. Oliver Sim -- Hideous Bastard ** 
355. Waylon Jennings -- Dreaming My Dreams (1975) *** 1/2 
356. Samara Joy -- Linger Awhile *** 
357. Neil Young -- World Record * 1/2 
358. Esther Phillips -- The Country Side Of Esther Phillips ((19966) ** 1/2 
359. Loretta Lynn -- Coal Miner's Daughter (1971) *** 1/2 
360. Christine McVie -- Songbird (A Solo Collection) ** 
361. Leona Lewis -- Christmas With Love, Always * 1/2 
362. Amos Lee -- My Ideal (tribute to Chet Baker Sings) ** 
363. Kacey Musgraves -- A Very Kacey Christmas *** 
364. Gintis -- Hope Is All We Have ** 1/2 
365. Malo -- Malo (1972) ** (but "Suavecito") 
366. Kenny Roby -- Kenny Roby ** 
367. Weyes Blood -- And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow *** 1/2 
368. Makaya McCraven -- In These Times ** 1/2 
369. Interpol -- The Other Side Of Make-Believe ** 1/2 
370. Noori & His Dorpa Band -- Beja Power! Electric Soul & Brass From Sudan's Red Sea Coast *** 1/2 
371. Silvana Estrada -- Marchita *** 1/2 
372. Allen Toussaint & Friends -- A New Orleans Christmas (1997) ** 1/2 
373. Zach Bryan -- Summertime Blues * 1/2 
374. Stefan Smith -- Thlostones ** 1/2 
375. Cheap Trick -- Cheap Trick (1977) ** 1/2 
376. Various Artists -- Rise Jamaica! Jamaican Independence Special ** 1/2 
377. Paul Kelly -- Paul Kelly's Christmas Train (2021) ** 
378. Enrico Rava and Fred Hersch -- The Song Is You *** 
379. Sessa -- Estrela Acesa *** 
380. Sault -- Aiir ***/ (symphonic) 
381. Eric Chenaux -- Say Laura ** 
382. Ari Lennox -- Age/Sex/Location ** 1/2 
383. Maya Hawke -- Moss ** 1/2 
384. Thee Sacred Souls -- Thee Sacred Souls *** 
385. Horsegirl -- Versions of Modern Performances ** 
386. Gogol Bordello -- Solidaritine *** 1/2 
387. Tim Burgess -- Typical Music ** 
388. Meghan Trainor -- Takin' It Back ***/ 
389. Fred Again -- Actual Life 3 ** 1/2 
390. Davis Causey & Jay Smith -- Pickin' On Christmas ** 
391. M.J. Lenderman -- Boat Songs ** 
392. S.G. Goodman -- Teeth Marks ** 1/2 
393. Jimmy Cliff -- Refugees ** 1/2 
394. Julia Bullock -- Walking In The Dark ***/ 
395. Alvvays -- Blue Rev *** 
396. Anitta -- Versions Of Me ** 
397. Sault -- 11 *** 
398. Sault -- (Untitled) God ** 1/2 
399. iLe -- Nacarile *** 1/2 
400. Johnny Adams -- Room With A View Of The Blues (1988) *** 1/2 
401. Frank Sinatra -- September Of My Years **** 
402. Brockhampton -- The Family ** 1/2 
403. Shannon Moser -- The Sun Still Seems To Shine ** 
404. The Isley Brothers -- This Old Heart Of Mine (1966) *** 
405. Peter Green -- In The Skies (1979) *** 1/2 
406. Linda Ronstadt -- A Merry Little Christmas *** (pop side *** and religious side ****) 
407. Charlie Crockett -- The Man From Waco ** 
408. Caroline -- Caroline ** 
409. Nancy Mounir -- Nozhet El Nofous ** 1/2 
410. Nilüfer Yanya -- Painless ** 1/2 
411. Sudan Archives -- Natural Born Prom Queen ** 
412. Sault -- Earth ** 
413. Bones -- 2MillionBlunts ** 1/2 
414. Camilo -- De Adentro Pa Afuera *** \ 
415. SZA -- SOS ** 1/2 
416. Charles Lloyd -- Trio: Chapel (Live) *** 
417. Ryan Adams -- Romeo & Juliet ** 1/2 
418. J-Hope -- Jack In The Box * 1/2 
419. Tetel Di Babuya -- Meet Tetel * 1/2 
420. Redman Mehldau McBride Blade -- LongGone *** 
421. Ian Noe -- River Fools and Mountain Saints *** 1/2 
422. Tommy McLain -- I Ran Down Every Dream *** 1/2 
423. Charlie Gabriel and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band -- 89 *** 1/2 
424. Father John Misty -- Chloë and the Next 20th Century *** 
425. Various Artists -- High In The Morning: British Progressive Pop Sounds Of 1973 ** 
426. Adrian Quesada -- Boleros Psicodelicos ***/ 
427. King Princess -- Hold On Baby ** 1/2 
428. Various Artists -- Gotta Get A Good Thing Goin': Black Music In Britain In The Sixties *** 1/2 
429. Parker Gispert -- Golden Years ** 1/2 
430. Gabe Lee -- The Hometown Kid *** 
431. Benjamin Lackner -- Last Decade *** 1/2 
432. Juan Ortiz Hiroshi Takase Gene Jackson -- Better Days *** 1/2 
433. Various Artists -- Before The Day Is Done: The Story Of Folk Heritage Records 1968-1975 ** 1/2 
434. Joel Ross -- The Parable of the Poet *** 1/2 
435. Asake -- Mr. Money With The Vibe *** 
436. Noah Cyrus -- The Hardest Part ** 1/2 
437. Vigüela -- A La Manera Artesana *** 1/2 
438. Madonna -- Finally Enough Love: 50 Number Ones *** / 
439. Renée Fleming -- Voice Of Nature: The Anthropocene *** 1/2 
440. 1975 -- Being Funny In A Foreign Language *** 
441. Jóhann Jóhannsson -- Drone Mass *** 1/2 
442. Alexandre Desplat -- Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio *** (better in context, charming songs) 
443. Yahritza Y Su Esencia -- Obsessed *** 
444. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard -- Backhand Deals *** 1/2 
445. Lou Reed -- Words And Music, May 1965 *** 
446. Tchotchke -- Tchotchke *** 1/2 
447. Tears For Fears -- The Tipping Point ** 1/2 
448. 


MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES TV MOVIES 

(Not TV movies, of course, but movies and TV shows -- and TV movies if it comes to that. Mostly I only list TV shows when I've tackled an entire season at once or reappraising an entire series after it's over This doesn't really capture my ongoing watching of current TV.)


1. Downstairs (1932) ** 
2.  The River (1951) ** 1/2 
3. Jazz Fest: A New Orleans Story ** 1/2 
4. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart? (2020) *** 1/2 
5. Everything Everywhere All At Once *** 1/2 
6. Doctor Strange in The Multiverse Of Madness ** 
7. Petite Maman *** 1/2 
8. Downton Abbey: A New Era ** 1/2 
9. Pleasure *** 1/2 
10. Top Gun: Maverick ** 
11. Heartstopper S1 *** 
12. Sherlock Jr. (1924) **** 
13. Absence Of Malice (1981) ** 1/2 
14. The Last Movie Stars (doc on Newman/Woodward) *** 1/2 
15. Buster Keaton -- The Railrodder (1965) ** 
16. The Woman King (at drive-in) ** 1/2 
17. Derry Girls S3 *** (but solid and good ending) 
18. The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power S1 ** 1/2 
19. Anne Of Green Gables (1934) ** 1/2 
20. Tár ** 1/2 (Nina Hoss v good as wife) 
21. Häxan aka The Witches (1922 Swedish film, saw 1968 edited version w live score) ** 1/2 
22. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever ** 1/2 
23. The Banshees Of Inisherin ***  (Kerry Condon, Barry Keoghan) 
24. Pilgrims (screening of Lithuanian Oscar hopeful) *** 1/2 
25. Apples (Greek drama) *** 1/2 
26. Wendell & Wild ** 1/2 
27. Andor Season One **** 
28. The Menu * 
29. Nope ** 1/2 
30. The Fabelmans ** / 
31. Bones And All ** 1/2 
32. Rothaniel: Jerrod Carmichael *** (great editing)
33. Blank Narcissus (2022 short spoof on Pink Narcissus) ** 1/2 
34. Good Night, Oppy ** 1/2 
35. The Territory *** 1/2 
36. Turning Red *** 1/2 
37. Avatar: The Way Of Water * 1/2 
38. Funny Pages ** 
39. Emily The Criminal *** 1/2 
40. Louis Armstrong's Black & Blues ** 1/2 
41. Benediction ** 
42. Decision To Leave *** 
43. Great Freedom *** 1/2 
44. Apollo 10 1/2 *** 
45. Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio *** 1/2 
46. The U.S. And The Holocaust *** 1/2 
47. Happening *** 1/2 
48. Vengeance ** 
49. Mr. Bachmann and His Class ****  
50. All Quiet On The Western Front (2022) * 1/2 
51. Women Talking *** 
52. Fire Of Love *** 1/2 


THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS THEATER CONCERTS
(The names after the shows are the people who joined me at the performance.)


1. Retrospectrum -- Bob Dylan exhibit of artwork at Frost Museum in Miami at FIU *** 

After two and a half years! After 29 months to be exact, I'm attending live theater for the first time since March of 2020! Hallelujah! 

2. 101 Dalmatians (at Regents Park Open Air) * 1/2 
3. Jack Absolute Flies Again! (At the National w Leslie) *** 
4. The Gunpowder Plot (immersive theater and VR spectacle at Tower of London w John) ** 1/2 
5. King Lear (w Kathryn Hunter as lead at Globe, no guest, had to leave early due to heat, age!) *** 
6. The Southbury Child (starring Alex Jennings) (at Bridge, w Leslie) *** 
7. Tom, Dick and Harry (at Alexandra Palace, w Leslie) ** 1/2 
8. Daniel Kitson (COVID show at Regents Park Open Air 2022 on stage w 101 Dalmatians set) *** 
9. Jack Absolute Flies Again! (at National w Zoe) (better audience) *** 1/2 
10. Patriots (at Almeida 2022 w Zoe) ** 1/2 
11. Life Of Pi (at Wyndham 2022 w Zoe) ** 1/2 (but puppetry and effects **** War Horse level) 
12. Dennis Sever's House tour/performance 2022 (w Zoe) *** 1/2 
13. Punchdrunk: The Burnt City (2022 alone) *** 1/2 
14. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (at Gillian Lynne 2022 w Luis) *** 
15. Back To The Future 2022 in London (w Luis and Leslie) ** 1/2 
16. A Prairie Home Companion Live From Town Hall streaming on 11-26-2022 ** 1/2 
17. A Prairie Home Companion Live from Fox Theatre in St. Louis streaming on 12-15-2022 ** 1/2 
18. Daniel Kitson audio production Shenanigans on CD *** 1/2 
 


Updated as of December 31, 2022 

Monday, December 12, 2022

THE GREATEST HOLIDAY ALBUMS OF ALL TIME

 THE GREATEST HOLIDAY ALBUMS OF ALL TIME


I'm bonkers about Christmas music. Bonkers! I've owned more holiday albums (300+) than most people have in their entire library. I've got playlist galore, because most holiday albums aren't great from start to finish. Heck, you're lucky to find one great new original song or one fresh cover in a new holiday album. And for complicated reasons, more artists are putting out holiday albums than ever before. So DON'T just turn on the radio or tell your home speaker to "play Christmas music!" You'll hear the same obvious songs over and over again. Instead, here are some of the best Christmas albums of all time. They're by a single artist or compilations but you can enjoy them from start to finish. Enjoy! And coming next: playlists for every occasion. 

First, here's a link to my take on 100+ Christmas albums.


THE GREATEST CHRISTMAS ALBUM OF ALL TIME 




ELLA FITZGERALD -- Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas 

No singer is more effortlessly joyful than Ella Fitzgerald. So it's no surprise her holiday album would be a winner. You'll find some religious-themed albums among my Hall of Famers below. But I'm strongly biased towards secular Christmas songs. "What Child Is This?" has its place, but usually not while I'm tootling around town or hosting a party. Ella swings Christmas classics from the jaunty opener "Jingle Bells" (which ends with Ella declaring with glee "I'm just crazy 'bout horses!") to the inevitable closer "White Christmas." It's effervescent and spirit-raising and impeccable from start to finish. A delight. 

NOTE: A CD reissue and some streaming services tack on another three to six tracks, including alternate takes. You may not think it matters much -- and there's nothing wrong with the extra tracks. But no. Stop it after "White Christmas" or turn the album into a playlist and cut off the bonus tracks. It's twelve songs long and works best that way. Trust me!


THE CHRISTMAS ALBUM HALL OF FAME 

Here are eight holidays albums I consider nigh on perfect. You can play them from start to finish without a bum track. I'm a tough grader so when I give these albums four out of four stars, they're a rarity among the hundreds and hundreds of Christmas albums I've listened to over the decades. If you love the artist and/or the genre, you'll probably enjoy these. Enjoy!

All these albums earned a perfect **** out of **** stars. You've got jazzy easy listening with Alpert, a Latin classic with Willie Colon et al, Ella's swinging gem, the nostalgic glow of A Charlie Brown Christmas, Odetta takes us to church, Phil Spector rocks out Christmas songs like no one ever before and the eclectic, left-field delights of Sufjan Stevens range from classic carols to Christmas songs from the future. Something for everyone!

After the Hall of Fame, you'll find another batch of albums that earned *** 1/2 out of **** stars. 


WILLIE COLON, HECTOR LAVOE AND YOMO TORO -- Asalto Navideño (1971/1973)  

ELLA FITZGERALD -- Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas   

VINCE GUARALDI -- A Charlie Brown Christmas   

ODETTA -- Christmas Spirituals (1960)  
                     Christmas Spirituals aka Beautiful Star (1987)  (new recordings of songs from 1960) 

PHIL SPECTOR -- A Christmas Gift For You From Philles Records   

SUFJAN STEVENS -- Songs For Christmas Vol 1-5  



THE CHRISTMAS ALBUM ALL-STARS 

The following 30 or so albums are practically perfect, earning *** 1/2 out of **** stars. They're sensational and very playable, perfect for parties or driving to the mall or while stuck on the highway headed home for the holidays. It's usually nitpicking -- or one too many spiritual songs -- that keep an album from being perfect. Why the bias against religious music? It's about creating a mood -- following "Frosty The Snowman" and "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas" with "Oh Holy Night" is jarring. Do one or the other, I say. (Elvis and Sinatra split up their classic albums, with secular on one side and sacred on the other. That's better. Though I prefer to combine their two secular sides into one killer playlist.) Plus, most pop artists simply aren't good with religious songs; they get uptight and serious and dull. That's all. When done right by the likes of Odetta and Harry Belafonte and Emmylou Harris, I love religious-themed albums just as much as the Rudolph-centric ones. These are winners, all. You should be able to search for them on a streamer by artist and/or title or heck, you could always buy them on CD or vinyl. You'll be playing them every year. Enjoy! 


HERB ALPERT -- Christmas Album (1968)   

THE CARPENTERS -- Christmas Portrait ((1978 original version) 

JUDY COLLINS -- Winter Stories (w Jonas Fjeld and Chatham County Line)  

BING CROSBY --  Merry Christmas aka White Christmas (many editions)  
                                 Sings Christmas Songs   

EMMYLOU HARRIS  -- Light Of The Stable  

THE LIVING SISTERS -- Harmony Is Real: Songs For A Happy Holiday  

LOS LOBOS -- Llegó Navidad  

AIMEE MANN -- One More Drifter In The Snow   

WYNTON MARSALIS -- Crescent City Christmas Card  

JOHNNY MATHIS -- Merry Christmas    

WILLIE NELSON -- Pretty Paper  

THE PERSUASIONS -- You're All I Want For Christmas  

LOU RAWLS -- Merry Christmas From Lou Rawls (2009 ep reissue)  
                             Merry Christmas Ho! Ho! Ho! (1967)  

MARTIN SEXTON -- Camp Holiday  

SIA -- Everyday Is Christmas

FRANK SINATRA -- Christmas Dreaming (1950 Columbia)  
                                      Christmas Songs By Frank Sinatra (1949 Columbia)  

JIMMY SMITH -- Christmas Cookin' aka Christmas '64  

SUFJAN STEVENS -- Silver & Gold Vol. 6-10 

DYLAN THOMAS -- A Child's Christmas In Wales and other poems  

TRACEY THORN -- Tinsel and Lights   

MARIAN WILLIAMS -- O Holy Night  

GEORGE WINSTON -- December  



VARIOUS ARTISTS

A Big Band Christmas (Columbia, 1988)  

Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas (Verve, 1989)  

Hipster's Holiday (1989)  

I'll Be Home For Christmas: Songs That Won The War  

The Original Soul Christmas (Atlantic, 1968)  

Where Will You Be Christmas Day 

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