Rant’n’Roll – The Best of 2018

The Best of 2018

  I’m a list freak. Always kept ‘em. Always will. When I was a little kid, I kept lists of baseball players, professional wrestlers, TV shows, songs, movies, girls who let me kiss them, actors, and even favorite relatives (my cool Uncle Phil always topped the list). This year’s lists are no different. The following is what rocked my world in 2018.


Top 10 Americana/Country CDs

  1. John Prine, The Tree Of Forgiveness
  2. John Oates, Arkansas
  3. Giulia Millanta, Conversation With A Ghost
  4. Damon Fowler, The Whiskey Bayou Sessions
  5. Mandy Barnett, Strange Conversations
  6. Willie Nelson, Last Man Standing
  7. Peter Rowan, Carter Stanley’s Eyes
  8. Cousin Harley, Blue Smoke: The Music Of Merle Travis
  9. Lynn Taylor & The Barflies, Staggered
  10. Chris Smither, Call Me Lucky


Top 10 Blues CDs

  1. Billy T. Gibbons, The Big Bad Blues
  2. Mike Zito, First Class Life
  3. Boz Scaggs, Out Of The Blues
  4. Tony Joe White, Bad Mouthin’
  5. Eric Bibb, Global Griot
  6. Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager, Rough Cut
  7. Muddy Gurdy, Muddy Gurdy
  8. Sue Foley, The Ice Queen
  9. Marcia Ball, Shine Bright
  10. Anthony Geraci, Why Did You Have To Go


Top 10 Jazz CDs

  1. Gregory Lewis, Organ Monk Blue
  2. Jerry Granelli, Dance Hall
  3. Roch Lockyer, When Frank Met Django
  4. Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette, After The Fall
  5. The Heavyweights Brass Band, This City
  6. Pedro Giraudo, Vigor Tanguero
  7. WorldService Project, Serve
  8. Charles Lloyd & The Marvels with Lucinda Williams, Vanished Gardens
  9. Wynton Marsalis Septet, United We Swing: Best Of The Jazz At Lincoln Center Galas
  10. Ilhan Ersahin, Solar Plexus


Top 10 Soul CDs

  1. Bette Lavette, Things Have Changed
  2. Jose James, Lean On Me
  3. Joan Armatrading, Not Too Far Away
  4. Detroit Rising, A Cosmic Jazz Funk Adventure
  5. Mystic Bowie, Talking Dreads
  6. Allan Harris, The Genius Of Eddie Jefferson
  7. Various Artists, Music City Blues & Rhythm (Ace Records)
  8. Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Are YOU One Of Jay’s Kids: The Complete Bizarre Sessions 1990-1994
  9. Arin Ray, Platinum Fire
  10. Fats Domino, The Ballads Of Fats Domino (Bear Family)


Top 10 Rock CDs

  1. Dusan Jevtovic, Live At Home
  2. Patrick Coman, Tree Of Life
  3. The Nut Jumpers, Boogie In The Shack
  4. Slivowitz,Liver
  5. Gone Hepsville, Gimme!
  6. Jimi Hendrix, Both Sides Of The Sky
  7. The Wood Brothers, One Drop Of Truth
  8. JD Wilkes, Fire Dream
  9. Sonar with David Torn, Vortex
  10. Webb Wilder and The BeatNecks, Powerful Stuff!


Top 10 Compilations

  1. Various Artists, Play The Music Louder: Four-Star Boogies & Jumpin’ Hillbilly (Bear Family)
  2. Various Artists, Move On: Vernacular Dances Off The Dance Track (Koko Mojo)
  3. Various Artists, Don’t Mess With Me, Baby ‘Cause The Trouble With Me Is You (Koko Mojo)
  4. Ray Anthony & His Orchestra, Rock Around The Rock Pile (Bear Family)
  5. Various Artists, Talking On The Telephone Volume #1: Blues, R’n’B & Gospel (RWA)
  6. Various Artists, Southern Groove: Hotlanta, Aware & Clintone Funk & Soul (Ace)
  7. Various Artists, Banana Split For My Baby: 33 Gems From The Good Old Summertime (Bear Family)
  8. Various Artists, Holy Smoke: Don’t Let Love Fool You! (Koko Mojo)
  9. Lefty Frizzell, An Article From Life:  The Complete Recordings (Bear Family)
  10. Various Artists, Cat Scratchin’: Ladies In The Groove (Koko Mojo)


Top 10 World CDs

  1. Surabhi Ensemble, Surabhi Ensemble
  2. Lello Molinari, Lello’s Italian Job
  3. Justin Hinds, Know Jah Better
  4. Contrast Trio, Letila Zozulya
  5. Various Artists, World Music Volume #1 (Bongo Boy)
  6. Victoria, Joueuse
  7. Dongfeng Liu, China Caribe
  8. Somesh Mathur featuring Scott Kinsey, Time Stood Still
  9. Dave Anderson, Melting Pot
  10. Gladiators, Serious Thing


Top 20 Miscellaneous CDs

  1. Big Shoes, Step On It!
  2. Thiefs,Graft
  3. Michael Kaeshammer, Something New
  4. Slapback Johnny, Hit Me Up
  5. Soundtrack,Blaze
  6. Jordan Officer, Three Rivers
  7. Michael McDermott, Out From Under
  8. Jeff Plankenhorn, Sleeping Dogs
  9. Motel Mirrors, In The Meantime
  10. The Lucky Losers, Blind Spot
  11. Yvette Landry & The Jukes featuring Roddie Romero, Louisiana Lovin’
  12. Dolores Scozzesi, Here Comes The Sun
  13. Sundae + Mr. Goessl, When You’re Smiling
  14. Willie Nelson, My Way
  15. Joachim Cooder, Fuchsia Machu Picchu
  16. Bob Dylan, Live: Rare Performances From The Copyright Collection 1962-1966
  17. Me & Mobi,Agglo
  18. Geoff and Maria Muldaur, Sweet Potatoes
  19. Little Victor, Deluxe Lo-Fi
  20. NRBQ,All Hopped Up


Top 20 Concerts (in chronological order)

  1. Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, Williams Center For The Arts, Easton, Pa., Jan. 27
  2. The Record Company, MusikFest Café, Bethlehem, Pa., Feb. 8
  3. The Fab Faux, State Theater, Easton, Pa., March 10
  4. Steve Winwood, Sands Entertainment Center, Bethlehem, Pa., March 15
  5. Bobby Rush, MusikFest Café, Bethlehem, Pa., March 25
  6. Marshall Crenshaw & The Bottle Rockets, Sellersville Theater, March 29
  7. Steve Earle, MusikFest Café, Bethlehem, Pa., April 5
  8. Dweezil Zappa, Wellmont Theater, Montclair, N.J., April 13
  9. Tom Jones, Sands, May 2
  10. Canned Heat, Sellersville Theater, May 3
  11. Nick Lowe & Los Straitjackets, MusikFest Café, Bethlehem, Pa., June 26
  12. Straight No Chaser, Santander Performing Arts Center, Reading, Pa., July 19
  13. Trombone Shorty, MusikFest, Bethlehem, Pa., Aug. 2
  14. Duke Robillard, Levitt Pavilion, Bethlehem, Pa., Aug. 25
  15. Paul Simon, NJPAC, Newark, N.J., Sept. 15
  16. Mandy Barnett, Sellersville Theater, Oct. 21
  17. Jim Messina, Sellersville Theater, Oct. 25
  18. Elvis Costello, Sands, Nov. 2
  19. The Doobie Brothers, Sands, Nov. 4
  20. The Craig Thatcher Band, State Theatre, Nov. 9


Top 10 TV Shows

  1. “Ray Donovan”
  2. “The Handmaid’s Tale”
  3. “Shameless”
  4. “Homeland”
  5. “Sons Of Anarchy”
  6. “Orange Is The New Black”
  7. “House Of Cards”
  8. “Game Of Thrones”
  9. “The Deuce”
  10. “Chicago PD”


Top 10 Movies

  1. A Quiet Place
  2. The Catcher Was A Spy
  3. Phantom Thread
  4. Unsane
  5. Black KKKlansman
  6. Black Panther
  7. Avengers: Infinity War
  8. RBG
  9. 10×10
  10. Mother! (2017)


Top 10 Books

  1. “I, Fatty, Jerry Stahl,” (2004)
  2. “Unsung Heroes Of Rock ’n’ Roll,” Nick Tosches (1984)
  3. “The Doll Master and Other Tales of Terror,” Joyce Carol Oates (2016)
  4. “The Years Of Lyndon Johnson: Master Of The Senate,” Robert A. Caro (2002)
  5. “A Book Of American Martyrs,” Joyce Carol Oates (2017)
  6. “Long Time Gone,” David Crosby (1988)
  7. “Fortunate Son,” John Fogerty (2015)
  8. “The Road To Woodstock,” Michael Lang (2009)
  9. “The Whites,” Richard Price (2015)
  10. “The Vampire Chronicles: Prince Lestat,” Anne Rice (2014)