Choosing which 10 records and only 10 to share wasn’t an easy task. Which is why I cheated and combined a couple entries so it’s actually 12. Please forgive me. My record collecting habits and musical tastes are continuously evolving. Recently I have been discovering a lot more 70s spiritual and free jazz. For this list I chose to share records that you could actually find while digging at your local store and not anything crazy rare or obscure. I made sure to include some recent albums because I think it’s important to support current artists as well as your local independent record stores.
I grew up on the blues thanks to my dad. I have very fond memories of listening to this album with my dad in the car on cassette. This album was a little controversial since Sonny & Brownie had always been acoustic blues players and this was an electric approach. Not considered their best work but I think it is amazing. Includes covers of songs by Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke. Two of my favourite artists. I see this record all the time for really cheap. Get yourself a copy!
In my opinion everyone needs this record but isn’t that the point if this list? Seriously though, it’s amazing. He has several incredible albums from this period but this is the one I heard first and is still my favourite. Curtis is an incredible song writer. I will never forget listening to this album in my headphones while walking around a small town in England browsing a used bookstore. I love those memories of when a certain album or song really hits you and blows your mind. Gives you that music high.
Donny Hathaway - Live
Probably my favourite live album of all time but hard to say for sure because I also love the Bill Withers live album and the Curtis Mayfield Live album. This Donny album is something special though. It gives me chills overtime I hear it.
Everyone knows "Ain’t No Sunshine" and "Lean On Me" but not everyone knows Bill Withers, which is very sad because he is such an incredible artist. I will never forget the first time I heard the song "Use Me" from this album. I had never heard anything like it.
I have always loved gospel music as well as soul music. The reissue label Numero Group has released three compilations of Gospel Soul that I recommend checking out. The series is called Good God! That is how I discovered the Supreme Jubilees and thankfully their entire album was just reissued by Light In The Attic. I don’t buy too many reissues, but when I know I will never find or be able to afford an original pressing I am very happy to have a good quality reissue. This is one of those times. Don’t sleep on this one.
The title track “Moanin’ is one of songs that really got me into jazz. It was Lee Morgan’s trumpet playing that really got me on this one. The album was originally self titled but then changed to ‘Moanin” due to the popularity of the song. When an original is out of the question the Music Matter reissues are a great option. Still not cheap but the quality is top notch. Any album by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers on Blue Note is worth checking out.
Welcome to the world of spiritual jazz. This is music you don’t just listen to but you experience. Let yourself be transported away with this cosmic music.
The Roots have been one of my favourite hip-hop acts since I was a teenager. They were one of my first concerts. How I Got Over is such an incredible piece of work. It is amazing to see that they are still making great music over 20 years later. This album really showcases Black Thought’s lyrical ability and rhyme skills in my opinion. Definitely one of the greatest MC’s of all time.
You may know Cody’s name and voice from "The Seed 2.0" off of The Roots’ album Phrenology or his first album, Headphone Masterpiece. This is his second album, released 10 years after his first, and completely different. This one flew under the radar a little but I think it is a classic.
My favourite album of 2015 and in my opinion one of the best Hip-Hop releases in the past 15 years. A very personal, relatable, and accessible album. I played it for my mom and she even liked it. Oddisee may just be the best rapper/producer or producer/rapper of all time when all is said and done. A true master of his craft.