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Year in Review

Bruce Lindsay's Favorite Albums Of 2014

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Christmas Comes But Once A Year, And When It Does It Brings... Lists. Lots of lists. Here's another.

A quick glance at this particular list makes it clear that this has been, for me, a singers' year. Let me make it clear from the off—this isn't my list of the best vocal albums I've heard this year, it's my list of the best albums. Half of these recordings have a singer's name on the cover, most of the rest feature vocalists on the majority of their tracks—even the mainly instrumental album by The Puppeteers includes a bit of vocalising. Yes, there are great instrumental performances on these recordings too—but it's the human voice that rings out loud and clear, that makes the connection with me.

Standards get stylishly re-appraised by Georgia Mancio and Nigel Price and by Fini Bearman. Christine Tobin puts her own spin on the work of Leonard Cohen. Sarah Marie Young, from Chicago and Tammy Payne from Bristol both create strikingly personal and intimate recordings of original material. The Basin Street Brawlers get down with the Old School. The riotous Melt Yourself Down and the gorgeous Majamisty Trio create their own New Schools. Melphi builds beautifully soulful songs, centred on Lotte van Drunen's expressive voice.

Last year, I had a clear favorite. This year, three albums tied for first place in my affections. Which three? I'll take Iris DeMent's advice—and let the mystery be.

Sarah Marie Young
Little Candy Heart
(Snip Records)

Christine Tobin
A Thousand Kisses Deep
(Trail Belle)

Georgia Mancio & Nigel Price
Come Rain Or Come Shine
(Roomspin Records)

Tammy Payne
Viva Outsider
(Ninety and Nine Records)

Majamisty TriO
Love
(Cosmic Sounds)

Melt Yourself Down
Melt Yourself Down
(The Leaf Label)

Fini Bearman
Porgy And Bess
(F-IRE Records)

The Basin Street Brawlers
It's Tight Like That
(JohnJohn Records)

Melphi
Through The Looking Glass
(Snip Records)

The Puppeteers
The Puppeteers
(Puppet's Records)

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