Actually, my real album of the year was Butch Hancock’s The Wind’s Dominion, which was recorded back in 1979. I heard it for the first time only this year, after stumbling across an old vinyl copy in Reckless Records in Soho (London) and I couldn’t stop playing it.
I first came across Butch Hancock as one of the legendary West Texas band the Flatlanders along with Joe Ely and Jimmie Dale Gilmour, three high school buddies from Buddy Holly’s hometown of Lubbock, TX who headed to Austin to escape Jesus and Prohibition. Ely later toured with the Clash. We saw Joe touring with Terry Allen and Ryan Bingham at the New York City Winery a few years back, hunted down Jimmie Dale performing at Lucy’s Fried Chicken at SXSW 2014, and saw Butch hosting the annual Townes Van Zandt celebration at the Cactus Café in the Texas Union building at UT the same year.
Butch sang “The wind’s dominion” at Alejandro Escovedo’s “United Sounds of Austin” at the ACL Moody Theater on January 11, 2014. Joe Ely, Lucinda Williams, Rosie Flores, Terry Allen, Kimmie Rhodes, and “the situation we know as Roky Erickson” were among the many other contributors to an evening that showed why Austin bills itself as the world capital of live music.
“The Wind’s Dominion” album has been called “the West Texas Blonde on Blonde.” Enough said.
Unfortunately Hancock’s surreal masterpiece (check “Mario y Maria [cryin’ statues/spittin’ images]” or “Long road to Asia Minor”) can’t be included in my albums of the year because the qualification is that the album has to have been released—though not necessarily recorded—for the first time in 2015. So here goes. They’re all very good indeed.
The top ten
1 Courtney Barnett—Sometimes I sit and think and sometimes I just sit
2 Benjamin Clementine—At least for now
3 Jason Isbell—Something more than free
4 Pops Staples—Don’t lose this
5 Bob Dylan—Shadows in the night
6 Titus Andronicus—The most lamentable tragedy
7 Kacey Musgraves—Pageant material
8 Ashley Monroe—The blade
9 Shovels and Rope—Busted jukebox volume 1
10 Sleater-Kinney—No cities to love
Keith Richards—Crosseyed heart
Iris Dement—The trackless woods
Drive By Truckers—Great to be alive!
Neil Young and Bluenote Café
Kamasi Washington—The epic
Hors de concours
Bob Dylan—The cutting edge 1965-1966