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It was a most memorable year for music at my place. You should hear what I hear here. Everything from All Saints to Goldie Zelkowitz surfaced. [Wasn't that slick the way I made it A to Z?]

Recent music that I am enjoying follows, mostly previewable at iTunes,, at the music-store sites or the artist's web site. Expand your musical horizons, especially if you think all the good music was already written. These are the tip of the iceberg. With so many new and renewed songs, I do not know where to begin and probably won't know where to end.

I am excluding my magical experience of seeing Melba Moore's cabaret extravaganza. If she comes to your town, be sure to catch her. Melba was a remarkable talent, when I first heard her around 1970. If anything, she has improved. Some of her music is on CD domestically; not as exciting as Melba live. Still exciting.

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Linda Lewis captured my ears in the mid-seventies. After a hiatus, she returned to the studio in the mid-nineties. This year's "Live in Old Smokey" is one of the best live albums ever. Fans will enjoy her reworkings of classics, the new songs and personal comments. Since I fear the closest I will get to seeing Linda perform is a PBS appearance years ago, this recording will have to do. If you are new to Linda, listening to this album may prove expensive, as you try to acquire other albums by her, all Japanese or English. No US compact discs to date.

Countrywoman Charlie Dore's new album, "Cuckoo Hill," is delightful. Her 1979 classic, "Where To Now," was released on CD, finally. Her evocative vocals make every song special, whether it be "Pilot of the Airwaves," "Hula Valley" or "Your Lover Called." British only.

The new Joan Osborne, "Pretty Little Stranger," strengthens a tradition of great music. After recent remarkable covers, these are new and exciting. Listen carefully to her subtly expressive voice. US release & iTunes.

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Carolyne Mas recorded memorable songs in the eighties. "Quote Goodbye Quote," "Sittin' in the Dark," "Sadie Says" and more. I've been searching for them, so you'd think I'd have stumbled on her subsequent albums. No, not until several weeks ago. iTunes offer the albums "Brand New World" and "Beyond Mercury," an overview of her career, which includes the great "Call Me." The new songs are lovely; Carolyne's still got it. In addition to discs available on the Web, if you go to her site, download all the great songs from her eponymous album for free. Record transcriptions but, aside from a few pops and ticks, good sound. A reminder of vinyl's shortcomings and Carolyne's enduring talent. [Live gem "Mas Hysteria" available from UK.]

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Des'ree's new album, "dream soldier," arrived in late December. A departure from "Supernatural," which I imported from England. Kevin Bacon is involved in the production of this new one, so it's peppier, yet still true to Des'ree, whose voice is gorgeous. Japan only.

My space friend, Gaelle, has a 2004 release which I got recently. "Transient" may be electronic soul or space music. Whatever it is, it's hypnotic. I don't need to classify her because Gaelle is a very special talent. US release, iTunes too.

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not perfect

Some new rock sucked me in, like "I'm Not Perfect" by Johanna Stahley. If not perfect, damn close. Zippy, fun rock, and not just the title song. The Eisenhowers from Glasgow's "Almost Half Undressed" is fun and rocky as well. I've only seen it on iTunes only. Download the album because there are no bad songs. At least not on "Almost Half Undressed."

It's been a banner year for Genya Ravan + Ten Wheel Drive reissues. And a new live Genya album. On iTunes, baby! Fefe Dobson's "Sunday Love," is still unissued, with Amazon claiming they will ship it in 2007. The several songs I got off iTunes are terrific. Fefe rocks!

I acquired new (to me), great John Simon albums, "Out on the Street" and "Harmony Farm." A bit jazzier and slightly more serious than those I owned back in the vinyl era. Japan only. However, two classics are on iTunes, "Journey" and "The John Simon Album." Both highly recommended, although you may wish to listen first. He's quirky, not for everybody.

Carleen Anderson's "Soul Providence" is another great album from this unique musician. Every few years, she produces new music worth the wait. UK only.

Ornette Coleman's new live album is called "Sound Grammar." Always one for mixing it up, two bassists and drummer Denardo Coleman comprise his group. I've heard some of the songs before, but each performance is unique, as is this configuration. Ornette is always amazing in concert, whether live or recorded.

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The new All Saints, "Studio 1," arrived 29th December. I love it! You may ask, With our semi-musical Destiny's Child, why bother with All Saints? It's no bother at all. All Saints are reunited and more harmonious than ever. I'll review this album next year, spirits willing, but that's no reason for you to await purchasing it. UK only.

I'll leave off there. However, 2006 would not have been complete without Tasmin Archer. "ON" is a wonderful album. If you don't own it yet, what is your problem? Available from Amazon (UK release) or iTunes (better price, no disc or booklet).

While 2006 may have been rotten, it was great for me, musically. I am far too inefficient to list all the music. Do not infer from the numerous foreign issues that I'm saying other nations produce better music. They do, but I'm not saying that. Hell, Johanna Stahley is from Brooklyn, like me. gt


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