The honest truth is I always resist having to pick the best CDs of the year. First of all, at Thanksgiving time, I haven't actually had time to listen to them all, and they're still pouring in! And who knows how many are out there I never even heard? Then there's the question of true "greatness," usually not possible to assess until years later. So all these thoughts weigh on me as I survey a shelf full of candidates and feel the heat of having to pick favorites. This year, duty called hard as I had my first experience of producing the annual Afropop Worldwide Stocking Stuffers show. I like the idea of gift recommendations more than picking favorites, so the resulting show covers an amazing number of CDs, thirty-five if I'm not mistaken. I believe that's a record for an Afropop show. This means listeners will get only a taste of the recommendations, no full songs. But the payoff is the diversity and range. There is a mega-load of awesome music in that show!
The best part of this experience for me was hanging out in Georges Collinet's home studio in Washington, DC, on the day after Thanksgiving, chewing over all this music and recording the show. I don't usually speak on air on Afropop Worldwide, and when I direct Georges on a show I'm producing, I'm usually in New York, and he at Lion and Fox Studio in Maryland, so this was a treat in more ways than one. Some of Georges's commentary had to be cut for family listening, but a good deal of the hilarity of the afternoon we spent together, with Sean Barlow at the controls, does come through on the program, and the music is awesome.
Anyway, in the end, working with a number of folks in the Afropop Worldwide family, we did come up with some actual lists. Click here to see the result. It's all great stuff, and if you click through and buy these titles from Amazon, you'll also help keep the Afropop ship afloat, so shop away!!
And while you're listening to cool music, check out this awesome web video of Pancho Sanchez going through his shopping bag after a recent trip to Amoeba Records. Fun stuff.
Watch this space for my ultimate, personal, on-the-record Top 10 of 2009 list. I'll post in in January 2010, when the present year lies peacefully in its grave...