Overlooked in '05

Ten great discs that were, shall we say, underserved by the media but are more than worthy of your money and close attention

9. Tarbox Ramblers, A Fix Back East (Rounder): Swingin' and grimy, traditional blues and folk and gospel structures acting as repositories for calculated, mindless, old-timey filth. Some things are hard to comment on, even harder to dislike. Think Jon Spencer without the randy posturing. Or late-period Nick Lowe leading a garage-country band. Or maybe Johnny Dowd if he wasn't quite so proud to be insane.

A Fix Back East
A Fix Back East

10. Loudon Wainwright III, Here Come the Choppers (Sovereign Artists): Loudon Wainwright III started off the year on a bandstand in Martin Scorsese's The Aviator, jamming in period clothes with his hot-shit son Rufus and up-and-coming daughter Martha, both of whom were to outshine their dad in the ensuing 12 months. It must be a bittersweet irony to find yourself overshadowed by your own children, but Loudon Wainwright is nothing if not an expert in bittersweet ironies. If we all slept on the umpteenth "album" by everyone's favorite Insensitive Singer-Songwriter, it's our loss: There's a veritable cornucopia of great stuff here, but the pick hit is easily "Hank and Fred," in which our anti-hero hears about the death of Mr. Rogers while driving through Alabama, bursts into tears and winds up at Hank Williams' graveside. You can't make this stuff up -- only Loudon can.

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