ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, DEC. 1996
By Steve Newton
Neither of my two favourite recording artists released any music in ’96, but even though I had to suffer through the serious withdrawal of no Jeff Beck or Joe Satriani, the year had its moments.
Various Artists Twang! A Tribute to Hank Marvin & the Shadows A dozen rock-guitar gods—and one banjo virtuoso—pay glorious tribute to the top-selling instrumental band in the world.
Al Anderson Pay Before You Pump The longtime NRBQ guitarist and top Nashville songwriter’s first solo album in more than a decade is a twangy, raggedy-ass roots-rock blast with a great sense of humour.
Terry Anderson What Else Can Go Right The above-mentioned Anderson’s namesake and sometime collaborator is a North Carolina yahoo who delivers not one but two of the most exhilarating rock ’n’ roll tunes I’ve ever heard (“No One Knows It” and “Nothin’ on You”).
Jason & the Scorchers Clear Impetuous Morning I still pine for the rowdy southern-boogie stylings of the Georgia Satellites, but this scorching CD from Jason Ringenberg and company helps to ease the pain.
Huevos Rancheros Get Outta Dodge I wouldn’t normally include an EP in my top 10, but Calgary’s introsurf kings cram enough wild rockin’ into a mere seven tracks to fill up a boxed set.
Various Artists Shots in the Dark You won’t find me down at the Waldorf Hotel or the Niagara on any martini-drenched lounge night, but I’m as big a sucker as anyone for the escapist, cocktail-swiggin’ tunes of cinematic maestro Henry Mancini.
Bad Religion The Gray Race This churning batch of 15 short, sharp punk-rock diatribes delivers an invigorating, socially conscious slap upside the head. To both sides, actually.
China Drum Goosefair The full-length debut from this U.K. power trio passionately mixes the finest elements of the Clash and early Joe Jackson.
Odds Nest My choice for local band of the year, Odds outdoes last year’s impressive Good Weird Feeling with a startling collection of irresistible jangle-rockers and bittersweet pop ballads.
Beatles Anthology 3 It’s a revelation to finally hear, via demos and outtakes, the skeletal beginnings of so many deathless songs that are firmly embedded in my musical consciousness.