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Senior Moments: RBP’s Best Albums of the Year by Artists Over 50

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Tom-Waits-Bad-As-Me

Striking a blow against the perennial ageism of pop culture, Steven R. Rosen polled the Rock's Backpages writers to determine the best albums of the year by music's senior citizens. Read on for the RBP Top 10 and for individual lists from 50 of our most respected contributors. (Some of them are under 50!)——Barney Hoskyns, Editorial Director, Rock's Backpages

In an effort to show the world — or at least its readers — that rock music continues, and often even improves, when its practitioners reach and pass 50, Rock's Backpages this year sponsors a poll of Best Albums by Older Musicians. In the case of groups or collaborations, an album counts if a significant member was 50 or older. Any kind of pop music was eligible, with an unstated understanding that at this point rock's influence can be felt in virtually all other musical styles.

The prompt was that — though there are exceptions — our consumerist culture (especially commercial radio) sells and celebrates new work by younger artists but tends to treat the more senior ones as "oldies." That marketplace remembers and repackages their past glories, often in extravagant ways, but gives short shrift to their latest. As a result, one of the standing clichés of rock is that the portion of a concert where an older familiar musician plays his/her newest work is known as "bathroom break time."

The roots of rock 'n' roll are, true, all wrapped up in youth — it started as teenage dance-and-romance music and some would say it's best when it never forgets that. Some would also say its destiny is to just keep repeating itself, with new young superstars coming along every couple years (or months) to sweep the older ones away. If you want "growth," move to jazz, folk, classical, or art/experimental.

However, rock's own sources — blues, R&B, country, swing, world music — were not themselves solely youth-oriented, so there's no inherent reason rock (and related contemporary-hit music) has to stay that way. Especially not after the 1960s and the arrival of singer-songwriters, conceptualist artist/producers, and deep-from-the-soul singers.

Fittingly, 50 people voted in the poll (an additional two wrote to question the concept). They were Rock's Backpages contributors, plus a few other writers. It was amazing to learn the number of variety of older artists who put out new rock albums in 2011. They range from ageless hard rockers like Nazareth to reunited punk/pre-punk/post-punk bands like New York Dolls and Wire. Both Hall and Oates released solo albums.

Not everyone listed or ranked ten records, and not everyone who did kept within the rules. But enough did that the Top Ten makes a statement. The most controversial album in our poll was Lou Reed and Metallica's grinding, grim Lulu — it got two first-place mentions and also was mentioned as the year's worst.

The winner of the poll, 62-year-old Tom Waits' Bad As Me, is an example of growth — he's both come far from the romantic Beatnik persona of the 1970s yet stayed stubbornly true to making music that seems to please him first and us if we're lucky. While he's respected by fellow artists and has a sizeable following, he's never been a true star. "They say that I have no hits and that I'm difficult to work with. And they say that like it's a bad thing," he famously said at this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction.

Maybe he's onto something there. By working just far enough outside the mainstream, he's never had to contend with the memories of hordes that identify him with his (and their) past. Plus, he can still be discovered for the first time by those — including many music fans past 50 — who aren't that familiar with his work.

The same can be said for the poll's third-place finisher, 62-year-old Nick Lowe — certainly in the States, where he's technically a one-hit wonder for 1979's 'Cruel to Be Kind' — and the fifth-placed artist, 64-year-old Ry Cooder. So maybe the best way to ensure a long and creatively vital career in music, and to put out an album that ranks high on this chart, is to remain a cult artist. That's probably also true for 70-year-old Steve Cropper, the session guitarist whose Dedicated, in which he and guests cover songs by 1950s R&B guitarist/songwriter Lowman Pauling and his "5" Royales, finished seventh. And, while 56-year-old Steve Earle — whose I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive finished ninth — made a splash in country music in the late 1980s, legal troubles forced him to drop out and he's been supported by roots/folk devotees since coming back.

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But it's not the case with 70-year-old Paul Simon, whose So Beautiful or So What finished second. He's certainly had his Top 40 heyday — several decades of them, actually. He's just a case of someone being dedicated enough to his craft to stay with it, patiently trying to get better. The consensus seems to be that this album, unlike the last couple, was an outstanding example of him in top form.

On our Top Ten, there also are instances of artists finding themselves again — becoming renewed — after getting lost for several years (or decades). Sixty-four-year-old Gregg Allman's soulful Low Country Blues, a T-Bone Burnett production featuring interpretations of blues standards, finished sixth, while 75-year-old Glen Campbell's Ghost on the Canvas, featuring relevant contemporary rock and pop songs (including one by Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices), was eighth. Campbell's album continued with the breakthrough he made on 2008's Meet Glen Campbell, but the success is bittersweet — he's been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. And Charles Bradley, the virtually unknown 63-year-old soul singer whose No Time for Dreaming tied R.E.M.'s Collapse Into Now for tenth, found himself, too, in 2011 — on the hot soul-revival label Daptone, where he benefited from the attention.

Many of the artists on the Top Ten can probably be heard on stations playing the Americana format, which features music in the singer-songwriter tradition and/or with a strong awareness of rock's traditions. It barely even existed 20 years ago but has grown especially popular at public radio stations chasing Boomer members raised on 1960s-rock. While it's too niche-oriented to cause big sales or set the agenda for our cultural conversation the way American Idol does, it's nevertheless been a lifesaver for those whose music fits its format.

Waits, however, is too idiosyncratic and too given to clangorous rock rhythms to get a lot of Americana play. But the one Top Ten-er who really doesn't fit that format is fourth-place finisher Kate Bush (who is 53, which came as a shock to some voters). Her 50 Words For Snow belongs to the Modernica (as opposed to Americana) style — heavily produced with experimental touches, indebted to modern classical/art musicians such as Philip Glass, and out to create and inhabit its own enveloping sonic environment rather than work within a familiar "roots" context. She's certainly not the only older artist to be working in this idiom, but the fact she's the only one to rank high in this poll might mean many are having trouble getting the kind of airplay that Americana musicians get. Their work just isn't getting heard.

So here's a wish for 2012 — some way where Kate Bush, Grace Jones, Thomas Dolby, Brian Eno/Rick Holland and others can be heard more. And maybe some of that new music by older punk rockers could be squeezed in, too.

THE ROCK'S BACKPAGES TOP 10 (Plus Runners-Up)

1. Tom Waits: Bad As Me (Anti-)
228 total points. 29 votes, including 10 first-place.
2. Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What (Hear Music)
145 total points. 22 votes, 5 first-place.
3. Nick Lowe: The Old Magic (Yep Roc)
104 total points, 16 votes, 2 first-place.
4. Kate Bush: 50 Words For Snow (Anti-)
99 total points, 14 votes, 3 first-place.
5. Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch)
85 total points, 15 votes, 1 first-place.
6. Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues (Rounder)
60 total points, 10 votes, 2 first-place.
7. Steve Cropper: Dedicated (429 Records)
56 total points, 8 votes, 1 first-place.
8. Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas (Surfdog)
47 total points, 13 votes, 1 first-place.
9. Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive (New West)
40.5 total points, 10 votes, 1 first-place.
10. (Tie)
— R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now (Warner Bros.)

40 total points, 7 votes.
— Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming (Daptone)
40 total points, 7 votes.

Five Runners-up:
11. Lucinda Williams: Blessed (Lost Highway)
12. Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx: We're New Here (XL Recordings)
Three-way tie for 13th place:
13. Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between (Luna Park)
13. Robbie Robertson: How to Become Clairvoyant (429 Records)
13. Lou Reed and Metallica: Lulu (Warner Bros.)

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50 Rock's Backpages Writers Submit Their Best Over-50s Albums of the Year

Bill Bentley
1 Garland Jeffreys: The King of In:Between
2 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
3 Exene: The Excitement of Maybe
4 Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming
5 Tracy Nelson: Victim Of The Blues
6 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
7 Semi-Twang: Wages Of Sin
8 Connie Smith: Long Line Of Heartaches
9 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
10 Jimmie Vaughan with Lou Ann Barton: Plays More Blues: Ballads & Favorites

Mike Breen
1 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts
2 Tinariwen: Tassili
3 Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming
4 Wire: Red Barked Tree
5 Gil Scott:Heron and Jamie xx: We're New Here
6 Joe Henry: Revere
7 Booker T. Jones: The Road From Memphis
8 Bootsy Collins: Tha Funk Capitol of the World
9 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
10 Bill Frisell: Sign of Life
HONORABLE MENTIONS... Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow; Jane's Addiction: The Great Escape Artist

Len Brown
1 Oyster Band & June Tabor: Ragged Kingdom
2 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
3 REM: Collapse Into New
4 Youssou NDour: Mbalakh Dafay Wakh
5 Wire: Red Barked Tree
6 Kate Bush: 50 Words For Snow
7 Magazine: No Thyself
8 Various Artists: Johnny Boy Would Have Loved This — A Tribute To John Martyn
9 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What?
10 Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX: We're New Here

Keith Cameron
1 Kate Bush: 50 Words For Snow
2 Magazine: No Thyself
3 Wire: Red Barked Tree
4 Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat: Everything's Getting Older
5 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts
6 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
7 Glen Campbell: Ghost On The Canvas
8 Gang of Four: Content
9 The Bats: Free All The Monsters
10 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic

Bill Carpenter
1 Candi Staton: Who's Hurting Now?
2 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down
3 Cyndi Lauper: To Memphis With Love
4 SuperHeavy: SuperHeavy
5 Steve Cropper: Dedicated — A Salute to the 5 Royales
6 Betty Wright and the Roots: Betty Wright — The Movie
7 The Cars: Move Like This
8 Booker T. Jones: The Road From Memphis
9 Daryl Hall: Laughing Down Crying
10 Shirley Murdock: The Journey
Alternateså (in case some of those above drift outside of pop rock definition):
John Hiatt: Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
Lucinda Williams: Blessed
Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams

Nick Coleman
1 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
2 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
3 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
4 Steve Cropper: Dedicated: A Tribute to the 5 Royales
5 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
6 Bill Frisell: All We Are Saying
7 Brian Eno/Rick Holland: Drums Between the Bells
8 Etta James: The Dreamer
9 The Lil' Band O' Gold: The Promised Land
10 The Zombies: Breathe Out/Breathe In

Byron Coley
1 Wizz Jones: Huldenberg Blues
2 Michael Yonkers with the Blind Shake: Period
3 Malcolm Mooney & the Third Planet: Incantations
4 Thurston Moore: Demolished Thoughts
5 The Feelies: Here Before
6 Omar Souleyman: Haflat Gharbia
7 Alvarius B: Baroque Primitiva
8 Juma Sultan's Aboriginal Music Society: Father of Origin
9 Mike Watt: hyphenated:man
10 Figures of Light: Drop Dead

Carol Cooper
1 Martinho da Vila: Lambendo a Cria
2 Eddie Palmieri: Salsa Brothers
3 Dolly Parton: Better Day
4 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
5 Elvis Costello: The Return of the Spectacular Spinning Songbook
6 Ronnie Dunn: Ronnie Dunn
7 Chico Buarque: Chico
8 Gilberto Santa Rosa: El Caballero de la Salsa — La Historia Tropical
9 Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
10 Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers: Rare Bird Alert

Richard Cromelin
1 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
2 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
3 Gavin Friday: Catholic
4 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
5 Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
6 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get out of This World Alive
7 Joe Henry: Reverie
8 Gil Scott-Heron and Jamie xx: We're New Here
9 R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now
10 Wire: Red Barked Tree

Stephen Dalton
kd lang may be a cheat: as she only turned 50 in November: and also the GSH album is a remake/remix... and he died this year!
1 Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
2 kd lang: Sing It Loud
3 Gil Scott Heron & Jamie xx: We're New Here
4 Brian Eno: Drums Between the Bells
5 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
6 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu (yes really)
7 Blondie: Panic of Girls
8 John Foxx and the Maths: Interplay
9 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
10 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down

Daryl Easlea (aged 45 ½)
1 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
2 The Fall: Ersatz GB
3 Bob Geldof: How To Compose Popular Songs That Will Sell
4 Kate Bush: 50 Words For Snow
5 Steve Hackett: Beyond The Shrouded Horizon
6 Peter Gabriel: New Blood
7 The Feelies: Here Before
8 Alice Cooper: Welcome 2 My Nightmare
9 Underworld: Music From Frankenstein
10 Yes: Fly From Here

Chuck Eddy
1 Nazareth: Big Dogz
2 John Waite: Rough and Tumble
3 Kentucky Headhunters: Dixie Lullabies
4 Muhal Richard Abrams: SounDance
5 The Ex: Catch My Shoe
6 Toby Keith: Clancy's Tavern
7 Merle Haggard: Working In Tennessee
8 Luther Lackey: Married Lyin' Cheatin' Man
9 Garland Jeffreys: The King Of In Between
10 Dennis Coffey: Dennis Coffey

Bob Fisher
1 Hugh Laurie: Let Them Talk
2 Steve Cropper: Dedicated
3 Aretha Franklin: A Woman Falling Out Of Love
4 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
5 Tony Bennett: Duets 2
6 Alice Cooper: Welcome 2 My Nightmare
7 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What
8 Blondie: Panic Of Girls
9 Barbra Streisand: What Matters Most
10 Tom Waits: Bad As Me

Richard Gehr
1 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
2 David Lynch: Crazy Clown Time
3 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
4 Mike Keneally: Bakin' @ the Potato
5 Mike Watt: Hyphenated Man
6 John Doe: Keeper
7 Joe Ely: Satisfied at Last
8 Hazmat Modine: Cicada
9 Gary Lucas & Gods and Monsters: The Ordeal of Civility
10 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive

Holly George-Warren
10 Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over
9 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
8 Lucinda Williams: Blessed
7 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
6 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
5 The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time
4 Buddy Miller: Buddy Miller's Majestic Silver Strings
3 John Hiatt: Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns
2 John Doe: Keepers
1 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
(RUNNERS UP: Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain; Nick Lowe: The Old Magic; Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of this World Alive; Tommy Keene: Behind the Parade; Greg Brown : Freak Flag)

Andy Gill
1 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
2 Kate Bush: 50 Words For Snow
3 Kate Bush: Director's Cut
4 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down
5 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
6 Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: Soul Time!
7 Keith Jarrett: Rio
8 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
9 Judy Collins: Bohemian
10 (tied) Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven; Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
(If there's an award for the WORST album by an over:50: then Lou Reed & Metallica's Lulu must be pushing Bruce Forsyth's album pretty hard.)

Danny Goldberg
1 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
2 REM: Collapse into Now
3.Betty Wright and the Roots: Betty Wright — The Movie
4.Lucinda Williams: Blessed
5.Buddy Miller: Buddy Miller's Majestic Silver Strings
6.Marianne Faithfull: Horses And High Heels
7.Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
8.Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What
9.Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
10.Ray Davies: See My Friends

Jim Green
1 Gary Lucas and Gods & Monsters: The Ordeal of Civility
2 Steve Cropper: Dedication
3 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
4 Joe Henry: Reverie
5 Ivan Julian: The Naked Flame
6 Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between
7 Wire: Red Barked Tree
8 Robyn Hitchcock: Tromsø: Kaptein
9 Lucinda Williams: Blessed
10 Bryan Ferry: Olympia
(Honorable Mentions: John Doe: Keeper; Exene Cervenka: The Excitement of Maybe; Gavin Friday: Catholic)

Heather Harris
I'll just list Iggy and The Stooges : Raw Power: In The Hands of The Fans the music release heralding the later DVD release of the entire show in NY: 2010

Bill Holdship
1 REM: Collapse into Now
2 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get out of This World Alive
3 Lindsey Buckingham: Seeds We Sew
4 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
5 Lucinda Williams: Blessed
6 Various Artists: Listen to Me — Buddy Holly
7 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
8: Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams

Geoffrey Himes
1 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
2 John Doe: Keeper
3 Drive-By Truckers: Go-Go Boots
4 Greg Brown: Freak Flag
5 Susana Baca: Afrodiaspora
6 Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven
7 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
8 John Hiatt: Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
9 Warren Haynes: Man in Motion
10 Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between

Barney Hoskyns
1 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
2 Gil Scott:Heron and Jamie xx: We're New Here
3 Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming
4 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
5 Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee Pt 2
6 June Tabor and the Oyster Band: Ragged Kingdom
7 Tinariwen: Tassili
8 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
9 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Settle Down
10 Lindsey Buckingham: Seeds We Sow

David Hughes
1 Tony Bennett: Duets II
2 Doris Day: My Heart
3 Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
4 Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
5 Dolly Parton : Better Day
6 Duane Eddy : Road Trip
7 Booker T. Jones: The Road from Memphis
8 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
9 Lucinda Williams: Blessed
10 Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams

Mark Leviton
1 Solomon Burke & De Dijk : Hold On Tight
2 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
3 Randy Newman: Songbook Vol. 2
4 Steve Cropper: Dedicated
5 Peter Gabriel: New Blood
6 Bootsy Collins: The Funk Capital of the World
7 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
8 Levon Helm: Ramble At the Ryman
9 Booker T. Jones: The Road From Memphis
10 Glen Campbell: Ghost On the Canvas

Dorian Lynskey
1. Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
2 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
3 Grace Jones: Hurricane
4 Magazine: No Thyself
5 David Lynch: Crazy Clown Time
6 REM: Collapse Into Now
7 Gang of Four: Content
8 Edwyn Collins: Losing Sleep
9 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What

Joe McEwen
1 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
2 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
3 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
4 Keith Jarrett: Rio
5 Warren Haynes: Man in Motion
6 Tom Waits: Bad as Me

Fred Mills (Editor: Blurt Magazine)
1 Warren Haynes: Man In Motion
2 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
3 Mekons: Ancient and Modern
4 Tommy Keene: Behind the Parade
5 Howe Gelb and A Band of Gypsies: Alegrias
6 Robert Plant: Band of Joy
7 Bevis Frond: The Leaving of London
8 Booker T. Jones : The Road from Memphis
9 Mike Watt: hyphenated-man
10 Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming

Mark Mordue
1 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
2 Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
3 The Fall: Ersatz GB
4 Gil Scott-Heron: I'm New Here
5 Keith Jarrett: Rio
6 Ralph Stanley: A Mother's Prayer
7 Dave Graney: Rock n Roll is Where I Hide
8 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
9 Mick Harvey: Sketches from the Book of the Dead
10 Lou Reed and Metallica: Lulu

Jeffrey Morgan
1 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
2 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
3 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
4 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
5 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
6 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
7 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
8 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
9 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
10 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
There: that was easy.

David Quantick
1 Lou Reed & Metallica: Lulu
2 Andrew Cronshaw: The Unbroken Surface of Snow
3 Magazine: No Thyself
4 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What

Wayne Robins
Time flies: I even had to check whether P.J. Harvey is near or at 50. (Not quite. About 10 years off...)
1 Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven
2 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
3 Guy Clark: Songs and Stories
4 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What?
5 Robbie Robertson: How to Become Clairvoyant
6 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
7 Lou Reed and Metallica: Lulu
8 The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time
9 Red Hot Chili Peppers: I'm With You
10. R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now

Steven Rosen
1 Chickenfoot: Chickenfoot III
2 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
3 Alice Cooper: Welcome 2 My Nightmare
4 Bad Company: Extended Versions

Steven R. Rosen
1 Tom Waits: Bad to Me
2 Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
3 Garland Jeffreys: The King of In Between
4 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
5 Mick Harvey: Sketches From the Book of the Dead
6 Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming
7 Mekons: Ancient & Modern 1911:2011
8 Grace Jones: Hurricane
9 New York Dolls: Dancing Backward in High Heels
10 Robbie Robertson: How to Become Clairvoyant

Bud Scoppa
1 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
2 The Cars: Move Like This
3 Daryl Hall: Laughing Down Crying
4 Lindsey Buckingham: Seeds We Sow
5 Robbie Robertson: How to Become Clairvoyant
6 Lucinda Williams: Blessed
7 The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time
8 Dwight Twilley: Soundtrack
9 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
10 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive
(I'd throw in Neil Young's A Treasure, but that would be cheating...)

Paul Sexton
1 Glen Campbell: Ghost On The Canvas
2 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
3 Thomas Dolby: A Map Of The Floating City
4 J.D. Souther: Natural History
5 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What
6 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
7 Stevie Nicks: In Your Dreams
8 John Hiatt: Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
9 Steve Cropper: Dedicated
10 Etta James: The Dreamer

Michael Simmons
1 Jake and the rest of the Jewels: A Lick and a Promise
2 Van Dyke Parks: The 7'' Singles Series*
3 Peter Stampfel and Jeffrey Lewis: Come On Board
4 Steve Earle : I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
5 Bruce Langhorne: Tambourine Man
6 Willie Nile: The Innocent Ones
7 John Sinclair & Hollow Bones: Honoring The Local Gods
8 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
9 The Krayolas: Tipsy Topsy Turvy
10 NRBQ: Keep This Love Goin'
(*Not an album per se: but a series of 7" singles.)
HONORABLE MENTIONS: 11: Freddy Koella: Undone; 12: Roger McGuinn: CCD; 13: Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down; 14: Jackie DeShannon: When You Walk In The Room; 15: Brian Wilson: In The Key Of Disney

Mat Snow
Struggling to recall having listened attentively to any new releases this year: so my enthusiastic vote cast for Tom Waits may just have to do. Oh: and The Randy Newman Songbook Vol. 2. And my daughter would never forgive me if I failed to mention Hugh Laurie's Bertie Sings The Blues album. Never did get to hear that Kate Bush record...

Terry Staunton
1 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
2 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
3 The Zombies: Breathe Out: Breathe In
4 Billy Bragg: Fight Songs
5 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What
6 Lindsey Buckingham: Seeds We Sow
7 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust And Settle Down
8 Glen Campbell: Ghost On The Canvas
9 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive
10 Lucinda Williams: Blessed

Phil Sutcliffe
Assuming you don't count dead people like Johnny Cash or compilations like Loudon Wainwright or whatever SMiLE is, I just got to 10: I suspect it's not been a great year for over-50s unless I missed stuff (which I easily could have).
1 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What
2 Kate Bush: 50 Words For Snow
3 Steve Martin And The Steep Canyon Rangers: Rare Bird Alert
4 Randy Newman: The Randy Newman Songbook Vol 2
5 Chip Taylor: Rock And Roll Joe
6 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
7 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down
8 Tom Russell: Mesabi
9 The Wronglers with Jimmie Dale Gilmore
10 The Baseball Project: The Baseball Project Vol. 1

Jeff Tamarkin
This wasn't so hard after all: most of what I listen to and like is made by people over 50 anyway. Hell: many of them are hovering around 70!
1 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
2 Paul Simon: So Beautiful So What
3 Sonny Rollins: Road Shows Vol. 2
4 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
5 New York Dolls: Dancing Backward in High Heels
6 Merle Haggard: Working in Tennessee
7 The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time
8 Steve Earle: I'll Never Get Out of This Word Alive
9 Charles Bradley: No Time for Dreaming
10 Glen Campbell: Ghost On the Canvas

Jon Tiven
Over 50? THAT'S MY SPECIALITY!
1:Steve Cropper: Dedicated
2: Leslie West: Unusual Suspects

Jeff Walker
There have actually been quite a few really solid albums by older artists out this year: and I've enjoyed quite a few (including Clapton's: Christy Moore of Planxty's: Jackie DeShannon's: Merle Haggard's) but the list below are the ones I've kept going back to and have played most.
1 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
2 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
3 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
4 Joe Ely: Satisfied at Last
5 Pajama Club: Pajama Club
6 J. D. Souther: Natural History
7 Duane Eddy: Road Trip
8 The Jayhawks: Mockingbird Time
9 Ray Davies: See My Friends
10 Steven Leibman: I Know They're There

Bill Wasserzieher
It's probably a bit too American and surely too masculine: but these were my favorites for 2011. I cut it off at nine rather than 10: mostly because several artists I would have liked to include (Richard Thompson: Neil Young: Mavis Staples: Robert Plant) released their most recent discs of new material in late 2010.
1 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
2 Dave Alvin: Eleven Eleven
3 Tom Waits: Bad as Me
4 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
5 Mekons: Ancient and Modern
6 Lucinda Williams: Blessed
7 Garland Jeffreys: King of In Between
8 Booker T. Jones: The Road from Memphis
9 Lindsey Buckingham: Seeds We Sow

Chris Welch
1 Yes: Fly From Here
2 Keith Emerson Band featuring Marc Bonilla: Live In Moscow
3 Ray Davies: See My Friends
4 Anderson/Wakeman: The Living Tree
5 The Zombies: Breathe Out: Breathe In
6 Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings: Live Communication
7 Stretch: Unfinished Business
8 Steve Miller Band: Let Your Hair Down
9 Chris Spedding: Pearls
10 Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down

Steven P. Wheeler
1 Robbie Robertson: How To Become Clairvoyant
2 Lucinda Williams: Blessed
3 The Cars: Move Like This
4 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
5 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues
6 Peter Murphy: Ninth
7 Cowboy Junkies: Demons
8 The Smithereens: 2011
9 Marianne Faithfull: Horses And High Heels
10 Bob Geldof: How To Compose Songs That Will Sell


Pete Wingfield
1 Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues

2 Jimmie Vaughan: ...Plays Blues: Ballads & Favorites
3 Buddy Miller: The Majestic Silver Strings
4 Nick Lowe: The Old Magic
5 Steve Cropper: Dedicated
6 Betty Wright and the Roots: Betty Wright — The Movie
7 Levon Helm: Ramble at the Ryman
8 Eric Clapton: Clapton
9 Booker T. Jones: The Road To Memphis
10 Etta James: The Dreamer

Carl Wiser
1 The Original 7ven: Condensate
2 SuperHeavy: SuperHeavy
3 Chris Isaak: Beyond the Sun
4 Paul Simon: So Beautiful Or So What
5 John Oates: Mississippi Mile
6 k.d. lang: Sing It Loud
7 Henry McCullough: Unfinished Business
8 Thomas Dolby: A Map of the Floating City
9 Aretha Franklin: A Woman Falling Out of Love
10 They Might Be Giants: Join Us

Paul Yamada
1 Bo-Keys: Got To Get Back
2 Charles Bradley: No Time For Dreaming
3 Savoy Brown: Voodoo Moon
4 Jimmy Vaughan: Plays More Blues: Ballads & Favorites
5 Charles Walker: Soul Stirring Thing

David Zimmer
1 Paul Simon: So Beautiful or So What
2 Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow
3 Tom Waits: Bad As Me
4 Robbie Robertson: How to Become Clairvoyant
5 R.E.M.: Collapse Into Now
6 Emmylou Harris: Hard Bargain
7 Lindsey Buckingham: Seeds We Sow
8 John Hiatt: Dirty Jeans and Mudslide Hymns
9 Hot Tuna: Steady As She Goes
10 Glen Campbell: Ghosts on the Canvas
HONORABLE MENTIONS:
Glen Campbell: Ghost on the Canvas
Bootsy Collins: Tha Funk Capital of the World
Dwight Twilley: Soundtrack
Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down
Lucinda Williams: Blessed

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