It's become an annual tradition for critics and music journalists such as the Reverend, dividing the year's record releases into too-often-lengthy "best of" lists, separating the wheat from the chaff, as it were, for our readers to nod their heads in agreement, or to dissent violently in the comments section of the offending website. These lists ostensibly lead the "winners" away from the "losers" and, through the years, have sadly grown proportionately to cyclopean size, often dictating that 40 or 50 albums represent the gold standard for a given year.
The Reverend admits to scanning the "best of" lists of several music publications each year, mostly out of amusement, sometimes just to make sure that I haven't overlooked something worthwhile that I might like to add to my swelling music collection. Like the Cyclops referred to above, however, many of these "best of" lists are myopic in their vision, championing artists on the basis of "indie cred" or some other intangible trend, and many will never be heard from again.
About.com Blues readers don't have to worry about all this, however, 'cause the kindly old Reverend has done all the heavy lifting for you...three neat 'n' tidy "best of" lists, a mere 30 albums total in three different categories. And it's nothing but gold on this side of the music world, friends, with favorite names like Janiva Magness, Lurrie Bell, Lil' Ed, and Michael "Iron Man" Burks, among others, offering up the year's best blues albums. On the other side of the equation, we list deserving artists like Joe Bonamassa, Anders Osborne, Dr. John, and Walter Trout, among others, as those responsible for 2012's best blues-rock albums. And for those of you who enjoy your old-school blues (and, honestly, who doesn't?), how about Albert King, Little Willie John, Skip James, and Long John Baldry among those on the best blues reissue albums list for the year?
2012 has been a great year for fans of the blues, and 2013 promises to be even better!
Photo of Dr. John's Grammy-nominated album Locked Down courtesy Nonesuch Records