Best CDs of 2011: a collection of lists

Some year-end selections from various sources:

Best of the Year lists

2012 Grammy nominations

The 54th edition of the Grammy Awards will be awarded on Feb. 12.

The biggest music awards in the world (at least in North America), but not necessarily the best, certainly in terms of recognition of quality, inventiveness, or acknowledging new artists or musical styles.

This year, categories have been re-organized and substantially reduced. Despite this, somehow the organization was only able to find four releases worthy of nomination for Best World Music Album! All African, and all veteran and well-known musicians. (Afrocubism may be a new grouping, but its members are among the best-known in Mali and Cuba).

For those interested in seeing new faces, the elimination of the Best Polka Album category, create a challenge for Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra, who had won 18 of the 24 Polka awards. This year he’s up against musicians from other genres in the “Best Regional Roots Music” category.; three of whose nominees are Louisiana-based.

Megan Romer writes about some of the issues with the World Music category in this year’s Grammy’s in her column.

Some selected categories below. Full listing on the Grammy site

Best World Music Album
Afrocubism – AfroCubism
Africa for Africa – Femi Kuti
Songs from a Zulu Farm – Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Tassili – Tinariwen

Best Latin Pop, Rock, Or Urban Album
ENTRE LA CIUDAD Y EL MAR – Gustavo Galindo
NUESTRA – La Vida Bohème
NOT SO COMMERCIAL – Los Amigos Invisibles

Best Reggae Album
Harlem-Kington Express Live! – Monty Alexander
Reggae Knights – Israel Vibration
Revelation Pt 1: The Root of Live – Stephen Marley
Wild and Free – Ziggy Marley
Summer in Kington – Shaggy

Best Americana Album
Emotional Jukebox – Linda Chorney
Pull Up Some Dust And Sit Down – Ry Cooder
Hard Bargain – Emmylou Harris
Ramble At The Ryman – Levon Helm
Blessed – Lucinda Williams

Best Folk Album
Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars
I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive – Steve Earle
Helplessness Blues – Fleet Foxes
Ukulele Songs – Eddie Vedder
The Harrow & The Harvest – Gillian Welch

Best Regional Roots Music Album
Can’t Sit Down – CJ Chenier
Wao Akua – The Forest of the Gods — George Kahumoku, Jr
Rebirth of New Orleans – Rebirth Brass Band
Grand Isle – Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys
Not Just Another Polka – Jimmy Sturr & His Orchestra

Best Bluegrass Album
Paper Airplane – Alison Krauss & Union Station
Reason And Rhyme: Bluegrass Songs By Robert Hunter & Jim Lauderdale – Jim Lauderdale
Rare Bird Alert – Steve Martin And The Steep Canyon Rangers
Old Memories: The Songs Of Bill Monroe – The Del McCoury Band
A Mother’s Prayer – Ralph Stanley
Sleep With One Eye Open – Chris Thile & Michael Daves

Best Blues Album
Low Country Blues – Gregg Allman
Roadside Attractions – Marcia Ball
Man In Motion – Warren Haynes
The Reflection – Keb Mo
Revelator – Tedeschi Trucks Band

Best Album Notes
The Bang Years 1966-1968
Neil Diamond, album notes writer (Neil Diamond)

The Bristol Sessions, 1927-1928: The Big Bang Of Country Music
Ted Olson & Tony Russell, album notes writers (Various Artists)

Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology
Ken Shipley, album notes writer (Syl Johnson)

Hear Me Howling!: Blues, Ballads & Beyond As Recorded By The San Francisco Bay By Chris Strachwitz In The 1960s
Adam Machado, album notes writer (Various Artists)

The Music City Story: Street Corner Doo Wop, Raw R&B And Soulful Sounds From Berkeley, California 1950-75
Alec Palao, album notes writer (Various Artists)

 Best Historical Album (ie, “Reissue”)
Band On The Run (Paul McCartney Archive Collection – Deluxe Edition)
The Bristol Sessions, 1927-1928: The Big Bang Of Country Music
Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology
Hear Me Howling!: Blues, Ballads & Beyond As Recorded By The San Francisco Bay By Chris Strachwitz In The 1960s
Young Man With The Big Beat: The Complete ’56 Elvis Presley Masters