The best albums of 2015 for people who love music of the '50s and '60s
Those who miss the golden soul, rock, folk and country of yesteryear should find something to love in Leon Bridges, Tobias Jesso Jr. and more.
Everything old is new again. Nowhere is this more the case than in the world of music, where the sounds of yesterday are continually recycled and repurposed. In the record bins and on the radio waves this year, one could find retro soul, throwback folk, Eighties synth-pop and old school country.
Music is a big part of MeTV, from favorite theme songs to remembering classic rock & roll showcases like Shindig! and Shivaree. Yet 2015 was an especially a big year in music for MeTV. We launched a radio station in Chicago, MeTV FM. We look forward to bringing you all more music content in the future.
There was no shortage of new records in 2015 that echoed the styles of the past. We figured you already know about Adele, so we dug a little deeper for a handful of albums that should please those who miss the pop charts of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
1. If you love Sam Cooke… Leon Bridges 'Coming Home'
With a crisp tenor that soothes like the second coming of Sam Cooke, Bridges would have been right at home with Sam Phillips at Sun Studio. From listing the track titles on his album cover, to his slacks and slick hair, Bridges can fool even a trained ear and eye into thinking he rolled right out of Memphis in 1957.
2. If you love rockabilly… Kitty, Daisy & Lewis 'The Third'
The British brother-sister-sister trio began as a sort of hybrid between Amy Winehouse and rockabilly. With a double bass, piano and horns, they can swing from jumping jazz to Hawaiian folk. Their latest, and third, obviously, pushes the sound into a cleaner modern pop sound, but maintains its rootsy charm.
3. If you love Randy Newman and Adele… Tobias Jesso, Jr. 'Goon'
Speaking of Adele, her latest single, "When We Were Young," was written with this Canadian piano balladeer. His melancholy lounge sound has been compared to Randy Newman, but we heard a touch of Andrew Gold in his tunes, which bring to mind lost sitcom themes from the late-'70s.
4. If you love 'A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector'… Darlene Love 'Introducing Darlene Love'
The title is rather cheeky, considering the singer's career dates back to number one Billboard hits of the early '60s like "He's a Rebel." The ace back-up singer and girl group legend stepped out on her own again for this platter of summery throwbacks. The production is a bit more '80s than '60s, but the approach on songs like "Forbidden Nights" is reminiscent of Phil Spector. At the age of 74, she still has killer pipes that capture the feeling of a first crush.
5. If you love outlaw country… Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard 'Django & Jimmie'
This is a must for those who tune in to our westerns. The two outlaw country legends teamed up for a sixth time to craft a tribute to Django Reinhardt and Jimmie Rodgers. There's also a lovely Dylan cover, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right."
6. If you love dusty soul 45s… Saun & Starr 'Look Closer'
Like Darlene Love, Saundra Williams and Starr Duncan Lowe are backup singers stepping into the spotlight. For years, the duo has backed Sharon Jones, and this collection of funky retro soul has them grooving like 1970 never arrived.
7. If you wish you saw the Beatles in Hamburg… The Sonics 'This Is the Sonics'
Going strong since 1960, this Pacific Northwest garage act rips harder than musicians a third their age. At 71, Gerry Roslie howls with a fury on these scorching rock & roll tracks. For added authenticity, it was recorded in mono.
8. If you love Van Morrison and British folk… Ryley Walker 'Primrose Green'
Working with a bunch of jazz players, the Chicago guitarist drapes lush sounds over his busy acoustic pickings. It brings to mind the psychedelic rural sounds that Van Morrison explored on Astral Weeks. Extra bonus points for making the most 1960s-looking album cover of the bunch, too.