Lee Blackstone's Best of 1997
Alphabetical order...

1.) Burach -- "Born Tired" (Greentrax)...wonderful Scottish folk-rock with '90s attitude and a welcome '70s feel

2.) Eliza Carthy & The Kings of Calicutt (Topic)...amongst the best representatives of the new English folk breed

3.) La Cucina -- "Bloom" (Osmosys)...sunny, intensely happy Latin/Mustapha/ Police-like blend of groove

4.) Cythara -- "Pluckin' Hammered" (KRL/Lochshore)...beautiful melding of harp and hammered dulcimer

5.) Hedningarna -- "Hippjokk" (Northside)...the continuing odyssey of Nordic trance. Intense.

6.) William Pint & Felicia Dale -- "Round the Corner" (Waterbug)...stands all your preconceptions of nautical song on its head. A surprising folk-rock record of the first calibre.

7.) Tanaw -- "Bloaz an erh du" (Keltia Musique)...by turns ambient, worldy, and danceable. One of the freshest recordings out of Brittany in some time... each track a surprise!

8.) Urban Folk -- "Volume II: Self Destructive Fools" (Harbourtown)... awesome treatment of trad. folk material + more in a grand double- disc

9.) Valramn -- Lure (Tonngang)...the Swedish Blowzabella? Powerful acoustic instrumentals to sweep you off your feet.

10.) Väsen -- Whirled (Northside)...the addition of percussion enhances Vasen's dense sound to make their best record yet.

And, #11 -- a great record from Italy from 1995, which I would have loved to put on the list...but it is hard to get music from Italy, so hence the time difference: Abourasqui bando -- "Musica tradizionale di leri e di oggi" (Ousitanio Vivo)...hurdy-gurdy, horns + more, great singing...spiritual and raucous. A true delight.

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