Marty Lipp's Best of '97
- 1) Daniela Mercury 'Feijao Com Arroz' -- Easily rising above her previous work, Mercury creates an album filled with music that is fun and interesting. Great arrangements, voice, energy, rhythms -- with this, Mercury has become a pop goddess.
- 2) Skank 'O Samba Pocone' -- Despite my own waning enthusiasm for rock, I found that this Brazilian release has the exuberance it's English-speaking counterparts seem to have forgotten.
- 3) Fatal Mambo 'Fatal Mambo' -- This tongue-in-chic group from southern France stretches the boundaries of salsa like no one else, tossing in everything from Algerian rai to American rhythm and blues -- all without losing their sense of humor.
- 4) Carlinhos Brown 'Alphagamabetizado' -- Unleashed on his own, Brown shows just how truly creative he can be, inviting comparisons to Prince. The only problem here is that it makes one wonder why he can't bring more of this inventiveness to the group he founded, Timbalada.
- 5) Big Noise 2: Another Mambo Inn Compilation -- My favorite dance-oriented world-music collection. It could have been different, it could have been better, but no one else has done this as well.
- 6) Gilberto Gil 'Quanta' -- Few, if any, can match Gil's musical inventiveness and beguiling charm. If a newer artist had done this album, people would have been flabbergasted; but it seems we've grown used to Gil's sweet genius.
- 7) Marisa Monte 'A Great Noise' -- Not as great as her 'Rose and Charcoal,' this half-live/half-studio disc still has many sublime moments. Hopefully, she'll take more time on her next release and really blow us away.
- 8) Sharon Shannon 'Each Little Thing' -- Shannon's fingers can fly around her accordion, but her true talent is creating instrumental music that is melodic, spirited and emotionally rich.
- 9) Dulce Pontes 'Caminoes' -- This still-young Portuguese neo-fado singer has The Voice. This time out, she simplified her arrangements, got away from the synthesizers and scored one beautiful album.
- 10) Mini All-Stars 'Compas Fanatiques' -- This reissue of a tribute to the godfather of Haitian compas is as sweet and swinging as they come. A great intro to an overlooked genre.
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