Best Albums of 2013: Greg Cahill, Editorial Director

by Greg Cahill

Bob Dylan
Another Self Portrait, 1969-1971, the Bootleg Series Vol. 10
Reissue packs 35 rarities and previously unreleased tracks onto a two-disc deluxe version of what is perhaps Dylan’s most misunderstood album. (Columbia/Legacy) 

Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott
Memories & Moments
Thirteen years after their acclaimed debut Real Time, these gifted pickers deliver another down-home collection marked by sweet harmonies, guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. Highlights include a heavenly version of John Prine’s “Paradise.” (Compass) 

Ricky Skaggs & Bruce Hornsby
Cluck ’Ol Hen (Live)
Country superstar Ricky Skaggs collides with pop songsmith (and former Grateful Dead cohort) Bruce Hornsby in the barnyard. The result is a hillbilly spin on Hornsby’s 1986 hit single “The Way It Is,” blistering fast licks on “Bluegrass Breakdown,” and much more. (InGrooves) 

Big Star
Nothing Can Hurt Me
Big Star enjoyed a meteoric career. Led by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell, the Lennon and McCartney of underground pop, this short-lived 1970s Memphis-based foursome enjoyed an association with Stax Records at that great soul label’s peak, and a distribution deal with Columbia Records. That didn’t last long. This CD is the soundtrack to a terrific documentary on this cult band and features alternate mixes of “September Gurls,” “I Am the Cosmos,” and other obscure Big Star gems. (Omnivore) 

Bill Kirchen
Seeds and Stems
Axeslinger Bill Kirchen sealed his status as a Telecaster master years ago, a professor of twang. His latest is a baker’s dozen of high-octane rockabilly fueled scorchers that celebrate fast cars (including a reprise of “Hot Rod Lincoln”), fast trucks, and fast women. (Proper)

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