Wavelength’s 100 Favorite Albums

Ted Grimsrud—March 16, 2014

In honor of my late, great Wavelength radio show, featured on WEMC from 2002 to 2010 (archived shows are here), I am making a list of Wavelength’s 100 favorite albums—all in good fun. There is nothing scientific (or even necessarily accurate) about this list. The list was completed on March 16, 2014. It does include several albums that have been released since December 2010, hence it is a list of Wavelength’s current favorites, not the favorites of what was featured on the show.

I also prepared a list of the second 200, those that didn’t quite make the cut. These records are listed alphabetically, not in order of preference. Here is the link to that list.

[May 11, 2017 note—I do hope to return to this list some day, to finish the annotations and revise the list to include materials from the past three years as well as a few egregious oversights. I do want to mention one artist who should be on the list, Gram Parsons. There are at least three of his albums that merit consideration for this list: GP and Grievous Angel, both released as solo works, and Gilded Palace of Sin, released with the Flying Burrito Brothers.]

Here are the Favorites—in inverse order:

100. Bob Dylan. Oh Mercy

99. Gregg Allman. Low Country Blues

98. The Blind Boys of Alabama. Spirit of the Century

97. Crash Test Dummies. The Ghosts That Haunt Me

96. 16 Horsepower. Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes

95. R.E.M. Document

94. Lou Reed. Magic and Loss

93. James McMurtry. Childish Things 

92. Creedence Clearwater Revival. Willy and the Poor Boys

91. Buddy Miller. Your Love and Other Lies

90. Nick Cave. The Boatman’s Call

89. Charlie Rich. Pictures and Paintings

88. Emmylou Harris. Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town

87. Steve Young. No Place to Fall

86. Willis Alan Ramsey. Willis Alan Ramsey

85. Bill Fay. Life is People

84. Norah Jones. Feels Like Home

83. Slaid Cleaves. Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

82. Dave Alvin. King of California

81. The Avett Brothers. I and Love and You

80. Muddy Waters. Hard Again

79. Tom Waits. Heartattack and Vine

78. Gillian Welch. Hell Among the Yearlings

77. The Clash. London Calling

76. Robert Earl Keen. A Bigger Piece of Sky

75. Van Morrison. Avalon Sunset

74. George Jones. Anniversary

73. Slim Cessna’s Auto Club. Always Say Please and Thank You

72. Los Lobos. Kiko

71. Teddy Thompson. Up Front and Down Low

70. Hothouse Flowers—Songs from the Rain

69. Cowboy Junkies—The Trinity Session

68. Billy Joe Shaver—Old Five and Dimers Like Me

67. Richard and Linda Thompson—Pour Down Like Silver

66. James McMurtry—Live in Aught-Three

65. Warren Zevon—Stand in the Fire

 64. Willie Nelson—Red Headed Stranger

63. Richard Thompson—Rumor and Sigh

62. k. d. lang—Shadowland

61. Ray Wylie Hubbard—Dangerous Spirits

60. Patti Smith. Dream of Life

59. Bruce Springsteen. The Ghost of Tom Joad

58. The Handsome Family. Through the Trees

57. Slaid Cleaves. Broke Down

56. The Rolling Stones. Beggar’s Banquet

55. Alejandro Escovedo. A Man Under the Influence

54. Van Morrison. Into the Music

53. Patti Smith. Twelve

52. Leonard Cohen. I’m Your Man

51. Jerry Jeff Walker. A Man Must Carry On

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