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Round-up 2017 Bob Oram's best albums of the year

SADLY overlooked earlier this year, Quiet Loner Matt Hill’s stint as songwriter in residence at the People’s History Museum spawned Battle for the Ballot, an absolute gem.

Hill is an incredibly talented writer and these 10 superb songs and his slow measured voice paint pictures that celebrate all those who campaigned and fought for our right to vote.

He's aided by splendid vocalist Tracey Browne who, in Paint This Prison, brings the heroic women to life, especially on the story of an anonymous suffragette prisoner .

Along with the songs of struggle, such as the harrowing St Peter's Field, there are also songs of joyful solidarity, Banners Held High — and shared purpose —Half a Dozen Demands and the brilliant Nothing Less Than Revolution is the perfect song for the election we are about to fight.

After celebrating four decades of making music, Jon Langford, never ceases to amaze. Four Lost Souls is a masterpiece truly befitting this talented artist.

Ditching writing for guitar in favour of piano, he forgoes his natural punk rock to create a truly unique blend of Americana, country, soul, bluegrass and rock'n'roll.

Aided by awesome musicians and brilliant vocalists, the songs were recorded at Muscle Shoals straight after Trump’s victory. A proud Welshman in the US, Langford chronicles his experiences travelling around the south and contrasts the friendliness of the people with all its history. You certainly feel it when he sings: “There is no end to this, the wars of class and race”.

History, relationships, injustice, space and hope all provide memorable images in the best US album by far.

Manchester's The Moods are a superbly talented 10-piece collective of producers, poets and musicians, whose organically crafted mix of drum and bass, reggae, rock, hip-hop and dance is superb and they're well worth catching live.

Their first album Missing Peace is a triumph and opener P.O.P (Profit over People) delivers a scorching attack on the current system. “Pushing up their nose, whilst they see their rolls stack, Profit over People is ever so lethal.”

They create a life-affirming joy on all 12 tracks, while the intelligence and vocal skills of their singers and rappers dissect war, poverty, class, love, life and death. Best album of the year.







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