CHOP CHOP BOOM: The Danderliers and Other Great Groups on States Chop Chop Boom retrieves a moment in time, in group harmony and Chicago music history, once thought lost. The States label may have had little success on the national level, but not for lack of good records. Ditto for the groups represented here-most made laudable music in their time with the label, and the Danderliers and Hornets at least proved themselves players on a large scale, had States been blessed with the financial and distribution resources necessary to play the game on a larger scale. The honest effort put forth by all parties to these proceedings deserves the dignified presentation their efforts receive here.

PAUL CURRERI, California It's been a long road back from the throat surgery that took Paul Curreri off the active list for some three years, but with California he reminds us of how compelling a singer-songwriter he can be, and how sure-handed a producer he is as well. Sonically, musically, lyrically, Curreri's California is a wondrous place, and like the Sunshine State itself embraces interludes both unsettling and uplifting in a certain weird, self-affirming California way.

JOHN DOKES SINGS, GEORGE GEE SWINGSThis unassuming album reveals itself as one of 2010’s top pop offerings, as bracing in spirit as it is assured in musicality. Splendid work by all concerned.

ANN SAVOY, Black CoffeeBest known for her compelling mastery of Cajun music as a member of both the Savoy Family Band and the Savoy Doucet Band, as well as an incredible duet album with Linda Ronstadt, 2006's Grammy nominated Adieu False Heart (on which the two were billed as the Zozo Sisters), and not least of all as part of the all-woman band The Magnolia Sisters, Savoy can clearly do pretty much whatever she wants musically and have it turn out vital and memorable. She does the songs on Black Coffee proud, her versions standing toe-to-toe with many of the original treatments. How great would it be for this music-and for us—if she hung around these parts for awhile?

MORRY SOCHAT & THE SPECIAL 20S, Eatin' Dirt Later for the Wall Street Journal, and don't worry about the blues. Morry Sochat & The Special 20s are taking care of business, and so are a bunch of younger, equally inspired artists, male and female alike. In these hands the blues will survive and thrive, and will be there when fans of Citizen Cope, Massive Attack or Lady Gaga hunger for the real thing. Then we'll see exactly who's eatin' dirt.

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