Too Far to Care, The Old 97's (Elektra Records).
Lost in the Land of Texico, Tom Faulkner (Serrano Records).
ear X-tacy II, Andy Timmons (oo/Sony Japan).
The Land of Freedom and Pleasure, The Hollisters (Freedom Records).
Marchel Ivery Meets Joey DeFrancesco, Marchel Ivery (Leaning House Records).
Let Me Play With Your Poodle, Marcia Ball (Rounder Records).
Strange Happy, Earl Harvin and Dave Palmer (Leaning House Records).
Blacks 'n' Jews, Josh Alan (Black Cracker Music).
Gate Swings, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown (Verve Records).
The top live shows of 1997
The Jayhawks, Stubb's Barbecue in Austin, March 15.
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Poor David's Pub, March 29.
Mary Cutrufello, Sons of Hermann Hall, June 14.
Cowboy Mouth, Stubb's Barbecue in Austin, June 25.
Junior Brown, Sons of Hermann Hall, August 29.
Barry Kooda, The Dallasite Club, August 16.
All the Tea in China, Poor David's Pub, October 9.
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Rick Koster is a contributor to the Observer music section who now writes about music for the New London, Connecticut, Day.