This blog is all about new records; if you’re curious about old ones, here are 35 that I find myself returning to again and again, listed here in no implied order other than alphabetical. These are plenty deep, and endlessly playable.

Erykah Badu, Mama’s Gun
The Band, The Band
Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique
Chuck Berry, The Great Twenty-Eight
Solomon Burke, Don’t Give Up on Me
Ray Charles, The Birth of Soul
John Coltrane, A Love Supreme
Elvis Costello, All This Useless Beauty
D’Angelo, Black Messiah
Miles Davis, Kind of Blue
Bob Dylan, Love & Theft
Duke Ellington, Money Jungle
Merle Haggard, A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World
Joe Henry, Tiny Voices
Miranda Lambert, The Weight of These Wings
Bettye LaVette, The Scene of the Crime
Paul McCartney, Ram
Charles Mingus, Ah Um
Joni Mitchell, Court and Spark
Thelonious Monk, Thelonious Monk Trio
Van Morrison, Astral Weeks
Novos Baianos, Acabou Chorare
Orchestra Baobab, Bamba
Over the Rhine, The Long Surrender
Prince, Parade
Otis Redding, Otis Blue
Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street
The Roots, undun
Nina Simone, Sings the Blues
Rod Stewart, Every Picture Tells a Story
Television, Marquee Moon
Allen Toussaint, The Bright Mississippi
A Tribe Called Quest, The Low End Theory
Tom Waits, Rain Dogs
Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy