Like the charity album, the tribute album is fraught with danger — they’re a lovely idea in principle, but often the results are at best underwhelming and at worst hilariously bad. Still, they don’t have to be that way, and with tribute albums in the news a bit of late — there’s Joe Jackson’s Duke Ellington record, which is out this week, along with news of an upcoming Fleetwood Mac tribute, we thought we’d take the opportunity to round up some of the worthiest examples of the genre. Your suggestions are, as ever, more than welcome.
Some of the best tribute albums are those to artists who perhaps aren’t so well known in their own right, perhaps because they tend to be labors of love that only feature musicians who were actually fans of the artist in question. So it was with this 2009 tribute album to oft-overlooked folk singer Kath Bloom, which featured contributions from artists who were genuinely inspired by her work — everyone from folk-scene contemporaries like Devendra Banhart to The Concretes and Scout Niblett. Uniquely, it also came with a second disc that contained the original versions of the songs, making it a particularly good introduction to Bloom’s work.