***Please note: all are on vinyl. There is no such thing as best of anything when played back on CD. Sorry, but them's the facts. And I'm eliminating direct-to-disc as I feel that would be cheating.***
Janice Ian, Some Peoples Lives. Every track on Breaking Silence is superbly recorded with an all-analog signal path, but Some Peoples Lives is just Janice and piano recorded direct to 2-track. Pretty sure the liner notes even mention the cool tube microphone used. This whole recording is so good it makes even a car stereo sound high-end.
Michael Ruff, More Than You'll Ever Know. Sheffield Labs. Again, everything on Speaking in Melodies is sonic perfection, but More Than You'll Ever Know is just Michael Ruff on piano, direct to 2-track.
Terry Evans, Puttin' It Down. Audioquest. I forget which is the best track, the whole album is awesome. But I had a friend one time say you know, I think that one track sounded even better than the others. When we looked at the liner notes, guess what? That one track was recorded live to 2-track! Just get this one. If you can. I notice what I paid $30 for new years ago is now $150 on discogs. No wonder. Great blues, superb recording.
Doug MacLeod, Serious Woman. Reference Recording. The 45rpm 2-LP set. Reference Recording, the one label that best exemplifies truth in advertising. Everything on Exactly Like This is to die for, but MacLeod's performance of Serious Woman, is recorded in studio yet feels so incredibly you-are-there-and-this-is-just-for-you live you can hardly believe it.
Jennifer Warnes, The Well. Impex. This may be the best of them all. I don't know how they did it, or how much is recording technique or is it just Warnes fabulous voice, but her palpable vocal presence is just incredible. I mean its like you can feel her in the room. The 45 rpm 3 LP box set does indeed sound better, but you get plenty of the she-is-here chills even with the single 33 LP.