Favourite CD of 1997 (released in 1997):
Front runners:
Sarah Maclachlan, Surfacing
Amanda McBroom, A Waiting Heart
Nancy Bryan, Lay me Down (1995, XRCD 1997)

Favourite CD of 1996 (released in 1996): (Tie!)
Shawn Colvin, A Few Small Repairs
Michelle Shocked, Kind Hearted Woman

Click to Access Reviews.

Volume 1 - Up to March 1997 Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Mary Black, Shine Digital Forward
Michelle Shocked, Kind Hearted Woman Natural Forward
Sarah MacLachlan, Touch Digital Middle
Suzanne Vega, Nine Objects of Desire Clear Forward
Tori Amos, Boys for Pele Clear Forward
Amanda McBroom, Dreaming Analogue Middle
Dee Carsensten, Regarding the Soul Clear Forward
Dente, Ashton, Becker, Along the Road Clear Forward
Mary Black, Circus Clear Forward
Volume 2 - up till May 97 Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Patricia Barber, Cafe Blue Natural Laid-back
Jann Arden, Living Under June / Digital Middle
Sarah MacLachlan, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy Clear Forward
Twila Paris, Where I stand Clear- Forward
Holly Cole, It Happened One Night Natural Middle
Holly Cole Trio, Yesterday and Today Analogue Middle
Holly Cole Trio, Temptation Vague/Dark Middle
Holly Cole Trio, Don't Smoke in Bed Clear Forward
Sarah MacLachlan, The Freedom Sessions Clear Forward
Volume 3 - up to August 97 Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Lori Lieberman, a Thousand Dreams Natural Laid-back
Nancy Bryan, Lay me Down Natural Middle
Idde Shultz, Idde Shultz Digital Forward
Alison Krauss & Union Station, So long so wrong Clear Forward
Alison Krauss, Now that I've Found You Clear Forward
Rita Coolidge, Behind the Memories Digital Forward
Jennifer Warnes, The Hunter Clear+ Middle
Natalie Merchant, TigerLily (US press much better) Clear-/
Forward /
Rita Coolidge, Out of the Blue Analogue Middle
Volume 4 - October 97  Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Janis Ian, Breaking Silence Natural Laid-back
Sara Hickman, Misfits Digital ...
Sarah MacLachlan, Surfacing Clear Forward
Christy Baron, I Thought about You Natural Laid-Back
Amanda McBroom, A Waiting Heart Clear Middle
Julia Fordham, East West Vague Middle
10,000 Maniacs, MTV unplugged Digital Middle
Beth Nielsen Chapman, Sand & Water Digital Forward
Shawn Colvin, Live in '88 Clear Forward
Volume 5 - Dec 97  Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Holly Cole, Dark Dear Heart Clear Mid/Dark
Lesley Garrett, (various) / Clear Middle
Trish Yearwood, Songbook Clear- Middle
Diana Krall, Love Scenes Natural Forward
Cecilia, Voice of the Feminine Spirit Clear- Middle
Bonnie Raitt, Luck of the Draw Digital Middle
Tina Arena, In Deep Digital Middle
Jewel, Pieces of You Clear Middle
Kiki Dee, Almost Naked Clear Forward
Volume 6 - Jan 98 Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Nanci Griffith, One Fair Summer Evening Clear Middle
Joan Baez, Gone from Danger Clear Forward
Nanci Griffith, Blue Roses from the Moon Clear Forward
Time & Love: the music of Laura Nyro / Clear Forward /
Texas, White on Blonde Digital Forward
Nancy Griffith, Lone Star State of Mind Clear/Thin Middle
Joan Baez, Play me Backwards Clear Forward  
Janis Ian, Hunger Natural Middle
Beth Nielsen Chapman, eponymous Clear Forward
Volume 7 - Jan 98 Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Jann Arden, Happy? Clear Forward
Trisha Yearwood, Everybody Knows Clear- Middle
Mary Chapin Carpenter, a Place in the World Clear Forward
Nanci Griffith, Storms Thin Middle
Dar Williams, Mortal City Clear Forward
Tanya, Bored Digital Middle
Suzanne Vega, Sessions at West 54th Clear Middle
Mary Black, Wonder Child Special Edition Clear Forward
Julia Fordham, Love Moves (Special Edition) Clear- Middle
Volume 8- Mar98 Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Rebecca Pidgeon, Four Marys Natural Forward
Iris DeMent, The Way I Should Clear+ Mid/For
The Corrs, Talk on Corners Digital Forward
Roseanna Vitro, Catching Some Rays Analogue Mid/Dark
Anne Murray, Crooning Clear Middle
Sarah McLachlan, Solace Clear- Forward
Jennifer Robin, Eye of the Storm Clear+ Middle
Volume 9- Sep 98 (under construction) Overall Voice Clarity Balance Sound stage Resolution
Bonnie Raitt, Fundamental Clear Forward
Nanci Griffith, Other Voices, Too Clear Middle
Natalie Merchant, Ophelia Clear Middle
Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shooting Str in the Dark Clear Middle
Matraca Berg, Sunday Morning to Sat Night Clear Middle
Sometimes, after more extensive listening, I occasionally change my opinion on a particular recording. I plan to incorporate such comments as footnotes to the original review, and I'll summarise them here as well.
Great sound From 1-3 stars Good, very Good, Excellent album
Voice As reflected in this recording. Voice, phrasing, diction, timing, expressiveness. Affected by recording quality
Clarity Natural :- The best 
Analogue :- warm sounding, but not as clear as 'clear' below. 
Clear:- Typical of good modern recordings, clearer than analogue but not as warm 
Digital:- Though clear, leads to feelings of digititis. 
Vague:- Not very good. 

Note: Sometimes the voice is clear but the music isn't; my rating will favour vocal clarity

Balance Forward/Middle/Laidback 
There is also an attribute called 'dark' which refers to a lack of treble energy though 
detail and clarity is not really affected.
Soundstage Of course, it could be studio processed, but that itsn't relevant.
Resolution Maybe I should have used the word detail. Objectively, bright recordings would provide 
more detail. So the thing to look for are laidback recordings with high resolution.
- minus signs 
/ slashes
Clear- indicates it almost falls into 'vague', Clear+ means almost audiophile 'natural' 
Natalie Merchant gets x/x as soundstaging is variable amongst diff songs 
Some songs deserve  some deserve less
Comments on Sound Quality :- Everything's relative (dead link at the moment)