The answer to my own question is that I am having it all ways. This has been a thin year for Salut! Live, a consequence of the time I have necessarily spent on the day job (and developing another of my sites, Salut! Sunderland). The records don't flow my way quite as they did. But I could not let the year end without sharing my thoughts on the best I did come across in 2009 ...
The organisers of two British folk awards approach me each year for my nominations in their year-end polls.
Cara Dillon's Hill of Thieves may seem an obvious inclusion for CD of the year, her outstanding version of Spencer the Rover for best traditional track.
And so I voted, in the BBC Radio 2 Folk awards. The album was also among those listed by me in the fRoots poll (for which judges are not required to place their choice in order).
So Hill of Thieves is Salut! Live's album of 2009? No. That is where having it all ways comes in.
A misunderstanding on the release date led me to name it my album of last year. The confusion may have been mine but I am stuck with the choice I made. Since the album was considered a 2009 candidate in both the BBC and fRoots polls, I had to nominate it there.
Salut! Live is under no such obligation, and will continue - however erroneously - to regard Hill of Thieves as last year's event. I had the album in November, for heaven's sake.
So to my top 10 folk albums for 2009. One note of caution: I no longer receive albums in the numbers that I once did. Some that would probably have featured in my list in other circumstances have not come my way.
Partly for this reason, I have made no distinction between new CDs and reissues. The effect of this is that I have decided, for the first time since I began naming my album of the year two decades ago, to place two albums - one new, one a compilation - in joint first place.