Favorite Compilations Of 2008

There have been a number of top 10 favorite releases for 2008 posted by KDHX DJs. I thought I’d try something different and share some of my favorite compilations that were put out in 2008. I’m only scratching the surface here but that’s the nature of Top 10 lists, anyway. Or, in this case, a Top 7 list. Suffice it to say that I think any one of these compilations yield an overabundance of musical gems.

1. Take Me to the River: A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977 – Kent UK

If there is a better introduction and retrospective to southern soul than this 3-CD compilation, I sure haven’t heard it. Southern soul classics mixed with rarities and accompanied with a 72-page hardcover booklet. It’s done by the folks at Kent UK so it’s a given that the sound and packaging is topnotch.

2. Oxford American 10th Anniversary Southern Music CDs – Oxford American

Every year, Oxford American magazine puts out an issue devoted to southern music. The latest issue (with Jerry Lee Lewis on the cover) is their 10th anniversary and comes with two CDs of music tangentially related to southern music. These CDs include a myriad of different artists and musical genres from recordings spanning over seventy years. So much wonderful music on here and quite a bit from artists I have never heard before. Then when you factor in the magazine, itself, with music writing by the likes of writers such as Peter Guralnick, what are you waiting for? Available at fine booksellers near you.

3. The Wire: And All the Pieces Matter — Five Years of Music from The Wire – Nonesuch

This compilation perfectly intersperses music tracks with dialogue from five years of the finest television series ever made. This compilation manages to capture the essence of the show which is not an easy task. Artists ranging from Jesse Winchester, Tom Waits, & The Pogues to DJ Technics, Lafayette Gilchrist, & Blind Boys of Alabama are sequenced in a way where it all makes sense. Most of the snippets of dialogue included, however, are not likely to be FCC-approved anytime, soon.

4. New Orleans Funk, Vol. 2 – Soul Jazz

New Orleans Funk

This second edition came out in 2008 and features New Orleans funk and soul from the 60s and early-70s. This collection features well-known artists such as Lee Dorsey & Allen Toussaint and combines them with lesser-known artists such as Bonnie & Sheila and the Prime Mates. Put this on and let the party ensue.

5. Christmas a Go-Go – Wicked Cool

Don’t let the fact that this is a compilation of Christmas music fool you into thinking that it is any lesser in quality than any other compilation on this list. Compiled by Little Steven of the E-Street Band and Underground Garage and, in my estimation, one of the best Christmas music compilations ever made. And, believe me, I’ve heard a few Christmas music compilations over the the years. Like many fine compilations, well-known artists (such as Darlene Love, the Kinks, the Ramones) are combined with lesser-known and talented artists (Boss Martians, Chesterfield Kings, Joe Pesci(?)) to make a cohesive collection with surprises galore. A cornucopia of rock, garage-rock, & soul.

6. Theme Time Radio Hour: With Your Host Bob Dylan – Ace

Bob Dylan has managed the difficult feat of still being able to surprise and be relevant after almost fifty years of being a recording artist. In 2006, he added a different role & started hosting a weekly radio show called Theme Time Radio Hour which is a blend of jazz, blues, country, rock, boogie-woogie, R&B, & soul songs which revolve around a different theme every week. This two-CD collection captures the flavor of the show by compiling songs culled from some of those broadcasts. This is like a history lesson of great American music presented in a way that is informative, inspiring, and never less than entertaining.

7. Do-Wah-Diddy: Words and Music by Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry

Ace is putting out all these wonderful collections of different artists covering songs by various sublime songwriters. This happens to be one of those compilations. I could have, just as easily, put the Bert Berns, Jackie DeShannon, Jerry Ragavoy, early Randy-Newman, or Carole King/Gerry Goffin compilations on this list and be equally as happy. I suppose I selected this one because it had so many musical surprises that I’ve never heard before — with “Maybe I Know” featuring the most rocking recording by Lesley Gore you’re likely to hear, “Everybody Come Clap Your Hands” by a band called Moody & The Deltas, “I Can Hear Music” by the Beach Boys among the highlights.


  • Donna

    Just wanted to tell Mr. Wendland how much I love FROM MEMPHIS TO MANCHESTER.

    Where else can I ride around in my car listening to “The Backside of Dallas”?