Favorite Reissues Of 2008
2008 was a great year on the reissue front. Like my list of favorite compilations of 2008, I’m barely making a dent when talking about standouts among all the releases that came out. Hey, you do what you can…..
1. Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs – The Bootleg Series: Vol. 8 – Columbia
This really isn’t a reissue since almost every track on the 2-CD (or 3-CD ridiculously priced deluxe version) set has not been previously released. But seeing as how I left it off my list of Top 10 new releases and my list of favorite 2008 compilations, I had to put it somewhere because it is another tremendous release by one of our greatest artists. Tell Tale Signs features unreleased recordings and alternate versions of studio sessions & unreleased live performances from the last two decades. Songs like Most Of The Time and Mississippi are completely different and are, usually, as impressive as the versions found on his studio albums. And it’s Dylan so one can expect to hear the usual number of previously recorded songs omitted from studio albums that are as good as or surpass most of the songs found on the original studio releases.
2. The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 9: 1969 – Hip-O Select/Motown
Like esteemed writer and blogger David Cantwell has said, “these aren’t just collections, they are family heirlooms.” Pricey, yes. But wonderfully packaged and with great sound. This 6-CD, 148-track, 42-artist collection contains every A & B side of every Motown single released in 1969. The Motown catalog speaks for itself. People will still be listening to some of these recordings a hundred years from now.
3. Talkin’ About Ike: The Essential Works Of Ike Turner – Vol. 1: You Sure Could Do – P-Vine
Terrific release featuring 50s recordings by various artists that feature Ike Turner on guitar and/or as a producer. Artists such as Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Richard Berry, Betty Everett, and Otis Rush are all represented here. Sure, you probably won’t be able to read the liner notes because they are in Japanese but the song lyrics are all in English.
4. Talkin’ About Ike: The Essential Works Of Ike Turner – Vol. 2: Talkin’ About Ike- P-Vine
After hearing volume one of this series, it will become painfully obvious that you have to own volume 2, as well. This collection features some recordings by other artists that feature Ike Turner but more of the tracks are now recorded under his name plus some early tracks with Ike & Tina Turner also make their way on this disc. Tracks are from the 50s and early 60s this time around.
5. James Brown: The Singles Vol. 5 1967-69 – Hip-O Select
I don’t know – you think this is going to be any good? This 2-CD collection features all the A & B sides that were released by King between 1967 and 1969. You get soul making it’s way into funk during this period and this collection delivers the recordings with pristine sound and extensive liner notes. Hear some of the beats now being sampled decades later and still sounding fresh, as ever. Ground-breaking.
6. Bo Diddley: Road Runner: The Chess Masters 1959-60 – Hip-O Select
Bo Diddley passed away in 2008. Part of his legacy lives on in this 2-CD reissue featuring official releases, plenty of alternate takes, & rarities recorded between 1959-60. Unlike most artists at this time, lots of these tracks were recorded at his home studio and delivered to Chess for release.
7. Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue (Expanded) – Epic/Caribou
Seriously, it would have great if they just reissued Pacific Ocean Blue which came out in 1977 & marked the first solo album put out by a member of the Beach Boys. But this expanded reissue also includes session bonus tracks plus the previously unreleased Bambu album. The package also includes a 24-page booklet of liner notes.
8. Nick Lowe: Jesus Of Cool (Expanded) – Yep Roc
Nick Lowe released this in Europe in 1978 with this title but in the U.S. as Pure Pop For Now People with a couple of different songs & a different track listing. This 2008 reissue includes all the tracks from Jesus Of Cool in the original order, the different songs that appeared on Pure Pop For Now People plus some rarities and b-sides. All this and new artwork including a cool gatefold that opens up in the shape of a cross. Pop & melodic rock masterpiece with a sense of humor.
9. Mitty Collier: Shades Of Mitty Collier: The Chess Singles 1961-68 – Kent UK
This reissue features 24 soul tracks recorded by the greatly underrated Mitty Collier for Chess between 1961-68. Ten of these tracks have never been released on CD prior to this reissue. Her voice immediately pulls you in and makes you wonder how it is possible that she isn’t better known. One of my biggest musical surprises of 2008.
10. Al Wilson: Searching For The Dolphins (Expanded) – Kent UK
Al Wilson, sadly, passed away in 2008 at the age of 68. This reissue features the 1968 Soul City release plus 11 bonus tracks. Produced by Johnny Rivers and featuring musicians such as James Burton and Hal Blaine. Al Wilson might be best known for the song Show & Tell but his voice really shines on this collection of songs by songwriters such as Jimmy Webb, Fred Neil, Burt Bacharach/Hal David, John Fogerty, and Oscar Brown, Jr.