The best musical reissues of the year, from the Beatles to Philly soul to The Roots
The best reissues of the year include a full Beatles immersion experience, an array of Philadelphia International Records 50th anniversary releases, Joni Mitchell and John Coltrane rarities, a Latin Soul dance party, a Bruce Springsteen live performance, a hip-hop classic from The Roots and a jazz iconoclast from Philadelphia are getting their due.
And much more. It’s time for last-minute gift shopping, and the packages highlighted here would serve well as bundles of joy for music lovers looking for physical products, the numbers of which are increasing with vinyl sales soaring by. 108% in the first half of 2021, according to industry analysts.
Online retailers can deliver most of the collections annotated below in time for Christmas, but order now. But you can also buy local first: Philly area record stores like Repo Records on South Street, Siren Records in Doylestown, Philadelphia Record Exchange in Fishtown, Main Street Music in Manayunk, Brewerytown Beats, Long In the Tooth in Center City and Common Beat in West Philadelphia.
And don’t think of these collections just as expensive gift options. Much of the music featured here is not exclusive to buyers of physical products. You won’t get the fancy booklets without spending the cash, but you can still listen to The Roots Triple LP Augmented Edition 34 tracks. Do you want more? !!! ??! on Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal. So buy a copy for someone you love, then stream the music for yourself.
The Beatles, Whether (Super Deluxe). After having lived the 8 hours Disney + of Peter Jackson To recover on the manufacture of So be it, I won’t need to hear “I’ve Got A Feeling” or “Don’t Let Me Down” again for a while. But this 6-CD box contains plenty of rare treasures, from the “Let It Be” mix from fashion plate producer Glyn Johns to Billy Preston singing the 1929 “Without A Song” chestnut to a debut “Something” with the lyrics ” Something in the way she moves me draws me like a pomegranate.
Beyond To recover, it was a year of reissue of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ two best solo albums. All Things Music Pass is the super deluxe version of the wittily seeking 1971 opus, filled with songs that were not of particular interest to George Harrison’s bandmates during So be it repetitions. (He’s also promoted by the weird and fanciful celebrity-filled “My Sweet Lord” video that came out last week.) John Lennon / Plastic Ono Band – The Ultimate Collection digs deep into Lennon’s 1971 masterpiece that produced the raw and emotional “Mother” and “Isolation.”
Philadelphia International Records reissues. It was also a big year for the label founded in 1971 by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, whose sophisticated soul shaped the decade to come.
PIR celebrated its 50th anniversary in a variety of ways, from an online visual art gallery inspired by the company that gave the world of McFadden & Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stoppin ‘Us Now” to collections compiled in all manner of configurations physical via Sony Legacy Recordings and partner labels.
There is only one LP Best of Philadelphia’s international records with tracks from Billy Paul, the Three Degrees and others. The double LP Golden Gate Groove: The Sound of Philadelphia Live 1973 chronicles a showcase show in San Francisco. The best of vinyl dedicated to Lou Rawl, Harold Melvin & the Blues and The O’Jays is available at thesoundofphiladelphia.com.
British label Snapper Music-United Souls has an ongoing series of lavishly produced 8-CD box sets. Until now, Board the Soul Train, Vol. 1 and Satisfaction Guaranteed, Vol. 2 are available. And the subscription service Vinyl Me, Please, has an 8 LP The history of Philadelphia’s international records box scheduled for shipment in February.
Roots, Do you want more? !!! ??!. A 3 LP reissue of the second album from 1995 which allowed the Philly hip-hop group to take on their full meaning with poetic tracks with jazz and funk textures like “Proceed” and “Mellow My Man”. Powerful and poignant, with an album cover featuring Black Thought, Questlove and rapper Malik B., who died last year. Bassist Leonard Hubbard died last week at the age of 62.
Hall & Oates, The Philly Bands. This limited edition vinyl-only version is also named after Daryl Hall & John Oates, Fall In Philadelphia: The Definitive Demos 1968-71, which is an accurate description of what it contains. This Record Store Day release brings together 20 first recordings from the band’s folk-rock era, with tracks like “Perkiomen” and the prophetic “A Lot Of Changes Comin ‘”.
The replacements, Sorry, I forgot to take out the trash. There’s an ongoing reissue program of the catalog of brilliantly unsuccessful post-punk band from Minneapolis of the 1980s, affectionately known as The ‘Mats – short for’ Placements – spurred on by Bob Mehr’s superb band biography in 2016, Trouble Boys. This fun and free set of 4 CD 1 LP collects the inspired outlet connected to Sorry mom, the group’s beginnings in 1981.
John Coltrane, Supreme Love: Living in Seattle. Supreme love, the 1965 album by the jazz sax genius who spent his formative years in Philly went platinum – certifying 1 million copies sold – last month. This live set single CD double LP is an unearthed recording from October 1965 that adds to this legacy. NPR jazz critic Nate Chinen compared him to “a Da Vinci scholar finding another Mona Lisa.”
Elvis Presley, Elvis: back in Nashville. This 4-CD set focuses on recordings from 1971 and, as with performances from 1970 over last year From Elvis to Nashville, they are stripped of their original orchestral softening. Elvis, still in his prime after returning, seems focused and responsible again, while being cowardly and joking at times. This time around half of the set consists of Christmas and gospel material.
Joni Mitchell, Archives, Vol. 2, The years of recovery, 1968-1971. Joni Mitchell is celebrated like never before with the 50th anniversary of her 1971 album Blue and as a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. Volume 2 in Rhino’s expertly curated series features five discs of live performances and rarities for fans to bask in.
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street group, The legendary concerts without nuclear weapons of 1979. The $ 500 million New Jersey man’s live performance at Madison Square Garden with the E Streeters at their zenith is captured here in a DVD and CD package.
READ MORE: Springsteen’s ‘No Nukes’ Movie Captures E Street Band in Their heyday
It’s a good, good feeling: the Latin soul of Fania Records. This fabulously entertaining collection of 4 CDs or a condensed 2 LPs brings together soul and Latin dance music recorded from 1965 to 1975. Artists featured include Joe Bataan, Willie Colon and Ray Barreto. More obscure goodies come from bands like Butter Scotch, which show the dominant influence of Philly Soul.
The story of Jimmie Vaughan. This 7 CD, 1 LP box set is a lavish celebration of the 70th birthday of a guitarist who is better known as a complementary player than a guitar god like his late brother, Stevie Ray Vaughan, but the music supports the care and the attention given to it. The ensemble covers the blues master from his early days in Austin, Texas, to his work with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and his current solo career.
»READ MORE: Long lost, the album ‘Metaphysics’ of the great jazz of Philly Hasaan Ibn Ali has finally been found
Hasaan Ibn Ali, Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album and Retrospect in Retirement of Delay: The Solo Recordings. In 2021, the late Philadelphia jazz pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali, who died in 1980, finally got the respect he deserved. Metaphysical is the 1965 solo of the influential and idiosyncratic player who was to be lost in a fire. Retrospection is a unique set of standards recorded in Philly in the 1960s.
Nick Cristiano contributed to this article.