THE BEST COMPILATIONS OF 2016-PART 5.

The Best Compilations Of 2016-Part 5.

The Golden Age Of American Country Music: More Country Hits.

For many people, the golden age of country music was the late fifties and early sixties. During that period, country music provided the soundtrack to much of American life. Providing the soundtrack were giants of country music like Johnny Cash, Don Gibson, Carl Perkins, George Jones, Jerry Lee Lewis and Marty Robbins. Their singles regularly topped the country charts and crossed over into the US Billboard 100.  Songs from each of these artists feature on a recently released compilation by Ace Records, The Golden Age Of American Country Music: More Country Hits.

This is the long-awaited followup to The Golden Age Of American Country Music: The Country Hits, which was released back in 2008. Fast forward eight years, and The Golden Age Of American Country Music: More Country Hits features another twenty-eight hits from some of the giants of country music. Essentially, The Golden Age Of American Country Music: More Country Hits features a who’s who of country music. There’s also contributions from Jim Reeves, Patti Page, Stonewall Jackson, Ray Price, Bill Anderson and Carl Smith on The Golden Age Of American Country Music: More Country Hits. 

It’s a compilation that epitomises everything that’s good about country music. That comes as not surprise. The Golden Age Of American Country Music: More Country Hits features many of the giants of country music, who were responsive for the rise and rise of country music.

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The Independents.-Just As Long-The Complete Wand Recordings 1972-74. 

Charles Jackson and Marvin Yancy first met at the Chicago’s Black Writer’s Workshop. When they got talking, they discovered they had much in common. They began to write together, they proved a potent partnership. Two heads were definitely better than one.  Having penned some songs, Charles hit on the idea of forming a group. Secretly, he had dreamed of becoming a singer. So Charles approached Marvin about forming a group. He agreed, they began the search for the rest of the nascent group. Before long, two stalwarts of Chicago soul scene,  Helen Curry and Maurice Jackson had agreed to join the nascent group that became The Independents. 

Over the next two years, The Independents enjoyed eight hit singles in the US R&B charts, and five in the US R&B charts. This included four top ten singles, including the number one single Leaving Me. It was one of The Independents’ trademark ballads, which was certified gold after selling over 500,000 copies. However, Leaving Me is just one of twenty-two tracks that feature on Just As Long-The Complete Wand Recordings 1972-74. 

It was recently released by Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records and includes singles, B-Sides, album tracks and a remix. The twenty-two tracks on Just As Long-The Complete Wand Recordings 1972-74 include the best and most beautiful music in the three year career of Chicago’s very own The Independents. 

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The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco.

Since 2014, DJ Supermarkt has been curating the Too Slow To Disco series. Last year, rather that release Too Slow To Disco Volume 3, to focus on The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco. It’s a nineteen track compilation released by the How Do You Are label. The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco features Evie Sands,  Rickie Lee Jones, Melissa Manchester, Valerie Carter, Carole Bayer Sager, Carly Simon, Lauren Wood, Carole King and Lynn Christopher. This was a tantalising taste of the music awaiting the listener on The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco.

Classics, hidden gems and rarities sit side-by-side on The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco. Many of the tracks aren’t the artists biggest hits. Instead, many are album tracks. This makes a pleasant change. Usually, compilers look no further than singles. However, that’s not DJ Supermarkt’s style. He eschews the obvious for long forgotten album tracks.  Many people won’t remember these tracks. They’ll only be remembered by diehard fans. Not any more. Now a new generation of music lovers will get the chance to hear these hidden gems. They’re part of a  voyage of discovery, where newcomers will discover the delights of the West Coast sound, including The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco.

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The Microcosm): The Visionary Music Of Continental Europe, 1970-1986. 

As the seventies dawned, a new musical movement started to take shape across Europe. This new musical movement continued right through to the mid-eighties. By then,  it was a pan European musical movement. The tentacles of this new musical movement had spread far and wide, and showcased the combined and considerable talents of artists who created ambitious and innovative music. This music is documented on (The Microcosm): The Visionary Music Of Continental Europe, 1970-1986, which was released by Light In The Attic Records.

It’s  the perfect introduction to the pioneers of this new, pan European musical movement. It showcases the music Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Ralph Lundsten, Ash Ra, Tempel, Ariel Kalma, Bernard Xolotl, Enno Velthuys, Peter Michael Hamel and Deuter. They’re among the fourteen artists that feature on (The Microcosm): The Visionary Music Of Continental Europe, 1970-1986. Each produced ambitious and innovative music, and can be described as a visionary.

Despite this, the music failed to find an audience. It was only many years later, that the music on (The Microcosm): The Visionary Music Of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 somewhat belatedly, began to find the audience it deserves. Still though, there are many record buyers still to discover the delights of this pan European musical movement. Maybe (The Microcosm): The Visionary Music Of Continental Europe, 1970-1986 will introduce them to this body of groundbreaking music, and they’ll embark upon a musical voyage of discovery?

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The Other Side Of The Trax-Stax-Volt 45rpm Rarities 1964-1968  

Between 1964 and 1968, countless hidden gems found their way on to B-Sides of Stax and Volt singles. Since then, none of these B-Sides have been released on CD before. That’s until now. Twenty-four B-Sides from Stax and Volt’s blue period are celebrate on The Other Side Of The Trax-Stax-Volt 45rpm Rarities 1964-1968, which was released by Kent Soul, an imprint of Ace Records. 

The Other Side Of The Trax-Stax-Volt 45rpm Rarities 1964-1968 features tracks from some of the biggest names on Stax and Volt’s roster during the blue period. This includes Johnnie Taylor, Carla Thomas, William Bell, The Mar-Keys, Eddie Jefferson, Dorothy Williams, Oscar Mack, Eddie Floyd and Lynda Lyndell. They’re just a few of the artists that feature on The Other Side Of The Trax-Stax-Volt 45rpm Rarities 1964-1968, which is a reminder of the delights tucked away on B-Sides during Stax and Volt’s blue period.

Often, the B-Side to a Stax or Volt single surpassed the quality of the single. Those that flipped over were richly rewarded, and heard joyous, uptempo, dance tracks or heartbreaking ballads. Twenty-four of Stax and Volt’s finest B-Sides feature on The Other Side Of The Trax-Stax-Volt 45rpm Rarities 1964-1968. These songs are a reminder to always flip over to the B-Side, as musical gold may be awaiting discovery. 

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The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults.   

Last year, Sainsbury’s jumped on the burgeoning vinyl bandwagon, and have released a series of limited editions. This includes The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults, which was released as a double album by Charly, and retailed exclusively through Sainsbury’s. Only 1,000 copies were pressed on 180 gram orange heavyweight vinyl. It’s a quality release and a reminder of one of the most important record labels in musical history.

It’s the label where rock ’n’ roll was born, and that was home to everyone from Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis to Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and the Silver Fox Charlie Rich. That’s not forgetting Warren Smith, The Miller Sisters, Billy Lee Riley and Earl Hooker. They all feature on The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults. Some of their best known tracks feature on this double album, and will be instantly recognisable to music lovers of all ages. They’re joined by some hidden gems from the Sun Records’ back-catalogue. It’s a captivating compilation.

For newcomers to Sun Records, The Sun Records Rock ’N’ Collection-40 Rockin’ Greats From The Sun Vaults, it’s the perfect starting place for anyone whose yet to discover the delights of Sun Records. This should be part of their musical education. After all, Sun Records was one of the most important labels in the history of music.

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Things Gonna Get Better: Street Funk and Jazz Grooves 1970-1977 .

Although funk and jazz compilations are plentiful, Things Gonna Get Better: Street Funk and Jazz Grooves 1970-1977 stood head and shoulders above the competition. They were mere also-rans compared to Things Gonna Get Better: Street Funk and Jazz Grooves 1970-1977. It’s the second, and best instalment in BGP Records’ Things Gonna Get Better series.

Dean Rudland a veteran of countless critically acclaimed compilations compiled Gonna Get Better: Street Funk and Jazz Grooves 1970-1977. It was the latest in a long line of quality compilations to bear Dean Rudland’s name. Not for the first time, Dean Rudland has compiled what can only be described as a must have compilation for fans of jazz and funk. That’s no surprise.

Gonna Get Better: Street Funk and Jazz Grooves 1970-1977 featured everyone from Funkadelic, Vernon Garrett, Richard “Groove” Holmes and Idris Muhammad to Lonnie Liston Smith, Don Julian and The Larks, Harold Alexander and Pretty Purdie and The Playboys. The twenty tracks are a mixture of singles, B-Sides, album tracks and Dave Hamilton’s unreleased track What’s The Matter With The World. This results in a compilation that oozes quality, and will be a welcome addition to any record collection, Gonna Get Better: Street Funk and Jazz Grooves 1970-1977.

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Tim Buckley-Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions.

For anyone with even a passing interest in Tim Buckley’s music, then Light In The Attic’s Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions was the equivalent of the Holy Grail. It featured thirteen previously unreleased tracks. This included six songs from a long-lost acetate and seven songs the Oak Court Demo Tape. Listening to Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions is the equivalent of time travel. 

Suddenly, it’s late 1966, early 1967 and the listener is transported to Larry Beckett’s LA apartment. Larry sets up his reel-to-reel tape recorder. This he does during several sessions. The songs he records Tim Buckley singing became the Oak Court Demo. These songs are work in progress. Having said that, they’re of historical importance. Especially to anyone interested in Tim Buckley’s music. Two of the songs on the Oak Court Demo, Once I Was and I Never Asked to Be Your Mountain would later be transformed, into Tim Buckley classics. These versions on Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions show these songs evolving. It’s a similar case with the songs on The Acetate recorded at Madison Studios. They’re a fascinating insight into Tim Buckley’s nascent recording career. 

Somewhat belatedly, these thirteen songs are available for all to hear on  Lady, Give Me Your Key-The Unissued 1967 Sessions. For Tim Buckley fans they’re regarded as a  musical Holy Grail.

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Venezuela 70-Cosmic Visions Of A Latin American Earth-Venezuelan Experimental Rock In The 1970s.

Last year, Soul Jazz Records released  Venezuela 70-Cosmic Visions Of A Latin American Earth-Venezuelan Experimental Rock In The 1970s. It was compiled by Toni Arrelano and featured music from Pablo Schneider, Fernando Yvosky, Vytas Brenner, Angel Rada, Miguel Angel Fuster and Apocalipsis. These artists are largely unknown outside of their home country, but were part of what was a golden age in Venezuelan music.

During the seventies, Venezuelan artists released groundbreaking and genre-melting music. To do that, they drew inspiration from, and combined disparate musical genres, influences and instruments. Everything from avant-garde to Berlin School, electronica and experimental has been combined with funk and fusion plus Krautrock, Latin, progressive rock, psychedelia, rock and space rock. All these genres can be heard throughout Venezuela 70-Cosmic Visions Of A Latin American Earth-Venezuelan Experimental Rock In The 1970s. They’re combined by artists and groups who pushed musical boundaries and created ambitious and exciting music. Sadly,this music is largely unknown outside of their home country. That’s a great shame.

Especially considering the quality of music that is on Venezuela 70-Cosmic Visions Of A Latin American Earth-Venezuelan Experimental Rock In The 1970s. It’s the perfect introduction to Venezuelan music of the seven tie and features  some of the most talented musicians in Venezuela’s thriving music scene during what was a golden age.

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Where The Girls Are Volume 9.

 

There aren’t many compilations that are still going strong after nine volumes and nineteen years. That is apart from the Where The Girls Are series.  Last year, Where The Girls Are Volume 9 was released by Ace Records. It’s another captivating compilation that features The Rag Dolls, Diane Christian, Popsicles, Evie Sands, Lovelites, The Francettes, The Penny Sisters and The Blossoms With Billy Strange. This is just a tantalising taste of the delights in store on for listeners on Where The Girls Are Volume 9.

Just like the previous volumes in the Where The Girls Are series, the emphasis was on quality music. It’s guaranteed to bring memories flooding back. The listener never knows what compiler Mick Patrick has in-store. He’s dug deep into the vaults of numerous labels, including Ballyhoo, Bandera, Bell Records, Cameo, Decca, Flip, Mint, Parkway and Vault and unearthed hidden gems and old favourites.

There everything from pop to soul and the classic sixties girl group sound. There’s even a couple of would-be dance crazes on Where The Girls Are Volume 9. It’s a welcome addition to one Ace Records’ longest running and critically acclaimed  series, Where The Girls Are. 

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