THE BEST COMPILATIONS OF 2016-PART 4.

The Best Compilations Of 2016-Part 4.

Pink Floyd-Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972.

One box set that divided opinion during 2016, was Pink Floyd’s The Early Years 1965–1972. It featured eleven CDs, DVDs, blu-ray discs, vinyl, and memorabilia. There was everything from unreleased material to live recordings and non-album singles. The Early Years 1965–1972 was marketed as the most comprehensive overview of the first five years of Pink Floyd’s recording career. However, it came at a price, £375. The Early Years 1965–1972 was the most expensive box set of recent years. Many people decided to buy instead Pink Floyd-Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972.

This double album was essentially a sampler of the box set. There was a single, B-Side, unreleased tracks, remixes, radio sessions, jams and songs that were work in progress. However,  during the five years the compilation covers, Pink Floyd evolve and mature into a much tighter band. That’s apparent thought Pink Floyd-Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972, which is the perfect introduction to Pink Floyd’s long and illustrious career.

For many people, The Early Years 1965–1972 would be overkill. Some people may only want some of the material. That will soon be possible when six forthcoming volumes from the box set will be released. Meanwhile, Pink Floyd-Cre/ation: The Early Years 1967–1972 is a tantalising taste of what’s in store on these six volumes from The Early Years 1965–1972 box set. 

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Red Square-Rare and Lost 70s Recordings.

Red Square were formed in 1974, and imploded in 1978. By then, Red Square hadn’t even released an album. Their modest discography consisted of just two self-released cassettes. However, Red Square reformed in 2008, and are making up for lost time.  Rare and Lost 70s Recordings which was released by Mental Experience, an imprint of Guerssen Records is just the latest release from the avant-rock pioneers, who have influenced several generation of musicians.

Even today, bands cite Red Square as one of the bands who influenced them. Rare and Lost 70s Recordings features Red Square at the peak of their powers between 1976 and 1978. During that period, Red Square were one of leading lights of the avant-rock and free-improv scenes. Red Square created groundbreaking music that should’ve reached a much wider audience. Alas, record companies were reluctant to sign Red Square. They were perceived as having an “attitude,”  and their music was deemed to extreme to be commercial. None of the British record companies were willing to take a chance on Red Square.

As a result,  Red Square’s music failed to find the audience it deserved. Instead, it was enjoyed by a small, discerning and appreciative audience. These musical connoisseurs recognised the importance of Red Square’s music. Nowadays,  Red Square is belatedly receiving the recognition, plaudits and critical acclaim their music deserves.  However, for newcomers to Red Square,  Rare and Lost 70s Recordings is the perfect starting place.

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Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls.

Last year, Ace Records released Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls. This was the fifth volume of Louisiana R&B. It features twenty-eight tracks, that included familiar faces, rarities, alternate takes and unreleased tracks. 

This includes contributions from Chris Kenner, Lester Robertson, Barbara Lynn, Jay Nelson, Leroy Washington, Little Victor, Big Walter Price and Classie Ballou. Some of the artists on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls feature more than once.  Often, their first contribution is so good, that they return for an encore on Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls. It’s a welcome addition to what’s now one of the most successful and longest running compilation series, By The Bayou.

Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls is the fourteenth instalment in the By The Bayou series. Still, there’s no let up in quality. Ian Saddler knows where to find rarities, hidden gems and unreleased tracks that ooze quality. They’re his secret weapons for the By The Bayou series. It’s the compilation series that looks as if it will run and run. Especially if Ian Saddler continues to compile compilations as good as Rhythm ’N’ Bluesin’ By The Bayou-Nights Of Sin, Dirty Deals and Love Sick Souls.

Saint Etienne Presents Songs For The Carnegie Deli.

Nowadays, The Carnegie Deli is a culinary institution. That’s why many visitors to the Big Apple beat a path to its door. This included Bob Stanley of Saint Etienne in 1991. He had heard of the legendary deli, and promised himself that on his next visit to New York, he was going to eat at The Carnegie Deli. Bob wasn’t disappointed. It was everything he expected, and much more. This set Bob Stanley thinking, what kind of music was played in The Carnegie Deli, and similar diners over the years?

Soon, Bob Stanley was thinking of songs that might, at one time, have provided a backdrop to life in a New York diner. Before long, Bob Stanley had a list of possible songs that might have provided the soundtrack to life in The Carnegie Deli. This was a purely academic exercise. Nothing he thought, would come of it. That was until Ace Records asked Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs to compile Saint Etienne Presents Songs For The Carnegie Deli.

So Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs delved into the vaults of Smash, United Artists, Wand, Sue, Barry, Cameo, GWO and Arock and picked twenty-four tracks. Among them, were contributions from Irma Thomas, Chuck Jackson, Lou Johnson, The Chiffons, Baby Washington, Junior Lewis, David Coleman, Lesley Gore, The Shirelles and The Hesitations. They’re just a taste of the musical delights in store for listeners on Saint Etienne Presents Songs For The Carnegie Deli. 

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Son-Of-A-Gun and More From The  Lee Hazlewood Songbook.

Lee Hazlewood dreamt of being a songwriter. Even when he was working as a DJ. Many thought that this was a pipe dream. However, Lee Hazlewood had the last laugh.  His songs were recorded by artists over a fifty a year period. This includes several generations of musicians that featured on Ace Records’ Son-Of-A-Gun and More From The  Lee Hazlewood Songbook. 

Everyone from country and folk singers to crooner and indie rockers went on to cover Lee Hazelwood’s songs. Proof of this is Son-Of-A-Gun and More From The Lee Hazlewood Songbook. It features an eclectic selection of artists, including Waylon Jennings, Billie Dearborn, Sanford Clark, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Sanford Clark, Mark Morriss, Gold Leaves and Primal Scream. They covered these between 1959 and 2012. Sadly, on August the 4th 2007, Lee Hazlewood passed away aged seventy-eight. Even after his death, artists continue to inspired and influenced by Lee Hazlewood. 

Many of the artists that have been influenced and inspired by  Lee Hazlewood weren’t even born when he first wrote and recorded some of the songs on Son-Of-A-Gun and More From The Lee Hazlewood Songbook. However, many of his songs have a timeless quality, and fifty years after they were first released, artists are covering them. Sometimes, they stay true to the original, other times, they reinvent the song. Lee Hazlewood, a musical pioneer would’ve approved of that.

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Space Echo-The Mystery Behind The Cosmic Sound Of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed!

The ‘story’ behind the equipment that made the music on Space Echo-The Mystery Behind The Cosmic Sound Of Cabo Verde is one that has been exaggerated and grown legs over the years. In some ways, this tall tale gets in the way of the music on Space Echo-The Mystery Behind The Cosmic Sound Of Cabo Verde Finally Revealed!

It was released by Analog Africa and is the perfect introduction to the Cabo Verdean music scene after it gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. After that, the Cabo Verdean music scene flourished, with artists and bands combining musical genres and influences to create new and exciting music.  Often, the basis for this music is the of Cabo Verde’s past. Other times, the music is made by the latest technology, which locals will claim are similar to those that were supposedly found on that mysterious boat in a field in mid 1968. However, this new music resulted in Cabo Verdean music scene flourishing.

Cabo Verde enjoyed an eclectic and vibrant music scene after independence in 1975. During that period, Cabo Verde cultural capital blossomed as a new generation of musicians got the opportunity to showcase their considerable talents. A reminder of their music can be found on Space Echo-The Mystery Behind The Cosmic Sound Of Cabo Verde, which hopefully, is the first in a series compilations documenting Cabo Verde’s rich musical past.

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Sun Ra-Singles The Definitive 45s Collection.

One of the most-anticipated compilations of 2016 was Strut Records’ Singles The Definitive 45s Collection.  It documents the music of a true visionary. He had spent the last six decades releasing groundbreaking music. This includes on 125 albums and the countless singles that Sun Ra released. A tantalising taste of these singles feature on the Singles The Definitive 45s Collection box set. It’s a lovingly curated compilation that will appeal to veterans of and newcomers to Sun Ra’s music. 

Sun Ra was one of most enigmatic and innovative musicians of the 20th Century. For nearly forty years, Sun Ra and His Arkestra pushed musical boundaries. Sun Ra was a perfectionist and relentless taskmaster. With some of most talented, inventive and adventurous musicians of their generation, Sun Ra set about honing the Arkestra’s sound. He was demanding and set exacting standards. Second best was no use to Sun Ra, who was a musical pioneer.

His music is celebrated on Singles The Definitive 45s Collection box set, where Sun Ra combines Egyptian history with space-age cosmic philosophy and freeform jazz. Sun Ra was more than a musician, bandleader, composer. He was also a cosmic philosopher, writer and poet. Despite his many talents, Sun Ra is best remembered for a musical career that spanned six decades. The music Sun Ra wrote and recorded was innovative, inventive and influential, and is why nowadays, he’s regarded as one of the most important figures in jazz. 

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Super Duper Love-Mainstream Hits and Rarities 1973-76. 

In 1970, Bob Shad decided to relaunch Mainstream Records. For the next three years  Bob Shad concentrated on releasing traditional jazz. By 1973, there had been a blurring of the lines between what was soul and jazz. This resulted in Mainstream Records’ musical policy changing, and the label releasing a much wider selection of music. This included the music on Super Duper Love-Mainstream Hits and Rarities 1973-76, which was released by Kent Soul

Super Duper Love-Mainstream Hits and Rarities 1973-76 features twenty-four tracks from Mainstream Records and its various subsidiaries. Familiar faces and new names sit side-by-side, including Afrique, Linda Perry and Soul Express, Lenny Welch, Sandra Phillips, Calvin Arnold, J.G. Lewis, Doris Duke, The Eleventh Commandment, Darlene Jackson, The Dramatics and Ellerine Harding. These are just a few of the artists on Super Duper Love-Mainstream Hits and Rarities 1973-76.

It features deeply soulful songs, including ballads and uptempo love songs. There’s everything from songs about betrayal and love lost, to songs about hope, hurt and heartache. Many of these songs will tug at the heartstrings. Some will make the listener cry while others will make them laugh. However, even song on Super Duper Love-Mainstream Hits and Rarities 1973-76 is of the highest quality. It’s also the perfect companion to Mainstream Modern Soul 1969-1976.  Both compilations show the soulful side Bob Shad’s Mainstream Records.

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Swamp Pop By The Bayou-Troubles, Tears and Trains.

While Swamp Pop By The Bayou-Troubles, Tears and Trains was the thirteenth instalment in Ace Records’ By The Bayou series, it was only the second compilation of swamp pop. It finds compiler Ian Saddler returning to the vaults of J.D. Miller, Eddie Shuler, Floyd Soileau, Sam Montel, Huey Meaux and Joe Ruffino, Pappy Daily, Murray Nash and Jim Rentz. Ian Saddler even looked for hidden gems with the Hitt and Mercury labels. He struck gold.

Among the treasure unearthed by Ian Sadlder are: six unreleased songs from swamp pop royalty Warren Storm plus Frankie Lowery, The Boogie Kings, Larry Hart, Frankie Lowery and Buck Rodgers. There’s also a trio of alternate tracks. The other nineteen tracks are real rarities. They’re a mixture of skirt swirlers and buckle polishers. For those unfamiliar with the parlance of swamp pop, skirt swirlers are the uptempo dance tracks; while buckle polishers are the slow songs. Providing the skirt swirlers and buckle polishers are Roy Perkins With Jerry Starr and The Clippers, Dale Houston, Phil Clay, John Fred, Gene Dunlap and The Jokers,Warren Storm, Dale Houston, Johnny Preston and Jay Richards.

Just like previous volumes in the By The Bayou series, familiar faces and new names rub shoulders on Swamp Pop By The Bayou-Troubles, Tears and Trains. This captivating compilation of skirt swirlers and buckle polishers from the land of “gaters and gumbo” is guaranteed to get any party started.

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The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970.

Sweden has always had a rich musical heritage. That was the case between 1964 and 1970. That was the era of the beat girls. This period was documented on The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970, which was released by Ace International. It features twenty-four tracks from eighteen artists.

They’re a mixture of familiar faces and new names. Two of the biggest names were Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad in their pre-Abba days. Other include Eleanor Bodel, Lena Junoff, Doris, Mona Wessman, Britt Bergstrom, Sunnygirls, MAK Les Soeurs, Suzie and Susanne Wigforss. They were some of the most successful Swedish Beat Girls between 1964 and 1970. 

As the seventies dawned, some artists went on to greater things. Other artists, including Eleanor Bodel, turned their back on music. She had enjoyed her short, but successful musical career, but decided to return to her studies. Some artists had no option, as their career stalled or ground to a halt. For some artists, including Bella and Me, recording a single hadn’t been something they planned to do. A chance meeting resulted in them recording their one and only single Whatever Happened To The 7-Day Week. They never recorded another single.  Britta Bergström and Suzie were truly prolific artists. Both feature on The Girls Want The Boys! Swedish Beat Girls 1964-1970, which is the first retrospective of the Swedish Beat. Let’s hope it’s not the last.

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