THE BEST COMPILATIONS OF 2017 PART 5.

The Best Compilations Of 2017 Part 5

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins-The Planet Sessions. 

Label: Ace Records.

Inimitable and unique describe the late Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. He was one of the great musical showmen, whose performances were designed to leaving a lasting impression. They always succeeded in doing so. So did his music including the songs on The Planet Sessions. F or both newcomers to  Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and his long-standing fans, The Planet Sessions will be a welcome addition to their collection. Especially for those who saw  Screamin’ Jay Hawkins on his ill-fated 1965 tour. They were the lucky ones, who saw one of music’s flamboyant musical showmen who was still at the peak of his powers in 1965.

Seafaring Strangers: Private Rock.

Label: Numero Group.

During 2017, several compilations of Yacht Rock were released including Seafaring Strangers: Private Rock. It’s a Yacht Rock album with a difference and focuses on private presses. These are albums released by small local labels or by the artist themselves. Sadly, very few of these albums found a wider audience. That was the case with albums released by Jim Spencer, Ned Doheny, Jeff Harrington, Paul Skyland, Calvin Johnson, Salty Miller, Canyon, Gary Marks, Country Comfort, Chuck Senrick and Rudy Norman. Many of these tracks fall into the category of hidden gems, and are why Seafaring Strangers: Private Rock ls one of the best albums of Yacht Rock money can buy.

Sing It High, Sing It Low: Tumbleweed Records 1971-1973. 

Label: Light In The Attic Records.

Tumbleweed Records was an ambitious label, but one that only lasted two years. During that period, they released nine albums which were beautifully packaged and presented. Larry Ray and Bill Szymczyk both knew the important of packaging, presentation and production values. All of Tumbleweed Records looked and sounded great. They should’ve stood out in record shops across America. Especially given the quality of music that features on most of the albums. This includes the tracks from the talented, up-and-coming musicians that feature on Sing It High, Sing It Low: Tumbleweed Records 1971-1973. It’s a reminder that founding and running a record label has always been a risky business, and certainly isn’t and never has been, a licence to print money.

Soul Of A Nation-(Afro-Centric Visions In The Age of Black Power: Underground Jazz, Street Funk and The Roots Of Rap 1968-79).

Label: Soul Jazz Records.

During the period that Soul Of A Nation (Afro-Centric Visions In The Age of Black Power: Underground Jazz, Street Funk and The Roots Of Rap 1968-79) covers, the Civil Rights movement was working towards the day when America would be fully integrated. That was the day that they had long dreamt about. As they worked towards that day, the artists on this lovingly curated compilation of jazz, funk and soul provided the soundtrack. It’s a mixture of familiar tracks, a few leftfield choices and hidden gems. These tracks on Soul Of A Nation (Afro-Centric Visions In The Age of Black Power: Underground Jazz, Street Funk and The Roots Of Rap 1968-79) are a reminder of what was hugely important and in some cases, turbulent, frustrating and eventually fruitful period in African-American history.

Space, Energy and Light-Experimental Electronic and Acoustic Soundscapes 1961-88.

Label: Soul Jazz Records.

One of the best compilations released during 2017 was Space, Energy and Light-Experimental Electronic and Acoustic Soundscapes 1961-88. It features groundbreaking music that was way ahead of its time. Sadly, some of that music was too far ahead of its time, and a record buying public weaned pop music failed to grasp its importance. It’s only much later that this music is being discovered, and is starting to find the audience it deserves. Especially now that compilations like Space, Energy and Light-Experimental Electronic and Acoustic Soundscapes 1961-88 are being released and showcase a tantalising taste of this groundbreaking music from true musical pioneers.

Swamp Pop By The Bayou-Let’s Get Together Tonight.

Label: Ace Records.

When Swamp Pop By The Bayou-Let’s Get Together Tonight’s was released last year, this was third compilation Ian Sadler had compiled for the By The Bayou series. This is without doubt, the finest compilation of swamp pop so far. Hopefully, there will be further instalments of swamp pop released in the long running and successful By The Bayou compilation series. Especially if they match the quality of Swamp Pop By The Bayou-Let’s Get Together Tonight, which is one of the best compilations in the By The Bayou series. It’s the perfect introduction to swamp pop and the music of South West Louisiana and South East Texas.

Take What You Need: UK Covers Of Bob Dylan Songs 1964-69. 

Label: Ace Records.

One of the most-anticipated compilations of 2017 was Take What You Need: UK Covers Of Bob Dylan Songs 1964-69. It features familiar faces, including some of the biggest names in British music. They’re joined by artists that many people won’t have heard of as they cover songs by Bob Dylan. Some artists stay true to the original, while other reinvent familiar songs and take then in new and unexpected directions. That happens several times on this lovingly curated homage to Bob Dylan which features a mixture of best known songs and some leftfield choices. The majority of these songs were penned by Bob Dylan and are a reminder, if any was needed, of how good a songwriter he was between 1964-69. 

The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso.

Label: Mr. Bongo Records.

Nowadays, the seventies are regarded as a golden age for music in Burkina Faso. This period was documented on The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso which was released in 2017.  It’s a lovingly curated compilation which feature the great and good of the Burkina Faso music scene including  Abdoulaye Cisse, Amadou Balaké, Bozambo,  Pierre Sandwidi, Tidiani Coulibaly,  Star and Youssouf Diarra. They were part of Burkina Faso’s thriving and vibrant music scene where during the seventies, and recorded an eclectic selection of music including Afrobeat blues, disco, folk, funk, highlife, psychedelia, rock and soul. Sadly, this proved to be a golden age, which is celebrated on The Original Sound Of Burkina Faso.

The Original Sound Of Mali.

Label: Mr. Bongo Records.

While record companies have released compilation of music from many African countries, for too long, they’ve overlooked the Malian music scene. That was rectified with the release of The Original Sound Of Mali. There’s contributions from some of the biggest names in Malian music including Les Ambassadeurs, Salif Keita and Super Djata Band De Bamako. They’re joined by some new names and even a couple of hidden gems from the Rail Band and Super Tentemba Jazz. These artists and bands feature on The Original Sounds Of Mali, which is an almost flawless compilation of music from a the golden age of Malian music.

The Library Archive-From The Vaults Of Cavendish Music.

Label: BBE.

In 2014, compilers and DJs Mr Thing and Chris Read  were among the chosen few who have been invited into the inner sanctum that is Cavendish Music’s vast London vaults. That was when they discovered the music that three years later, featured on The Library Archive-From The Vaults Of Cavendish Music. It features a myriad of hidden gems and musical gold that makes The Library Archive-From The Vaults Of Cavendish Music the best album of library music that has been released during the last few years.

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