Friday, December 23, 2005

Best Re-Issues of 2005

11. The Stooges (self-titled): This slab of guitar driven sludge from the bowels of Detroit was massively influential, and Rhino expands their debut to two cds with outtakes and lengthy liner notes.

10. Traffic - Gold: There have been more compilations of Traffic then they released actual albums, but this is one of the better ones. An intelligent mix of hits and album tracks keeps things from bogging down in classic rock nadir.

9. Soft Machine - Out-Bloody-Rageous: Charting their voyage from psychedelic popsters to jazz fusion pioneers through a unending number of personnel changes, this well done compilation presents a very listenable introduction to a fascinating group.

8. Pharoah Sanders - You've Got to Have Freedom: The first career length summation of Sanders' lengthy career presents a detailed summary of his music.

7. Charlie Musslewhite - Deluxe Edition: This harmonica master only put out three albums for the Alligator label, but they were all good, and this one disc distillation is even better.

6. Sun Ra - On Jupiter: Psychedelic disco groove Ra complete with trips to the outer stars on flying saucers, what more could you want? Throw in some nice photos and liner notes and that makes up for the fact that it's vinyl-only and costs over $20 for 30 minutes of music.

5. The Greenhornes - Sewed Souls: A compendium of tough garage rock from their first three albums is an ideal introduction to this underappreciated band. Hopefully their opening slot on The White Stripes recent tour and signing to V2 Records will give them some more exposure in the years to come.

4. Various Artists - Blues With a Message: Compiling topical blues with excellent liner notes makes for a great historical re-issue and really stands out amongst the myriad of blues compilations released this year.

3. Ornette Coleman and Pat Metheny - Song X: Extra material that was left on the cutting room floor the first time around is added, nearly doubling the length of the original album. Metheny sticks with the great man and earns some serious street cred in the process.

2. The 101'ers - Elgin Avenue Breakdown: Joe Strummer's first band was a powerhouse in its own right, combining proto-punk with R&B. Ah, but then Bernie came to call and the rest is history.

1. Iggy Pop - A Million in Prizes: Hard to believe it, but the scrawny little devil has really been around the music scene for 40 years! Tracking his music from The Stooges through the ups and down of an epic solo career, it's a fascinating and wild ride.

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