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Monday
Dec072015

SOUNDSCAPES STAFF BEST OF 2015

 

These are the 20 favourite new releases, 20 favourite reissues/archival releases, and 25 favourite compilations of 2015 as chosen by the staff of Soundscapes.

 

Top 20 new releases of 2015
 

 1. TOBIAS JESSO JR. – Goon
"While the comparisons to Harry Nilsson and John Lennon hold up over the course of the debut, what may be the most surprising is the range that Jesso shows throughout. Goon isn't all piano ballads; hell, it isn't all ballads, period...Goon contains plenty of variety in both tone and arrangement, the ultimate strengths of the album." - Paste

 

2. RYLEY WALKER – Primrose Green
"Bert Jansch (and Pentangle), Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, John Martyn, Tim Hardin: these are just some of the ghosts that haunt the fringes of Primrose Green, the excellent second album from Chicago guitarist and songwriter Ryley Walker." - musicOHM

 

 

3. D'ANGELO AND THE VANGUARD – Black Messiah
Since it was released last December, after many best-of-year lists were published (including ours), we're counting Black Messiah as a 2015 releaseall the more fitting considering that, to our ears, it was more of a 'grower' than Voodoo, but ultimately no less impressive an outing.

 

4. JULIA HOLTER – Have You In My Wilderness
"While still dreamlike, Have You in My Wilderness, Holter's fourth album, is something clearly felt—ocean spray on a warm breeze, sun baking exposed limbs, a hand glancing across your skin before drifting away. [...] Her previous work didn’t necessarily require any outside reading to unlock its pleasures, but Have You in My Wilderness cuts extraordinarily quickly to the core." - Consequence Of Sound 

 

5. EZTV – Calling Out
"EZTV's debut album is a little jewel of decades-soaked power pop, turning the key on Byrdsian jangle and harmonies, filling up the tank at Mitch Easter's Drive-In Studio circa 1985 and rolling on until they land in 2015's lack of guitar pop with effectively facile production warmth." - CMJ

 

6. ALABAMA SHAKES – Sound & Color
"After the wild success of Alabama Shakes' debut, it took a lot of courage to veer into the territory they explore in Sound & Color, a deeply layered collage of tempos and texturesand a seemingly hard left-turn from their previous work." - American Songwriter


7. JIM O'ROURKE  Simple Songs
"Simple Songs is one of those albums that tests and rewards your faith in an artist's aesthetic vision, even as they're taking you to some rather queasy places. The title is a joke, of course (and not the album's most sophisticated): these are ornate and tricksy constructions, that align post-rock and prog's constant gear-shifts and rigorous compositional fussiness with an at least more superficially saccharine tradition." - Uncut

8. JESSICA PRATT – On Your Own Love Again
"On Your Own Love Again finds Pratt branching out (sometimes into Judee Sill territory, but more contemporary and psychedelic), expanding her sonic palette and often hinting at a symphony, even if it's made of origami and nested in a teacup. Despite the fact that the album is still almost entirely solo—Pratt has overdubbed herself on strummed electric guitar, minimalist percussion and backup vocals, while Will Canzoneri provides touches of organ and Clavinet—the songs seem poppier, trippier; far more open-ended." - Sarah Greene, Exclaim!

 

9. TWERPS – Range Anxiety
"Don't expect a monumental shift on the Australian four-piece's sophomore effort, but when you've got a good formula, why mess with it? Range Anxiety strikes a good balance between the band's more laid-back vibe—which you'll find on tracks such as 'I Don't Mind' and 'Fern Murderers'—and their more upbeat and jovial iteration, which can be found on highlight 'Back To You' and 'Cheap Education.' - Exclaim!

 

10. JOAN SHELLEY - Over And Even
"Shelley’s only full-time bandmate is the acoustic guitarist Nathan Salsburg. Shelley and Salsburg play these soft, unobtrusive, deceptively complex interlocking acoustic guitar melodies, and those two guitars, as well as whatever other instruments might be present on the song, are just there as supporting players. Shelley’s voice is the star. Everything else fades into the background." - Stereogum

 

11. COURTNEY BARNETT – Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit
"Like Stephen Malkmus or Kurt Vonnegut, Barnett looks at the mundane with a skewed perspective, turning it over in her mind and transmogrifying it into something extraordinary." - Consequence Of Sound

 

 

12. NATALIE PRASS – S/T
"If Feist can sell a million records, then why shouldn't Natalie Prass? The Spacebomb [production] quartet are a generally discreet crew, but as string arranger Trey Pollard gleefully conducts along to the iPod, it's clear they know what treasure they have. The question is: what are they going to do with it? To begin the new year, Spacebombvia the Caroline labelfinally deigned to release Natalie Prass, some three years after it was recorded. As the singer herself notes, this is broadly timeless music, and the delay didn't make it an anomaly in 2015." - Uncut

 

13. THEE OH SEES – Mutilator Defeated At Last
"Following a short-lived hiatus and a rejig of their line-up, the Californian five-piece's 14th album packs everything they're good at into one concentrated effort: frenetic rock, pulsating psychedelia and buoyant melodies. This nine-song, 33-minute record begins and ends with two of their finest songs in recent years, the throttling 'Web' and the dreamy 'Palace Doctor.'" - NME

14. ROYAL HEADACHE – High
"High, this Sydney band's second album, is anxious, crestfallen and incapable of peace. It's also just what an Australian rock record should sound like in 2015." - The Guardian

 

 

15. TRIPTIDES – Azur
"Indiana's Triptides have finally washed up in Los Angeles, a much more suitable home away from home for their appealling, bite-sized snacks of hazy summer psychedelia." - The Active Listener

 

 

16. U.S. GIRLS – Half Free
"Remy's music has always thrived on the conflict between the familiar and foreign. On previous U.S. Girls releases, her pop and experimental sensibilities—part Shangri-Las, part Sun Ra—were often at war with one another. [...] But, by building upon the grotto-bound R&B introduced on 2013's Free Advice Column EP (whose hip-hop-schooled producer, Onakabazien, returns here), Half Free further fortifies the common ground between Remy's diamond-cut melodies and avant-garde urges." - Stuart Berman, Pitchfork

17. YO LA TENGO – Stuff Like That There
"Yo La Tengo have been in a retrospective bubble since 2013's well-received but too quickly forgotten Fade LP.  With an expanded version of 1993's sublime Painful (as Extra Painful, on Matador) and a vinyl reprint of 1990's well-loved Fakebook on vinyl (on Bar/None) both appearing last year, backwards glancing has been helpfully reminding us how special the group can be." - Delusions Of Adequacy

18. KAMASI WASHINGTON – The Epic
"It's something of a gobsmacking paradox to discover what a hip-hop-free zone The Epic is, and how enamored of jazz's past it turns out to be. This triple-album set is an extravagant love letter to (among other things): soul jazz, John Coltrane (various periods), and 1970s fusion leaders like Miles Davis and Weather Report." - Pitchfork

 

 19. MAX RICHTER - from SLEEP
"SLEEP is eight hours long, and is actually and genuinely intended to send the listener to sleep. Richter describes this one-hour version as 'a series of windows opening into the big piece.'" - Deutsche Grammophon

 

20. COLLEEN – Captain Of None
"Captain Of None places Schott's voice front-and-centre and folds in her long-burning love for dub and reggae rhythms, making for her most approachable and otherworldly record yet." - Resident Advisor

 

 

 

Top 20 reissues/archival releases of 2015

1. BOB DYLAN - The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge, 1965-1966
"Between January 1965 and February 1966, Bob Dylan wrote and recorded his first three electric albums, breaking from folk music and forever changing the course of his career and of rock itself. And as his exhaustive new studio-outtakes box set reveals, the journey toward the perfection of Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde was just as fascinating as the final products. The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966, out November 6th, offers a definitive look at the development of Dylan's plugged-in sound, unveiling embryonic takes and alternate versions of some of his greatest songs, including 'Subterranean Homesick Blues,' 'Like a Rolling Stone' and 'Visions of Johanna.'" - Rolling Stone

2. ELYSE WEINBERG - Greasepaint Smile
"The unreleased second album by an original lady from the canyon. Recorded and recanted in 1969, Greasepaint Smile is more assured than its self-titled, Tetragrammaton-issued predecessor. Weinberg's finger-picked acoustic is layered over distant drumming, while her gravel-pit voice evokes life, love, and mortality." - Numero Group

3. THE CITY – Now That Everything's Been Said
"We all know the Carole King who wrote some of the biggest hits of the '60s, from 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow' to 'Pleasant Valley Sunday,' via 'The Locomotion' and '(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.' We also know the singer-songwriter behind Tapestry, the album that launched King as a solo singer in her own right. But in between, and not nearly as well known, is King's band, The City, and their album, Now That Everything’s Been Said." - Light In The Attic

4. FRANCOISE HARDY – L'Amitié
"'In London, it was the first time I'd been made to think I had a certain charm or charisma,' Hardy says now. 'Thanks to the time in England, I became aware I could be seductive.' L’Amitié, with its evocative, close-up album cover and late-night sound, is the result." - Light In The Attic

 

5. JORGE BEN  Ben
"Real Gone Music and Dusty Groove are embarking on a long-awaited tour through Ben's catalog, starting with his 1972 masterpiece, Ben. This is the album that made Jorge Ben a superstar in Brazil, a lean marvel of rhythmic and melodic concision that contains some of his most indelible, durable songs, like the first version of 'Taj Mahal' and his ode to his favorite soccer player, 'Fio Maravilha.'" - Real Gone Music

6. ROYAL JESTERS – English Oldies
"Twenty-eight homespun stunners from the Alamo City's scrappiest souleros. The Royal Jesters were the kings of San Antonio's cross-cultural teen scene in the 1960s, soundtracking lovelorn slow dances with their heart-sick harmonies." - Numero Group

 

 

7. THE SUPREME JUBILEES – It'll All Be Over
"If God had a disco, the DJ would be playing The Supreme Jubilees. 'We won’t have to cry no more,' the tuxedo-clad group would sing, in high, angelic vocals over smooth grooves. 'It’ll all be over.' Prepare to dance and contemplate death all at the same time." - Light In The Attic

 

8. DION  Recorded Live At The Bitter End, August 1971
"When the wave of early rock and roll ebbed, Dion reinvented himself as a singer-songwriter and interpreter of others' songs, and there was nobody hipper. It was at this point, in 1971, that this recording was made live at the famous Bitter End in New York City." - Blogcritics

 

9. THE 4TH COMING – Strange Things: The Complete Works 1970-1974
"Former Stones Throw general manager Egon strikes again, unearthing another treasure trove of long-lost funk and soul for his Now-Again label. This time it's short-lived L.A. outfit 4th Coming. In their four or so years of existence, the band released eight singles under their own name and a ninth under the moniker Impact!, and featured a rotating cast of musicians (including at some points various members of Charles Wright's Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band) put together by one of two core members, co-songwriter Jechonias 'Jack' S. Williams." - Monkeyboxing

10. OS BRAZOES - S/T
"Rare and highly sought after in its original format, Os Brazoes' self-titled album was originally released on RGE Discos in 1969, a psychedelic masterpiece that fuses samba, R&B and rock'n'roll influences using fuzz guitars, synths, percussion, lush vocals and effects." - Mr. Bongo

 

11. SONGS: OHIA - Didn't It Rain
"Jason Molina released an unfathomable amount of music in his 15 years of recording, cut short due to complications from alcoholism. His genius manifests in both his ability to craft seemingly simple melodies that belie complex musical ambiances, as well as his achingly honest tales of the realest of struggles. While many consider Didn't It Rain the most complete album of Molina's career, it also vividly and artistically encapsulates his anxieties, foreshadowing that which caused his weary body to give up at just 39 years old." - Paste

12. JACKIE WILSON - NYC 1961-1966
"Even thirty-one years after Jackie Wilson's untimely death in 1984, there's still plenty of music within Brunswick's vaults. For fans of Jackie Wilson, this has always been a tantalising prospect; they've always wondered what hidden gems are awaiting discovery. Recently, Ace Records were able to answer that question when they released a two disc compilation NYC 1961-1966." - Dereksmusicblog

 

13. JIMMY HOLIDAY – Spread Your Love: The Complete Minit Singles 1966-1970
"Jimmy Holiday is probably best known as the co-writer of 'Put A Little Love In Your Heart,' 'All I Ever Need Is You' and a handful of other hit songs, including several for his friend and mentor, Ray Charles. This Kent compilation shines the spotlight on the recordings Jimmy made for Minit in the second half of the 1960s, a period in which he was at his peak as a vocalist and songwriter." - Ace Records

 

14. THE KITCHEN CINQ - When The Rainbow Disappears: An Anthology 1965-68
"The members of The Kitchen Cinq—initially known at home in Amarillo, Texas as The Illusions or, briefly, The Y’alls—found themselves working with giants of the music industry, before and mostly after their own band's limited heyday. Now, the Cinq is getting a long-overdue rediscovery with When the Rainbow Disappears, a 28-track anthology album on Light In The Attic Records, featuring liner notes Grammy-nominated musical archivist Alec Palao." - The Amarillo Globe-News

 

15. THE APARTMENTS – The Evening Visits...And Stays For Years
"The Apartments had more success in Europe, and especially France, than anywhere else. This makes perfect sense when you listen to The Evening Visits…And Stays for Years. It's articulate, maybe more so than singer/songwriter Peter Walsh's Australian and English contemporaries. It's haunted, haunting, bleak, and unrepentantly melodramatic. In the mid-'80s, anything warranting the epithet 'chamber pop' stood no chance in America, and probably not much more in Australia or England, but you can imagine Parisian sophisticates positively swooning over The Evening Visits..." - Popmatters

 

16. JOHN HULBURT – Opus III
"The Tompkins Square label is well-known for reissuing lost records and reactivating careers (Mark Fossom, Max Ochs, Don Bikoff) as well as kickstarting the careers of younger musicians (Frank Fairfield, William Tyler, Daniel Bachman, Ryley Walker). In this case, Tompkins Square alumnus Walker found the long-forgotten Opus III LP in a Chicago record store, dug it and shared it with Tompkins Square owner Josh Rosenthal. I guess it was a no-brainer for Rosenthal to reissue this." - Dying For Bad Music

17. GARNET MIMMS - Looking For You: The Complete United Artists & Veep Singles
"The A- and B-sides of all 14 of the Philadelphia soul hero's United Artists and Veep 45s, many on CD for the first time. Incredibly, it's been more than 50 years since Garnet Mimms served notice of his excellence with the epochal 'Cry Baby.' It was a peerless way for the former Philadelphia doo wopper to announce his arrival, and it remains a high water mark in soul music history." - Ace Records

 

18. UNIVERSAL TOGETHERNESS BAND - S/T
"Between 1979 and 1982, The Universal Togetherness Band tracked unearthly portions of their sprawling songbook for bewildered students in Columbia College's audio engineering program. Storming the gates of Chicago’s premier recording studios, the erudite party band explored permutations of soul, jazz-fusion, new wave, and disco with little regard for studio rates or the availability of magnetic tape. Universal Togetherness Band captures the brightest, never-before-heard moments from this visionary group’s 5-semester recording bender." - Numero Group

19. CHARLIE RICH - So Lonesome I Could Cry
"Fat Possum's 2015 So Lonesome I Could Cry release is a reissue of the 1977 Hi album of the same name, which itself is a reissue of a 1967 LP called Charlie Rich Sings Country and WesternAn alternate title for the album could've been Charlie Rich Sings Hank Williams because this is a 12-track collection of Hank covers, about half of which are well-known and the other half relatively obscure. A handful of the songs are as loose and groove-oriented as the Hi imprint would suggestthere's a nice swagger to 'Half as Much' and 'Nobody's Lonesome for Me,' while 'Cold, Cold Heart' finds an oddly appealing rhythm halfway between Memphis and Nashville." - Allmusic

20. (tie) GLORIA ANN TAYLOR - Love Is A Hurtin' Thing
"Ubiquity's Love Is a Hurtin' Thing reissue collects some incredible soulful, experimental R&B from Gloria Ann Taylor's early years, rare tracks that were released during her time with the small label Selector Sound. Taylor owned the label with her brother Leonard and her husband and producer Walter Wisenhunt, who was a promoter of sorts with close ties to James Brown." - The Rumpus

 

20. (tie) POWDER - Ka-pow! An Explosive Collection 1967-1968
"With Big Beat's remastering, the sound quality on Ka-pow! is a major improvement: it’s how I remember Powder sounded back in the day. The clarity of the vocals, Bill's crashing drums, the rumble of Tom's bass and Rich's guitar thunder are finally revealed and preserved for all to enjoy." - Mickey Martin of Powder via Ace Records

 

 

Top 25 compilations of 2015

1. VA – Reaching Out! Chess Records At FAME Studios
"Reaching Out! Chess Records At FAME Studios, released via Kent Soul on 28th August 2015, features twenty-four tracks recorded at the legendary studios. By 1967, the Chess brothers, who no longer had their own studio band, sent their artists to Alabama, hoping that they would enjoy the same success as their counterparts at Atlantic." - Dereksmusicblog

2. VA – Ork Records: New York, New York
"Ork released not just the first Television single, but also the first music from poet and punk rock originator Richard Hell and the first singles by Memphis-based musician Alex Chilton following the dissolution of Big Star. This in addition to great power pop by Chris Stamey as well as new wave groups like Marbles, Student Teachers, and the Revelons. Compiled by Numero Group, the lavishly packaged and thoroughly researched Ork Records: New York, New York collects the label's complete 13-single catalog along with a number of related releases that never made it to shelves during the label's existence." - Pitchfork 

3. VA – Dust On The Nettles
"With 63 tracks and a total running time of just under four hours, Dust On The Nettles examines the metamorphosis that British folk underwent during the late 1960s, when the influence of psychedelia and the counterculture saw the idiom being twisted into all kinds of new and exotic shapes, as the finger-in-the-ear folk clubs of yore were inexorably drawn into a brave new world of Arts Labs, free festivals and the nascent college/university circuit." - Cherry Red Records

4. VA - Sherwood At The Controls, Vol. 1: 1979-1984
"Sherwood At The Controls, Vol. 1 captures On-U Sound producer Adrian Sherwood very early in his career, applying dub techniques to an eclectic variety of rhythms, including a surprising amount of punk-funk grooves." - Benjamin Boles, NOW 

 

 

5. VA – Punk 45: Burn, Rubber City, Burn! Akron, Ohio
"Burn, Rubber City Burn! charts the rise of the music scene in Akron, Ohio at a time when the city and the rubber industry it was associated with was in deep decline, featuring a fantastic collection of Akron groups including Devo, The Bizarros, Rubber City Rebels, Jane Aire, Chi-Pig, The Waitresses and more." - Soul Jazz Records

6. VA – Spiritual Jazz 6: Vocals
"Having examined spiritual jazz as it was expressed in the US, and then followed its messengers and influences in Europe and beyond, the sixth instalment of our Spiritual Jazz series showcases jazz vocals: a collection of jazz messages united in voice." - Jazzman Records


7. VA – Punk 45: Extermination Nights In The Sixth City - Cleveland, Ohio
"Extermination Nights In The Sixth City charts the rise of underground punk in Cleveland, Ohio, which for many people is the true birthplace of punk music in the mid-1970s, featuring a fantastic collection of punk 45 singles from Cleveland groups including Pere Ubu, electric eels, The Pagans, Rockets From The Tomb, Mirrors, X–X and more." - Soul Jazz Records

8. VA – The One-derful! Collection: One-derful! Records
"The first installment of the One-derful! Collection focuses on the namesake imprint of this legendary Chicago label group, to be followed by compilations of the Mar-V-Lus, M-Pac!, Halo, Midas, and Toddlin' Town sub-labels. It marks the first in-depth study of what was once one of Chicago’s most prominent African-American run labels." - Secret Stash Records

 

9. VA – The One-derful! Collection: Mar-V-Lus Records
"The second installment of the One-derful! Collection focuses on Mar-V-Lus, the teen-oriented imprint of this legendary R&B label group." - Secret Stash Records

 



10. VA - Georgie Fame Heard Them Here First

"This is an altogether terrific 25-track cross-section of material Georgie covered or revived across his early singles, his four Columbia albums and first CBS EP. Many of these originals will be familiar to lovers of vintage soul and jazz but we have included several major obscurities, a few of which, including Shorty Billups' original of Georgie’s rare single ‘Bend A Little,' are receiving their first ever reissue here." - Ace Records

11. VA - The One-derful! Collection: M-Pac Records
"The third installment of the One-derful! Collection focuses on M-Pac!, the blues and hard soul imprint of this legendary R&B label group." - Secret Stash Records

 

 

12. VA - Happy Lovin' Time: Sunshine Pop From The Garpax Vaults
"Sunshine pop, popular catch-all category as it has become, does not fully describe the contents of our survey of the Garpax vaults on Happy Lovin' Time. There is as much introspection and cynicism on display as there is frothy beatitude, not to mention plenty of instrumental muscle too. The Four Freshmen benefited from label-head/producer Gary S. Paxton's touch on their hip 1966 single 'Nowhere To Go,' while Canadian groups such as the New Wing and Jaybees would travel to Hollywood to specifically record with him." - Ace Records

13. VA – Too Slow To Disco 2
"It took us one year to finally come back with Volume 2 of Too Slow To Disco. This time we dug even deeper into the sundrenched, relaxed and funky, smooth and megalomaniacal west-coast sound of the late '70s/early '80s: from singer/songwriter funk, yacht pop, blue-eyed soul to AOR disco, tracks somewhere between delusions of grandeur and a mountain of soul." - How Do You Are? 

14. VA - Studio One Jump-Up - The Birth Of A Sound: Jump-Up Jamaican R&B
"Here you will find the roots of Studio One's unique sound, from the first jump-up, boogie-woogie and shuffle recordings made in Jamaica in the late 1950s, as the artists emulated their American rhythm and blues idolsLouis Jordan, Roscoe Gordon, Fats Dominothrough to the early Rastafari rhythms of Count Ossie, the righteous Baptist beat of Toots and the Maytals up to the joyous excitement of Ska with tracks by Studio One's young protégés Bob Marley and The Wailers and the all-mighty Skatalites." - Soul Jazz Records

15. VA – 100% Dynamite: Ska, Soul, Rocksteady & Funk In Jamaica
"Since this album's original release nearly twenty years ago, 100% Dynamite has become a cornerstone of funky reggae music: eighteen killer tracks that show the influence that American jazz, funk and soul music had on Jamaican reggae." - Soul Jazz Records

 

16. VA – Augustus Pablo Presents Rockers International
"First released in 1991 by Greensleeves, Rockers contains songs Pablo produced for his label of the same name, including Delroy Williams' 'Three Men In A Truck Back,' Jah Bull's 'Free Jah Children' and 'The Rastaman' by Earl Sixteen. Pablo, an influential figure in roots reggae and dub, died in 1999 at age 54." - Reggae Nation

 

17. VA - LateNightTales: Jon Hopkins
"LateNightTales welcomes UK producer and musician Jon Hopkins to the fold with a beautiful sequence of songs and music, a requiem for a dreamstate. - LateNightTales

 

 

18. VA - Nu Yorica! Culture Clash In New York City: Experiments in Latin Music 1970-77 
"
This is the 20th-anniversary 2015 expanded edition of one of Soul Jazz Records' earliest definitive releases, a stunning and ground-breaking collection of music bringing together Latin, Soul, Jazz, Funk and more from the melting pot of New York City in the 1970s." - Soul Jazz Records

19. VA - Slow Grind Fever 3+4
"Slow Grind Fever 3+4 again combines the latest two volumes (compiled by Richie 1250 and DJ Diddywah, respectively) on CD with 12-page booklet. Expect the best in late-'50s slow-dance!" - Stag-O-Lee Records




20. VA - Lost Without You: The Best Of Kent Ballads 2 
"The Best Of Kent Ballads CD series covers the whole of the soul era, and most subgenres. This volume has a particularly impressive 20-year span, ranging from the mournful New Orleans-recorded Turquinettes' 1962 track to the early-'80s quiet-storm groove of Jimmy Scott's 'Sure Thing,' enhanced by electronic instrumentation." - Ace Records

 

21. VA – Popcorn Exotica
"This is Croydon Municipal's third retrospective of the Popcorn scene that has run parallel to Northern Soul since its inception in Europe in 1969. It's a delicious and unique blend of sounds from the US, France, Italy based around a moody, shuffling cha-cha beat that has recently developed an international following on the mod and soul scenes." - Cherry Red Records

22. VA - Truckers, Kickers, Cowboy Angels: The Blissed Out Birth Of Country Rock (Vols. 1-7)
"Bear Family has issued critically acclaimed and top-selling year-by-year anthologies of R&B (Blowin' The Fuse 1945-1960) and Soul (Sweet Soul Music 1961-1975), and country music (Dim Lights, Thick Smoke & Hillbilly Music 1945-1970). Now it’s the turn of Country Rock." - Bear Family

23. VA - The Bert Berns Story Vol. 3: Hang On Sloopy
"Following Ace's first two volumes of The Bert Berns Story by nearly five years, Hang On Sloopy is by design quite light on well-known hits. Those popped up on the earlier volumes, which leaves this to round up interesting covers of signature songs, and a bunch of very good selections from Berns' catalog. To an extent, this collection of recordings cut between 1960 and 1968 winds up being a testament both for Berns' skills as a writer and how R&B and soul reverberated throughout pop in the '60s." - Allmusic

24. VA – Here Today! The Songs Of Brian Wilson
"Most of the songs on
Here Today! date from Wilson's mid-'60s purple patch, including many songs cherry-picked from the excellent Today! and Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!) records, plus a selection of tunes he gave away during that era and a suite of songs from Pet Sounds covered between 1967 and 1991." - Allmusic

 

25. VA - Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'N' Roll
As the author of no less than three books on Elvis Presley, and other scholarly tomes about the history of American blues, country and soul, Peter Guralnick is not just a logical choice to assemble a compilation celebrating the work of Sam Phillips, he's likely the most knowledgeable person to construct a 55-song, 2 CD set of the Sun label founder's most representative recordings. Additionally, Guralnick has written a new book on Phillips of the same title." - American Songwriter