Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best Re-Releases of 2007

Here are my list of what have been my favourite re-releases of the year. Not in any order, but if I was to pick a top spot it would probably go to Chris Squire’s “Fish Out Of Water”. Mainly for the packaging and the excellent interview on the DVD disc.

Steve Hillage ~ Fish Rising
A very welcome complete catalogue re-issue, though his debut still remains a highly regarded classic of the Canterbury genre.

ELO ~ Out Of The Blue
The mini book type packaging is very well done. You can even build a cardboard spaceship! At their pop best on this double album.

Alan Parsons Project ~ I Robot
This is a text book example of how to re-issue your back catalogue. Good remastered sound, lots of sleeve notes and worthy bonus tracks. Shame the second batch is taking so long to sort out.

The Moody Blues ~ Seventh Sojourn
My personal favourite Moody Blues album and the last form their classic period. A nice digipack with an excellent bonus track.

Hugh Hopper ~ Hoppertunity Box
Well done to Cuneiform for re-releasing this classic album form the ex Soft Machine bassist. Excellent sound and nice packaging.

Genesis ~ Box Set 1976 – 1982
Of course the real treasure will be the next box set documenting the years up to 1975, but the music on these was when Genesis became very popular and still doing prog! I am not completely convinced by the remastering and the packaging though better than the definitive editions could still have done better justice to the original album artwork.

Chris Squire ~ Fish Out Of Water
An all round excellent package. The interview on the DVD disc is informal, informative and humorously anecdotal. I wish more artists would do this sort of thing!

Steve Hackett ~ Highly Strung
The best from the last batch of remasters of his Charisma solo albums.

Peter Hammill ~ Sitting Targets
This, along with “Skin” are long forgotten classic Hammill works.

Laurie Anderson ~ Big Science
A classic of the New York art rock scene of the 80’s. Though I think “Mister Heartbreak” is better.

Egg ~ The Civil Surface
From the new Esoteric label and the final studio work by Dave Stewart and mates. Another great example of the eccentric Canterbury style.

Led Zeppelin ~ The Song Remains The Same
Expanded version with great sound and a very nice gatefold sleeve package.

Joy Division ~ Closer
Beautifully packaged and remastered. Martin Hannett’s gorgeously glacial production has never sounded better.

U2 ~ The Joshua Tree
This is a box set of such an impressively high standard and how re-issues should be done. The album sounds fresh and invigorating. The bonus tracks are a must and the DVD is packed full with a full concert, documentary and videos. There are even prints and a hard back book!!!

Here are some other bits and pieces from throughout the year.

Odds & Sods (live albums, compilations etc.)

Fripp & Eno ~ Beyond Even
A nice collection of odds and sods. Look out for remastered versions of “No Pussyfooting” and “Evening Star” next year!

Miles Davis ~ The Complete On The Corner Sessions
The pinnacle of Miles’s electric period captured in all its glory in this lavish box set.

Pentangle ~ The Time Has Come: 1967 – 1973
Excellent 4Cd box set with a highly informative and well presented booklet.

The Flower Kings ~ The Road Back Home
A wonderful 2CD compilation of the shorter songs from Swedish prog band.

Jonesy ~ Masquerade
Another Esoteric label release. This 2 CD set includes everything recorded by this unfairly ignored prog outfit.

Trio Of Doom ~ Trio Of Doom
A lost jazz/rock gem. McLaughlin, Pastorius and Williams deliver the goods.

The Tangent ~ Going Of On One
Shows that the band can admirably reproduce their complex pieces in a live setting with lots of loose jamming.

Various Artists ~ Cyclops 6
Another excellent low price 2 CD compilation from GFT. Not just a taster for the label but a wonderful collection in its own right.

Jordan Rudess ~ The Road Home
Dream Theater keyboard maestro brings some classic prog tracks bang up to date with some juicy arrangements.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer ~ From the Beginning
Excellent 6 disc box set produced by Mark Powell and his team. This has some of the best remastered versions from their catalogue and lots of unreleased live stuff. The booklet is fairly nifty too!!

Egg ~ The Metronomical Society
Like the Hatfield and the North compilations, these are a treasure trove of brilliant early Canterbury style prog. Worth it just for the sleeve notes alone, which along with the “Copious Notes” booklet make up for a fascinating glimpse into a long gone time when music was pioneering.

Uriel ~ Arzachel Collectors Edition
Ditto above.


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