G.T.'S Top Ten Releases, and Re-Releases of 2013

Dec 18, 2013

G.T.'S TOP TEN RELEASES, AND RE-RELEASES OF 2013(in no particular order, off the top of what's left of my head. So many fine choices, so little time...or space!)

1)WINGS OVER AMERICA-WINGS (CAPITOL/MPL) (1976)A re-mastered, elongated re-issue of Macca's triumphant '76 tour, sounding better, and more surprisingly "rockier" than I remembered. By way of but one example, check out the late lil' Jimmy McCullough's sizzling guitar work on his ironically-entitled composition "Medicine Jar".

2)THE ASSOCIATION (NOW SOUNDS) (1969)A re-issue of an under-appreciated self-titled release from these Angeleno harmony-popmeisters that made the top 40 in '69 despite the lack of a big hit single. For deep-cut satisfaction tho', check out Jules Alexander's "Under Branches", and "Love Affair", two of the loveliest cuts the group ever cut.

3)THE BEATLES-ON AIR-LIVE AT THE BBC VOL.2 (CAPITOL/BBC)The 'sequel' to 1994's supremely satisfying 'VOL.1'. Sure a lot of this stuff has been bootlegged numerous times in the past, but these re-mastered versions make it sound like you're hearing them again for the first time (and for the lucky few of you who haven't...you are!).

4)THE MASON WILLIAMS PHONOGRAPH RECORD (REAL GONE)Superior-sounding re-issue of his "Classical Gas'-containing, multi-million selling 1968 release originally on Warner Bros. A real treat in that you not only score the aforementioned big hit single, but Mason's wry and tuneful observations on loss ("She's Gone Away") but equally worthy instrumentals to "Gas" ("Baroque-a-Nova").

5)VARIOUS ARTISTS-BURT BACHARACH: ANYONE WHO HAD A HEART (UNIVERSAL UK)A sprawling 6-disc compilation of the pop music maestro's greatest, and not-so-greatest (at least by chart standards) songs, not always neccessarily rendered by those by who you might know them best (Cilla Black instead of Dionne Warwick taking on"Alfie"; Richard Chamberlain (!) crooning "Close to You" years before The Carpenters); and that's FOR the best as far as us hard-core Bachar-chivists are concerned!

6)VARIOUS ARTISTS-PICCADILLY SUNSHINE PART 13 (PARTICLE)Yet another (where do they keep finding these things?) exhaustively gathered and researched collection of late 60's-early 70's b-sides, one-offs and obscurities from pop also- and practically never-rans from the UK. This time out they've managed to dig-up sides from Jet Harris (a solo turn from The Shadows) and a pre-"Tiger Feet" Mud...and those are some of the more well-known artists!

7)VARIOUS ARTISTS-BOOK A TRIP VOL.2 (NOW SOUNDS)Rejoice, for the fine folks over at Now Sounds have put together another lengthy-disc's worth of obscure 60's pop-psyche cuts from the Capitol Records archives! Just as consistent as "Vol. 1", this time out sporting songs by the original Knack (1966-69) and a Donovan tune ("Skip-a-Long Sam") as rendered by sunshine popsters The Sugar Shoppe (featuring a pre-"Godspell" and "Alias" Victor Garber!).

8)BADFINGER-BADFINGER/WISH YOU WERE HERE/LIVE AT THE BBC 1972-3 (EDSEL)Yet another, but most welcome re-issue of the first two post-Apple releases from these Fab-sponsored power-pop gods!These are the best-sounding versions so far of these two criminally under-sold albums, one of which ("Wish You Were Here") may have been arguably their finest. Plus...bonus live BBC cuts, which I dig as much as the Fabs!

9)PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS-SOMETHING HAPPENED 1967-69 (RAVEN)Basically The Raiders' 4-LP output from 1968-69, compiled onto a two-disc set courtesy of Australian re-issue mavens Raven, but what  a collection! These were the LP's that showcased The Raiders' moving even further away from their R&B/Frat-inspired roots, and into the southern soul, psychedelic, power-pop, and sunshine-balladesque genres that were troubling the charts at the time...and being very good at it! But a few mere examples of their mastery of these themes being "Mr. Sun Mr. Moon", "Let Me" (garage-pop freaks take heed!), and "Gone Movin' On''. (This collection is not unfortunately available outside of Raven's home country of Australia...but luckily the individual albums are.) Yet four more prime examples as to why they should be in the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Lame...er, uh, that is Fame!

10)(This space reserved for all of the equally worthy and various re-issues and re-releases I've not the time, nor space to accommodate!)