This should keep ya’ll busy…
As you already know the compiling of a Various Artists release takes years of dedicated digging and nuanced listening. Like a hunter vigilantly occupying his stand in wait for the big game buck, you traverse untold miles on a stake out of popular vinyl resale outposts, in the hopes of encounter the increasingly rare specimens that are certified classics. These hunters are commonly known as dj’s, selectors, and crate-diggers; and their log books are the stuff of legend, the kind of stuff that make great compilation albums.
In any year a great compilation of tracks requires at minimum a reinterpreting of genre definitions, a strong and contemplative curation, impressive skills in sculpture, extensive knowledge of ethnology, practical skills in archaeology (that’s deep digging), or at the very least a sonicly prevailing energy. All of the compilations I listened to last year did not have that. Here are your nominees for all of the compilations in 2019 that had at least one of those criteria,…starting w/my favorites, (including downloads, some links, and info) and following in no particular order with the rest.
Here I will post the albums, but part of the fun will be for you to discover more about them on your own!
First, from the Etcetera files…this.
Wobbly Sounds: A Collection of British Flexi Discs
It’s a book! check it out.
“For this book, the acclaimed music and ephemera aficionado Jonny Trunk (editor of The Music Library and Dressing for Pleasure) has brought together over 150 of the most remarkable flexi discs. Cheap, disposable, often with poor audio quality but with great visuals, flexi discs were vinyl’s poorer cousin in the pre-digital age. Given away with magazines such as New Musical Express, Melody Maker and Private Eye, or sent out by advertisers, they were a splashy way of getting your message heard.”
And now on with the show!
VA: Electro Acholi Kaboom from Northern Uganda (Nyege Nyege Tapes)
This compilation features fascinating reworkings of traditional wedding songs in an 80s afropop style that is truly unmatched and unheard of, not to mention the care that was taken to unearth these gems. This ultra rare collection is truly a masterpiece of the compilation art form.
The Time For Peace is Now-Gospel Music About Us
You just can’t lose with LuakaBop.
…and here’s a review.
If You’re Not Part of the Solution…Soul, Politics and Spirituality in Jazz 67-75
Here’s a link to a great review of this comp over at Derek’s Music Blog.
VA: Street Soul Brazil
Street Soul Brasil, compiled by Augusto Olivani features songs from prominent artists of the era’s urban street movement, at their creative epochs. A great compilation that reflects the influence of international pop at the time!
Sunny Side Up
Brownswood Recordings new compilation showcasing music from Melbourne’s underground scenes. Influences ranging from jazz and RnB to house and broken beat.
The Bakersfield Sound: Country Music Capital of the West 1940-74
Space Funk: Afro Futurist Electro Funk in Space 1976-84
Soul Jazz collected the rare electro and funk songs from small, independent labels. Its 15-tracks span from the infectious funk of Santiago’s ‘Bionic Funk’ to Jamie Jupitor’s futuristic, drum-heavy ‘Computer Power’ and the classic disco sounds of JUJU & the Space Rangers’ ‘Plastic’. More here and here.
Dave Haffner’s “Disco With a Feeling”: An Introduction to the Heart and Soul of Disco
Now we that we touched on my very favorite compilations from the year we move on to the lightning round opening w/ Soul! Starting with its roots in Gospel, Doo-Wop, the Church, and low-budget/limited records, and then moving on to big label’s, overseas, and beyond.
Sacred Sounds: Dave Hamilton’s Raw Detroit Gospel 1969-74
Passages from the Cuca Gospel
The Numero Group strikes again.
YIA Talent Hunt Winners
This is a Big Crown Records reissue of an all-time legendary much fabled local record.
Various – Lamp Records – It Glowed Like The Sun: The Story Of Naptown’s Motown 1969-1972
WSJ Sound: New York City Soul
Chicago Soul 2: 1962-65
Los Angeles Soul, Vol. 2: Kent-Modern’s Black Music Legacy 1963-72
Can You Feel It: Vol. 2
Eccentric Soul: The Path Label
Daptone Singles Collection Vol.1-5
The World We Live In: Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Detroit Funk and Soul
Everything is Gonna Be Alright: Celebrating 50 Years of Westbound Soul and Funk
Jack Ashford’s Just Productions, Vol. 2
Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures, Vol. 5
The Girl’s Gone Rockin’: Rhythm and Blues Queens
Rock Me Mama: 1945, 46, 47
R&B Queens of New Orleans
Evolution of a Vocal Group
St. Louis Blues Society Presents: 18 in 18
Stirring Up Some Soul: The Original Sound of UK Club Land
This compilation is of special note. It was released in honor of the 50th anniversary of Stax. The reissue label Craft Recordings is taking note of this important 50th anniversary by not only reissuing the Soul Explosion set on vinyl but also making the 28-track collection available as a digital download for the first time. Read more about that here.
Souled Out: Vintage Soul, R&B, Blues and Doo-Wop featured on UK TV Commercials
Would She Do That For You?!: Girl Group Sounds USA 1964-68
Danny Trejo Presents: Chicano Soul Shop Vol. 1
What can I say, the man has excellent taste in music.
Martin Freeman and Eddie Piller present: Soul on the Corner
These dudes do too.
This Is Mainstream!
…record company, that is.
Sampled Soul: Rare Soul Tracks as Sampled By…
Stirring Up Some Mod Soul Action
Sea-Saint Recording Studio: Allen R. Toussaint Productions
Jalapeno Soul Sisters Vol. 3
Columbia’s Groovy Songbirds
Golden Oldies Pop Girls
The Sun Shines On My Street: Sunshine, Soft and Studio Pop 1966-70
My World of Make Believe: Sunshine, Soft and Studio Pop 1966-72
Land of 1000 Dances: Rampart Records 58th Anniversary
Another peculiar and interesting compilation, this one features all the singles from the Rampart Records collection. Rampart Records
The Easy Way: 60 Classic Hits from the Time When Life Was Easy
The Godfathers of Psychobilly
Ghost Riders in the Sky
Down In the Valley vol. 4
Check out volumes 1-3 as well!
The Night Has a Thousand Soundalikes: 60s Teen Pop Influenced by Bobby Vee
VA: For the Love of Money (Money Worries, Greed Profit, Poor Wages, Gambling, Desperation…)
All The Young Droogs: 60 Juvenile Delinquent Wrecks
Absolutely tremendous collection
Jon Savage’s Rock Dreams on 45 1969-71
Honestly one of the best collections of tracks I heard all year long!
Memory Motel: Inside the World of Keith Richards
An interesting glimpse into Keith’s faves.
April in Paris: Romantic Jazz and Easy Classics
Sometimes you just need this.
Jazzvolution Chapter 2
Spiritual Jazz 10: Prestige
Jamaica Jazz From Federal Records: Carib Roots, Jazz, Mento, Latin, Merengue & Rhumba 1960-68
VA: Jazz Dispensary: the Dank D Funk Blend
Sol Vibrations: Latin Dance Movements (Compiled by Jeff the Fish)
The Very Best of Africa
Sometimes you just need this.
Nigeria 70: No Wahala Highlife, Afro-Funk & JuJu 1973-87
Super solid as always from the Nigeria 70 folks.
Africa Airways Five: Brace Brace Boogie 1976-82
Mogadisco: Dancing Mogadishu-Somalia 1972-91
Tabansi Sampler Gold Series: Africa New Sound
Return to the Mother’s Garden: More Funky Sounds of Female Africa 1971-82
Western Baba Funk Radio Vol. 2
Record Kicks: AfroSides
Leve Leve: Sao Tome & Principe Sounds 70s-80s Vol. 1
Colombian Soul: Compiled By Bagar aka Tricky D
Body Beat: Soca-Dub & Electronic Calypso 1979-98
Jambu: E Os Miticos Sons Da Amazonia
Too Slow to Disco: Neo En France
Soul Clap Records Presents: Italo Funk
Bosporous Bridges 3
In The Red: A Britfunk Selection by Saint-James Vol. 1&2
Esa Presents: Amandla Music to the People (Soundway Records)
Night City Life compiled by Ilan Pdahtzur
Just wanted to share these few words from the Bandcamp on this comp., which is one of my other faves of the year.
“Night City Life, is a killer collection of 1980s synthesizer songs inspired by Ilan’s admiration for the glow of London’s late night skyline. Over the course of 13 essential tunes, Ilan escorts us on a vibrant sprint through rare Italo-disco, steamy South African synth-boogie, fizzing American freestyle, oddball Austrian electrofunk and so much more.”
Outro Tempo II: Electronic and Contemporary Music from Brazil 1984-1996
Visible and Insvisible Persons Distributed in Space
Over Under Away Vol. 1: Hopestreet Recordings 2008-2019
Bad Education Vol. 1: Soul Hits of Timmion Records
Wah Wah Twenty: 20 years of Wah Wah Records
Soul Jazz Records Presents the World of Keith Haring
A fascinating look into the life of the prolific artist.
Shir Khan Presents Black Jukebox Disco Jam 02
Tasty Recordings: It’s So Disco Vol. 3
VA: The Daisy Age (Saint Etienne Rec.)
It wasn’t really a movement, barely even a moment, but the Daisy Age was an ethos that briefly permeated pop, R&B and hip hop.
VA: Horchata Records
Mr. Bongo’s Record Club Vol. 3
I Heart ZYX: Italo Disco Collection 27
15 Years of Bomb Strikes Records
Smoove and Turrell-Solid Brass: 10 Years of Northern Funk
Frankie Knuckles & Eric Kupper Present The Director’s Cut Collection
Here we are at the end!