The Key's Year-End Mania: Bruce Warren's favorite reissues of 2014
The Allman Brothers | Photo by Jim Marshall

Year-End Mania is the Key’s survey of the things below the surface that made 2014 awesome. In this installment, XPN Program Director Bruce Warren shares his favorite reissues of the year.

Some of the best “new” music I heard this year was old music. Led Zeppelin, The Velvet Underground, Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road and Tears For Fears all got the reissue/remaster/bonus track treatment in 2014. Dylan released The Basement Tapes Complete, and Miles Davis completists must put their hands on every second of his 1970 Fillmore concerts. Personally I think 2014 was better in the reissue department than the new music department. Here’s a list of some of the best reissues of 2014.

The Allman Brothers – The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings
The original double live At Fillmore East, released in 1971, is a stone cold classic rock album, and one of the best live rock albums ever. The original was recorded over a period of three of the four nights that the Allmans played at the Fillmore East in March, 1971. This new collection includes all four shows; 37 tracks, 15 previously unreleased, six hours of The Allmans when Duane Allman was still alive and very much kicking.

Marshall Allen Presents Sun Ra & His Arkestra: In The Oribit Of Ra
A twenty song collection of Sun Ra’s music covering a period of 25 years. Lovingly curated by Marshall Allen, the longest member of the Sun Ra Arkestra (55 years), In The Orbit of Ra is an excellent place to start if you don’t own any music by this musical genius.

The Black Hippies – The Black Hippies
A Nigerian musical gem reissued by the folks at Light In The Attic, The Black Hippies’s self-titled debut was originally released in 1977, and showcased their mix of psychedelic rock, funk and Nigerian grooves. For fans of Funkadelic, Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys, and Fela Kuti.

C86: Deluxe 3 CD Edition
In 1986, when the British music magazine NME released C86, a cassette compilation featuring indie bands signed to various British labels, it changed a lot of people’s lives. Some of the bands included on the collection included Primal Scream, The Wedding Present, The Pastels, The Shop Assistants, and The Soup Dragons. This 3 CD collection expands on the brilliance of the British indie rock scene and includes additional tracks from The Jesus and Mary Chain, Happy Mondays, Biff Bang Pow!, Blue Aeroplanes, The Jasmine Minks, and others. It’s an astonishing snap shot of the UK music scene that still sounds inspiring and fresh.

Hailu Mergia and the Walias – Tchey Belew
A 1977 collection of Ethiopian instrumental jazz and soulful grooves from keyboardist and accordion player Hailu Mergia from the folks at Awesome Tapes From Africa.Tche Belew was a groundbreaking album and the LP became collectible after it was released. It’s an indespensible hypnotic and funky collection of world music. Don’t miss their recent appearance on World Cafe here.

Keyboard – Hungry Man
Laid back, soulful, and funky, Hungry Man was originally recorded for the EMI Nigeria label and produced by legendary producer Odion Iruoje, and was a one-off studio project formed by Brodricks Majuwa and Isaac Digha from circa 1978. Majuwa and Digha were session players who often used the EMI studios and played on variose recordings that Iruoje produced throughout the era. Lots of horns, wah-wah guitars, touches of psychedelia and plenty of grooves.

The Posies – Failure
Originally released in 1988 on cassette, the debut album by Seattle power-poppers The Posies represents an important part of the Pacific Northwest music scene that wasn’t Sub-Pop or Grunge. Failure was a young sounding, yet very strong set of uber melodic pop songs that spiritually connected fans of Big Star, early R.E.M., The Replacements, Velvet Crush, and the Hollies. The band’s principals – Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow – went on to become members of Big Star – and while fans would make the case that The Posies’ major labels were better albums than Failure, it’s inspiring to hear the pop bliss of a band struggling to find their voices, as The Posies certainly did.

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