Friday , March 1 2024
Nothing says Christmas quite like the ka-ching! of a fresh new batch of greatest hits and reissue packages.

New Album Releases 11/06/07: And The (Greatest) Hits (And Other Reissues) Keep On Comin’: Gram Parsons, Van Morrison, Nas, Plus New Music From Jay Z & David Byrne

You know that you're in the thick of the holiday buying season when the music industry starts rolling out the reissues and the remasters, faster than you can hum a few bars of "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town." In fact, nothing says Christmas quite like the ka-ching! of a fresh new batch of greatest hits and reissue packages.

And to think, it isn't even Thanksgiving yet.

In this week's fresh batch of new releases, what began as a trickle of such packages a few weeks ago, has now escalated to the point of the floodgates being thrown wide open. A trip to either your friendly neighborhood brick and mortar — or your favorite internet click and order — this week reveals a slew of new greatest-hits packages, as well as a few choice collections of rare or unreleased material from deep within the vaults.

Falling into the latter category would be this week's most interesting new entry, the intriguingly titled double-disc Gram Parsons Archive, Vol. 1. A convincing argument could be made (and probably won) that Parsons single-handedly invented the hybrid mix of country and rock that we nowadays refer to as "Americana," or even that he pioneered the sort of music commonly played on radio's modern day "Adult Alternative" format.

On this double album, two shows Parsons did with his original band The Flying Burrito Brothers, opening for the Grateful Dead — and reportedly taken from the taped concert vaults of the Dead themselves — are presented, in what has to be regarded as the sort of find that will have collectors licking their chops in anticipation.

Of the more traditional greatest-hits packages arriving this week, Van Morrison's Still On Top comes about as close to a complete single-disc retrospective as you are likely to get. As I noted in my original review, this one isn't perfect, but it does cover Van's career all the way from the sixties with Them to the present.

Other greatest-hits collections in stores this week include Nas Greatest Hits, from the man who once declared that Hip Hop Is Dead; as well as a "deluxe" (read: explicit) version of Dr. Dre's Chronicles: Death Row Classics. For "new country fans", Garth Brooks has The Ultimate Hits, while the traditionalists may prefer something like Merle Haggard's Legends of American Music: The Original Outlaw.

Sony Legacy has a new Stevie Ray Vaughn package titled Solos, Sessions & Encores, as well as new entries in its Essential double-disc series from Teddy Pendergrass and Lou Rawls.

This week's holiday-music releases are led by Rick Springfield's Christmas With You, which was the subject of a recent glowing review here by our own Connie Phillips, and the Captain And Tenille's (and I didn't know they were still recording either) The Secret of Christmas.

Finally, there are also a couple of interesting new releases that feature — believe it or not — actual new music. Rapper/hip hop producer Jay Z's American Gangster features nine new tracks directly inspired by the Russell Crowe/Denzel Washington film of the same name, though it should not considered as an actual soundtrack to the movie (the official soundtrack, not coincidentally, is also in stores this week).

David Byrne's The Knee Plays on the other hand, is an actual score — though to what, I'm not exactly sure — that features new music from the ex-Talking Head turned world music renaissance man.

Here are all of this week's new album releases courtesy of the folks at All Music Guide.

Angels & Airwaves
Alternative Pop/Rock

Son of Skip James
Verve Forecast
Modern Acoustic Blues

American Gangster
Hardcore Rap, East Coast Rap, Gangsta Rap, Pop-Rap

Gram Parsons/Flying Burrito Brothers
Gram Parsons Archive, Vol. 1
Country-Rock, Americana, Alternative Country-Rock, Folk-Rock

Sigur Rós

Barenaked Ladies
Talk to the Hand: Live in Michigan
Shout! Factory
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Fabio Biondi
Vivaldi: Concerto per viola d'amore
Virgin Classics
Baroque Concertos

Carla Bley
The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu
Modern Creative

Bright Eyes
Motion Sickness: Live Recordings
Saddle Creek
Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter

Garth Brooks
The Ultimate Hits
New Traditionalist, Country-Pop, Contemporary Country

Chris Brown
Urban, Contemporary R&B

Bob Brozman
Post-Industrial Blues
Country Blues

David Byrne
The Knee Plays [Bonus DVD]
Original Score, Modern Composition

Captain & Tennille
The Secret of Christmas
Holiday, Christmas

B.A.R.S.: The Barry Adrian Reese Story
East Coast Rap, Pop-Rap

Little Kingdom
Dead Oceans
Neo-Psychedelia, Indie Rock

Imani Coppola
The Black & White Album
Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Rap, Experimental Rock

Dr. Dre
Chronicles: Death Row Classics [Deluxe]
Death Row
Gangsta Rap, West Coast Rap, G-Funk

Einstürzende Neubauten
Alles Wieder Offen
Experimental, Experimental Rock

Five for Fighting
Back Country Live
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock

Rumon Gamba
The Film Music of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Vol. 2
Modern Film Music

Grizzly Bear
Experimental Rock, Indie Rock, Post-Rock/Experimental

Merle Haggard
Legends of American Music: The Original Outlaw
Time Life
Western Swing Revival, Bakersfield Sound, Honky Tonk, Traditional Country

Betty Harris
Deep Soul, R&B, Soul, Soul-Blues, New Orleans R&B

His Name Is Alive
Sweet Earth Flower: A Tribute to Marion Brown
High Two/Aum Fi.
Avant-Garde Jazz, Experimental Rock

Wizz Jones
Lucky the Man
British Folk, British Folk-Rock

Roman Kofman
Valentin Silvestrov: Symphony No. 6 [Hybrid SACD]
Contemporary Symphony

David Liebman/Roberto Tarenzi/Paolo Benedettini/Tony Arco
Dream of Nite
Post-Bop, Avant-Garde Jazz, Modern Creative

Bennie Maupin
The Jewel in the Lotus
Post-Bop, Modal Music, Avant-Garde

Moby Grape
Moby Grape '69
Folk-Rock, Psychedelic, Country-Rock

Moby Grape
Truly Fine Citizen [Bonus Tracks]
Country-Rock, Blues-Rock, Psychedelic

Monster Magnet
4-Way Diablo
Stoner Metal, Alternative Metal, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal

Van Morrison
Still on Top: The Greatest Hits
Album Rock, Blue-Eyed Soul, Pop/Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Rock & Roll, R&B

Alison Moyet
Adult Alternative Pop/Rock, Hi-NRG

Greatest Hits
East Coast Rap, Hip-Hop

Nine Black Alps
Alternative Pop/Rock

Walter Reiter
Biber: Mystery Sonatas
Brilliant Classics
Baroque Violin Sonatas

David Zinman
Karolju: Christmas Music from Rouse, Lutoslawski & Rodrigo
Modern & Contemporary Music for Christmas

Original Soundtrack
American Gangster
Soundtracks, Southern Soul, Original Score, Neo-Soul

Teddy Pendergrass
The Essential Teddy Pendergrass
Smooth Soul, Philly Soul, Soul, Quiet Storm

Lee Perry
Upsetters 14 Dub Blackboard Jungle
Dub, Roots Reggae

The Pine Hill Haints
Ghost Dance
Alternative Country-Rock, Roots Rock, Rockabilly Revival

Lou Rawls
The Essential Lou Rawls
Pop-Soul, Vocal Jazz, Urban

Dewey Redman
The Struggle Continues
Post-Bop, Modern Creative

Tommy Roe
Fall Out
Sunshine Pop, Pop, Psychedelic Pop

60 Watt Kid
60 Watt Kid
Absolutely Kosher
Indie Rock

Rick Springfield
Christmas with You
Holiday, Christmas

Various Artists
Art of Field Recording
Field Recordings, Traditional Folk, Bluegrass-Gospel, Bluegrass

Various Artists
Bullet Records Rhythm & Blues
Blue Label
Jump Blues, Electric Blues, Piano Blues, R&B

Various Artists
Richer Tradition: Country Blues and String Band Music 1923-1942
Prewar Blues, Early American Blues, Folk-Blues, String Bands, Prewar Country Blues, Country Blues, Acoustic Blues

Stevie Ray Vaughan
Solos, Sessions & Encores
Sony Legacy
Album Rock, Modern Electric Texas Blues, Texas Blues, Electric Texas Blues, Blues-Rock, Modern Electric Blues

White Magic
Dark Stars
Drag City
Indie Rock

White Williams
Indie Rock, Indie Electronic

About Glen Boyd

Glen Boyd is the author of Neil Young FAQ, released in May 2012 by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard Publishing. He is a former BC Music Editor and current contributor, whose work has also appeared in SPIN, Ultimate Classic Rock, The Rocket, The Source and other publications. You can read more of Glen's work at the official Neil Young FAQ site. Follow Glen on Twitter and on Facebook.

Check Also

Cover Culture Decks Decoded

Book Review: ‘Culture Decks Decoded’ by Bretton Putter

Leaders of any high growth or startup company should read Bretton Putter's new book is 'Culture Decks Decoded.' It's a compelling guidebook on the need for company culture.