Must Have CD/DVD Reissues

Reissues, previously unreleased live concerts, DVDs and related releases are really starting to pour in during the early stages of the biggest music release season of the year. The following are some early candidates for must-have gets.

The Universal labels continue to be one of the reissue leaders in terms of the quality and quantity of releases. First up is The Very Best of Don Henley (Geffen) from Don Henley. This is the first solo best-of spanning all three labels Henley has recorded for as a solo artist. There is also a bonus DVD, which includes six videos and four rare soundtrack recordings in DVD-audio quality. Few artists have had the level of solo success that Henley has had after being in one of the biggest groups of all time and this collection is a testament to Henley’s mammoth solo career.

R.E.M’s original Chronic Town EP and full-length debut album Murmur have often gotten the most attention from early die-hard fans, but the group’s second album, 1984’s Reckoning, solidified the group’s place as more than critic’s darlings. A new Deluxe Edition of Reckoning (I.R.S./A&M) includes the original album on one disc and a bonus disc of a live concert recorded at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago in 1984 and broadcast over WXRT-FM. The concert’s sometime shambling pace, off-kilter rhythms, bum notes and out-of-tune vocals are what make this recording so charming. For all the beauty of the group’s albums, the members were young punk rockers at heart in their early days and this live disc captures that magic.

Universal has also just issued two previously unreleased live radio broadcasts from the BBC: Steve Earle Live at the BBC (MCA), which features performances from 1987, recorded at Manchester, England and most of the disc from 1989, recorded at the Town & Country Club in London and, from B.B. King, Live at the BBC (Geffen), which primarily features recordings spanning 1978 through 1991, from various venues, including the “The Thrill Is Gone” from both the Hammersmith Odeon in 1978 and an in-studio performance from 1989 with Andy Kershaw.

Soulive is celebrating its tenth anniversary in a big way. Up Here (Royal Family) is the group’s followup to No Place Like Soul and includes a bonus DVD recorded live at the Blue Note club in Tokyo. The band has also just issued the iTunes exclusive Live In San Francisco, which is yet another live album from the band who has issued over 10 “Instant Live” recordings.

Two DVDs not to be missed are The Mama Cass Television Program from Infinity, which features rare television appearances from Joni Mitchell and others and the cult favorite, My Dinner with Jimi, which in faux documentary fashion chronicles the night in London in 1967 on which the Turtles met the cream of British music aristocracy.