BEST OF 2018: Fred Rudofsky’s Top 13 Box Sets & Historical Releases

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By Fred Rudofsky

13. The Doors: Waiting for the Sun (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Elektra Catalog Group)
12. The Who: Live at the Fillmore East, 1968 (MCA)
11. Joe Strummer: Joe Strummer 001 (Ignition Records Ltd.)
10. Jimi Hendrix: Both Sides of the Sky (Sony Legacy)
9. Various artists: Confessin’ the Blues (BMG)
8. The Small Faces: Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Snapper UK)

7. Bob Dylan: More Blood, More Tracks: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 14 (Sony Legacy)
6. John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album Deluxe (Verve)
5. John Lennon: Imagine: The Ultimate Collection (Universal Music Group)
4. Tom Petty: An American Treasure (Reprise)
3. The Beatles: The Beatles (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Capitol)
2. Aretha Franklin: The Atlantic Singles Collection: 1967-1970 (Atlantic)
1. The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (Sony Legacy)

BELATED DISCOVERIES

Released in the summer of 2017, Jungle Records’ Check This Action (Deluxe Reissue) by the Leroi Brothers is a must-have for fans of rootsy Texas rock and roll. In the early 1980s, few bands could tear it up like this quartet. I’ve had the LP for many years, but this CD reissue with an additional six tracks ups the ante. Don Leady and Keith Ferguson would leave not long after to form the Tail Gators, another band that merits loud airing in your corner of the world.

Speaking of Texas, there’s the prolific Lightnin’ Hopkins, whose vast recording legacy has been packaged and re-packaged for years. Southern Routes got it right, though, in 2016 with the 37 track compilation Lightnin’ Hopkins Sings the Blues. Here’s Hopkins in his late 1940s, Aladdin Records prime, years before his folk era re-discovery, playing some deep blues guitar and crafting lyrics seemingly on the spot in that inimitable Houston drawl. Hear the legend in the making.

Meanwhile, through a chance encounter at the Neko Case concert at MASS MoCA, I met NYC-based singer-songwriter-pianist Eleanor Kaufman and consequently discovered her self-released 2015 debut, Eleanor & the Tasties’ Be My Honey, which sublimely mixes soul, jazz and folk influences, including a fine take on John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery.” The title cut alone is worthy of a dozen spins in a row. Look for new music from the talented Ms. Kaufman in the near future.

MORE BEST OF THE YEAR LISTS
J Hunter’s Top Women in Jazz Albums
Fred Rudofsky’s Top 21 Concerts
J Hunter’s Jazz2K Awards
Ed Conway’s Top Concerts
Stanley A. Johnson’s Top 10 Concerts (And More)
Michael Eck’s Eastern Liberal Elite Best of the Year
J Hunter’s Top 10 Jazz2K Discs
Mike Stampalia’s Top 10 Concerts
Rudy Lu’s Top 12 Concerts, Honorable Mentions Plus Two More
Fred Rudofsky’s Top 31 Albums
Bokonon’s Top 10 Greater Nippertown Concerts in the English Language
Rick Sleeper’s Top 10 Musical Performances at the Cock ‘n Bull
Steve Nover’s Top 50 Concerts
Mark Alexander Hudson’s Top 10 Greater Nippertown Shows
Richard Brody’s Top 13 Concerts
Parade o’ Shoes: The Sole of a Band

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