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Though this doesn’t happen very often, I found myself with nothing to do a few days ago. No matter what I thought about doing, especially activities that I usually find irresistible, such as swimming at my girlfriend’s country club pool, walking in the park with my dog, or even watching a little TV, it all sounded blah. But then, I noticed my long-ignored CD collection, gathering dust on a bookshelf. I began to wonder, What the heck is in that pile of old records? I hadn’tlistened to any of them in a very long time. So I decided to dive in then and there, and find out what I’d been ignoring for lo, these many years.

Well, I said to myself, let’s just give some of these a little listen. And so I did….. And what I discovered was quite a surprise….

Compilations, awesome compilations by some of my historically significant and favorite artists, including many of my favorite songs, and others I’d never even heard.

Take my very-happy-I-did word for it, and see if you can find any of the following. You’ll be so glad you did!

1) THE BAND, A MUSICAL HISTORY: Selections From The Box Set
    Capital Records, 2005

"OK... here it is, I can really sign off on this; the definitive musical history of The Band
-- Robbie Robertson, Ice magazine, August 2005 

A Musical History is a comprehensive boxed set documenting The Band's recording career from 1963 to 1976, with 37 previously unreleased tracks. Released by Capitol/EMI Music Catalog Marketing in September 2005, A Musical History includes five audio discs and a DVD featuring rare live performance footage. The release concludes the comprehensive restoration campaign for The Band's entire Capitol Records catalog, that also produced the 2000/2001 remastered-with-bonus-tracks re-releases of their 8 first albums. the band

Among the previously unreleased audio tracks there are live and studio recordings of The Band, created with Bob Dylan and Ronnie Hawkins, as well as various song sketches. The DVD's nine film clips include previously unreleased concert performances, a filmed studio jam, and three songs The Band performed on "Saturday Night Live" in 1976, never before issued in their entirety. 

the bandThe boxed set, which was overseen by Robbie Robertson with producers Cheryl Pawelski and Andrew Sandoval, comes packaged with a 108-page hardbound book with previously unseen photos and memorabilia, and a cover painting of The Band by world-renowned artist Ed Ruscha.

On the rather inexpensive 67-track iTunes version of A Musical History, the tracklisting is quite different, with Disc 1 and the DVD completely absent, and also tracks with Dylan and others are omitted, but it does include a previously unissued live version of "I Shall Be Released."

2) DRESSED IN BLACK: A Tribute To Johnny Cash
    Dualtone Music Group, 2002

Dualtone's tribute to Johnny Cash, released on September 17, 2002, celebrates the outlaw fringes of the Man in Black's catalog, adding a few well-known milestones. Including artists such as Hank Williams III, The Reverend Johnny CashHorton Heat and Raul Malo. This compilation is full of talent, featuring several of Cash's most well-known songs, such as "Ring of Fire" and "Folsom Prison Blues", as well as a number of more obscure compositions like "I'm Gonna Sit on the Porch and Pick on My Old Guitar" and "Pack Up Your Sorrows". It’s obviously a labor of love for all concerned, as highlights include the pop innocence of "Ballad of a Teenage Queen" by Rodney Crowell (formerly married to Johnny's daughter Rosanne) and the folk strains and husband-and-wife harmonies of "Pack Up Your Sorrows" by Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis. Johnny Cash

“The house band and the largely acoustic arrangements give the 18-cut album more unity than many such projects, as the collection shows why one of the most influential and commercially successful artists in country's history remains an icon of alt-country as well.”

3) ESSENTIAL SOUTHERN ROCK HOUSE OF BLUES, 1997- Platinum Entertainment

House of BluesBrought to you by legendary, national chain House of Blues, this collection of Southern rock brings to life the flavor and attitude of the South. This distinct sub-genre of rock and roll peaked in the 1970s, as it merged elements of rock and blues as well as country and folk in much the same way that the musical pioneers of the 1950s and 60s like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis had done. In this celebration of the distinctly Southern nature of rock music,House of Blues House of Blues succesfully captures the very soul of rock music in the 1970s.  This stunning collection, packed full of classic Southern rock tracks like “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers, “Flirtin’ With Disaster” by Molly Hatchet and “Hold on Loosely” by .38 Special,  promises to cause a swell of Southern pride with its instantly recognizable riffs and melodies.

“‘Southern rock’ is a bit redundant; it’s like saying rock rock,” said Gregg Allman, many years ago.


4. Beautiful Dreamer- The Songs of Stephen Foster, 2004- American Roots Publishing

beautiful dreamerClassical baritone Thomas Hampson once called Stephen Foster the trunk of the tree of American music, and anyone familiar with traditional American songs like Captown Races and Beautiful Dreamer will share that sentiment. Stephen Foster was one of the first American songwriters to weave the American musical tapestry out of the disperate threads of the multi-cultural people. Appropriately, American Roots Publishing’s first compilation pays tribute to this true American icon. With tracks from John Prine, Yo-Yo Ma, Mavis Staples, BR5-49, The Duhks and many more, this awesome collection contains some familiar sounds for contemporary listeners and is a must-have for any fan of true American music.

“These songs – our songs – say everything, through the eyes of our poets and the ears of our composers, about the culture we call American.” --Thomas Hampson

5. Mojo Psych Out! Mojo Magazine- April, 2006

mojo Psych OutFrom the British-made music magazine Mojo, this compilation brings us back to the years of the “flower child”. A time and scene that created bands such as Pink Floyd is celebrated in this special CD, and brings out the hippie in all of us. Groups such as The Zombies, Kaleidoscope, The Troggs and John’s Children grace this psychadelic album, revealing the movement as if it never died. Go ahead, crank up the speakers and enjoy “Smashed Blocked” or “High In a Room”. Just don’t let the man bring you down.

“I think it’s good if a song has more than one meaning. Maybe that kind of song can reach far more people.” --Syd Barrett, Pink FloydMojo Pink Floyd / Issue 175 - September 2018
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