The reissue business has just like the music industry in general had decreasing sales for years, even though collectors are probably more willing to pay for their titles compared to more casual consumers.
Despite the tough business climate there are a number of labels that have managed to keep their heads above water, with Pressure Sounds, SoulJazz and reggae giant VP’s subsidiary 17 North Parade being three of the prime examples. Surprisingly, new labels focusing on reissues have also seen the light of day, with Bristol Archive Records being one of the most successful.
Below is a list of my ten favorite reissues 2012. Most of them are released by the labels mentioned above and they collect both single artist albums and compilations. If you’re curious about the music you can check my Spotify playlist with five of the titles. Enjoy!
Niney – Deep Roots Observer Style
You can’t go wrong with four crucial Niney albums in one box set, and set which also includes Through the Fire I Come and Temptation, Botheration and Tribulation, two of the best conscious tunes ever released by The Heptones.
Barry Brown – Right Now
20 tracks of ruthless early Jamaican dancehall with several bonus dub cuts that really show the strength of each riddim.
Revelation Rockers – Jah Praises
Recorded in the UK more than 30 years ago, but didn’t see the day of light until the heroes at Bristol Archive Records dug it out and released it. Well worth the wait.
Various – Studio One Sound
You feel the warm and distinctive sound of the Brentford Road studio on this compilation, which also gives a good overview of Studio One’s extraordinary output with several rarities included.
Yabby You – Deeper Roots: Dub Plates & Rarities 1976-78
This is roots reggae in its purest sense and a testament of Yabby You’s golden period. It also reflects the core and the peak of profound Jamaican rasta music.
Various – Harmony, Melody & Style: Lovers Rock In The UK 1975-92
Maybe not be the definitive lovers rock compilation since smash hits such as Janet Kay’s Silly Games and Brown Sugar’s I’m in Love With a Dreadlocks are missing. But those tunes have been reissued to death, and it’s a clever choice to rather focus on a less obvious collection of tracks, tracks just as great, but less known to other than hardcore collectors.
Various – Bass Culture
An excellent eight disc overview in four volumes with both familiar hit songs and unknown rarities from the four main eras of Jamaican music.
Various – Freedom Sounds
This is not just another compilation to celebrate Jamaica’s 50 years of independence nor is it just another reggae compilation with the standard list of hits from the usual suspects. This is one of the best compilations in recent years and a well-representative overview of Jamaica’s gift to the world of music, a gift that has influenced generations of music makers around the world for more than five decades.
Phil Pratt – Listen To The Music: Caltone’s Jamaican 45’s 1966-69
Collects 21 rare tunes covering frantic ska, up-tempo early reggae and elegant, classy rocksteady. A few straight forward R&B and Sam Cooke influenced tunes from The Uniques are also included. The harmonies are excellent and so are the musicianship with outstanding lead guitar and shuffling organ work.
Fred Locks – Black Star Liner in Dub
This is the previously unreleased counterpart to Fred Locks’ landmark roots reggae album Black Star Liner. It includes, apart from ten sparse and raw vintage dub cuts, a melodica piece and a deejay cut of the title track by Pablove Black and Drummie and two versions, one of the title track, and one of Wolf Wolf.