Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time
2014 has been another superb year of music for me. I didn’t get to revisit as many artist discographies here as I had hoped to, due to several factors beyond my control, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ones I wrote about along with all the Gateway Compilations, One And Done and Two And Through artists I highlighted over the past twelve months. As always, I continued to expand my collection with new & catalog releases by some of my favorite artists, and I checked out a number of artists who had previously flown below my musical radar, some via individual albums and others through compilations and box sets. Unlike last year, when Steven Wilson’s The Raven That Refused To Sing was my Album Of The Year by a wide margin, this year there were no front-runners. Instead, I enjoyed dozens of incredible albums & compilations which were among the hundreds of new titles I acquired. I was most excited about the Super Deluxe Edition box sets of the first five Led Zeppelin albums, which I will likely discuss in a series of posts once that reissue program is complete. The most pleasant surprise of the year was the new Pink Floyd album, The Endless River, a mostly instrumental collection of music based on 20-year-old recordings which might not be up there with the band’s classics but it’s a beautiful record (especially the surround sound mix) with some typically gorgeous guitar work from David Gilmour.
Below you’ll find three lists. The first one sums up the albums that had the biggest impact on me via the posts I wrote here. I’ve included hyperlinks to the related post for each album, in case you missed them. The second list highlights the albums that were released in 2014 (and a handful from 2013 that I didn’t get to last year) which had the greatest impact on me, while the final list covers the reissues, compilations, box sets & other older releases that I got this year and spent the most time with. I didn’t have time to include links to audio clips but everything on these lists is worth seeking out, whether it’s via YouTube, a streaming service or a “give it a shot without hearing it first” CD or LP purchase.
Thanks to all of my readers for your contributions throughout the year. You continue to make this “labor of love” such an enjoyable experience for me. I hope you & your loved ones are enjoying the holiday season. Wishing you a very happy New Year, and may 2015 be filled with nothing but incredible & inspiring musical discoveries. Hopefully you enjoy these lists. Please let me know if anything below had a similar impact on you.
Albums I Revisited & Wrote About That Pleasantly Surprised Me Or Cemented Their Greatness
THE KINKS: The Kinks, Face To Face, Something Else By The Kinks, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society, Arthur (Or The Decline And Fall Of The British Empire), Lola Versus Powerman And The Moneygoround Part One, Muswell Hillbillies, Schoolboys In Disgrace, Low Budget, Give The People What They Want, State Of Confusion, Think Visual
THE STOOGES: The Stooges, Fun House
AL GREEN: Green Is Blues, Al Green Gets Next To You, Let’s Stay Together, I’m Still In Love With You, Call Me, Al Green Explores Your Mind, Al Green Is Love, I Can’t Stop
SYD BARRETT: The Madcap Laughs, Barrett
K.D. LANG: Angel With A Lariat, Shadowland, Absolute Torch And Twang, Ingénue, Drag, Invincible Summer
HALL & OATES: Abandoned Luncheonette, War Babies, Along The Red Ledge, Voices, Private Eyes, H2O, Change Of Season
Albums Released In 2014, and 2013 Releases I Finally Heard This Year, That I Love (in alphabetical order)
Anathema – Distant Satellites
Beck – Morning Phase
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Circa Zero – Circus Hero
A.J. Croce – Twelve Tales
David Crosby – Croz
Elbow – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
The Empty Hearts – The Empty Hearts
Flying Colors – Second Nature
The Gloaming – The Gloaming
Ben & Ellen Harper – Childhood Home
Jason Isbell – Southeastern
Eric Johnson & Mike Stern – Eclectic
Wilko Johnson & Roger Daltrey – Going Back Home
Mastodon – Once More ‘Round The Sun
Moon Safari – Himlabacken Vol. 1
Laura Mvula – Sing To The Moon
Opeth – Pale Communion
David Pack – David Pack’s Napa Crossroads
Pink Floyd – The Endless River
The Rails – Fair Warning
Rival Sons – Great Western Valkyrie
Sand – Sand
Shearwater – Fellow Travelers
Sloan – Commonwealth
Bruce Springsteen – High Hopes
Thompson – Family
Glenn Tilbrook – Happy Ending
Tin Spirits – Scorch
Tinariwen – Emmaar
Frank Turner – Tape Deck Heart
John Wesley – Disconnect
Lucinda Williams – Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone
Yusuf (Cat Stevens) – Tell ‘Em I’m Gone
Newly Acquired Reissues, Compilations & Box Sets I Love, And Artists I Finally Checked Out, In 2014 (in alphabetical order)
Michael Bloomfield – From His Head To His Heart To His Hands (3CD + DVD box set)
Big Bill Broonzy – The Anthology
Ry Cooder – 1970-1987 (11-CD box set)
Betty Davis – This Is It!
Peter Gabriel – Back To Front – Live In London (Blu-ray + 2 CDs)
Serge Gainsbourg – Comic Strip
Gentle Giant – The Power And The Glory (Blu-ray Edition)
Godley + Creme – Cry – The Very Best Of Godley + Creme
Donny Hathaway – Never My Love: The Anthology (4-CD box set)
Hot Tuna – The Best Of Hot Tuna
Billy Joel – A Matter Of Trust: The Bridge To Russia (Blu-ray + 2 CDs)
Mark Lanegan – Has God Seen My Shadow?: An Anthology 1989-2011
Led Zeppelin – Super Deluxe Box Sets of first five albums
Little Feat – Rad Gumbo – The Complete WB Years (12-CD box set)
Lone Justice – This Is Lone Justice: The Vaught Tapes
Bob Marley – Legend: 30th Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray + CD)
Matching Mole – Matching Mole (Deluxe Edition)
Van Morrison – Moondance: Deluxe Edition (4 CDs + Blu-ray)
Oasis – Definitely Maybe and (What’s The Story) Morning Glory (3-CD expanded editions)
Danny O’Keefe – Classics
Philadelphia International Records – The Collection (20-CD box set)
Anthony Phillips – Harvest Of the Heart – An Anthology (5-CD box set)
Public Image Limited – Gold
Jess Roden – The Best Of Jess Roden
TV Eyes – TV Eyes (2-LP vinyl reissue)
Weezer – Pinkerton (4-LP Vinyl Deluxe Edition)
Johnny Winter – True To The Blues: The Johnny Winter Story (4-CD box set)
Bobby Womack – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright: The American Singles 1967-76
XTC – Drums And Wires (Blu-ray edition)
Yes – The Yes Album and Relayer (Blu-ray editions)
A 4-LP edition of Pinkerton sounds delicious!
It really is a beautiful package; quadruple-gatefold sleeve and four slabs of 180-gram vinyl. I’m really glad I splurged on it.
Happy New Year to you and yours! Thanks for all the great posts and conversations!
Thanks, DDR. It’s always a pleasure chatting with a fellow music nut…er, enthusiast. Haha.
Oh and I don’t know if it’s in your pipeline, but I’m absolutely loving the Tears For Fears Big Chair box. Highly recommended.
When TFF first burst onto the scene in the ’80s I hated them. Something about Orzabal’s nasally voice just rubbed me the wrong way. I eventually came around to them and now I own all of their albums, but I don’t know if I’m enough of a fan to shell out the money for that box set. All I really want is the DVD (or is it a Blu-ray?) with the Steven Wilson surround sound mix.
Yeah the blu ray is out iirc.
Is it available separately? If so and it’s reasonably priced, I would buy that. I don’t think I need TFF rarities & b-sides, though.
Thats a lot of material there Rich!
Cheers and all the best to your blogging in 2015!
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Thanks, Derek. Hard to believe those are only my favorites from 2014. There were a couple hundred others that I also enjoyed but this was the cream of the crop. I’m just about out of storage space but there’s no end in sight to my wish list. Haha. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Storage space is always an issue! You’ll have to build an addition, or take over the garage!
I’ve jokingly talked with my wife about building a sub-basement for years. We continue to discuss the real possibility of moving, for a multitude of reasons, and if/when that happens I will make sure I get enough space for all of my music and everything I expect to accumulate in the coming years.
Why joke? Give ‘er!! We moved into this house a year and a half ago, and there’s a 4th basement downstairs which I have gradually taken over as my music room – collection storage and instruments. Since no one else was really begging for the space, I just sort of took it over. 🙂 And man I gotta tell you, having a dedicated space is the dream – and the dream is as good as you think it is! I hope you get the chance to go for it!
Glad you’ve got a dedicated space. That’s never been a problem for me…I have a very nice man-cave…it’s just that I keep accumulating so much music and the space refuses to grow. My CD & LP collection is probably in the 8,000-9,000 range at this point, which is a lot larger than it was when I moved here 9 years ago. A lot of my friends have been purging their collections but I can’t seem to do that, other than a handful of things from time to time. Damn this obsession (er, passion).
Oops sorry, 4th bedroom, not basement. It’s not a military complex hahaha!
Haha, I knew what you meant, but I like the idea of a 4th basement. I imagined you at Area 51 with the aliens.
Rich, 2014 was a great musical year, wasn’t it? Your lists are fantastic. I don’t know where to start with comments (and I’m simultaneously enjoying your previous years in review). So I’ll jump in at the bottom — the Johnny Winter box set looks wonderfully comprehensive and it’s a little surprising that this career-spanning set wasn’t released a few years ago.
I imagine that you must be close to running out of storage space :). Complicated for you, but lucky for us. Thank you.
Thanks for the feedback, Danica. 2014 was another great year of music for me, but then again they all are. As long as my ears are functioning and I have the time to listen, I’m constantly amazed at the quality that’s out there in all genres, and even if certain years feature a lesser amount of great new music, there are always tons of artists from the past to explore.
I’m definitely running out of space. Many CDs are now sitting horizontally on each shelf but they’re all easy to access…for now at least. It’s the curse of being a compulsive music collector.
I have an older 2-disc Johnny Winter anthology as well as several of his individual albums, but the box set released this year is as good a career overview as you can get. It’s highly recommended if you’ve got the time & money.
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“Unlike last year, when Steven Wilson’s The Raven That Refused To Sing was my Album Of The Year by a wide margin, this year there were no front-runners.”
It was also many other people’s album of the year by a wide margin. I’ve listened to bits of it, but that probably doesn’t give the proper flavour. As I don’t know anyone who has it, and I never download anything illegally, I’ll wait until I see Steven Wilson live before I decide to investigate him further. I bought a ticket today for a concert in Neu Isenburg, which is not far from where I live. It is promoting his new, soon-to-be-released album, but I’m sure that he will play bits of Raven as well. (I wanted to seem him on his last, Raven, tour, but was too late and it sold out. This time, I got a ticket, though not at the optimal spot. At least there are numbered seats and no standing!)
Phillip, I would normally recommend checking out some of Steven Wilson’s songs on YouTube or via other legal online means, but his music (whether solo or with Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, No-Man, Storm Corrosion, etc) should be heard in as high fidelity as possible. I hope you do get to check out his live show at some point and it inspires you to check out his catalog. I’ve been a fan since around ’97 or ’98 and he has yet to disappoint.
Can we look forward to you revisiting Maiden in 2014? In particular, you should revisit the Blaze albums. I have the second Blaze album—will try to get the first one this Friday. Almost everyone thinks they are inferior, but I think that the second one is actually better than some Bruce albums (and probably both Di’Anno albums, even though there are some good tracks there; Maiden are one of the few bands who have never made a bad, or even just an OK, album, and probably the only band who are at least as good now as in their heyday (though media attention is not as high now, but that of course doesn’t matter to real music fans like the readers of this blog).
I mentioned here that I recently saw Di’Anno and Blaze as part of a bill featuring the excellent acoustic Maiden tribute band Maiden United and also Thomas Zwijsen, who plays Maiden songs on classical guitar. Blaze put on a really good show (I could have done without Di’Anno, who was by far the worst of the 4 acts, even though he topped the bill (without actually being the headliner)) and I might even check out some of his non-Maiden stuff.
Will see Maiden United again soon and also the Iron Maidens, whom one might call a Maiden uncover band. 🙂
Phillip, I rarely decide which artists I’m going to write about in advance. Instead I choose them based on what I’m in the mood to spend weeks or months with at that time. Maiden is definitely in the running for 2015. I used to have the two Blaze Bayley-era albums but unloaded them years ago since I wasn’t terribly impressed. I would have to reacquire them whenever I cover the Maiden catalog.
Keep me posted on those Maiden United & Iron Maidens shows. Your “uncover band” comment put a big smile on my face. Thanks for that. Happy New Year!
And I thought I had a busy year as far as music goes, a great list there though. Looking forward to more posts in 2015. Which all going well should be another rewarding year. Thanks again.
Thank YOU, Lewis. I always appreciate your feedback, and I love all of our enjoyable conversations. 2014 was a particularly busy year for me, musically & otherwise, and I continue to be amazed at how many great artists are out there just waiting to be discovered…and how many of my favorite artists continue to release inspiring music. It can occasionally be overwhelming (and costly) but I still get so much pleasure out of every album I listen to.
Happy New Year to you & your loved ones.
Wow, even in an off year (subjective) you have managed to find a ton of great stuff. How do you find time to eat? Thanks for another great year of blogging, Rich. It’s been a blast trolling through your back catalog, catching up on all the in depth commentary. The best thing about your blog, though, is that you inspire me to listen to bands I have either written off, never heard of, or have just been to lazy to give a spin. Keep it up for 2015, please. I always look forward to another Kamer Tunes Blog post alert!
Thank you for all the kind words, Ian. Our mutual admiration society continues. This year I already checked out Robyn Hitchcock based on one of your posts and I have a couple of other items on my Amazon wish list thanks to your recommendations. I hope you continue to find music, old & new, that inspires you in 2015 & beyond, and keep reminding people why the ’80s were not the lost decade that many would have us believe. Happy New Year to you & your family.
Rich, by I recently picked up my first Kinks CD. 42 years old and I’m getting my first Kinks CD! I chose the 2 CD Kinks Collection to start, with the intention to check out deluxe editions of studio albums from there. I’ll be using that CD and your series to plot it out from there!
Cheers and happy new year!
Mike, it’s never too late to “discover” an artist and I’m sure you will eventually go beyond that 2-CD Kinks collection. There have been numerous reissue programs with their catalog over the years by several labels, so you’ll have to do some research to make sure you’re getting the best possible version of each album. I know you’re thorough so I have no doubt that you’ll build a formidable Kinks collection. Hopefully my series on their discography comes in handy.
Happy New Year.
Happy New Year, Rich! Thank you for a great 2014. I only discovered your blog partway through, so I’m still catching up and enjoying the process.
I’m looking forward to what you have in store for us for 2015. Hopefully, we’ll be able to share as much with you as you do with us.
Thank you, Danica, for the New Year’s wishes and the kind words. I hope you had a wonderful New Year’s celebration and I eagerly look forward to your posts throughout 2015 & beyond. I never know what you’ll be writing about but I’m always in a better mood after stopping by.
There were a number of unforeseen circumstances in 2014 which kept me from covering as much music here as I’d like to. Hopefully I’ll have more time this year as there are many artist catalogs I’m eager to revisit.
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That’s kind of amazing to me, Rich. My impression is that you’ve covered an extensive range of excellent music. I’ll look forward to even more!
Thank you for your kind words as well. I often don’t know what I’m going to write myself. It’s encouraging for me to know that you enjoy my posts and I hope to continue along that line for the coming year.
Hope your 2015 has kicked off to a great start!
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So far so good in 2015. Haven’t done anything for the blog yet. I’ll probably start up again sometime next week. I’ve been enjoying two box sets I received last week: Bob Dylan & The Band’s “The Basement Tapes – Complete” and Bruce Springsteen’s “The Album Collection Vol. 1.” I already own all of Bruce’s albums but the remastering (especially on the first couple of albums) is excellent.
I hope you’ve been enjoying the year so far and finding many inspiring things.
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Great to see Oasis there, two of my all-time favourite albums. Any chance you’ll be writing about the band in the near future?
Hi Ovidiu. Oasis isn’t on my short-list of artists to revisit, but you never know when I’ll be inspired to write about them. Perhaps that will happen when the deluxe edition of “Be Here Now” comes out. That was the last album I really liked by them, although I enjoyed certain songs on each of their subsequent albums. Have you gotten either of the deluxe editions of the first two albums? They really give fans their money’s worth on those releases, with nice packaging & two discs packed with bonus material.
I didn’t get the deluxe editions yet because they sort of came right after I gotten into the band and purchased the original albums. My main priority was getting all the studio albums first. But I look forward to getting them, especially for the B-sides which at times are so great they make you question the band’s sanity for not including them on the albums. ‘The Masterplan’ still holds up very well as an album.
‘Be Here Now’ is a very interesting album too – story, context, content and all. My thoughts on it are many, I think it highlights both the best and worst sides of Oasis.
It’s too bad about your timing with those albums. That’s happened to me with other artists and I’ve only bought expanded editions when I’ve really gotten into the original releases. As you mentioned, Oasis’ b-sides were typically great, so the fact that they’re all in one place with the original album and live recordings…at a reasonable price…makes those hard to pass up.
Rich, that was a fantastic year for you! I haven’t always commented but I’ve been following along in the Reader ayour posts come in. You are an intelligent, balanced reviewer and I really look forward to your next adventures. Keep going, Rich, you’re doing great!
Thanks, Aaron or James (I never know which of you is representing KMA). I really appreciate the positive feedback. I hope we both have a musically fulfilling 2015.
It’s me Aaron, Rich! I know it’s a little confusing with the two of us on the one login, but it’s usually me. James picks and chooses and doesn’t post as often, but I hope he’s reading your blog ‘cos I’ll bet he’d love it too! Anyway, I should just put a give ‘er! at the end of my comments, then you’d know it’s me! 🙂
Hey man, credit where credit is due, you are a damn fine writer, I always read your posts with pleasure! And as for 2015, it’s kicking off great with a CD from 2014! Haha this Killer Be Killed album is so great!! It’s all I’ve played and it’s starting to take over my brain… I LIKE IT!!
Thanks for clarifying, Aaron. At this point James should specify when it’s him so we can assume that all other comments/posts are from you. Thanks again for the kind words. I truly appreciate it. Happy to hear that your year in music has gotten off to a great start. Mine has as well, and I’m also very excited about my next blog series, which will either start today or tomorrow. Not sure how many people will be as enthusiastic as I am, but I’m not in this for page views; it’s all about the musical discoveries (and re-discoveries).
I lost the previous thread so I’m starting again. Please reorganize as you see fit 🙂
Those two box sets sound very interesting! I enjoy both The Band (Levon Helm in particular) and Bruce Springsteen. This is the first I’ve heard of that Springsteen box set and it must be amazing. Bob Dylan, however…his music never really appealed. I realize this puts me in a massive minority. If anyone can introduce a new way of looking at his music it will be you.
I’m looking forward to your next post, and perhaps a highlighting of your new box sets.
Danica, you’re not alone in your feelings about Bob Dylan. As revered as he is by fans, critics & other musicians, I’ve known for a long time that he’s an acquired taste. I’ve been a fan since I was a teenager but even though I own his entire discography I still consider myself a Dylan novice. One day I might turn my attention to his discography for a blog series, but it would likely take up an entire year. I might have to break it up by decade. The box set I mentioned, which is the complete “Basement Tapes” recordings with The Band, is really enjoyable but not the place to start for a new fan. The Springsteen box, on the other hand, is a perfect purchase for anyone who doesn’t have his individual albums. I owned them all originally on LP, then replaced them with the original CD pressings from the ’80s, and now I’m thrilled to have these modern remasters which sound incredible.
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Great taste in music! Look forward to checking out more of your blog.
Thanks for stopping by. I just started checking out your blog and I’m very impressed. Will be visiting regularly.