The Beatles: “Let It Be”
Speaking of The Beatles, fans know that there are a ton of clips from the “Let It Be” sessions. Overall, the compilers of this five-CD set have chosen the crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me of this unreleased music. The alternate takes often differ markedly from the song versions of “Let It Be”. There are also clips of songs that would appear on “Abbey Road” and early solo albums by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
The Rolling Stones: “Tattoo yourself”
The solid 1981 album was enriched with a full 1982 concert and nine unreleased studio tracks. I would say that the unreleased swashbuckling rockers “Trouble’s A Comin ‘” and “It’s A Lie” and the soulful ballad “Fast Walking, Slow Talking” should have supplanted three or four tracks that were on “Tattoo You”.
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: “Deja Vu” 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
When David Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Graham Nash (who released their debut album in 1969) teamed up with occasional fourth member Neil Young, they created what remains the highlight of this supergroup’s career. The 38 additional demos, clips and alternate versions of this 50th anniversary edition include gems such as “Everyday We Live”, three rockers sung by Stills – “Same Old Song”, “Ivory Tower” and “I’ll Be There” – and an extended version of “Almost Cut My Hair” with an epic double guitar jam.
Aretha Franklin: “Aretha”
The queen of soul has already been the subject of multiple boxes and anthologies. So the folks who put together this new four-CD set to accompany “Respect,” the Franklin biopic, did the smart thing, generously choosing demos, alternate versions, and live performances of most of the songs. on “Aretha”. The result is a set that nicely complements the anthologies that preceded this one.
Joni Mitchell: Â«Archives – Volume 2 The Reprise Years (1968-1971)
The second of what promises to be a series of sets spanning the entire career, “Volume 2” features five discs with unreleased concerts (including a London show in which James Taylor joins Mitchell for half the set), many interesting takes, home demos and radio sessions from that first creative peak of his career. Needless to say, Joni Mitchell is a treasure trove of singular talent.
Other worthy reissues
Here are a few other notable deluxe reissues that I can recommend that feature the original albums as well as some bonus material.
David Bowie: “David Bowie: Brilliant Adventure (1992-2001)” (11 records with Bowie’s albums from this period plus the excellent unreleased album “Toy”, 2000 BBC concert, outtakes); Cat Stevens: âTeaser and the Firecatâ (four records with demos, live cuts and a concert from 1971); The replacements: “Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash” (four records include a multitude of releases and a surprisingly tight concert from 1981); Pretenders: “Pretenders” and “Pretenders II” (the three-disc editions of Pretenders’ first two albums each include full demos and concerts, including a Burning 1980 show on the debut album); The Tragically Hip: âRoad Applesâ (three discs contain strong unreleased songs); The Who: âThe Who Sell Outâ (five records with numerous studio releases, demos); The Band: “Stage Fright” (two records add a full concert from 1971); The Black Keys: âEl Caminoâ (four discs with unreleased live performances); REM: âNew Adventures In Hi-Fiâ (two discs add 13 bonus tracks to what is arguably REM’s most underrated album); The Black Crowes: “Shake Your Money Maker” (three discs with studio extracts and a concert from 1990); Violent Femmes: “Why Do Birds Sing” (two records with half a dozen bonus tracks and a 12 song concert in 1991); Jethro Tull: âBenefitâ (four records with a few extracts, B sides, two concerts from 1970); Death Cab For Cutie: âThe Photo Albumâ (two records with B sides and demos); The Alarm: âHistory Repeating 1981-2021â (two-disc anthology with 44 songs spanning the entire career); The Pretty Things: âLive At The BBCâ (Six CDs of live performances capture the raw energy and stylistic changes of this longtime band.)