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SDE’s Best Reissues of 2019

2020 is but hours away, so before we hit a new decade, SDE takes a look at some of the best reissues and box sets from this year. There are seven categories, each with one winner and ‘special mentions’ for other worthy releases.

SDE's Best Reissues of 2019. BEST SINGLE ALBUM BOX SET: Prince '1999' (Warner Records)

BEST SINGLE ALBUM BOX SET: Prince ‘1999’ 
(Warner Records)

A near-perfect reissue of Prince‘s 1982 album, the 5CD+DVD set and 10LP+DVD box offered an enormous amount of bonus material, including two CDs (or four LPs) of vault tracks. The quality of this material is unreal, from early versions of eventually released songs (‘Irresistible Bitch’, ‘Feel U Up) to tracks that Prince kept fiddling with that were ultimately never issued (‘Possessed’). It’s the sheer number of unheard songs that boggles the mind and they are all good; from the funky ‘Bold Generation’, the breezy ‘Money Don’t Grow On Trees’ to the ultra-poppy ‘Rearrange’. Add to this the remastered double album, every edit, remix or B-side issued at the time and two live performances (one on CD and one on DVD) and you’ve got the making of something quite special. The wonderful packaging is also worth a mention. Naysayers can point to the lack of 5.1 mix and promo videos but for around £55 for the CD box that’s fairly easy to forgive.

Watch the SDE unboxing video 


SPECIAL MENTION: The Beatles: Abbey Road. Hard to fault this reissue, although Prince edges it for sheer generosity and value. Mike McCartney: McGear. Fans disappointed with the lack of Macca reissues this year should look to the fabulous McGear set, which is effectively a Wings album in all but name.


SDE's Best Reissues of 2019. BEST DELUXE REISSSUE: Stephen Duffy: I Love My Friends (Needle Mythology)

BEST DELUXE REISSSUE: Stephen Duffy: I Love My Friends (Needle Mythology)

Stephen Duffy‘s 1998 album was one of his three very good – albeit rather ‘lost’ – solo records from the 1990s. This one was particularly ill-fated, since label intervention meant that the album that was eventually released wasn’t really what Stephen wanted to put out at the time. Fed up, he reformed The Lilac Time and just moved on. 21 years later, fan and friend Pete Paphides decided that a revised edition of I Love My Friends would be the inaugural release on his new label Needle Mythology. With Duffy’s assistance they restored I Love My Friends to a kind of ‘director’s cut’ version with the mood-spoiling Andy Partridge-produced tracks removed and a few of others (that had been B-sides at the time) reinstated. The running order was also re-jigged for good measure. The album was remastered and sounded great on vinyl, but CD fans were really spoiled by a whole extra disc of ‘selected demos’ (all unreleased) that were delivered as a bonus item within the gatefold CD wallet. These remain unique to the CD edition. The fabulous new artwork is the icing on the cake (pun intended, obviously).

Read the SDE interview with Stephen Duffy.


SPECIAL MENTION: Brian Eno: Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks extended edition (UMC)


SDE's Best Reissues of 2019. BEST ALBUM SERIES REISSUE 2019: Chris Rea (Rhino)

BEST ALBUM SERIES REISSUE 2019: Chris Rea
(Rhino)

For all the fun of super deluxe edition box sets full of posters, lanyards, books, marbles etc., it’s sometimes easy to overlook the simpler, more ‘classic’ offerings. On the face of it, Warner Music’s Chris Rea reissues [Rea-issues?] could be described as rather old-fashioned; two-CD sets, each with a bonus disc of rarities. But with the expertly compiled bonus disc apparently becoming something of a lost art these days, the Rea deluxe editions had much to offer. Not only did we get five remastered albums, delivered simultaneously (by contrast Paul McCartney has taken almost TEN YEARS to reissue 11 of his studio long-players) these were put together with diligence and a real fan’s eye for what is required, especially when it comes to those all important bonus tracks.

It’s a fascinating exploration of an arguably unsung artist; one that spotlights many interesting recordings. Rea [probably at the request of the label, to be fair] couldn’t stop fiddling with Shamrock Diaries‘ ‘Josephine’. The single version (on that album’s bonus disc) was a re-recording which seemed to remove much of the charm of the original, while the French ‘disco’ version (another re-recording on the Dancing With Strangers bonus disc) is very different again. The Road to Hell‘s CD 2 offers a ‘US mix’ of the song, while Auberge‘s bonus disc delivers the New Light Through Old Windows version. Phew!

The festive classic ‘Driving Home For Christmas’ is so familiar, it’s strange to hear the largely forgotten ‘first version’ (On The Beach bonus disc). In Peter Doggett’s excellent notes Rea explains how the song was basically only recorded very casually to test out some Roland keyboards (it ended up as the B-side to 1986 single ‘Hello Friend’). The more familiar version is the New Light Through Old Windows re-record (which is included on the Dancing With Strangers bonus disc). Rea was clearly USELESS at judging his own material. The same bonus disc offers an early samba version of ‘Let’s Dance’ which was hidden away as an extra track on a 1986 single before being ‘rescued’ when someone at the label suggested it be reworked. It eventually became the lead single to the next album, 1987’s Dancing With Strangers, ending up as one of Chris’ biggest hits, peaking at number 12 in the UK.

Despite modest packaging (they’re all in plastic jewel cases) the five two-CD sets are a delight and include all manner of rarities such as single re-recordings, B-sides, non-album cuts, the odd remix and live tracks. A great reissue campaign and Rhino even put out a new compilation with unreleased tracks via their own store (now sold out, but available on Spotify).

Read more about these reissues.


SPECIAL MENTION: a-ha: Minor Earth Major Sky and Lifelines. The two albums that ushered in the second act of the Norwegian’s band career. Both offer generous amounts of demos on the 2CD sets and a few remixes. Unlike the previous batch (Stay On These Roads, East of the Sun West of the Moon and Memorial Beach) these were also made available on vinyl (without the bonus tracks).


SDE's Best Reissues of 2019. BEST SOUNDTRACK REISSUE 2019: 'Get Carter' 3CD deluxe (Cherry Red)
BEST SOUNDTRACK REISSUE 2019: ‘Get Carter’ 3CD deluxe (Cherry Red)

Get Carter is one of those films that is constantly being rediscovered by new generations. Michael Caine delivers close to a career best performance as Jack Carter, the London gangster who heads north to find out more about his brother Frank’s death. Roy Budd‘s music – particularly the main theme (‘Carter Takes A Train’) – works beautifully, although the actual songs such as ‘Gettin’ Nowhere In A Hurry’ and ‘Hallucinations’ (with lyrics by Jack Fishman) are just as good.

The 1998 CD of Get Carter was already great (this was the first time it had appeared on the medium), but Cherry Red’s three-CD deluxe of 2019 took the offering to a new level with a stunningly good 96-page hardcover book presentation which included a foreword by Fishman, and detailed notes on virtually every aspect of the film. It’s filled with excellent photos and images various film posters from the era.

The second disc in this set offers various alternative versions and rarities (including the rare UK seven-inch single version of the theme) while the third CD delivers a fantastic Roy Budd film score ‘best of’ with selections from The Marseille Contract, The Black Windmill and Kidnapped).  Points are deducted for a handful of unnecessary contemporary remixes at the end of the second disc, but nevertheless this is essential for film score and soundtrack fans.

Read more about this release.


SPECIAL MENTION: Bernard Herrmann: Marnie. Massively impressive deluxe package from Stylotone, which included coloured vinyl, CD, seven-inch single, ‘Quad’ poster and hi-res download. Mystify: A Musical Journey with Michael Hutchence. Wonderfully evocative sound montage of songs and dialogue from Hutchence and INXS. Elevates the ‘soundtrack’ medium, although Universal cocked up the CD by not honouring the ‘four side’ approach and indexing every track individually (something Spotify doesn’t even do).


SDE's Best Reissues of 2019. BEST CAREER-SPANNING BOX: Paul Young: The CBS Singles Collection 1982-1994 (Edsel/Demon Music)

BEST CAREER-SPANNING BOX: Paul Young: The CBS Singles Collection 1982-1994 (Edsel/Demon Music)

Of course I need to put my hands up and say that this was compiled by my good self, but before I get accused of marking my own homework, getting the audio selection right is but part of the process and Demon Music did a phenomenal job bringing this concept to market, at an impossible-to-resist price. Every Paul Young UK single issued via CBS (19 of them) was included here on a correctly artworked CD single. Each disc included relevant B-sides, seven-inch mixes, 12-inch mixes, instrumentals, demos and more. The CBS Singles Collection came with a 36-page booklet, a high quality Japanese ‘drawer’ style two-part box and even included a print signed by Paul Young (before Amazon UK lost most of them!). In the end, this was TOO SUCCESSFUL, since the 1500 run sold out on pre-order and these are now rather sought after and expensive to acquire.

Read more about this release.


SPECIAL MENTION: Heaven 17: Play to Win: The Virgin Years. Ronnie Lane: Just For A Moment: Music 1973-1997.


SDE's Best Reissues of 2019. BEST SURROUND SOUND 5.1 mix: Dukes of Stratosphear 'Psurroundabout Ride' Mixes by Steven Wilson (APE)

BEST SURROUND SOUND 5.1 mix: Dukes of Stratosphear ‘Psurroundabout Ride’ Mixes by Steven Wilson (APE)

The two Dukes of Stratosphear albums are perfect for the 5.1 treatment and who better than Steven Wilson to deliver such an experience. Forget about ‘ambience’ in the rears, Wilson really lets loose with proper discrete audio as sounds fly around the room and because of the fun, psychedelic nature of the music, it never feels overdone or inappropriate. There’s so much music to enjoy (including instrumentals and demos) and you don’t have to buy a £100 box set to gain access.

Read more about this release


SPECIAL MENTION: Jethro Tull: Stormwatch (5.1 mix by Steven Wilson). Mansun: SIX (5.1 mix by P-Dub).


SDE's Best Reissues of 2019. BEST VALUE BOX SET: The Police / 'Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings' 6CD (Universal Music)
BEST VALUE BOX SET: The Police / ‘Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings’ 6CD (Universal Music)

It took Universal Music a year to do what they should have done back in 2018 and that was release their Police Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings box set on CD. Why they didn’t do it at the time remains a mystery, although perhaps they thought not enough people would buy the £100+ half-speed mastered vinyl set if a cheaper CD variant was on offer as well. To recap, this box offers all five of the band’s albums – newly remastered – on CD, along with a bonus disc of rarities called Flexible Strategies. The albums sound great, the bonus disc is welcome – if far from comprehensive – but what makes this box so good is the price. The label have clearly set the dealer price so low that supermarkets and online retailers (in the UK) are able to charge around £15 (or even less) for this six-CD package. Truly impressive, especially since the lift-off lid box itself is high quality and even includes one of those ribbons to help extract the discs. There’s no booklet and the CDs are housed in functional gatefold card sleeves, but who’s going to quibble? As the price of big super deluxe sets continue to increase, it is refreshing to see fans not being ripped off. I hope this has sold well, to encourage the record label to repeat this offering with other artists.

Read more about this release.


SPECIAL MENTION: Bob Dylan: The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings. 14CD box set initially available for around the £60 mark. The Dukes of Stratosphear: Psurroundabout Ride. Pure brilliance. Change from £20.


 

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Phil Pelling

The box set no-one is talking about

Not The Nine O’Clock News – the 3 albums plus the live set, all in one box.
And not a hedgehog in sight.

However (unlike Gerald The Gorilla) the production on these albums is not really amazing, but a long awaited upgrade to the old crackly vinyl sets

Svein

Catching up on this, and love reading people’s thoughts on archive releases from 2019.

One that has not been mentioned is Gentle Giant’s “Unburied Treasure” box set. It is the most incredible archive release I have ever seen in my 40+ years of collecting music. Containing 30 discs (half of which has never been previously released), a lavish 136-page coffee table hardback book, a 96-page tour history book, a photo fully signed by the band, booklets, posters, several replica promotional items, and a Blu-ray bonus disc with a Steven Wilson surround mix of their 1970 debut album. It is their entire and complete career in a box. Easily my favourite reissue from 2019. As nobody else mentioned it, I felt I had to.

Larry Davis

Just got the 5 Rea-issues, and while tastefully done & great interviews in the booklets, remastering & artwork, 5 tracks were left off from New Light Through Old windows…the US mix of Let’s Dance, Windy Town, Fool if you think it’s over, ace of hearts & candles…the last 3, understandable but not Windy or US mix of Let’s Dance… oversight??

[…] Best Value For Money box set of 2019 was The Police Every Move You Make: The Studio Recordings six-CD collection, which was […]

Kevin

Along with the Ramones’ “It’s Alive” set, a pleasant surprise for me was Transvision Vamp’s “I Want Your Love” reissue. Along with the requisite bonus tracks and extended mixes was an autographed print. Good stuff. Would’ve never known the set existed were it not for SDE. Thanks, Paul!

Steve

The Cure’s Mixed Up/Torn Down 3CD and also black vinyl versions- Those were good but they were from 2018.

I liked and bought the Abbey Rd box set but think there could easily have been another cd of stuff. And yeah they could and should have put some video on the bluray- i don’t see the point of an audio bluray.

REM Monster I liked but I haven’t listened to all of the demos and thought some of the remixes were a bit pointless- Let Me In sounds better unremixed.

I also got the Pretenders Singles box set which was a bit costly but I am a big 7″ box set fan and love the Pretenders so I grabbed it before it was on ebay for silly money.
Suede I got the RSD version of Head Music. I spent a LOT more on RSD this year than any other.

James (from Canada)

Bowie’s Conversation Piece release is everything I want in a Bowie release. Here’s hoping ‘deep dives’ like this one continue for the Bowie catalogue.

AdamW

I almost forgot! The compilation/soundtrack that had me moshing in the basement (OK, maybe not moshing at my age, but moving somewhat more vigorously than normal), Industrial Accident: The Story Of Wax Trax! Records. So glad this was finally made available. I moved to Chicago right when Wax Trax!’s heyday was about to crest, so I have very fond memories of this music. The super deluxe box came with extra Ministry and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult tracks, as well as a nice big book and a cassette of old phone messages that were left at the old label/record store back in the day. Fun stuff.

AdamW

Agree 100% with 1999. They nailed it.

My favorite other reissues this year were the seven “imperial phase” Stereolab albums. I bought them on clear vinyl because they came with CD-quality downloads, just gorgeous-looking and great sounding, with well-written notes and plenty of demos.

Also wanted to mention the Pop Group’s Y. Loads of terrific previously unreleased versions, along with an important, timeless album.

slapshot

Seriously, did no one mention the “Origin of Muse” box? Fantastic set, worth buying just for the book.

Alan Bates

Did anyone here buy the Stylotone Marnie ?
I bought their Twisted Nerve – a great package plagued by extremely poorly made vinyl.
I went through 4 copies before finding an acceptable one.

jim shoe

I believe Larry Davis asks the same question above, but do we know if the Chris Rea campaign is over, or are there plans for more reissues? I would LOVE for all his stuff to get the 2cd treatment eventually. One can dream!

Alan Blevin

2 categories only for me
Archival Releases
1 Woodstock Back To The Garden 10 disc version.I have around 200 box sets and this may be my all time favourite.A stunning fly on the wall recreation of a seminal event.
2 Tuscaloosa-Neil Young
3 Rolling Thunder Revue 1975 Live Recordings -Bob Dylan
4 Songs For Groovy Children – Jimi Hendrix
5 Best Of Billy Bragg At The BBC
Reissues
1 Monster- R.E.M. As a R.E.M. fanatic I have been disappointed by their recent reissues and archival releases but this time they hit it out of the park.An intriguing set of demos,a radical remix of the original album,a great show in good sound quality and a substantial doco/concert film on the Blu-Ray.
2 Stormwatch -Jethro Tull
3 Laid Back -Gregg Allman

Bruce Nicholson

Great thread and very interesting to read people’s comments/favourite box sets. Mine this year were:
– Ronnie Lane [just brilliant]
– In Search of Hades, Tangerine Dream [just amazing to hear all this]
– 1999, Prince
– Abbey Road, Beatles
-Popol Vuh
– Gong
– OMD [possibly my favourite]

Favourite reissues not strictly SDEs were:
– Stereolab reissue campaign [I know these albums so well, but ot hear them remastered and the bonus tracks was just glorious]
– Pacific Breeze: Japanese City pop
– Kankyo Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980-1990 [probably my favourite of all releases last year]
– Dukes of Stratosphear

In terms of new music, I’m firmly in the over-50s-with-two-teenage-children category and don’t really get the chance to hear much new music. That I do, I don’t really like and I tend to look back rather than now. I’m finding that there is so much music from the past which I’d rather listen to, either as a comfort of familiarity or just because there is so much undiscovered. I did though really like Julia Jacklin’s new album, which i played a lot, Michael Kiwankua and Lloyd Cole’s album. Gary Daly of China Crisis also brought out a very fine album.

[…] has explored the best reissues and favourite albums of 2019 but hey, what about the not-quite-so-good things that happened (or […]

Steven Campbell

Not sure if it’s been mentioned yet or not but other worthy reissues for me was The Cure’s Mixed Up/Torn Down 3CD and also black vinyl versions, The Band’s self titled debut got another reissue which I picked up the 2CD of and indeed swirl (limited to 250 copies according to recordstore.co.uk) vinyl, REM’s Monster and The Cult’s Sonic Temple 5CD box set not to mention the FINALLY released after a year of waiting reissue of Massive Attack’s excellent Mezzanine with it’s companion dub album on pink vinyl. In addition Underworld’s Drift and groove Armada’s 20 4CD set deserve mention. Those were just some of my highlights, plus Santa was very good to me and I got the Prince 1999 5CD/DVD set for Christmas.

Kauwgompie

One quick thing about Prince’s 1999 because I find this interesting. On the official Prince site, the big vinyl box AND the cd box are listed as sold out. On Amazon.com there are only 2 market sellers selling it for crazy money. Amazon.com itself is selling it today for $49 which makes no sense and is by far the lowest I have seen so I quickly bought it. On Amazon Germany stock seems to run low as well with only a few market sellers selling for high prices, €70 and above. France and Italy the same. The only place where there are no signs of this box being sold out is Amazon UK. So it seems the first print of this box is close to being sold out. I cannot imagine they won’t do a 2nd print, so I’m sure supplies will be available again soon, like with Tangerine Dream’s “In Search Of Hades” and Bowie’s “Loving The Alien”. What do you think Paul? Will they print more? The Prince box must have sold better than expected.

Uncle Meat

Best reissue/archive sets in 2019:

Tangerine Dream – In Search Of Hades
Ramones – It’s Alive
Gong – Love From Planet Gong
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Live At Woodstock
Various Artists – Trick Or Treat (music to scare your neighbours – vintage 45’s from Lux and Ivy’s haunted basement), best compilation

Great year for us Zappa fans, three sets! You can’t go wrong with any of them:

Frank Zappa – The Hot Rats Sessions
Frank Zappa – Halloween ’73
Frank Zappa – Orchestral Favourites

Steven Roberts

Surprised that Prince’s Sign of the Times Concert Blu-ray (the first edition, with the extra discs and the epherema in the LP sized book) didn’t get a mention as one of the year’s best reissues.

Until now, of course :)

Alan Mitchell

Probably as it was unofficial right? And wasn’t it only available in Germany? It wasn’t issued by the Estate that’s for sure. I see it’s fetching a high price at the moment but there’ll be an official sde soon i imagine. Still rather have the sde treatment of Parade mind you. That’s my favourite album of his (occasionally it’s Lovesexy).

Shaun

Best box sets of the year: OMD (who once again were excellent live) and Motorhead 1979 which sadly was not featured here and whilst expensive was an excellent package.

In 2020 I would like to see a box set for Metallica’s Black Album, a further box set covering 1980 – 1982 for the classic Motorhead line up including video, an Iggy Pop box set covering his career minus the dodgy bootleg quality material, Thin Lizzy’s live at Reading Festival 1983 reissued, explained deluxe edition reissues for Aerosmith’s comeback albums, Queen live at Earls Court 1977 box set and further box sets from Cherry Red covering punk, indie, New wave singles circa 1976 – 1982.

David M

Quite easy to fault the Abbey Rd reissue. A pretty average remix, not very exciting set of outtakes and problems playing Blu-ray. (Which lacked video.content). Book was ok but whole set was underwhelming and overpriced.

Quante

Happy New Year to one and all, and thanks for all the great recommendations from Paul and the SDE community.

As with every year, I’ve purchased more new music, regardless of the year it was made, than I can ever get around to listening to. The joy of collecting is as much a driver as is the pleasure in the listening. The things that get played the most, generally reflect their place in the household top of the pops.

Whilst this is a reissue feature, here’s a brief selection of new releases for me in 2019:

Jamie Cullum’s Taller album (does the extended version released a few months later count as a reissue?). He’s super talented, his radio show is great, as was this album. I can’t wait to see him live in March.

Kiwanuka is excellent – I’m glad I got the signed version – the series of signed albums on amazon and artists own sites keeps me buying new releases (roll on PSB).

Two great tracks this year: Snow Patrol’s I Think Of Home – a beautiful song about early life reminisces we all wish we could write; and Simply Red’s Sweet Love, which took me back to the quality of early Simply Red songs.

For reissues, I’ve the 1999 vinyl and cd box sets, but have yet to play them. I know there’s a lot of pleasure to be had from the new songs.

Prefab Sprout’s albums being released on vinyl was a highlight, along with the acoustic version of Steve McQueen from record store day. Whilst it is a shame more unreleased music hasn’t come out, listening to theses songs over and over is pure pleasure. Have a read here for an update on Prefab Sprout news: https://www.sproutology.co.uk/exposition/sproutological-review-of-2019/

Kathryn Williams was put away for Christmas and is fast becoming a household favourite. I barely knew her music prior to a friend lending and, so it’s lovely going through a twenty cd box. By chance I saw her perform for a few minutes as the support to Paul Smith (or was it to You Tell Me?) in The Cluny. She was also one of the acts performing with Paul Smith at The Sage just before Christmas. At £50 this box set was a bargain. Now at £58 it is still a bargain.

The other bargains of the year were Tangerine Dreams box at €56 from amazon Italy (I’ve a lot more to listen to with this one), and all the charity shop cd purchases I keep coming home with. I just got the new No Man cd, sealed, for £1 – I’m assuming someone’s wife took revenge and got rid of it, along with lots of King Crimson cd /dvd combos I picked up.

I’m looking forward to Field Music’s new album and tour this year – they were great at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester and London in 2019, and the two side projects albums were also to their usual high quality (You Tell Me and School Of Language).

I’m also looking forward to Lanterns On The Lake’s new album (Spook The Herd) and tour, and Paul Smith and Rachel Unthank’s album together. The Unthanks music in Worzel Gummidge (the show was the Christmas tv highlight) was typically good.

Special mention to Jenny Lewis – not yet a superstar, but could be – her tour and album in 2019 continue her high quality; and finally to Jenn Bostic – no where near a superstar, but a star to me. Jenn kindly signed her new cd with a Merry Christmas request to my wife from my online order request. I happily support artists who take the time to do such small things for them, yet which have a big positive impact for me.

2020 – it’s going to be brilliant!

Rolf

Of your choices above, I really loved the 2 A-ha reissues & also the Eno Apollo reissue was really good. I’m sure at some point I will buy the 1999 reissue box but shelf space in “Casa Rolf” is getting limited & I’d rather have “Parade” & “SOTT” boxsets fill the space.

Happy New Year to all readers!

Kauwgompie

Prince “1999” cd box now on sale on amazon.com, only $49.
https://amzn.to/2FecJtS

Alan

I agree about The Police’s box. I had previously only got a couple of their Greatest Hits so was familiar with their singles (most of which I remembered from when they were originally out) but the price of this box made me decide to explore further. I wouldn’t have got an expensive box but couldn’t resist the £15 price tag, and it was even available in Tesco! Kind of strange hearing songs for the first time from and act that recorded them well over three decades ago, but I’m glad I did.

It has been done before – ABBA’s The Albums from
2008 was a 9-disc affair but sold for £15 for a long period. No interest to me as I had them all, but I do think these things are a way of picking up new fans. I’d love to see more acts get this treatment. Cheap but not poor quality, and I don’t mind if there are no frills.

Fogarrach

Happy new year Paul and all readers i.e. family of music lovers,
I’m delighted to see Chris rea and Ronnie lane getting noticed in your list.

Chris rea’s deltics album was a really important album for me. Great music and lyrics that still come into my mind regularly, even after al these years.
If you don’t know it, the I suggest listening to cenotaph, letter from Amsterdam as an introduction.

Similarily,Ronnie lane. A too much underrated English/London poet. An English poet, and up there in the pantheon with Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Leonard cohen, ray Davies and Jackie leven.
If you’ve never heard of Ronnie, I suggest a listen to Barcelona. A wonderful yet tragic yet ultimately uplifting song.

Can I also note my genuine sadness that this year we lost the final hope that we might hear something more from mark Hollis. Yet his music shall live on and be played regularly by me and many others.

DaveM

@Fogarrach, I am going to check Chris Rea out after reading Paul’s article and the comments here. I mananged to get a copy of the Ronnin Lane box back in November (HMV York had one retained to put out in time for Christmas) which the missus gave me as a present. I listened to disc 1 last night and on the basis of that I would have included it as one of the best reisues of the year. Wow. A great pity it is out of print and going for silly money.
Also great to see Jackie Leven get a mention in your post. He was truly one of the greats, with an unbelievable run of brilliant albums.
As for the loss of Mark Hollis, I still can’t bring myself to play either Talk Talk or his solo album, that was so sad and shocking.

Larry Davis

Big Chris Rea fan too…one of the few in America… here, all people talk about is “Fool If You Think It’s Over”, when I know he has a ton more worthy music released since… ordered the 5 Rea-issues, I see copies of One Fine Day CD/LP go for like $70 on eBay or Discogs…I’ll give it time for copies to show up for less…I hope what came out was Part 1 of a whole catalogue reissue campaign…if (when) it is, with Benny Santini, I hope his pre-album singles/material from 1974-1978 is all included…and yes Deltics is a great album, better-recorded than Benny…Tennis is also superb, highly underrated and overlooked, quite innovative too…that title track will get anyone’s attention…I wonder who would know about a Rea-issue campaign Part 2, Paul??

Foggarach

Dear DaveM and Larry Davis,
Thank you both for your kind feedback to my post. It gave me a thrill to read them and also is a tiny sense of the satisfaction that I sincerely hope Paul gets from this site.
I think Chris Rea suffered in the media from being between cute and cult. Neither one nor the other. An incredibly talented musician whose back catalogue will pay back pleasure to anyone who listens to them. Larry you are correct re tennis. And I’d add that tennis has reminded me that his album covers are always great.
Davem, if possible please let us know what you make of del tics
Finally for now I’d like to wish Chris rea a brilliant and happy 2020. I understand that he’s had health issues and I do so hope that he is fully aware of how much his work continues to mean to people.

Chris sutton

Another good year for reissues. I too would go with tangerine dream’s in search of hades. It’s a stunning package.
Curious as to why gentle giant’s unburied treasure gets no mention. I desperately wanted it but could not justify the cost. But what a fabulous looking package.

Jake gee

Hi Paul. Thank you very much for your fantastic website and all your efforts and the contributions of your readers.
One point further to your comment re Liberty by duran duran. 2020 is 30 years and not 20 since it was released.
Which makes me feel v old.
Still a fantastic album but i will be happily surprised if a deluxe edition appears in 2020. However i am not counting on it based the bands previous lack of love for their back catalogue.

dazzler

My winner is Forever Young by Alphaville. I bought the 2CD edition, although the superdeluxe edition was worth its money with a making of DVD. But the 2CD version has all the audio I was looking for: every regular 7″ and 12′ track or version from that era. It’s a shame the two Howard Jones reissues didn’t manage to do likewise. Some of the key tracks or versions were absent or only available on the expensive superdeluxe edition.

The overkill of Paul Young reissues (25th anniversary of No Parlez, Tomb of Memories box, 12″ en Remixes and the career spanning singles box) all forgot to include the original album version of Love of the Common People. It’s a recurring mistake on several reissues to forget one or more keytracks. I remember the 7″ version of This Occupation was forgotten on the otherwise very well documented reissues of the first three China Crises albums.

This year I purchased my very first superdeluxe box. As a lifetime OMD fan I was glad to find every 7″ version of every single on the first two discs. And the disc with a collection of outtakes was outstanding.

Robert Laversuch

Happy New Year to Paul, Anne and all the readers of SDE.
Very good suggestions by Paul and a lot of the readers.
My faves this year Kathryn Williams which with 20 CDs and two books was marvellous.
Bowie’s Conversation Piece for value as well as The Police.
Someone here said that a Robert Palmer boxset would be welcomed – couldn’t agree more.
2020 will hopefully also bring more Simple Minds box sets plus TFF Seeds set, finally. The remaining Cure Deluxe eds would be cool also, for me especially Concert with the 10 bonus songs from tape release and vastly expanded.

Musicmacca

Agree with the Mike McGear/McCartney reissue Paul. Never heard it before but bought on vinyl and as you say it’s like a lost Wings album. Some great tunes on it !

Tim Barton

Of all of the reissues here, I have got just the Dukes set-but I am really pleased with it. I hope we see XTC go a bit further into their own back catalogue and give us some of the early XTC releases, since so far all of these Ape/Steven Wilson remaster reissues have been great.

How about Singles Going Steady? Very pleased with the vinyl of that one. I would like to have seen it paired with a CD but it did have the download at least. As David says, Domino are right on track with their quality reissues.

Now I need to get my hands on the Duffy material. Here’s to hoping more from Stephen and his solo/Lilac Time years recordings!

RJS

En studio avec Serge Gainsbourg – SG / Various Artists
Killing Eve Soundtrack – Unloved / Various Artists
1999 SDE – Prince
Stereolab

Kauwgompie

Happy New Year to all! Paul, you are spot on with your list. The only box you left off that should have made the list was Tangerine Dream “In Search Of Hades”. It contains great bonus tracks, 5.1 mixes, live material and was very well remastered. A great set and must have.
I’m glad you added the cd singles box of Paul Young. Not only is it a great quality set, we need more of these please!
On to new and exciting new 2020 reissues!!

Paul MacLennan

Your Paul Young box was the years best for me. All those wonderful remixes and live tracks! I thought, I would never see the day they were properly digitized. Beautiful warm sound throughout. Just a winner!! A+++

timhaydu

greetings paul,
it breaks my heart badly that 2019 is leaving without a “seeds of love” deluxe anniversary edition. that album was my best friend for about 2 years straight after it came out. i still find “woman in chains” profoundly moving if it catches me in a vulnerable moment. then again, i’m sure any type of reissue will be a disappointment as most are, unless they include the original version of the album before they re-recorded it. oh to dream the impossible dream! i hope you have a fantastic 2020.
sincerely,
tim

Kevin

Paul, thanks so much for all you do, and all that you put up with regarding keeping us up to date.

Cheers to a healthy and happy 2020!

Kevin

Mark Phillips

Another vote from me for the Kinks Arthur box!

Also I’d love to compile a list of tracks not available for download or purchase in any digital format.

This would include everything by White and Torch especially the Parade and Let’s Forget singles, the Nazz by the Word (or is it the other way round) and I no. 7 by John Kongos to start things off. The last two were one-off singles but surely Ace or someone could do a new to digital album to mop up these and other holes in the digital realm? The Muppets Music Hall EP is another chart hit that’s nowhere to be seen.

Happy New Year Paul and everyone!

Andy Dunn

Happy New Year Paul & thanks for all your good work on this excellent site. Really looking forward to the Simple Minds Street Fighting Years box set release this spring

Michael

For me the OMD box is very nice. I am enjoying the Floyd Later Years box…which I think I got for the world cheapeat price so far at just under 300 usd…still a lot, I know… but so it goes. Those are my big ones for the year. I have also really liked the Yellow Magic Orchestra reissues. In 2020 I look forward to the Visage remasters on Rubellan…and hope for a big year of Duran Duran things.

bill. cannon

Paul-while your reviews are European centric wanted to comment on your summary-from Chicago. First agree with your McGear reference-it is a Wings album sandwiched between Band on the Run and Venus and Mars and in my opinion-much better than Venus and Mars. Next I did order Chris Rea’s remastered CD’s and the limited edition vinyl release. The CD’s are probably the best “remastered” or rather BONUS tracked re-release I have ever bought-though he is not well known in the states-highly recommend the whole batch. Finally the Kinks Arthur 50th release is also a great package-and BeBopDeluxe-all of them@. Happy New Year keep up the great work-appreciated by me!

Cory Eling

Couple Favorites-
Replacements-Dead Man’s Pop
Erasure-Wild!, finally a non destroyed mastering of their catalog, hopefully next years Chorus is respectful as well.
New Order-Movement, A+ for the content, a few -‘s for the mastering and the inclusion of the LP, which is still in print and could of been purchased separately keeping the cost lower.
Have a great New Year :)

Charles

Good stuff, but “Conversation Piece” gets my vote for the year.

Bring on a “Liberty” Deluxe!

Jason Brown

Just bought The Road To Hell (and will be buying one of the Chris Rea re-issues per month now). Sounds great, and totally agree with the overall quality of the package, and about time too. Though has anyone else spotted the two slight typo’s on the disc 2 track titles, or is it just me…

(Also got the Police box set too, fantastic content, sound and value)

Happy New Year, y’all!

Kenny

Could it be the misplaced apostrophe on the live “Let’s Dance” and the You’re in “I Can Hear Your Heartbeat” ? Minor quibbles for a superb album re-issue series.

Jason Brown

Congrats to you Kenny, you got it. But yes, minor quibbles in a great package.
Also suspect they are cannily reissuing New Light… through / across this series of
bonus discs.

The notes are interesting, too – written in Jan 2019, some six months before the announcement. So I suspect notes are written for all the albums

This is ‘the imperial phase’ – so will they do early years or later years next? Agree entirely with the earlier comment re Deltics; the lost classic of the Chris Rea catalogue.

Sandy

Hello Paul , happy new year to all at SDE . I am hoping for a Dire Straits set along the lines of the Police , any word ? . Thanks , Sandy .

Louis

I would ask Dire Straits stuff in HQ (bluray 5.1) and also great works as Knopfler’s OST and The Notting Hillbilies, & that album with Chet Atkins (Neck at neck).

K

It would be wrong to dock points for the Deadly Avenger remix of Get Carter, if nothing else.

Deadly Avenger is a producer singularly obsessed with classic film soundtracks and all his work over the years comes from influences just like this. I can only see this as an inspired choice.

JP

Be-Bop Deluxe- Futurama was another big one for me this year

David Healey

Woodstock? A pretty important and significant release in my opinion. Seems to have been ignored by critics in these lists.

Mercury Rev was essential too and a great price as revealed here.

Abby Road and the Arthur set were also worthy.

Anthony Grice

My dream for 2020 would be a box set of Celine Dion’s early French language albums. As far as I’m aware they have never been released on cd. Even her own website denied their existence until recently. For a major superstar like her, why isn’t her whole catalogue available?

pkrpmusic

Section 25 Always Now box-set. Great attention to detail and beautifully boxed.