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The Year in Reissues: The 2013 Gold Bonus Disc Awards

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Gold CDWelcome to The Second Disc’s Fourth Annual Gold Bonus Disc Awards!

Though this is a slow time of year for news, it’s the perfect time to look at the year in review.  As with every year’s awards, our goals are simple: to recognize as many of the year’s most essential reissues and catalogue titles as possible, and to celebrate those labels, producers and artists who make these releases possible in what many might deem an increasingly-challenging retail landscape.  These labels have bucked the trends to prove that there’s still a demand for physical catalogue music.  And from our vantage point, there’s still great strength and health in this corner of the music industry.  By my very rough estimate, The Second Disc covered around 500 releases in 2013 – and we firmly believe that the best is still yet to come.  We dedicate The Gold Bonus Disc Awards to the creators of the music and releases we cover, and to you, the readers.  After all, your interest is ultimately what keeps great music of the past – this site’s raison d’etre – alive and well.

With that in mind, don’t forget to share your own thoughts and comments below. What made your must-have list in 2013?  Please join us in recognizing 2013′s best of the best.

Which releases take home the gold this year? Hit the jump below to find out!

All winners are in bold, and we’ve linked to our original reviews and features in the body of each category’s text.


Eric Clapton, Give Me Strength: The ‘74/75 Recordings (Polydor)
Jethro Tull, Benefit: A Collectors’ Edition (Parlophone/Rhino)
Van Morrison, Moondance: Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros./Rhino)
XTC, Nonsuch CD/Blu-ray (Panegyric)
Yes, Close to the Edge CD/Blu-ray (Panegyric)

It finally appears that Blu-ray Audio has become the de facto standard for surround releases, with all but the above Jethro Tull title released in that format.  This year’s crop is the work of just two mixing engineers, Elliot Scheiner and Steven Wilson.  Both of these gentlemen have kept the fire burning for 5.1 audio and can reliably be depended upon to create immersive, often revelatory mixes of classic albums. Among other projects, Wilson mixed Jethro Tull’s Benefit, XTC’s Nonsuch and Yes’ Close to the Edge into surround, while longtime surround guru Scheiner worked his magic on Eric Clapton’s 461 Ocean Boulevard as part of the Give Me Strength box set (which also contained original quadraphonic mixes of that album and There’s One in Every Crowd).  But Scheiner takes the Gold Bonus Disc Award for Van Morrison’s Moondance.  A young staff engineer at Phil Ramone’s A&R Studios who actually worked on the original album, Scheiner revisited the eight-track master for his 5.1 mix which I described in my review as “typically stunning.  Scheiner’s gift is for mixing discretely (i.e. clear instrumental separation, spread among the channels) without losing a realistic sense of space and placement, and that gift is on full display here.  The mix is ‘showy’ and not subtle, but never gimmicky or forced – in other words, a perfect use of surround. “

The Complete Motown Singles Volume 12BBEST HISTORICAL TITLE

Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series Volume 10: Another Self Portrait (Columbia/Legacy)
Woody Guthrie, American Radical Patriot (Rounder)
Lee Hazlewood, Lee Hazlewood Industries: There’s a Dream I’ve Been Saving 1966-1971 (Light in the Attic)
Various Artists, Dim Lights, Thick Smoke & Hillbilly Music: Country and Western Hit Parade series (Bear Family)
Various Artists, The Complete Motown Singles Volumes 12A & 12B (Hip-o Select)

Honorable Mention:

Miles Davis, The Original Mono Recordings (Columbia/Legacy)
Bob Dylan, The Complete Columbia Album Collection Volume One (Columbia/Legacy)
Tiny Tim, God Bless Tiny Tim: Deluxe Mono Expanded Edition (Now Sounds)
Dave Van Ronk, Down in Washington Square: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection (Folkways)

The nominees in this category run the gamut, but the artists and labels represented all shared a willingness to push the envelope and expand the boundaries of popular music.  All five releases plus four noteworthy “honorable mentions” paint comprehensive portraits of their diverse subjects in music, text and packaging, making clear the subject’s cultural impact for a modern-day audience.  The Gold Bonus Disc, however, had to go to The Complete Motown Singles, Volumes 12A and 12B, the culmination of perhaps the most ambitious single project ever to take an in-depth look at one record label.  Many feared these two long-delayed volumes would never arrive; now that they have, collectors can bask in a truly definitive, painstakingly complete look at the 45s that created The Sound of Young America.  We have no doubt that Harry Weinger and his team will continue to mine the Motown catalogue in impressive ways, but The Complete Motown Singles – spanning 9 years, 14 box sets, 75 CDs, 1,849 songs and over 89 hours of sweet, sweet soul – is one tough act to follow.  These final volumes have had us dancing in the streets.


Donny Hathaway, Never My Love – The Anthology (Rhino)
Del Shannon, The Complete U.K. Singles (And More) (Ace)
The Three O’Clock, The Hidden World Revealed (Omnivore)
Dionne Warwick, The Complete Warner Bros. Singles (Real Gone Music)
Andy Williams, The Complete Christmas Recordings (Real Gone Music)

Honorable Mention:

Patti Page, The Complete Columbia Singles 1962-1970 (Real Gone Music)
The Stained Glass, A Scene In-Between 1965-1967 (Ace/Big Beat)

What makes the perfect anthology?  It’s a fine line to walk, of choosing just the right material both familiar and obscure, marrying the music to an informative set of notes, and designing an overall package that will stand on its own alongside the very albums from which it has been culled.  Curators of an anthology are tasked with being both historians and fans, frequently aiming their collections at collectors, casual fans, or both.  The teams at Rhino, Ace, Omnivore and Real Gone Music produced sets in 2013 that do their subjects proud.  The Gold Bonus Disc goes to Omnivore’s celebration of the Paisley Underground band The Three O’Clock.  The 20 tracks on The Hidden World Revealed serve as both the perfect introduction to an underrated band and a treasure chest of rarities for longtime fans.  It’s splendid listening at any time of day.


Duane Allman and various, Skydog: A Duane Allman Retrospective (Rounder)
Various Artists, Book a Trip 2: More Psych-Pop Sounds of Capitol Records (Now Sounds)
Various Artists, Nile Rodgers Presents The CHIC Organization: Up All Night (Rhino U.K.)
Various Artists, A Road Leading Home: Songs by Dan Penn and Others (Ace)
Various Artists, The Sun Blues, Country and Rock Boxes (Bear Family)

Honorable Mention:

Various Artists, Verve: The Sound of America: The Singles Collection (Verve)
Various Artists, Where the Girls Are Volume 8 (Ace/Kent)

An anthology can take many forms, from a box set to a single-disc, but every nominee and honorable mention here added something major to the catalogue music landscape in 2014.  Now Sounds and Ace proved that the sequel can be the equal with installments of Book a Trip and Where the Girls Are.  Rhino U.K. teamed with Big Break Records’ Wayne Dickson to create an essential collection for the productions of Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of CHIC, and “got lucky” when the 2-CD set shot up the U.K. charts.  Bear Family continued to excel in every respect with its large-scale boxes dedicated to the groundbreaking blues, country and rock and roll emanating from Sam Phillips’ Sun label.  Ace’s Dan Penn and Others entry in its Songwriters series lived up to its Penn/Spooner Oldham set, and our winner, Rounder’s Skydog: A Duane Allman Retrospective, defied licensing hurdles to create a stirring, strikingly-designed box set emphasizing the great guitarist’s versatility and soul.


Gloria Gaynor, Park Avenue Sound (Big Break Records)
Dick Jensen, Dick Jensen (Big Break Records)
Don Rich, Sings George Jones (Omnivore)
The Sugar Shoppe, The Sugar Shoppe (Now Sounds)
Marcos Valle reissue series (Light in the Attic)

Honorable Mention:

Caston and Majors, Caston and Majors (Big Break Records)
Little Anthony and the Imperials, On a New Street/Hold On (SoulMusic Records)
The Serendipity Singers, Love is a State of Mind (Now Sounds)
Viola Wills, If You Could Read My Mind (Cherry Pop)

Before 2014, you might not have heard of Dick Jensen, Marcos Valle, The Sugar Shoppe, Caston and Majors or Viola Wills, but if you purchased any of the reissues named above, you certainly won’t forget them anytime soon.  Likely you do know at least some music from Little Anthony and the Imperials, Gloria Gaynor, The Serendipity Singers and Buck Owens’ longtime sideman Don Rich, but thanks to the herculean efforts of labels like Big Break Records, Now Sounds and Omnivore Recordings, some of their rarest-ever music has finally come to light.  Each nominee here is more than worthy of recognition, but Big Break Records takes the Gold Bonus Disc for excavating the lone, self-titled Philadelphia International LP from Hawaiian recording artist Dick Jensen for its first CD release outside of Japan.  Dick Jensen is the very definition of a lost classic, with Jensen’s big, resonant voice joining with Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, Thom Bell and Linda Creed, Vince Montana, Norman Harris and Bobby Martin to create a vivid portrait of the Philly soul sound circa 1973.  Sublimely soulful, melodic tracks like “New York City’s a Lonely Town,” “32nd Street,” “Peace of Mind” and “A Penny for Your Thoughts” eluded the charts, but they shouldn’t elude your collection.  Dick Jensen is a must-have Hidden Treasure from a premier, indispensable soul label.


Tandyn Almer, Along Comes Tandyn (Sundazed)
Ruthann Friedman, Windy: A Ruthann Friedman Songbook (Now Sounds)
Mind & Matter, 1514 Oliver Avenue (Basement) (Numero Group)
Buck Owens, Buck ‘Em! The Music of Buck Owens 1955-1967 (Omnivore)
Patti Page, From Nashville to L.A.: The Lost Columbia Masters 1962-1969 (Real Gone Music)

Honorable Mention:

Various Artists, It’s a Scream How Levine Does The Rhumba (Idelsohn Society)
Various Artists, Los Nuggetz: 1960s Punk, Pop, Psychedelic from Latin America (Rockbeat)

Everyone knows it’s Windy…but how many know the famous song’s author, Ruthann Friedman?  As I wrote back in June, “A look at the intense visage of Ruthann Friedman on the cover photograph of Now Sounds’ Windy: A Ruthann Friedman Songbook reveals those ‘stormy eyes that flash at the sound of lies,’ but a listen to the sounds within shows the artist spreading her ‘wings to fly above the clouds.’  For here is an entire disc’s worth of never-before-heard pop nuggets, crafted with a delicacy and beauty to match that photo.” Friedman’s gems touch on pop, psych, folk and jazz, and all are presented as a cohesive whole on Now Sounds’ first-time release.  Moreover, Windy epitomizes the Now Sounds’ label’s lavish, classy and deluxe style.  Elsewhere in 2014, Real Gone Music discovered an entire cache of previously unreleased music from the late Patti Page, Omnivore Recordings continued its superlative series dedicated to the music of Buck Owens, Sundazed anthologized the groovy demos of another talent with ties to the Association (Tandyn Almer, the writer of “Along Comes Mary”) and the Numero Group unearthed the roots of the future R&B hitmaker Jimmy Jam.  All are invaluable Hidden Treasures that are happily hidden no longer.


Original Cast Recording, Clownaround (RCA/Masterworks)
Original Cast Recording, Elephant Steps (Columbia/Masterworks)
Original London Cast Recording, Cowardy Custard (RCA/Masterworks)
Original Broadway Cast Recording, A Time for Singing (Kritzerland)
Original Soundtrack, A Little Night Music (Columbia/Masterworks)

2013 was notable for seeing the release of a handful of cast recordings that even the most devoted collectors must have doubted would ever see the light of day on CD…or CD-R, as the case was for Clownaround, Elephant Steps and Cowardy Custard.  Though Sony Masterworks hasn’t granted these rare titles actual CD releases, the label nonetheless stepped up the sound, liner notes and packaging for these once-rare, now-“Made on Demand” titles.  Joining them on CD-R was the first digital-era release of the Original Soundtrack to the film version of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music in another handsomely expanded presentation.  But the Gold Bonus Disc goes to Kritzerland’s beautiful remaster of the 1966 Gerald Freedman/John Morris musical A Time for Singing, based on How Green Was My Valley.  Kritzerland made the case for this unsuccessful musical, allowing listeners to rediscover its many riches in a superb release on an actual, pressed CD.  Year in and year out, we’re thankful for the label’s dedication to vintage cast recordings.


Elmer Bernstein, True Grit (La-La Land)
Jerry Fielding, The Wild Bunch (Film Score Monthly)
Michael Kamen and others, Lethal Weapon Soundtrack Collection (La-La Land)
Henry Mancini, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Intrada)
John Williams, The Missouri Breaks (Kritzerland)

Honorable Mention:

Henry Mancini, Sunflower (Quartet)
Jerry Goldsmith and Curt Sobel, Alien Nation (Kritzerland)

The past year saw the final release from the mighty Film Score Monthly label, while the other big names in a small field of soundtrack specialists (Intrada, Kritzerland, La-La Land, Quartet) all continued to outdo themselves month after month.  Any of the above-named candidates are worthy of the prize, but the Gold Bonus Disc goes to Intrada for its first-ever release of the original film tracks to Henry Mancini’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  The label navigated a rights minefield to bring this Holy Grail and other vintage Mancini titles to CD in their original form, and revealed a wealth of dramatic riches in the famous Tiffany’s score.


Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck, The White House Sessions: Live 1962 (Columbia/Legacy)
The Miles Davis Quintet, Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Volume 2 (Columbia/Legacy)
Judy Garland, Creations 1929-1962 (JSP)
Herbie Hancock, The Complete Columbia Recordings (Columbia/Legacy)
Matt Monro, Alternate Monro and The Rarities Collection (Parlophone)

Honorable Mention:

Mario Lanza, The Toast of Hollywood (Masterworks)
Jeri Southern, The Warm Singing Style of Jeri Southern (Fresh Sounds)
Barbra Streisand, Classical Barbra: Expanded Edition (Columbia/Masterworks)

A wealth of classic jazz and vocal titles arrived in 2014, from previously unreleased concerts from Miles Davis and the duo of Tony Bennett and Dave Brubeck to multi-disc sets from Judy Garland, Matt Monro, Mario Lanza and Jeri Southern.  The Gold Bonus Disc goes to the long-delayed Complete Columbia Album Collection 1972-1988 of Herbie Hancock.  The evolution of the innovative jazz pianist can be traced on this set encompassing a 16-year period of constant invention and creativity over 34 CDs including some never before released in the United States.  Hancock’s box is a jazz education.


The Beatles, On Air: Live at the BBC Volume Two (Capitol/Apple)
Belinda Carlisle reissue series (Edsel)
Bob Dylan, The Bootleg Series Volume 10: Another Self Portrait (Columbia/Legacy)
Townes Van Zandt, Sunshine Boy: The Unheard Studio Sessions and Demos 1971-1972 (Omnivore)
Dionne Warwick, We Need to Go Back: The Unissued Warner Bros. Masters (Real Gone Music)

Honorable Mention:

Harry Nilsson, Flash Harry (Varese Vintage)
Shuggie Otis, Inspiration Information/Wings of Love (Epic/Legacy)

In an era where many labels equate bigger with better, it’s sometimes difficult for smaller packages to get the attention they deserve.  But all five of our nominees stood head and shoulders with the biggest box sets of the year.  The Beatles unveiled a second collection of rare, live tracks recorded for the BBC in a presentation that outmatched and outclassed any previous bootleg releases – with compelling liner notes, excellent artwork and vastly upgraded sound.  Also across the pond, the Edsel label repackaged the core of Belinda Carlisle’s catalogue in comprehensive CD/DVD editions that explored the full breadth of the artist’s talent.  Columbia and Legacy rehabilitated a much-maligned period of Bob Dylan’s career with the altogether revelatory tenth installment of The Bootleg Series, while Omnivore Recordings’ Sunshine Boy further solidified Townes Van Zandt’s place in the American songwriting firmament with an eye-opening collection of demos and alternates from the legendary cult figure.  But the Reissue of the Year – Non-Box Set goes to Real Gone Music’s We Need to Go Back – The Unissued Warner Bros. Masters of Dionne Warwick.  After signing a staggering deal to join Warner Bros. Records, Warwick never achieved the commercial or critical success she did at Scepter.  But these 19 long-rumored outtakes tell a very different story than that of diminishing returns.  Quite simply, these never-before-heard productions by Ashford and Simpson, Thom Bell, Burt Bacharach and others show that Warwick was still at the top of her game – and that some of the very best material she recorded at Warners remained locked in the vaults.  We Need to Go Back urged us to revisit an era we only thought we knew – how lucky we are that Real Gone went back, indeed.


Humble Pie, Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore – The Complete Recordings (Omnivore)
King Crimson, The Road to Red (DGM)
Paul McCartney and Wings, Wings Over America (MPL/Hear Music)
The Monkees, The Monkees Present: Deluxe Edition (Rhino Handmade)
Van Morrison, Moondance: Deluxe Edition (Warner Bros./Rhino)

Honorable Mention:

The Band, Live at the Academy of Music: The Rock of Ages Concerts (Capitol)
The Velvet Underground, White Light/White Heat: 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Polydor)

The Super Deluxe Box Set once again proliferated in 2013, with albums that once ran forty or so minutes being expanded to three, four or more discs, with all manner of swag added to boxes that just kept growing in size.  But these five nominees offered more than just trinkets.  Omnivore Recordings super-sized Humble Pie’s live favorite Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore by presenting all of the music heard during every gig of the band’s fabled sojourn at the Fillmore East.  DGM’s The Road to Red showed, in grandiose fashion, how King Crimson shaped the Red album via an entire tour’s worth of concerts.  Rhino Handmade continued (concluded?) its deluxe Monkees expansions with another look at a misunderstood album, unearthing numerous lost gems in the process.  And Rhino emphasized the jazz soul of Van Morrison by illuminating his exploratory process behind the creation of Moondance.  But the Gold Bonus Disc Reissue of the Year – Super Deluxe Album Box Set goes to Paul McCartney and Wings’ Wings Over America.  It was one of the heftiest boxes of the year, but worth its weight in gold, as the McCartney archives were mined for book after book (4!), and disc after disc (3 CDs, 1 DVD) pertaining to Wings’ landmark American tour.  If you missed out in 1976, just immerse yourself in this gargantuan set, and you’ll feel as if you were there.


Duane Allman, Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective (Rounder)
The Beach Boys, Made in California (Capitol)
Lee Hazlewood, Lee Hazlewood Industries: There’s a Dream I’ve Been Saving 1966-1971 (Light in the Attic)
Harry Nilsson, The RCA Albums Collection (RCA/Legacy)
Various Artists, The Complete Motown Singles Volumes 12A & 12B (Hip-o Select)

Honorable Mention:

Eric Clapton, Give Me Strength: The ’74-’75 Recordings (Polydor)
Bob Dylan, The Complete Columbia Album Collection Volume One (Columbia/Legacy)
Sly and the Family Stone, Higher! (Epic/Legacy)
Scott Walker, Scott: The Collection 1967-1970 (Universal)

The deluxe and super deluxe trends extended to anthology-style box sets in 2013, as well.  The Beach Boys’ Made in California upgraded the California band’s last career-spanning box with the addition of some 60 previously unreleased tracks.  Duane Allman’s Skydog drew on every facet of the late guitarist’s tragically-curtailed career.  Light in the Attic’s Lee Hazlewood Industries was one of the biggest and heaviest boxes of the year, chockablock with exciting finds and a coffee-table-worthy presentation dedicated to the iconoclastic songwriter, producer and artist.  Hip-o Select wrapped up its gold standard Motown Singles sets.  Yet one box, though diminutive in size, stood apart from the rest.  I wrote of RCA/Legacy’s The RCA Albums Collection: “Harry Edward Nilsson III (1941-1994) was a man of many contradictions who began his career at RCA Records with tremendous promise and ended it with considerably less fanfare, alienated from both the record label brass and his dwindling fan base…[But] if the real Harry Nilsson might have been a man of many faces – he certainly was a man of many voices – his heart and soul doubtless resided in his life’s work.  And that life’s work forms the basis of an absolutely stunning new box set.  With 17 discs, 14 expanded albums and over 50 previously unreleased tracks, it is an illuminating window into the spirited world of an artist who stubbornly stayed true to himself and left behind a body of work ripe for rediscovery.”  With this box set, an American great takes his place in the pantheon.  The box itself might have been free of frills, but every aspect – from liner notes to design elements to the generous selection of outtakes – was top-notch.  One may be the loneliest number you’ll ever do, but then again, there was only room in the world for one Harry Nilsson.  Here he is…and here’s the conclusion of this year’s Gold Bonus Disc Awards!  What will next year bring?  Stay tuned…!

This year’s Gold Bonus Disc Awards are dedicated to those artists we lost in 2013, including (but not limited to) Tandyn Almer, Patty Andrews, Kevin Ayers, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Donald Byrd, J.J. Cale, Deanna Durbin, Bobby Engemann, Bonnie Franklin, Annette Funicello, Eydie Gorme, Julie Harris, Noel Harrison, Richie Havens, George Jones, Marvin Junior, Allen Lanier, Alvin Lee, Ray Manzarek, Larry Marks, Hugh McCracken, George “Shadow” Morton, Alan O’Day, Peter O’Toole, Patti Page, Eleanor Parker, Phil Ramone, Lou Reed, Tony Sheridan, Bobbie Smith, Richard Street, Fran Warren, Slim Whitman, and Esther Williams.

We also raise a glass to you, our readers and friends, for another year of health, happiness, and great music.  Happy New Year, and let the music play!

8 Responses

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  1. Loved Wings Over America & Moondance. Keep up the great work in 2014!!

    Jim Regan (@Jbones72)

    December 30, 2013 at 14:23

  2. Re “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”: I see the Intrada release listed on Amazon as only being available for about $36 (!) from an outfit called Soundtrackers. Intrada itself does not seem to offer this release via Amazon, so far as I can tell, though it offers “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” on its own website for about $20. I also see on Amazon that Hallmark will release the original soundtrack (as opposed to Intrada’s more ample “music from the motion picture”) on January 20.

    And speaking of Hallmark, it evidently released the Four Seasons’ holiday album, “Greetings,” not long ago, with the original title and Vee Jay cover. Does anyone know anything about this? Amazon lists it as temporarily out of stock, but I’ve gone ahead and placed an order for it. Thanks for any info that anyone can provide.


    December 30, 2013 at 14:35

    • Hallmark is a European public domain label. They source their CDs from prior CDs or even old scratchy records. They photocopy the covers. The Intrada issue will be orders of magnitude better.

      Jason Michael

      December 30, 2013 at 19:01

      • Thanks. I think I’ll cancel that order.


        December 30, 2013 at 19:19

    • Breakfast at Tiffany’s is available from Intrada on Amazon:


      January 1, 2014 at 20:01

      • Thank you — don’t know how I missed it.


        January 4, 2014 at 13:34

  3. Skydog has to be one of the best boxed sets ever released!


    December 30, 2013 at 18:43

  4. Here’s my reissue round-up from 2013: Cheers!

    Jeremy Shatan

    January 6, 2014 at 10:11

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