For the sake of accessibility/digestibility, I'm thinking of trying to come up with a "top 20" list although I think it's an absurd, vexed task.
Has anyone seen a piece in a music review magazine in recent years that attempts to present such a CD/SACD/DVD-Audio library--something like the "$500 fill-in-the-blank Library" features that CD Review magazine used to do?
An October 1990 issue features a "Definitive Soul/R&B Library" article by a good music writer I like, David Okamoto. The kind of arguably timeless titles I’m wanting to identify are such that his list is still valid even though it was written almost 15 years ago. The problem is that there have of course been so many reissues/remasters in the intervening time. This is where I think I need the most help: identifying when a strong remaster (here I’m referring to the kind of work Rhino typically did for their reissues) of an album is available.
A couple of soft guiding ideas:
- I'm interested in a list of seminal albums, but I'd like to spice it up a bit and not end up with a entirely canonical, predictable list. At its upper digits, I’d also like to broaden the scope of the list and target albums by (black) artists in the funk, disco and perhaps rap idioms.
- Of course there will be exceptions for good compilations, but I'd generally like to avoid greatest hits packages.
- I'd like to include high resolution SACD and/or DVD-Audio releases where possible.
So here’s a draft to begin. If I haven’t listed a specific album, it’s because I think that artist deserves a place on the list, but am in need of input on which album should make the cut.
1) James Brown – Live At the Apollo, 1962
2) Ray Charles
3) Aretha Franklin – Aretha's Gold?
I'd say Lady Soul, but then there are seminal Aretha hits that are not on that record . . .
4) Al Green – Call Me
5) Sam Cooke – Portrait Of A Legend, 1951-1964 SACD
6) Marvin Gaye - What's Going On Deluxe Edition CD
7) The Temptations - Anthology (the 2-disc Motown Anthology Series release)
8) Stevie Wonder - Songs In The Key Of Life
9) The Spinners – A One Of A Kind Love Affair – The Anthology
10) Earth Wind & Fire – Greatest Hits, Vol. I (remaster)
11) George Benson – Breezin’ DVD-Audio
12) Rick James – Street Songs
But what about Parliament/Funkadelic?
13) Barry White - All-Time Greatest Hits or The Ultimate Collection
14) Prince - Dirty Mind
15) Babyface – Tender Lover
16) Al Jarreau - Jarreau?
This album, not unlike Patti Austin's Every Home Should Have One, is a nostalgic favorite of mine from the early 80s. But I'm debating whether it should have a place on a top 20 . . .
17) Luther Vandross - The Best Of Luther Vandross: The Best Of Love
18) Chic - Dance, Dance, Dance: The Best Of Chic
19) Booker T. & the MGs - McLemore Avenue?
20) Otis Redding - The Otis Redding Story?
Btw, he’s already got the Special Edition of Thriller so that’s why that is not on the list. But what about Off the Wall?
I welcome all reasoned recommendations, links and even some stunned posts of omission/inclusion indignation. This is very much a work in progress.
Thanks in advance for your help all.