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Caution: Objects in the rearview mirror may be more expensive than they seem.

Yes, living in the past may be an exercise in nostalgia, but there's a very good reason to go there. Everything was cheaper back then.

Which is a good joke but not exactly true: vinyl records in New Zealand in 1968 – half a century ago – cost around the same as new vinyl today on a currency conversion . . . although took up a larger chunk of your wage packet back in the olden times.

Today the musical past comes into present with expanded reissues and sometimes a whopping price tag.

During 2018 Elsewhere considered a number of reissues (some of them 50thanniversary items) and of those we heard we would pick these as our top 10 of the year. And remember, these are just from those we heard.

Aside from the first one which was well ahead of the pack, they are in no particular order.

Your Christmas gift-giving list might consider some of these . . .

image004The Beatles; The Beatles.

Aka The White Album. When it was released in '68 their producer George Martin – and others – said this double vinyl would have been as a single record. What might he and they say about the reissue which comes as a double-double vinyl (four records, the original two and another two of their demos). Then there was the thumping six CD version (with hardback book and Blu-ray).

Yes, this might seem to be one for obsessives but the remastering by Martin's son Giles was impeccable and you can hear on the CD set the works in progress from demos to studio sessions and the finished versions. We wrote about it here.

kate1Kate Bush

Kate Bush's musically expansive catalogue (with rarities and such) came as four box sets of vinyl or two boxes of CDs.

They served to remind how unique she was when she emerged and remained true to whatever visions, phantoms, dreams and sounds she wanted to explore.

This was such a swag of idiosyncratic music – from song cycles to hit singles – that we undertook it in four parts, starting here.

R_1523763_1452438488_5005.jpegSuperette: Tiger

Were they second or third generation Flying Nun?

It's not important but their sole album Tiger probably went past most people on release in '96 so the reissue of their fizzing alt.pop-cum-indie.rock expanded to a double vinyl with extra tracks serves as letter from the past but which still sounds exciting and relevant today.

We wrote about it here.

d5c684b8_ac27_49d9_bb22_683c394e55b3Pere Ubu: Les Haricots Sont Pas Sales 1987-1991

The final vinyl (non-chronological) reissue in their four-part revisit to their extraordinary catalogue of music, sound, experimentation and sometimes hummable pop. The period covered in this set actually found them at their most approachable, although we concede they will never be to everyone's taste. Not even to most people. Perhaps always only t a few. We count ourselves among the few and wrote about this set here (and the others released in previous years also).

The_Jazz_Butcher_violent_years_square_coverThe Jazz Butcher; The Violent Years

Actually we sneak this in to draw attention to the 2017 collection of Pat Fish and pals' previous set The Wasted Years (2017). That collection was more quirky and humorous but this set of four albums on Creation from '88 to '91 found them mining a very enjoyable brand of pop-rock and singer-songwriter attitudes. Fish could have had Lloyd Cole-type success but the fact he didn't means his catalogue never troubles you with hits. Often lovey stuff with a jaundiced view, we wrote about this collection here.

Hendrix_ElectricLady50_cover_MediumJimi Hendrix: Electric Ladyland

Remixed by Eddie Kramer and remastered, this was Hendrix at his most expansive and experimental and the double album came as single disc in a three CD box set with a book, an extra disc of rehearsals and demos and a live album. As well as an expanded Blu-ray doco. Those familiar enough with the original album might find this surplus to requirements (the live disc is a typical show of the period) but the early takes are insightful.

We wrote about it here.

Screen_Shot_2018_02_22_at_4.05.14_PMFelt: A Decade in Music

As with the Jazz Butcher, Felt were very much a British cult band in the Eighties but their pristine guitar jangle could be mesmerising, minimalist, pastoral, psychedelic . . .

A real discovery for most we would guess.

We wrote about it here.

71LbI3t7O_L._SL1500_Bob Dylan: More Blood, More Tracks

His great, multilayered and often enigmatic Blood on the Tracks from '75 got handsome expanded treatment in the Bootleg Series (six discs, with pages from his notebooks, photos, essays, insights etc) and, surprisingly, listening to multiple takes of the songs doesn't pall at all. Not just one for fans but for any songwriter interested in Dylan's working process.

We wrote about it at length here.

JohnLennon_ImagineTheUltimateCollection_SuperDeluxe_Packshot1_1John Lennon: Imagine

Some will never like the title track, but his simple demo of it is so heartfelt and lowkey that it transcends the derision reserved for the more polished studio version.

This four CD/two Blu-ray set probably won't change anyone's mind about the merits of an album which had its weak points, but the raw demos with the band (which was guitarist George Harrison, bassist Klaus Voorman, drummer Alan White and the wonderful keyboard player Nicky Hopkins) really are worth hearing.

We wrote about it at length here.

Screen_Shot_2018_05_27_at_9.49.05_AMVarious Artists: Wild Things and How is the Air Up There

We pair these, the former a single vinyl album which draws material from two long out-of-print vinyl compilations and adds other material to provide a snapshot of raw and rugged Kiwi rock from the late Sixties.

The latter is an equally excellent triple CD set which covers a similar period but of course adds more breadth and depth as it includes pop and ballads.

Screen_Shot_2018_01_24_at_1.53.29_PMThis is the way were were and wrote about these here and here.

Special mentions: Darcy Clay; Jesus I was Evil (see here) and This Sporting Life/Alms for Children (see here).

And note, we have not included here the many archival jazz albums which appeared this year (Coltrane, Mingus, Garner etc, see Jazz in Elsewhere) because they were not reissues but previously unheard recordings. 

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