At last, major labels are getting wise to the fact that in the age of free downloading, hit packages don't fly like they once did, and it's time to scour the vaults for the amazing obscurities otherwise unavailable on disc. Universal 's astutely compiled five-disc Pop À Paris series (each CD sold separately) ignores chart history and collects the swingin' 60s French club pop, ye-ye, freakbeat and psych joints released by Serge Gainsbourg , Michel Polnareff , France Gall , Nino Ferrer , Stone , Jacqueline Taïeb and others. Smashing! Those seeking a quick fix should grab the snappy two-disc Pop À Paris: Psyché-Rock Et Minijupes (Universal) sampler, which includes most of the classy cuts.
One of the few still-active golden era soul shouters to have singles sought after by northern soul, deep soul and funk collectors, Lou Pride finally has his in-demand Suemi , Albatross and Gemco label scorchers reissued on the great-sounding Memphis /El Paso Sessions 1970-73 ( Severn ) disc. Along with a number of overlooked classics cut with the stellar Hi Rhythm Section , you get the $2,500 stomper I'm Com'un Home In The Morn'un. That's a deal.
The finest vinyl moments of on-deck Toronto hiphop star MC Arcee - including the house-rocking posse cut Stripes and the Jake One joint Pseudoism - have been collected on the Arcee: Mixedwell ( Fifty-Fourth ) CD seamlessly assembled by cutmaster Lil'Jaz of the Turnstyles crew. State of the T-dot art, ya heard!
Another one of those vinyl-only releases of mysterious origin, Sitar Beat, Volume 1 , brings together Indo-funk fusion faves like Dave Pike 's majestic Mathar (the 7-inch edit) and Klaus Doldinger 's short 'n' crunchy Sitar Beat with lesser-known bangers like Asha Bhosle 's live getdown on R.D. Burman 's Dum Maro Dum and Sapan Jagmohan 's off-the-hook Meri Aakhon Mein. Get it while you can. On a similar fusionary tip, there's the Outcaste label's new Indica Brazilica comp. But don't waste your cash on the overpriced disc. The only four tracks you really need - the jams by Os Mutantes , the Golden Boys , Gilberto Gil and Nicola Conte - are out on a limited 12-inch vinyl sampler EP.