Without any of the media hype that more established reissue operations enjoy, Geneva, Illinois-based Lion Productions continues to go quietly about its business of putting out superb reissue packages of obscure psych-era artifacts with exceptionally good sound quality, previously unheard bonus tracks and well-researched liner notes.
The latest additions to its impressive catalogue (including recordings by El Kinto, Limonada, Eduardo Mateo, Sunforest, T2, Bulldog Breed and others) are the Stone Harbour debut Emerges and the Third Estate's unreleased Agonistes album from 1973 packaged as a double disc with their jazzy freak-folk curio Years Before The Wine recorded the next year.
Although the Stone Harbour basement psych masterwork has been widely circulated, this reissue has much improved sound and boasts four shockingly great bonus tracks from 1975. Likewise on the Third Estate disc, extra singles tracks, demos and outtakes make Agonistes the definitive statement on the unjustly overlooked Baton Rouge crew. lionproductions.org.
Rock & Roll Puzzle (Stone Harbour)
Witch to You (Stone Harbour)
Years Before the Wine (Third Estate)
Thought I Heard You Calling (Third Estate)
When the 70s dub craze hit Jamaica, the recycling-friendly Sir Coxsone Dodd adopted the "Dub Specialist" handle and went to work repackaging the instrumental backing tracks recorded by his killer house band as dub albums and released them in the sleeves from other albums simply turned inside-out and silkscreened over with a new title. Nothing wasted.
Taking a tip from Dodd, Rounder's Heartbeat subsidiary has repackaged its own 1995 reissue disc, Dub Specialist: 17 Shots From Studio One, in the sleeve designed for Better Dub and called it simply Dub, by Dub Specialist, with essentially the same track listing as 17 Shots except Still Version replaces Beam Sound and Dub Me Girl has been tacked on the end. The notes here amount to a list of songs from which the versions were made and the writing credits, which, amazingly enough, list Dodd as the composer of every track! The double-vinyl version is a better deal, with two bonus tracks, Crab Walking and a reworking of the Heptones' Gonna Fight. studio1heartbeat.com.
Starring Dub (Dub)
Far Out bossa
Continuing its salute to 50 years of bossa nova, the UK-based Far Out label has issued Far Out Bossa Nova, compiled from the classic-sounding recent recordings in its own impressive label archive. Considering that its stable of recording artists includes Brazilian legends Joyce, Arthur Verocai, Azymuth, Victor Assis Brasil, the Ipanemas and Marcos Valle - whose own favourite tracks from his three Far Out albums have recently been collected on the fab Carioca Soul disc - it should come as no great surprise that much of this stuff has the warm 'n' soulful vibe of old-school thrillers from the golden era.
Stunning joints by rising stars Clara Moreno (the gifted daughter of Joyce and percussionist/songwriter Tutty Moreno) and the delightful Sabrina Malheiros indicate that Far Out is ready for the next 50 years. faroutrecordings.com.
Rio Bahia (Joyce with Dori Caymmi)
Meu Samba Torto (Clara Moreno feat Celso Fonseca)
Pra Ze (Azymuth feat Roberto Menescal and Sabrina Malheiros)