AllMusic 2015 Year In Review

Favorite Compilations -

 From celebrating 50 years of British Invasion icons Herman's Hermits to the heady weirdness of Dr. John to anthologies collecting deep punk cuts and northern soul rarities, there was a multitude of worthwhile compilations released this year.
Look Around

Beat Happening

Look Around

A career-spanning collection that cherry picks classic singles and album tracks from one of America's best indie pop bands ever.

The Complete Atco/Atlantic Singles, Vol. 1: 1960-1966

Ben E. King

The Complete Atco/Atlantic Singles, Vol. 1: 1960-1966

Features 40 songs from the R&B great's tenure with the iconic soul label, including many rare B-sides mastered in their original mono.

The Very Best of Bettye Swann, 1964-1975

Bettye Swann

The Very Best of Bettye Swann, 1964-1975

Excellent compilation of the elegant soul singer Bettye Swann, containing all her Money sides plus a selection of her Atlantic singles.

The Storyteller: The Anthology 1960-1983

Bobby Bare

The Storyteller: The Anthology 1960-1983

First-ever double-disc anthology to cover the entirety of Bobby Bare's career.

Buck 'Em!: The Music of Buck Owens, 1967-1975: Vol. 2

Buck Owens

Buck 'Em!: The Music of Buck Owens, 1967-1975: Vol. 2

Exceptional chronicle of the second half of Buck Owens' prime, built upon hits, live tracks, and rarities.

Firestation Towers: 1986-1989

Close Lobsters

Firestation Towers: 1986-1989

Career-spanning collection of singles and albums by the undeservedly underrated Scottish indie pop group who featured on the legendary C86 cassette.

Martians, Demons & Fools Like Me: The MCI Records Story, 1954-61

Demons Martians & Fools Like Me

Martians, Demons & Fools Like Me: The MCI Records Story, 1954-61

Lively and weird collection spotlighting the odd '50s Phoenix indie MCI Records.

The  Atco/Atlantic Singles 1968-1974

Dr. John

The Atco/Atlantic Singles 1968-1974

A dynamite collection of all the A- & B-sides from Dr. John's hot run at Atco/Atlantic between 1968-1974.

Love Is a Hurtin' Thing

Gloria Ann Taylor

Love Is a Hurtin' Thing

First legitimate reissue of rare mid-'70s material from this lesser-known soul and disco diva.

The Best of the Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead

The Best of the Grateful Dead

Excellent double-disc history of the Dead told through studio recordings.

The Best of Herman's Hermits: 50th Anniversary Anthology

Herman's Hermits

The Best of Herman's Hermits: 50th Anniversary Anthology

Exhaustive 66-track collection that shows there was more to these well-scrubbed pop idols than you thought.

The  Complete Atco Singles

King Curtis

The Complete Atco Singles

Thorough set of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee's 45s for the Atlantic subsidiary, 1958-1971, plus both sides of a shelved one.

Cut With the Cake Knife

Rose McDowall

Cut With the Cake Knife

A small treasure trove of "lost" ultra-poppy synth pop recordings made by ex-Strawberry Switchblade singer between 1986-88.

Disco 2: A Further Fine Selection of Independent Disco, Modern Soul and Boogie 1976-1980

Soul Jazz

Disco 2: A Further Fine Selection of Independent Disco, Modern Soul and Boogie 1976-1980

Another round of underground classics and obscurities from the Soul Jazz label, issued as a companion to a disco artwork book.

Three Blind Mice

Stones

Three Blind Mice

Compilation of early Flying Nun band's full discography, including a batch of well-preserved live recordings.

To Those of Earth... And Other Worlds

Sun Ra & His Arkestra

To Those of Earth... And Other Worlds

BBC DJ Gilles Peterson mixes a two-CD selection of Sun Ra favorites, providing an accessible entry point for novices.

A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada: Prime Cuts 1990-1996

Texas Tornados

A Little Bit Is Better Than Nada: Prime Cuts 1990-1996

Double-disc collection of the Texas Tornados' '90s recordings, including unreleased material and Spanish-language versions.

Heady Nuggs 20 Years After Clouds Taste Metallic: 1994-1997

The Flaming Lips

Heady Nuggs 20 Years After Clouds Taste Metallic: 1994-1997

The Oklahoma psych-pop veterans revisit their excellent 1995 album with a deluxe package including rarities, covers, and live recordings.

Splashdown: The Complete Creation Recordings 1990-1992

The Telescopes

Splashdown: The Complete Creation Recordings 1990-1992

This set covers a two-year span of dream pop, shoegaze, and psych-pop brilliance from the criminally overlooked band.

Lookin' for a Love: The Complete SAR Recordings

The Valentinos

Lookin' for a Love: The Complete SAR Recordings

A collection of rare and unreleased sides from Bobby Womack's '60s R&B group; also includes four early gospel performances.

The Complete Them: 1964-1967

Them

The Complete Them: 1964-1967

The Irish R&B act's legendary recordings with Van Morrison, collected in one package with plentiful outtakes and live cuts.

Trevor Jackson Presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics

Trevor Jackson

Trevor Jackson Presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics

Trevor Jackson compiles an indispensable selection of Adrian Sherwood's influential post-punk/dub label On-U Sound.

Rhythm 'N' Blusin' by the Bayou: Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies & Pretty Babies

Various Artists

Rhythm 'N' Blusin' by the Bayou: Mad Dogs, Sweet Daddies & Pretty Babies

Another roaring collection of little-heard Southern Louisiana blues and R&B from the late '50s.

Second Helpings: Sequels to the Songs That Left 'Em Hungry for More

Various Artists

Second Helpings: Sequels to the Songs That Left 'Em Hungry for More

Fun collection of sequel singles to big hits of the '60s.

Punk 45: Extermination Nights in the Sixth City - Cleveland, Ohio: Punk and the Decline of the Mid-West

Various Artists

Punk 45: Extermination Nights in the Sixth City - Cleveland, Ohio: Punk and the Decline of the Mid-West

Features 18 rare sides from a time in the '70s when Cleveland was home to some of the edgiest music on Earth.

Punk 45: Burn, Rubber City, Burn!: Akron, Ohio: Punk and the Decline of the Mid-West 1975-80

Various Artists

Punk 45: Burn, Rubber City, Burn!: Akron, Ohio: Punk and the Decline of the Mid-West 1975-80

18 rare sides (including early material from Devo and the Waitresses) reveal the unexpected pleasures of Akron's new wave scene.

Sherwood at the Controls, Vol. 1: 1979-1984

Various Artists

Sherwood at the Controls, Vol. 1: 1979-1984

This fertile, essential comp picks not only rare tracks issued by On U, but includes productions for artists on other labels as well.

Reaching Out: Chess Records at FAME Studios

Various Artists

Reaching Out: Chess Records at FAME Studios

Excellent collection of Chess soul artists recorded at Muscle Shoals' FAME studios in the late '60s.

Soul Emissaries: SuperFunk

Various Artists

Soul Emissaries: SuperFunk

Excellent collection of rare danceable funk that flirts with proto-disco.

Truckers, Kickers, Cowboy Angels: The Blissed-Out Birth of Country Rock Vol. 3: 1970

Various Artists

Truckers, Kickers, Cowboy Angels: The Blissed-Out Birth of Country Rock Vol. 3: 1970

Bear Family's country-rock chronicle covers 1970, a year with the Band, the Grateful Dead, Kris Kristofferson, and more.

Truckers, Kickers, Cowboy Angels: The Blissed-Out Birth of Country Rock Vol. 4: 1971

Various Artists

Truckers, Kickers, Cowboy Angels: The Blissed-Out Birth of Country Rock Vol. 4: 1971

The fourth volume of Bear Family's country-rock history focuses on hard-driving bands and funkier songwriters.

The London American Label, Year by Year: 1966

Various Artists

The London American Label, Year by Year: 1966

Entertaining and diverse collection of American rock & roll, R&B, and pop licensed to be released in the U.K. on London.

Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul

Various Artists

Pied Piper: Follow Your Soul

A second volume of excellent '60s soul rarities -- singles in the vein of Motown, tempered by Northern soul -- from the Detroit label.

Sweet Things from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook

Various Artists

Sweet Things from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry Songbook

A third volume of selections from the Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry songbook has a lot of hits plus some nifty rarities.

Solid Stax Sensations

Various Artists

Solid Stax Sensations

Famed soul DJ revisits his original Solid Soul Sensations project for a collection of dynamite rarities from the Stax vaults.

Ho-Dad Hootenanny, Too!

Various Artists

Ho-Dad Hootenanny, Too!

32 crazed frat rock singles are rescued from obscurity on this collection suitable for dancing and drinking.

Don't Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded in Texas

Various Artists

Don't Be Bad! 60s Punk Recorded in Texas

Unheard and newly discovered mid-'60s Texan garage and proto-punk recorded by Huey P. Meaux.

Dore L.A. Soul Sides, Vol. 2

Various Artists

Dore L.A. Soul Sides, Vol. 2

A second -- and equally entertaining -- collection of uptown and Northern soul from the Los Angeles imprint Dore.

Boppin' by the Bayou: Rock Me Mama!

Various Artists

Boppin' by the Bayou: Rock Me Mama!

One of the wilder, raggedy collections in Ace's ongoing By the Bayou series.

All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling at All Musical Stations

Various Artists

All Aboard! 25 Train Tracks Calling at All Musical Stations

Entertaining collection of songs about trains, pulling from rock & roll, R&B, blues, reggae, and country.

µ20

Various Artists

µ20

Essential, ambitious compilation celebrating the 20-year history of Mike Paradinas' visionary electronic label Planet Mu.

Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City

Various Artists

Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City

Companion set to Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit showcases the '60s birth of country-rock.

Groove with a Feeling: Sounds of Memphis Boogie, Soul & Funk, 1975-1985

Various Artists

Groove with a Feeling: Sounds of Memphis Boogie, Soul & Funk, 1975-1985

A bunch of dynamite funk, smooth soul, and disco from the Sounds of Memphis studio.

Last of the Garage Punk Unknowns, Vols. 1-2

Various Artists

Last of the Garage Punk Unknowns, Vols. 1-2

More rare (and in some cases unreleased) garage rock gems are uncovered in this solid collection.

Local Customs: Cavern Sound

Various Artists

Local Customs: Cavern Sound

Features 24 songs from local artists showing the range of talent that passed through one recording studio in Kansas.

Jon Savage Presents 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded

Various Artists

Jon Savage Presents 1966: The Year the Decade Exploded

Excellent double-disc soundtrack to Jon Savage's pop culture history of 1966.

Here Today!: The Songs of Brian Wilson

Various Artists

Here Today!: The Songs of Brian Wilson

A collection of songs written by Brian Wilson -- some recorded by the Beach Boys, some not -- but performed by other acts, most during the '60s.

Happy Lovin' Time: Sunshine Pop from the Garpax Vaults

Various Artists

Happy Lovin' Time: Sunshine Pop from the Garpax Vaults

A bunch of sunshine pop and swinging '60s L.A. studio nuggets -- many of which were unreleased -- from the vaults of Gary S. Paxton.

Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities, Vol. 5

Various Artists

Northern Soul's Classiest Rarities, Vol. 5

By expanding the definition of "Northern soul," this collection of rarities is a cut above the normal NS collection.