The Bristol Sessions
Some of the best reissues of the year were multi-artist compilations, retrospectives on specific labels, songwriters, styles, or eras. Some of these sets were as monumental as Bear Family's impeccably researched The Bristol Sessions: The Big Bang of Country Music, but others shed light on frequently neglected sideroads, such as Our Lives Are Shaded by What We Love, which chronicled Motown's largely forgotten '70s subsidiary MoWest. These, combined with discs of soul covers of Beatles songs, obscure disco sides, and early gospel made 2011 a great year for compilations.

Acadian All Star Special: The Pioneering Cajun Recordings of J.D. Miller
Americana: Rock Your Soul - Blue Eyed Soul and Sounds from the Land of the Free
Bambara Mystic Soul: The Raw Sound of Burkina Faso 1974-1979
Bear Traces: Nuggets from Bob's Barn
The Big Beat of Dave Bartholomew: 20 of His Milestone Productions 1949-1960
Brand New Wayo: Funk, Fast Times & Nigerian Boogie Badness 1979-1983
The Bristol Sessions: The Big Bang of Country Music 1927-1928
Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney
Dirty Water, Vol. 2: More Birth of Punk Attitude
Disco Discharge: Disco Fever USA
Fac. Dance: Factory Records 12" Mixes & Rarities 1980-1987
Fania Records 1964-1980: The Original Sound of Latin New York
James Burton: The Early Years 1957-1969
John Morales: The M&M Mixes, Vol. 2
Our Lives Are Shaped by What We Love: Motown's MoWest Story 1971-1973
The Skip Scarborough Songbook
Sweet Inspiration: The Songs of Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham
This May Be My Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-1982
To What Strange Place: The Music of the Ottoman-American Diaspora, 1916-1929
Wall of Sound: The Very Best of Phil Spector, 1961-1966
West Indies Funk