Despite the ubiquitous presence of CDs, and the plethora of reissues, there are still more titles than we can count that have never come out on the shiny silver discs, or have slipped into the marketplace and vanished never to return. What follows is the first part in a somewhat regular series of posts detailing our own selfish desires for digital fulfillment. We encourage you to write in the comments section about your own cravings.
Schoolly D. - The Adventures of Schoolly D.
This Rykodysc release compiled Schoolly D.'s first self titled album and his second, Saturday Night! The Album, both of which were previously unavailable on CD. Now with this comp out of print (and going for $39.99 or more for a used copy on Amazon), it's nearly impossible to get a hold of the grandaddy of gangsta rap's early cuts.
Main Source - Breakin Atoms
There was a Japanese reissue of this sampladelic relic in 2006, but with a $30 price tag and released in a limited edition pressing, it barely counts for anyone outside Japan. Please, someone, make 2008 the year this hip-hop classic is back on the shelves worldwide.
Tim Buckley - Starsailor
Available only as a download, Tim Buckley's uncompromising 1970 statement Starsailor deserves better. At the very least, this session should be made available through Rhino Handmade or Hip-O Select.
Mel TormÃ© - Musical Sounds are the Best Songs
Presumably a one-off for the Coral label, Mel TormÃ©'s 1954 LP Musical Sounds Are the Best Songs is one of the best of his career (and definitely the most fun), easily the equal of his later peaks like Sings Fred Astaire or Swings Shuber Alley. None of the songs are lyrical giants, but as the title indicates, all of them feature the type of joyous musical exuberance that TormÃ© always excelled at. There's no one better than him at floating the following 'musical sounds' from the best swing-era novelties -- "A puddley-scoodie, re-beat, concrete!" from "Cement Mixer (Putti Putti)" or "Foo-dle-le yaki-saki" from "Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)" or "Hut-sut rawlson on the rillerah and a brawla, brawla sooit" from "The Hut-Sut Song."
Neil Young - Time Fades Away
A remarkably shambolic collection of live recordings from Neil Young's early-1973 post-Harvest tour with the Stray Gators (plus two recordings from a 1971 solo performance), Time Fades Away remains the iconic singer/songwriter's only officially released album -- not counting his several soundtracks -- to never be released on CD. There's a petition advocating its CD-era release at thrasherswheat.org, though those not inclined to wait around for the reissue of Time Fades Away can always turn to file-sharing networks, where makeshift vinyl-source copies circulate freely, for this is an album that completists need to hear, one way or another.
Sahib Shihab - Companionship
This set was released on the German Vogue label and is one of the most sought-after jazz recordings issued on vinyl. Under the leadership of reedman Sahib Shihab, it features an all-star cast, as well as a rainbow panorama of styles with arrangements by the great Frany Boland. The last copy of this on eBay sold for $952!!!!