Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Year In Review 2021 - Favorite Archival Releases

Each year the music industry dips into the past to deliver box sets, live albums, re-masters and outtake collections to sell to the music loving masses (present company included). This look back will round up some of RtBE's favorite archival releases from the past year. 

Usually these releases can fall into the money grab category, not really adding much outside of revenue for the label and (hopefully) the artist. Every now and then though some spectacular collections are unearthed and are worth any price. 

RtBE includes live albums in this year end review as well, since they were recorded in the recent or distant past and fall into archival release status. 

With the increase in vinyl interest and enhanced Record Store Days to help smaller sellers, there seem to be more and more archival/live releases each year, we are sure to miss a lot of them, but the quality and abundance is exciting. 

These were our favorite archival and live album releases of 2021, click the link in the title for full length reviews. 

There was a lot said about Dylan's 80's sound and while RtBE has always been a fan of the songs, the production and recording from that era can leave listeners disappointed and confused. This bootleg collection is one of our favorites in a long running high quality series and illuminates that much maligned era of Dylan's career.  

An old favorite bootleg of RtBE's gets the official release treatment and it is a winner from Uncle Neil. Not only does it have great cover art, it has killer tunes from Crazy Horse who are playing in a small club with relaxed energy. Play it loud, then play it a bit louder...

A great collection of soul from a few years ago as one of the best modern labels deliver the funky goods from a classic venue in Harlem.

Speaking of funky soul, this five album collection from Pastor T.L. Barrett is full of the holy spirit. Slinky gospel goodness with Chicago funk and soul pro's are the focus, as well as a huge youth choir. Good stuff, even for non-believers.   

Main trucker Patterson Hood said this is the best live capturing of the band during it's days with Jason Isbell...what more hype do you need? 

A fiery concert collection from when Bruce and E Street were pound for pound one of the best bands in the land. A damn good set of tunes from the No Nukes Benefit showcasing the first time the Boss played the World's Most Famous Arena and brought the place down.

Arriving right before the end of the year from the Tipitina's Record Club comes this amazing vinyl which captures a hot night of music from an up and coming Dirty Dozen Brass Band and a jazz legend, Dizzy Gillespie. The mix of traditional and a new funky breed of music is intoxicating and to be able to relive this magical night from back in January 1986 in New Orleans is a real joy.  

RtBE surely missed some, so feel free to add any more archival releases from this year below in the comments. Thanks for reading. 


  1. Would have to suggest Prince's mammoth Sign o' the Times set. Released as a stylistically sprawling double album in 1987, this 8 disc set included 45 outtakes, a live set, & more.