The new year is full of promise

By BOB GULLA  |  January 2, 2007

Slow it down!
On the same token, we hope that somehow, someway, someone out there will stem the tide of gentrification and unaffordable housing. Providence used to be a home made for and by the people; it was even touted as a “center for the arts.” But just as hyper-development is chasing wildlife from their natural habitats, so too talented artists are leaving town. When will quality of life once again be a consideration over tax revenue? Growth is one thing. Swelling up is another.

Here are 10 of the best reissues and anthologies of the past year.

1. THE BEE GEES | The Studio Albums 1967-1968 | Reprise/WSM
Magical early stuff miles from their disco fever era, bubbling with ideas and Beatle-ish invention.

2. TOM WAITS | Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards | Anti-
Lump me in with the critics for whom adequate words don’t exist to describe the outsize talent of Waits.

3. VARIOUS ARTISTS | What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves 1967-1977 | Rhino
One of the most enjoyable rare funk and soul anthologies I’ve heard, cribbed from funk’s peak decade.

4. MESHUGGAH | Nothing | Nuclear Blast
Seminal Swedish math metal cornerstone gets the deluxe treatment, with remastering and bonus DVD.

5. R.E.M.|  And I Feel Fine: Best of the IRS Years 1982-1987 | Capitol/IRS
Finally, IRS loosens its death grip on the early revelations of the R.E.M. canon.

6. NEIL YOUNG & CRAZY HORSE | Live at the Fillmore East | Reprise
Slowly, surely, Mr. Young opens the door to his archives, and lets out this blistering Crazy Horse set from 1970.

7. THE CLASH | The Singles | Sony/BMG
All 19 UK singles plus bonus tracks in their original sleeves. Pricey but indispensable, especially for those who have never been able to find a match for London Calling.

8. MATTHEW SWEET | Girlfriend | RCA
Matthew Sweet’s day in the radio sun sure is sweet, bolstered by the indescribably good guitar playing of Robert Quine and Richard Lloyd.

9. WILLIE NELSON | The Complete Atlantic Sessions | Atlantic/Rhino
Willie’s Atlantic stint lasted three albums, and they were all perfect.

10. VARIOUS ARTISTS | Rockin’ Bones | ’50s Punk & Rockabilly | Rhino
More than a hundred mid-’50s rockabilly rave-ups from the most outrageous long gone daddies and wild babes.

At Cats this Friday, January 5, it’s ABSYNTHE, THE CRYPT¬KEEPER FIVE, LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR, and RHYTHM MAFIA. Call 401.722.0150. MICHAEL TROY will be headlining at the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, Massachusetts, on Saturday, January 6. The Somerset native has been making music for near on two decades, but has recently stepped up activity. Check out his website and then grab a ticket to the show. Doors are at 7 pm and the show is at 8. Call 508.324.1926. At Brewed Awakenings in Johnston, it’s ERIC FRENCH and KIM LAMOTHE. If you’re interested in an acoustic RISA-type gig at this coffeehouse, contact Frank Martyn. Start the New Year with purpose. Call 401.275.0765.

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