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Five great releases from five of my favourite compilation and reissue labels

Jeb Taylor

A few years back when the shops doors were closed during lock downs and we were just selling on-line and doing home deliveries, I was spending some time highlighting my personal favourites from the shop. Some of those releases that you may have just passed over, thought looked interesting but didn’t ever get around to properly checking out and just classics that you may have forgotten about. For my Counter Culture column this week I’ve gone back to this with a bit of a twist. I picked out five labels who consistently release amazing reissues and compilations, highlighting a favourite release from each of them.

The Numero label has been long associated with amazing, high-quality reissues. Alongside putting out countless great compilations across many genres (from disco to proto metal and everything in between) and doing amazing archival reissues of cult favourite artists (think Duster, Unwound, ect.), they have a knack of finding amazing releases that never were and bringing them to life. From tiny label releases that never made it beyond their hometown to private press records that barely even made it out of the artists home, Numero have found some absolute gold over the years. A recent discovery for me from the label is The Mystic Tide. A short live Long Island band from the mid sixties that deliver a mix of raw British invasion pop, surf sounds and garage rock, amazingly restored and incredibly packaged.

Time Capsule is a label that has only entered my radar recently but I’ve been really impressed with the output so far. Case in point is the recent Nippon Acid Folk compilation. A collection of Japanese Acid Folk from 1979 – 1980, there is no filler on this one, instead of making it some huge expansive release, they cut it down to one record filled with great songs you’ve in most cases never heard. They have also in recent times released Nippon Psychedelic Soul and Nippon Riddim.

Next up is Light In The Attic, one the long running reissue labels that has given consistent, high quality output over the last couple of decades from Betty Davis to Rodriguez, Nancy Sinatra and the amazing story around Donnie and Joe Emerson. They have also been releasing some great compilations and one of my favourite series is Country Funk, now up to it’s third volume. While some of the artists on here may be some of country music’s biggest names, they are not their biggest songs but maybe they should be. It collects tracks from the time where these country artists delved in to and collaborated with the funk scene, creating some amazing jams that have been largely buried as later album tracks or lost b sides.

Now Again are a Los Angeles based label who I was first introduced to via the Welcome To Zamrock compilations, and I’ve since bought a lot of releases from their catalogue. They are all incredibly well researched and curated, pressings are high quality and liner notes are informative. As mentioned there are the two great Zambian compilations, the label has since reissued releases from a number of bands on these compilations as well. They’ve also released Wake Up You, two volumes of a compilation dedicated to Nigerian seventies rock, and Those Shocking Shaking Days highlighting Indonesian hard rock and psych music from the seventies. I’m featuring a great record Now Again has reissued from Zambia’s Ngozi Family, an amazing album that combines garage punk with psych sounds and African influences, definitely one of the rawest and heaviest bands from the Zamrock scene.

Analog Africa is another label where I buy nearly every compilation they release. Once again they are amazingly curated and packaged but despite the name they are not just all African releases. Although there is a heavy focus on the continent, the do travel beyond to bring some of the best music from across the world. A recent focus on South American releases has included Ecuatoriana - El Universo Paralelo de Polibio Mayorga 1969-1981 and Perú Selvático - Sonic Expedition into the Peruvian Amazon 1972-1986. A favourite of mine from the label though is their African Scream Contest compilations where they collect amazing and raw funk, rock and soul releases, volume 2 featuring music from Benin between 1963 and 1980 is a great example that we have in stock now.

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