20 Best Reissues of 2014

The Beatles in mono, Led Zep's alternate takes, history's greatest bootleg and more of the year's best boxes rereleases and excavations

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13. The "5" Royales, 'Soul & Swagger: The Complete "5" Royales 1951-1967'

The first rock & roll record is a matter of debate. This is not: The first rock & roll group was the "5" Royales, a street-corner-harmony institution from North Carolina powered by guitarist-songwriter Lowman Pauling, Jr., whose meaty swing and solid-body-Gretsch attack marked an early dawn for instrumental soul in the age of doo-wop. This five-CD set brings together the "5" Royales' long run of 45s across the Fifties and Sixties, as they jumped out of gospel (as the Royal Sons) into dynamic, secular harmonizing and Pauling compositions that became turning-point covers for James Brown, Ray Charles and the Shirelles. Also hear Pauling's slashing-treble solos predict Sixties electric-blues and garage-rock guitar in the two takes of 1958's "The Slummer the Slum." More than a half-century later, he and the Royales will finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next April.

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