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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The Kinks, 'Muswell Hillbillies: Legacy Edition'
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19/20

19. The Kinks, 'Muswell Hillbillies: Legacy Edition'

After spending the late Sixties examining the upheaval in Britain's class structure and the vanishing social securities of Victoria's empire, singer-songwriter Ray Davies turned his attention even closer to home: the daily struggle and small pleasures of working-class life in Muswell Hill, the north-London neighborhood where he and guitarist-brother Dave grew up. A commercial disappointment in 1971, Muswell Hillbillies was a pivotal success in other ways: Ray's pub-griot spin on American country-funk; the Kinks' evolution as a Seventies album band; the durability of songs like "20th Century Man," "Skin and Bone" and "Alcohol," all future live staples. A bonus DVD of 1972 British TV performances previews the reflective candor, wrapped in loopy R&B, that became the Kinks' specialty on stage for the next two decades.

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