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10 Best Reissues of 2016

The year’s best archival sets – from Pink Floyd’s early odyssey to Bob Dylan’s greatest tour, from deep funk to outlaw country

Read David Fricke's countdown of the 10 best reissues and archival releases of 2016, including massive new box sets from Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd.

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There is, amidst the ongoing doom and gloom, a literal growth industry in the record business: history. Reissues are coming in bigger physical sizes and grander retrospective scope, to the boon of collector-maniacs and at the expense of most wallets. But size is not everything. This survey of the 10 best archaeological releases of 2016 runs the weight scale from the truly spectacular – the audio-visual excavation of Pink Floyd's psychedelic and experimental eras – to single-disc concentrations of previously-unknown work by crucial, then-emerging voices. The result: something for every budget and obsession.

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David Bowie, ‘Who Can I Be Now? (1974-1976)’

The previously unreleased twist in this set is The Gouster, a 1974 white-soul project that evolved into 1975's Young Americans. But this box tells a bigger story of impulsive studio and live drive: Bowie's passage out of glam through apocalyptic obsession (1974's Diamond Dogs), crafty R&B and stark futurism (1976's Station to Station), on his way to Berlin.

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Bob Dylan, ‘The 1966 Live Recordings’

The set lists were the same every night. But it was always a different shootout as Dylan took his transformations in singing, writing and electricity on the road – driving audiences to fury and ecstasy, reveling in the amplified power of the future Band. There are sterling acoustic sets too, like Sheffield, England, on May 16th, when Dylan's voice is pure, naked force. There has never been another tour like it. These 36 CDs tell the whole tale.

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Pink Floyd, ‘The Early Years 1965-1972’

Here is the ultimate saucerful of secrets: the definitive alternate history of this band's odyssey from madcap psychedelia to megastardom in more than two dozen hours of rare audio and video, including film scores and unique collaborations. Early TV clips chart Syd Barrett's shocking psychic descent; the next five years with David Gilmour show the Floyd pressing through inner space, soon to land on The Dark Side of the Moon. A two-CD set collects 27 highlights.

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